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 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.

  • Aces High

    New airforce recruit Peter Firth takes an instant dislike to his embittered squadron leader, Malcolm McDowell. But as the young pilot experiences the tensions and stresses of warfare, his dislike turns to admiration. Jack Gold directs this First World War drama based on R. C. Sherriff's classic p...

  • The Goose Steps Out

    Legendary comic Will Hay plays the inept schoolmaster who's parachuted into Nazi Germany when British intelligence discover that he's the spitting image of an enemy master spy. Hay's third film for Ealing Studios is stuffed with memorable sequences, including the notoriously hilarious classroom s...

  • I Live in Grosvenor Square

    An English lady falls for an American air force sergeant in this romantic WWII drama directed by Herbert Wilcox. In love with army major David Bruce (Rex Harrison), Lady Patricia Fairfax (Anna Neagle) soons finds herself falling for the charms of American flyer John Patterson (Dean Jagger) when h...

  • 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.

  • 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...

  • 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.

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • The Cruel Sea

    Adapted from Nicholas Monsarrat's acclaimed novel, The Cruel Sea follows a Corvette, the Compass Rose, and its crew as they fight German U-Boats in an attempt to protect convoys throughout World War 2. A stark, honest, and emotionally fueled portrayal of wartime, The Cruel Sea is unusual in its f...

  • 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...