Cinema of WWI

A young film industry just settling into its own home - the cinema - found itself enlisted to record, report and dramatise a war unlike any other.

The films made during and just after World War I have a special directness, untainted as they are by layers of mythologising and cliché built up over the decades. There is a great variety of news, comedy and heartrending drama. A genre unique to this period of film production is the battle reconstruction film: the film equivalent of the stone memorials still to be found in every town and village of the UK.

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The SommeThe Somme

War1927109 minsSilent Location: Hounslow

Dramatic reconstruction of the Somme

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Hedd WynHedd Wyn

War1992115 mins Location: Trawsfynydd

The stirring story of poet Ellis Evans-Hedd Wyn, the Welsh poet posthumously awarded the Eisteddfod chair at Birkenhead in 1917 after failing to return from 1st World War trenches.

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From Trinidad to Serve the EmpireFrom Trinidad to Serve the Empire

Non-Fiction19161 minsSilent Location: London

Colonial recruits from Trinidad meet the Lord Mayor of London during WWI

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Anti-German War CartoonsAnti-German War Cartoons

Trick film19155 mins

Follow the lightning-quick hand of the artist behind a series of comic cartoon sketches poking fun at the enemy during WWI.

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Nurse and MartyrNurse and Martyr

Biopic191511 minsSilent

The moving true story of wartime heroine Nurse Edith Cavell, recreated in the aftermath of her execution.

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Lt Pimple and the Stolen SubmarineLt Pimple and the Stolen Submarine

Comedy191414 mins Location: Twickenham

The intrepid Lieutenant Pimple thwarts foreign enemies in an action-packed wartime spy spoof.

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The Warrior StrainThe Warrior Strain

War192052 minsSilent

Young Lord Billy sniffs out sneaky German marauders in this flag-waving war drama - thrills for British boys, 1919-style.

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E13 AvengedE13 Avenged

Animation & Artists Moving Image19151 mins

Pioneering visual graphics – with added cotton wool – recreate an incendiary WWI incident involving a stricken British submarine.

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A Patriotic OfferA Patriotic Offer

Non-Fiction19141 minsSilent Location: London

An introduction to the wonders of the automobile for curious WWI enlisties.

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Lads of the VillageLads of the Village

Comedy191976 mins

Humour and adventure as the returning heroes of an English village recount their exploits in the Mesopotamian war.

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German Spy PerilGerman Spy Peril

War19147 mins

Inventive WWI propaganda in which a rejected volunteer foils a German plot to blow up Parliament.

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Bully BoyBully Boy

Animation & Artists Moving Image19146 mins

Lightning sketch propaganda stirs outrage about Reims bombing, and features a British bulldog eating the German sausage

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The British in BelgiumThe British in Belgium

School programme and Educational film193011 mins

In Flanders fields - this educational compilation of WWI footage tries to teach the most important lesson of all: never again

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Shower Baths in the TrenchesShower Baths in the Trenches

Non-Fiction19161 mins

A humble scrub is all it takes to get these French troops in a lather.

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Army EconomyArmy Economy

Non-Fiction19161 minsSilent Location: Osterley

Soldiers show off a fine crop of sprouts, grown at the Army Service Corps depot at Osterley Park in Hounslow.

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Blinded Soldiers Playing Push BallBlinded Soldiers Playing Push Ball

Sport19161 mins Location: Catford

This moving scene of wounded WWI fighters in a London park reminds us of the real costs of combat.

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How Kitchener Was BetrayedHow Kitchener Was Betrayed

War192113 minsSilent

Dramatisation of the popular conspiracy theory surrounding the mid-WWI death of Lord Kitchener.

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Preparing the Rations Preparing the Rations

Non-Fiction19141 minsSilent

Ear-to-ear grins prove that an army marches on its stomach in this poignant film of young WWI reservists at a field kitchen far from home.

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Outposts of EmpireOutposts of Empire

Non-Fiction19151 minsSilent

British troops try to coax and cajole their pack animals on to a military supply train, but they're stubborn as mules...

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Chiswick's Gallant GunnerChiswick's Gallant Gunner

Non-Fiction19161 minsSilent Location: Chiswick

Three cheers for Maurice Samuels, as a Chiswick tram driver receives a medal for bravery at the Western Front at Ypres.

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Preston and District Roll of Honour, 10th SeriesPreston and District Roll of Honour, 10th Series

Roll of Honour film19152 mins Location: Preston

Moving record of relatives waving a fond farewell to departing loved ones during WWI.

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Heroes of Neuve ChapelleHeroes of Neuve Chapelle

Non-Fiction19151 minsSilent Location: Shorncliffe Camp

Casualties from the Battle of Neuve Chapelle enjoy their recuperation in Kent.

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Eyes of the Fleet: A Destroyer Flotilla ScoutingEyes of the Fleet: A Destroyer Flotilla Scouting

Non-Fiction19150 minsSilent

A fleeting (sorry) but reassuring glimpse of a flotilla of Royal Navy destroyers on the skyline during WWI.

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The Man Who Came BackThe Man Who Came Back

191414 mins

The son of a wealthy merchant fakes his own death to join up, but his heroic act at the Front is wrongly attributed to his cowardly cousin.

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World War One Troops InspectionWorld War One Troops Inspection

Non-Fiction19151 mins Location: London

Brigades of stretcher-bearers and Cyclist Corps soldiers straighten their spines for parade. But who? And where?

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To Aid the MotherlandTo Aid the Motherland

Non-Fiction19151 mins Location: Salisbury Plain

Poignant scenes capture a moment’s relaxation for a Canadian cavalry unit on Salisbury Plain.

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More Canadians Coming!More Canadians Coming!

Non-Fiction19151 minsSilent

Welcome help from the Empire! And Pathé's newsreel cameraman is on the spot.

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Mr Churchill's DepartureMr Churchill's Departure

Non-Fiction19141 minsSilent Location: London

A handsome steam launch ferries the future PM downriver to the luxury yacht 'Enchantress'.

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Labour's Recruiting AppealLabour's Recruiting Appeal

Non-Fiction19151 mins Location: Trafalgar Square

Stirring scenes in Trafalgar Square as Labour MP Will Thorne rallies recruits for the war effort.

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Gaumont Graphic No. 406Gaumont Graphic No. 406

Non-Fiction19155 minsSilent Location: Buckingham Palace

This intriguing and beautifully-shot newsreel features sea-faring heroes, feisty females and a generous lick of paint for a Mississippi steamship.

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Lord Charles Beresford in FranceLord Charles Beresford in France

Non-Fiction19166 minsSilent

A military legend on location, and some vertiginous thrills from a balloon.

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Sea DreamsSea Dreams

Animation & Artists Moving Image19146 mins

Skilled artist Lancelot Speed brings his cartoons to life to mock the German navy at the start of WWI.

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Comedy19158 mins

The nation's menfolk try anything to avoid being 'called up' in this raucous WWI comedy.

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East Is EastEast Is East

Drama191771 mins

Charming tale of East End lovers divided by a not so lucky windfall, with beautiful scenes in the Kent hop fields.

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Musical192916 mins

Take your seat for an Armistice concert by military bands playing a medley of songs commonly sung during WWI.

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My Old DutchMy Old Dutch

Drama193484 mins

Moving family drama of the life of a working-class Hackney couple over 40 years, inspired by the famous music hall song

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Newsreel War CompilationNewsreel War Compilation

Anthology192517 mins

Graduates of machine gun school mix with the great and the good of WWI in this eclectic mix of newsreel from WWI and after

More Cinema of WWI films in our Rentals collection.