The Way Ahead (The Immortal Battalion) (1945) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Way Ahead (The Immortal Battalion) (1945)




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Movie Info

The Immortal Battalion has a bit of a convoluted history. It started life as a training film, The New Lot, which ran 44 minutes. When Winston Churchill approached David Niven about creating a film that would do for the British Army what In Which We Serve had done for the Royal Navy, he contacted Carol Reed and suggested expanding The New Lot. The result, written by Eric Ambler and Peter Ustinov, was the acclaimed The Way Ahead. For its U.S. release, Way Ahead was edited to a shorter length and retitled The Immortal Battalion. In either of its feature length forms, the film is concerned with the training of a bunch of raw recruits into a capable and efficient fighting regiment. Niven stars as Jim Perry, a lieutenant and former ordinary guy who finds that he must learn to take a tough line in order to make his wildly diverse crew come together and understand the importance both of the war and of their place in it. Although it takes time and constant effort on the part of Perry and his sergeant, the eight men eventually overcome their different backgrounds and feelings, and transform themselves into a unit which performs its tasks with admirable skill and dexterity, preparing them for their battle against the Desert Fox in Africa. Told in a semi-documentary style, Battalion also features the screen debut of Trevor Howard. ~ Craig Butler, Rovimore
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Eric Ambler
In Theaters:
VCI Entertainment - Official Site


David Niven
as Lieutenant Jim Perry
Raymond Huntley
as Davenport
William Hartnell
as Sergeant Fletcher
Leo Genn
as Company Commander
Leslie Dwyer
as Side Beck
Hugh Burden
as Parsons
Jimmy Hanley
as Stainer
Alf Goddard
as Instructor
Mary Jerrold
as Mrs. Gillingham
Raymond Lovell
as Garage Proprietor
A.E. Matthews
as Col. Walmsley
Reginald Tate
as Commanding Officer
Jack Watling
as Marjorie's Boy Frien...
George Merritt
as Sgt. Maj.
Renée Ashershon
as Marjorie Gillingham
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for The Way Ahead (The Immortal Battalion)

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (3)

Direction by Carol Reed is competent, and undoubtedly accounts for the underlying genuineness of the picture as a semi-documentary.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

A warm and touching tribute to the British Army infantryman.

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Despite a framework which stresses regimental traditions and military valour, the film's celebration of the ordinary man as soldier leaves a residue of radicalism.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Bracing, spirited and lovely.

Full Review… | February 25, 2013
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Carol Reed directed this 1944 war film from a script by Eric Ambler and Peter Ustinov.

Full Review… | July 26, 2012
Movie Metropolis

A rousing flag-waving war drama about the British Army, that was shot during the war and grew out of being a training film.

Full Review… | August 10, 2011
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Way Ahead (The Immortal Battalion)


Excellent performance by David Niven. The movie kept my interest. I've seen it all before--the ragtag bunch of draftees becomes a top flight fighting unit. It's good, but I doubt I'll watch it again. This was made during WWII so that gives it a slightly different edge.

Morris Nelms

Super Reviewer


An interesting film about the war shot during the war but only for those really into the subject since it is pretty weak compared to some hidden little gems of WWII desert warfare movies.

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