Learning Curve, The Great War
Close    Print
Useful notes: Source7
Extract from the British film 'The Battle of the Somme', produced in 1916
(Courtesy of the Imperial War Museum: 191/1-5)
  • 'The Battle of the Somme' was released in 1916. The government did not produce it, but they did approve it.
  • The film was deeply controversial because the battle scenes were so shocking. Many observers felt it was too graphic.
  • On the other hand, it appears that people appreciated the reality of the film-making. They preferred a film like 'The Battle of the Somme' because it didn't try to pretend that war was easy or fun. People probably already had a good idea of what trench warfare was like from local newspapers and from talking to soldiers on leave.
  • The final section of this film clip, showing soldiers cheerfully going off to further glories, seems unlikely. However, reports from the time do suggest that morale in the British army was strong, even at the end of the Battle of the Somme. There were certainly no mutinies or other forms of revolt.
  • 'The Battle of the Somme' showed in almost every cinema in Britain and reached an estimated audience of 20 million.
Top of page    Close    Print