WWII at the Pictures

Once the cinemas were declared open for business, the film industry kept the reels turning, serving up a mixed diet of news, morale-boosting propaganda and uplifting entertainment.

Newsreels kept spirits up and relayed vital information, documentaries rigorously explored every aspect of life and work on the home front, and an array of animations and short films imparted practical tips and guidance. Feature films, meanwhile, offered equal parts inspiring wartime stories and escapist fantasy to bring relief from everyday trials. After the war, as memories of horror and grief receded, Britons could look back on their bravery and stoicism with pride, and filmmakers and audiences alike feasted on the rich and resonant stories the war offered.

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The Man in GreyThe Man in Grey

Melodrama1943116 minsDirector: Leslie Arliss

James Mason, Margaret Lockwood and Stewart Granger star in the first of the fantastically successful Gainsborough melodramas.

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Waterloo RoadWaterloo Road

War194576 minsDirector: Sidney Gilliat

John Mills is the soldier who goes AWOL upon hearing of his wife’s affair, returning home to confront Stewart Granger’s home-wrecking spiv.

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Friend or FoeFriend or Foe

Children's198170 minsDirector: John Krish

Two evacuee boys from London sent to live on a farm face a tough decision when a German plane is shot down.

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Millions Like UsMillions Like Us

War1943103 minsDirector: Frank Launder

The finest example of British wartime fictional propaganda follows a group of women who take on factory work to support the war effort.

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Warn That ManWarn That Man

War194382 minsDirector: Lawrence Huntington

Nazi agents are pitted against a gang of plucky Brits in this exciting comedy-thriller set in a country house where danger awaits a visiting VIP.

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Piccadilly IncidentPiccadilly Incident

Melodrama194699 minsDirector: Herbert Wilcox

Romance blossoms during an air raid in this classic weepie which enacts a tale of wartime love and loss guaranteed to pluck at the heartstrings.

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The Captive HeartThe Captive Heart

War1946100 minsDirector: Basil Dearden

A realistic recreation of life as a prisoner of war in Germany lends credence to this moving account of wartime survival against the odds.

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Thursday's ChildThursday's Child

Drama194379 minsDirector: Rodney Ackland

Sally Ann Howes plays the 12-year-old spotted by a casting director, setting her on the way to stardom.

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Another Time, Another PlaceAnother Time, Another Place

Drama1983101 minsDirector: Michael Radford

Michael Radford (Il Postino) directs this war-time drama set in Scotland. The passions of a young housewife are aroused by the arrival of an Italian POW.

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No Hard FeelingsNo Hard Feelings

War197455 minsDirector: Alan Parker

Early directing credit for Alan Parker offering an unsentimental view of wartime London through the eyes of a troubled young man.

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The Triple EchoThe Triple Echo

War197293 minsDirector: Michael Apted

Oliver Reed and Glenda Jackson star in the rarely seen drama about an AWOL soldier who disguises as a woman to avoid capture.

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Law and DisorderLaw and Disorder

Legal and Courtroom drama194074 minsDirector: David MacDonald

Alastair Sim is in splendid form as a staid, slightly seedy solicitor in this cheerfully patriotic war-time espionage comedy.

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Comedy194494 minsDirector: John E. Blakeley

Nat Jackley and Norman Evans offer marvellous music hall mayhem in this offbeat feature from the heyday of variety.

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The Man at the GateThe Man at the Gate

War194148 minsDirector: Norman Walker

Henry Foley gave up fishing when his two sons were lost at sea. But when war breaks out, he joins a lifeboat crew, to his wife’s dismay.

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Mrs Pym of Scotland YardMrs Pym of Scotland Yard

Detective drama193964 minsDirector: Fred Elles

A spate of deaths among visitors to a medium requires the special talents of undercover detective Mrs Pym.

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