In Which We Serve

  • U
  • Noël Coward, David Lean (1942)
  • UK
  • 109 min
In Which We Serve
Film Review
Reviewed By
5 out of 5

This wartime propaganda film is a thinly disguised take on the maritime exploits of Lord Mountbatten. Co-directed by the debuting David Lean and Noël Coward, it has matured to become a paean to a lost world. Told in flashback, as a group of stranded sailors await rescue after the sinking of their ship, the film is immensely moving, and contains definitive performances from Coward himself (his speech about his ship, the HMS Torrin, is a classic) and Celia Johnson, all chintz, beauty and stoicism in her film debut. Watch out, too, for screen bows from Richard Attenborough, Daniel Massey and an 11-week-old Juliet Mills. A box-office hit in its day, the film was awarded a special Oscar, to Coward for his "outstanding production achievement".

Plot Summary

Second World War drama starring Noël Coward and John Mills. HMS Torrin is lost after being dive-bombed in the Battle of Crete. However, the memories of her surviving crew re-create the inspiring story of the ship, and those who served on board her.

Cast and crew


Captain "D"
Noël Coward
O/S "Shorty" Blake
John Mills
CPO Walter Hardy
Bernard Miles
Alix Kinross
Celia Johnson
Mrs Hardy
Joyce Carey
Freda Lewis
Kay Walsh
Number One
Derek Elphinstone
Frederick Piper
Joey Mackridge
Geoffrey Hibbert
Mr Blake
George Carney
Mrs Blake
Kathleen Harrison
Uncle Fred
Wally Patch
Colonel Lumsden
Walter Fitzgerald
Lavinia Kinross
Ann Stephens
Bobby Kinross
Daniel Massey
Michael Wilding
Maureen Fenwick
Penelope Dudley Ward
Robert Sansom
Philip Friend
James Donald
Engineer commander
Ballard Berkeley
Hubert Gregg
Young stoker
Richard Attenborough


Noël Coward
David Lean

Other Information

Black and White
Theatrical distributor: 
British Lion Film Corp Ltd
Available on video and DVD
Certificate U
Optimum Classics