Britons in Battle

British cinema has a tradition of making extraordinary war films, be it fighting the war in Europe, Africa, or on the home front. An array of well-known and plucky tales, these battling Brits pack a punch.

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  • The Sound Barrier

    Asked by director David Lean to write a script about the development of new high speed jet aircraft, esteemed playwright Terence Rattigan (The Browning Version) was reluctant. But a visit to Farnborough Air Display and meeting test pilots fired his imagination. The result, about the troubled rela...

  • Went the Day Well?

    In the middle of World War II Cavalcanti provocatively imagined a postwar England in which the failure of the threatened German invasion could be safely seen in flashback, thanks to the resourceful villagers of Bramley End. Once the ostensibly British troops in their village are revealed as Nazis...

  • The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands

    This dramatic reconstruction of two decisive naval battles from the First World War is one of the finest films of the British silent era. Walter Summers’ film was originally released on Armistice Day 1927 to act as a memorial to the thousands who died in the Battle of Coronel, triumph for German ...

  • Dunkirk

    As German soldiers approach the French coast from all sides, five soldiers must make their way through enemy territory to Dunkirk, where a large scale evacuation is taking place. Starring John Mills as the reluctantly plucky leader of the soldiers and Richard Attenborough as the garage owner whos...

  • Wooden Horse

    Knowing it is every prisoner's duty to escape, Allied prisoners hatch an ingenious plan to do just that. Inspired by Greek mythology, the soldiers use their wooden vaulting horse to cover an escape tunnel that hopes to make its way under the camp's wire fence. Inspired by one of the most famous e...

  • I Was Monty's Double

    When he is spotted onstage doing an all too convincing impersonation of General Bernard Montgomery, M.E. Clifton James (who plays both himself and General Montgomery) is recruited to act as a decoy for General Montgomery in order to confuse German forces, in this classic British war film.

  • Elenya

    In Wales during World War Two, a German airman crash-lands in a wood and is found by 12-year-old Elenya. She decides to keep him a secret and does so for as long as she can until finally the village learns the truth, with tragic consequences.

  • Ice Cold in Alex

    Captain Anson (John Mills), a fledgeling alcoholic, and Tom Pugh (Harry Andrews) are ordered to escort two nurses across the North African desert. Encountering German troops, treacherous terrain, as well as an enigmatic man, Ice Cold in Alex is a British war film packed with adventure.

  • Crook's Tour

    After scene-stealing performances in The Lady Vanishes (1938) and Night Train to Munich (1940), Charters and Caldicott (Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne) take centre stage in this charming spy comedy. When the duo are mistaken for German agents, they receive a gramophone record which contains vita...

  • Colditz Story

    After escaping from other camps, allied prisoners from all nations were taken to the medieval castle of Colditz, where the guards outnumbered the prisoners. However, when the allied troops decide to pool their ideas together, numerous inventive escape plans are hatched. Starring John Mills and Er...

  • The Eagle Has Landed

    A Nazi Strike Force plots to kidnap Winston Churchill while he is resting in a desolate Norfolk village. Colonel Radl (Duvall), Colonel Stenier (Caine) and Liam Devlin (Sutherland) are enlisted to carry out the operation, which if successful, would irrevocably alter the outcome of the war. Disgui...