Oh! What a Lovely War

Oh! What a Lovely War

Richard Attenborough (1969)

PG Certificate


Our Score
Based on Joan Littlewood's stage production, this stylised, satirical and ultimately moving tribute to the soldiers who answered their country's call and fought in the Great War was Richard Attenborough's first film as a director. An all-star cast performs the original's jingoistic music hall songs, which Attenborough cleverly stages in Brighton's Royal Pavilion and on the old West Pier. While there was animosity behind the scenes - Len Deighton refused screen credit as the film's writer - this remains a distinctive piece of work and by far the most audacious film Attenborough has ever made. It also tapped into the post-Sergeant Pepper style that was all the rage in the late 1960s.


First World War musical, comprising a series of satirical sketches highlighting the futility of conflict from the perspective of the ordinary soldiers - many from the same family - and covering famous historical moments, including the Christmas truce. Richard Attenborough's directorial debut, starring Ralph Richardson, Laurence Olivier, John Mills and John Gielgud.

Cast & Crew

Stephen Dirk Bogarde
Lady Haig Phyllis Calvert
French Colonel Jean-Pierre Cassel
General Von Molke John Clements
Count Berchtold John Gielgud
Emperor Franz Joseph Jack Hawkins
Kaiser Wilhelm II Kenneth More
Field Marshal Sir John French Laurence Olivier
General Sir Henry Wilson Michael Redgrave
Sylvia Pankhurst Vanessa Redgrave
Sir Edward Grey Ralph Richardson
Music hall star Maggie Smith
Eleanor Susannah York
Sir Douglas Haig John Mills
President Poincaré Ian Holm
Tsar Nicholas II Paul Daneman
Photographer Joe Melia
Mary Smith Mary Wimbush
Flo Smith Wendy Allnutt
Bertie Smith Corin Redgrave
George Smith Maurice Roëves
Betty Smith Angela Thorne
Harry Arnold Smith Colin Farrell (1)
Frederick Percy "Freddie" Smith Malcolm McFee
Jack Henry Smith Paul Shelley
Nurse Juliet Mills
Nurse Nanette Newman
Aide to Field-Marshal Haig Edward Fox
Director Richard Attenborough
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Paramount Film Service LtdAvailable on: video and DVD