7.1/10
2,485
68 user 25 critic

Oh! What a Lovely War (1969)

The working-class Smiths change their initially sunny views on World War I after the three boys of the family witness the harsh reality of trench warfare.

Writers:

Charles Chilton (based on Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop Production by, and the members of the original cast), Ted Allan (after a stage treatment by)
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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 7 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Wendy Allnutt ... Florence Victoria 'Flo' Smith
Colin Farrell Colin Farrell ... Harry Arnold Smith
Malcolm McFee Malcolm McFee ... Frederick Percy 'Freddie' Smith
John Rae John Rae ... Grandpa Smith
Corin Redgrave ... Bertram Biddle 'Bertie' Smith
Maurice Roëves ... George Patrick Michael Smith
Paul Shelley ... Jack Henry Smith
Kim Smith Kim Smith ... Richard 'Dickie' Smith
Angela Thorne ... Elizabeth May 'Betty' Smith
Mary Wimbush ... Mary Emma Smith
Vincent Ball Vincent Ball ... Australian Soldier
Pia Colombo Pia Colombo ... Estaminet Singer
Paul Daneman Paul Daneman ... Czar Nicholas II
Isabel Dean ... Sir John French's Lady
Christian Doermer ... Fritz
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Storyline

A movie about World War I based on a stage musical of the same name, portraying the "Game of War", and focusing mainly on the members of the Smith family who go off to war. Much of the action in the movie revolves around the words of the marching songs of the soldiers, and many scenes portray some of the more famous (and infamous) incidents of the war, including the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, the Christmas meeting between British and German soldiers in no-man's-land, and the wiping out by their own side of a force of Irish soldiers newly arrived at the front, after successfully capturing a ridge that had been contested for some time. Written by Sonya Roberts <sonya_roberts@geocities.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Musical Shot In The Arm ! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Musical | War

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | French | German

Release Date:

3 October 1969 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Aftos o yperohos polemos See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$128,895
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Accord Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At around 54 minutes, a soldier reads a poem to his trench colleagues. The poem is Rupert Brooke's 'The Soldier', published in 1915. Brooke himself was never in the trenches; he died in 1915, on his way to Gallipoli, before he even saw action, which is probably why he was able to romanticise the sacrifice of his life for his country. See more »

Goofs

During the song "Bombed Last Night" in the trench that had just undergone a gassing disaster, when the sergeant is doing his dance, he is just turning clockwise on 'no more of us'. However, in the next frame, he is suddenly facing the absolute opposite way with no time in between shots for him to have turned around that quickly. See more »

Quotes

Soldier Singer: It was Christmas Day in the cookhouse, the happiest time of the year, Men's hearts were full of gladness and their bellies full of beer, When up popped Private Shorthouse, his face as bold as brass, He said We don't want your Christmas pudding, you can stick it up your... tidings of co-omfort and joy, comfort and joy, o-oh ti-idings of co-omfort and joy. It was Christmas Day in the harem, the eunuchs were standing 'round, And hundreds of beautiful women were stretched out on the ground, Along ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: The principal statements made by the historical characters in this film are based on documentary evidence and the words of the songs are those sung by the troops during the First World War See more »

Connections

Featured in The 100 Greatest War Films (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Gassed Last Night
(uncredited)
Traditional
Arranged by Charles Chilton
Performed by chorus
See more »

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User Reviews

 
To the millions who died thinking they were making this a better world...
1 November 2006 | by patrick.hunterSee all my reviews

So many of us in the United States are clueless about the significance of the red poppy which recurs so often in the movie. First of all, it is not an opium poppy. It is a symbol for peace. John McCrae, one of the great poets who were killed in World War I, wrote in the following in his anti-war poem "In Flanders Fields":

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row by row,. . .

If yea break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields

Anyway, shortly after WWI, in the early nineteen-twenties, the red poppy became the symbol of remembering and honoring the heroic dead. The day for remembrance became November 11, the date World War One ended. These days, I fear, most people in the United States think of November 11 not as "Remembrance Day" or "Armistice Day" but more as just Veteren's Day. It rarely even falls on November 11, and, when it does, most Americans view it simply as time off work.

As critic Roger Ebert once said, OH! WHAT A LOVELY WAR really isn't a movie at all, but a theatrical tableau. Like many a British muscial review, it contains little plot, much spirited music, and--in this case--the story of World War I. Some portions, as even director Richard Attenborough admitted, go on too long; however, so many other portions are just brilliant. Like other Attenborough movies, one hates to dislike it because its subject matter is so worthwhile and commands respect (will anyone do a remembrance film honoring the fallen dead of the present Iraqui conflict?) I know I gave it an 8, but I must say I don't quite know how to rate a movie like this one. There's nothing else in cinema like it.


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