They shall not grow old

Not what I was expecting, positively so. Was waiting for the narrator to chime in. So very pleasantly surprised that the film is sans narrator, only the eyewitness accounts give the story of war. The film is blessedly free of the sapient sounds of experts and academic historians. My first reaction to the colourization was that we are now in a fictional film. So is the mind set to view history in B&W.

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An emotionally rich documentary that wows both as a technical achievement and an unforgettable portrait of a terrible period of 20th century history.

Technology has allowed Jackson to erase the barriers of time and speak to a new generation about what war does to youth.
Rolling Stone

Using state-of-the-art technology and materials from the BBC and Imperial War Museum, filmmaker Peter Jackson allows the story of World War I to be told by the men who were there. Life on the front is explored through the voices of the soldiers, who discuss their feelings about the conflict, the food they ate, the friends they made and their dreams of the future.

This is really quite a gruesome film. A very realistic account of war and how it affects those involved. Especially poignant the experiences after the war, coming home. I now have a much better understanding of the importance of a VFW or RSA venue and the opportunities for camaraderie.


Peter Jackson was asked several years ago by the Imperial War Museums to do something entirely new with their vast archives of footage of First World War soldiers and soldiering in order to celebrate, or at least eulogize, the centennial of the Armistice. Almost no film exists of actual battles, the hand-cranked cinematic equipment of the era being too difficult to move into combat, but there is much footage of trenches and encampments and daily life.

Jackson decided, wisely, to make the film entirely from the old footage coupled with firsthand audio testimony from survivors – recorded over the years, for the most part, in countless BBC memorial broadcasts. The vocal witnessing, beautifully vivid, is straightforward.

NZ 2018, 99 min, rated R16 (graphic content may disturb)
Directed by Peter Jackson
Narrated and voiced by survivors

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