In Which We Serve - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

In Which We Serve Reviews

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½ April 24, 2018
Entertaining WWII propaganda piece that shows the Brits keeping a stiff upper lip as they fight the Germans at sea. Noel Coward wrote and co-directed (with first time director David Lean) this gritty look at the crew of the destroyer H. M. S. Torrin as they ship out, fight numerous battles, and eventually get sunk. The title correctly tells viewers that the film is really about the ship (her birth, life, and death) and the sailors who serve in her do give a large number of speeches about her worthiness. Much of the story is told in flashback, as the first scenes we see are the bombing of the ship and the "abandon ship" decree from Captain D. (played by Coward himself). The cast cling to a lifeboat as the camera shows their faces in turn and cuts to their lives just before shipping out, showing the people whom they love (and for whom they are fighting the war). The action sequences feature real wartime footage and ships, along with studio work. John Mills plays a key role, as does Bernard Miles, and there is a good bit part for Richard Attenborough. Celia Johnson is strong support as Coward's wife. With ANZAC Day tomorrow, it seems important to remember the sacrifices that some made and to hope that they won't be needed again.
November 1, 2017
In Which We Serve opens with a voiceover that tells you it is a story of a ship. It was indeed a story of this battleship that participated in World War II, but when you focus a story on an inanimate object it lacks some heart. They tried to tap into emotion by using flashbacks to introduce us to the crew, but I never connected with any of them. The storytelling was so jumbled and incoherent that I never found myself engaged in any way by the movie. It has the natural benefit of telling the story of soldiers fighting against Nazis, so of course I want to see them succeed and survive. The problem is, there are so many movies that already touch on this same topic that it?s almost become white noise to me and they have to do something truly remarkable to stand out. The majority of the film is also told through flashback, which sucks some of the drama out of it since we know where everything will end. In Which We Serve is not a bad film in any way, it simply isn?t special or unique. I imagine I will completely forget about it in a matter of days.
November 20, 2016
All the normal adjectives people use here are relatively valid. Propaganda, sentimental, etc. But "In Which We Serve" is a really special British wartime film that still retains a lot of power and boldly complex/forward thinking structure. The performances are great, the lighting is sumptuous, and many of Lean's shots already indicate an extraordinary talent.
½ August 21, 2016
A technically detailed WWII propaganda film for the British Navy that surprisingly packs plenty of heart.
December 2, 2015
wow noel coward did everything produced wrote directed did the music & oh yes and starred in,
August 6, 2015
This is THE best British Wartime Movie ever without doubt!
March 16, 2015
A very respectful wartime based drama featuring Noel Coward playing one of the most classy navy captains in cinema history. I've never really been a huge fan warship/submarine based films as they always seem to have such limited scope, but this is still a very well made film with a few famous up and coming young faces added into the mix, a fair share of action, and is still as watchable now as it was all those years ago. The plot is flash-back heavy as it cuts back and forth giving more insight into the men involved as well as their life before their service on board the almost worshipped destroyer Torrin. This is by all accounts is a propaganda piece, but as far as films of that nature go this is one of the very best.
½ December 12, 2014
Starting the Criterion Collection David Lean Directs Noel Coward boxed set, this British propaganda film was a joy to watch. Sir Noel Coward's many contributions were outstanding and it's clear from this beginning that Sir David Lean would be a great director. Lately in trying to understand the brutality of World War II, I have been watching propaganda films from many countries, including Germany, France and the United States, but this is one of the best.
½ November 25, 2014
Too much speechifying war propaganda and "stiff upper lip" for me.
August 31, 2014
Superbly striking and thought provoking film. Navy boat is destroyed and the survivors think about home and who they might be leaving behind. Great cast. Great film.
August 24, 2014
Lots of elements in this film feel a bit cheesy and it's hard to parse through what was original storytelling and what is cliche. Even so the nature of when this was made makes this an interesting watch and there are a number of very memorable moments. Specifically, I love a scene in which a navy man is looking after the army troops they are transporting while being bombed. There is a wonderful moment where all of the army men are flinching but the navy man, Center shot, just looks irritated.
February 19, 2014
Well acted, but I found it a bore and am not sure why it has such a reputation.
Super Reviewer
December 28, 2013
A lot of the film is standard wartime propaganda stuff, however Coward's screenplay still manages to find moments of serious humanity in the central characters.
½ December 6, 2013
One of the greatest films around the theme of war that I've seen.
Super Reviewer
½ November 4, 2013
A call to arms for young men unsure about their participation in the war effort which borders on propaganda but it is nonetheless uplifting enough to rally the troops. An epic within an epic conflict.
August 30, 2013
I'm only keen on war films when they concentrate more on the home front. I did not enjoy the battle scenes, which I found boring, but the domestic scenes kept my attention.
August 5, 2013
I do not like war films, here is a rare exception. The teaming of Noel Coward and David Lean is inspired; together they craft an entertaining war picture that doesn't bore (too often) and that actually had me crying a few times. A shame Celia Johnson isn't given more to do, though this film is about "the boys."
Super Reviewer
½ June 13, 2013
Fun fact: In Which we Serve used condoms as bullets.
This war film directed by David Lean and partner Noel Coward had a lot of cool moments and ideas. If you watch this I'd recommend the Criterion edition as it holds some enlightening interviews. This isn't a great eerie war film and is a bit dated. This patriotic effort would probably be a joy for me if I was a Brit, but I don't have that kind of enthusiasm of British patriotism. This film uses the 40s cliche of flashbacks, but it makes the movie better than it'd would be. I'm didn't like Noel Coward as a ship captain as he didn't feel serious or strict enough. I suggest this if one is looking for a spirited war movie.
May 2, 2013
Wartime experiences of British men during early days of WWII--A "worthy" piece of propaganda perhaps but still suffers from the weakness of that genre!!
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