"In all my life, nothing ever quite matched the perfect joy of that moment. My school lay in ruins; the river beckoned with the promise of stolen days."
- Narrator (John Boorman)
Sight and Sound - 09/01/1987
"...What makes HOPE AND GLORY singular, if not quite unique, is its tone....It has a lightness of touch throughout and at times a wholly infectious gaiety..."
New York Times - 10/09/1987
"...Radiant....An invitingly nostalgic spirit and a fine eye for the magical details..."
Variety - 07/15/1987
"...Physically, [the] film is outstanding, as lensing, production design and costumes are all aces..."
Film Comment - 11/01/1987
"...The given of this autobiographical film is certainly novel and refreshing..."
Los Angeles Times - 10/30/1987
"...Brilliantly evocative and warmly comic..."
Based upon director John Boorman's experiences as a young boy during World War II, HOPE AND GLORY stars Sebastian Rice-Edwards as Bill Rowen. Seen mostly from the nine-year-old boy's perspective, the film is uniquely astute in exploring the exhilarating effect that the bombing of his London suburb and the war's general tumult has on a young boy, at least temporarily. After bombing raids, Bill and his mates scavenge through the rubble of destroyed buildings, carrying off still-smoking shrapnel as booty. When the boy's school is leveled by the bombing, putting the local kids on permanent vacation, the Luftwaffe pilot is hero for a day. For Bill's harried mother, Grace (Sarah Miles), the war is less amusing. Not only is her husband away fighting, but the war's disorder has made her children more difficult to control, especially her teenage daughter, Sue (Geraldine Muir), whose burgeoning sexuality makes Grace nervous about arriving Canadian troops. Then one day, while the Rowens are out, their house is demolished by a bomb, and Bill begins to see the war a little differently. Boorman's superb re-creation of the London blitz is likely the best account of that experience on film. Through the accretion of a myriad of brilliantly observed details, he immerses the viewer in the reality of wartime London yet gives due weight to the subjective nature of that experience for each of the family members in a film that's flawlessly executed by all hands.
Writer-director John Boorman's memories of his wartime childhood are the basis for this story of an ordinary family living in a very extraordinary time. Seen through the eyes of a young boy, the horror and the absurdity of World War II seem like a glorious adventure until the harsh reality of violence and destruction sets in.
Theatrical Release |
World War II
Shot on location in Surrey, Sussex, Middlesex, England.