Ethel & Ernest(2016)
Beautiful animation from The Snowman creator Raymond Briggs about the lives of his parents, who met in 1928 and survived World War Two.
This autobiographical animation from Raymond Briggs is a charming and gentle look across his parents’ entire lives, and Britain in the 20th century. The period that really stands out however is Briggs’ formative years, growing up as an evacuee in wartime London and the countryside, a moving perspective of war experienced through the eyes of an ordinary child.Read more
German drama showcasing the experience of two athletes in the lead-up to the Berlin-hosted 1936 Olympics, based on a true story.
In this drama, two athletes thrown into a fraught rivalry discover that they both have identities considered undesirable by Nazi state propaganda. While one suffers openly anti-Semitic discrimination, the other’s fiercely guarded secret is used by the authorities to manipulate them.Read more
This is a classic British war movie with something of a difference - the characters are pigeons.
Taking inspiration from many iconic British war films of the 1960s and 70s, this charming animation tells the story of a plucky carrier pigeon who wants to do his bit to help in the war effort, training to carry vital information for the Allies across the English Channel. A gentle, very funny introduction to history for younger audiences.Read more
The Wind Rises(2013)
A nostalgic ode to the Japanese aeroplane engineer Jiro Hirokoshi who famously designed many of Japan’s fighter planes used in WWI and WWII.
Iconic Japanese filmmaker Hiyao Miyasaki’s hugely personal story is typically full of magic, poetry and spellbinding imagery. A lifelong love of aviation inspires an engineer to develop some vital advancements in fighter aircrafts in this beautiful story that weaves a personal tale with a more tragic and sombre story about the nation’s history.Read more
Fires Were Started(1943)
Groundbreaking film about the day-to-day work of a group of firemen during the London Blitz of World War Two, with all parts played by real firemen.
This fascinating fiction-documentary tells the story of fireman living and working in London at the height of the Blitz. The groundbreaking film helped convey the ordinary heroism that was taking place on the home front in an embattled 1943 Britain.Read more
Bedknobs And Broomsticks(1971)
Family friendly classic mixing knockabout comedy, action and animation for three young evacuees and a kindly witch in the midst of World War Two.
Another delightful, gentle introduction to the era for younger audiences, this a classic and very funny musical about a group of English orphans sent to live with an apprentice witch, who find themselves making an unexpected contribution to the war effort.Read more
Goodnight Mister Tom(1998)
Charming film adaptation of the prize-winning novel about a child refugee's new life in the countryside during WWII.
Gentle drama for young audiences, based on a beloved novel about a shy World War Two evacuee forced to go and live with a disgruntled old man. Gradually over time, the two form a deep and immovable bond.Read more
The Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe(2005)
Classic family adventure tale of four World War Two refugees finding a gateway to a fantasy world in the back of their old wardrobe.
CS Lewis’ enchanting tale comes to life in this epic family adventure full of mysticism and magic. The story of course begins with a family of wartime evacuees sent to live in the countryside after their London suburb is attacked by the German Luftwaffe. The story was inspired by three real evacuees who were sent to live with Lewis himself.Read more
A Matter Of Life And Death(1946)
A gorgeous Technicolor fantasy - in a WWII setting - that puts the emphasis on celebrating life over fearing death.
One of the greatest British films of all time, and a defining story of its era, this visually gorgeous technological extravagance combines romance, comedy and drama in its powerful message of celebrating life over death, something particularly poignant for a country just emerging from the tragedy of six years at war.Read more
The Dam Busters(1955)
British World War Two drama about bomber crews sent to drop the bouncing bombs invented to destroy German dams and cripple industrial production.
One of the true classics of British cinema, this is the story of a group of daredevil British soldiers who devised an ingenious technique to drop bombs onto German dams. Among many other accolades, the film became a big influence on the ending for the original Star Wars.Read more
The Great Escape(1963)
An all-star cast hatches a plan for a mass breakout from a German prisoner of war camp, based on a true story.
Another iconic prisoner of war story (and Bank Holiday staple), about a group of allies planning an audacious escape from a German camp. Based on a true story, the film blends comedy with adventure in an irresistible fashion.Read more
Battle Of Britain(1969)
Stirring war drama about the 1940 German attempt to destroy the Royal Air Force in preparation for an invasion of Britain.
Featuring an all-star cast, this historical re-enactment of the crucial battle for the skies over Britain in the early days of World War Two has long been a staple film of the genre. Amidst all of the patriotism, the film also pays tribute to some of the lesser-acknowledged nations who contributed decisively events.Read more
Empire of the Sun(1987)
This powerful drama sees a child separated from his parents during the 1931 Japanese invasion of China and put in an internment camp for foreigners.
Spielberg’s stirring adaptation of the JG Ballard novel. Starring a young Christian Bale, it tells the story of Jim, a young British boy who finds himself in an “internment camp”, after being separated from his parents when the Japanese invaded China.Read more
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