focus on film

Films taken from our online resource Focus on Film,, which helps young people evaluate film as a means of understanding the past.

  • Video contentDig for Victory

    Dig For Victory

    An appeal to everyone during wartime to ‘Dig for victory’ by cultivating vegetables for the good of the country and their own better health. Context The tide of war was beginning to turn in 1942 in Britain’s favour. However, German […]

  • Video contentThe Battle of the Somme

    The Battle of the Somme: ‘Plum Pudding’ mortar bombs

    This sequence opens with a title commenting on the supply operation to make the attack on the Somme possible. We then see a panning shot of a vast supply dump. This is followed by another title introducing ‘plum pudding’ mortar […]

  • Video contentThe Battle of the Somme

    The Battle of the Somme: Battle Police

    The film clip starts with Tommies making their way across No Man’s Land and into enemy front line trenches. We then see a title explaining that Battle Police are rounding up prisoners and wounded in No Man’s Land. From here […]

  • Video contentThe Battle of the Somme

    The Battle of the Somme: ammunition dumps

    This clip gives us a detailed view of preparations for the attack at the Somme. We see vast ammunition dumps followed by busy scenes of trucks moving shells and other equipment and men busily loading and unloading vehicles. The final […]

  • Video contentThe Battle of the Somme

    The Battle of the Somme: the impact of modern weapons

    The clip starts with some pretty harrowing footage of a German trench devastated by artillery fire. We then see a pet dog killed in action and then more harrowing shots of British and German dead. We then see a burial […]

  • Video contentWomen Making Munitions

    Women Making Munitions

    The film goes straight in to show women using heavy engineering machinery such as belt driven lathes. We see women on the production line assembling shells, which is clearly a complex and quite skilled process. The worker takes great care […]

  • Video contentNational Service

    National Service – Women’s Land Army

    This short clip consists of a romantic scene in which a noble woman runs a horse drawn plough across the field. It is taken from a recruiting film for more women to help in the war effort. Context When the […]

  • Video contentWomen’s Army in France

    Women’s Army in France

    This clip comes from a compilation film of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps in France, 1917-1918. In this segment we see women with their sleeves rolled up maintaining or repairing an engine. They may be a female ambulance crew (possibly […]

  • Video contentWomen Transport Workers

    Women Transport Workers

    The film starts with a tram being driven and conducted by women. The journey continues as the women driver prepares the tram and we then see the women conductor taking tickets on the top deck. Context When the Great War […]

  • Video content'With the North and South Irish At The Front’

    ‘With the North and South Irish At The Front’ Official pictures of the British army in France-Fourth series

    The opening titles tell us we are looking at the Ulster Division, probably from 1915-17. We then see huge numbers of soldiers from that division all posing, smiling and waving for the camera. The titles then show us the Royal […]

  • Video contentLeaders of British Empire Countries in London

    Leaders of British Empire Countries in London

    The film opens with a title explaining what is happening, a gathering of leaders of the Empire to discuss a range of issues. This includes India, Canada, South Africa, Newfoundland and the Irish Free State. British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin […]

  • Video contentLa Rivista Part 2

    ‘La Rivista Imperiale – Primo Annuale Dell’ Impero – Imperial Review – First Anniversary of the Empire – Part 2

    This sequence opens with Mussolini being cheered by huge crowds in a parade through Rome. The action then switches to central Rome and a sombre procession. From this point special effects take place. Footage from the war is played above […]

  • Video contentLa Rivista Part 1

    ‘La Rivista Imperiale – Primo Annuale Dell’ Impero – Imperial Review – First Anniversary of the Empire – Part 1

    Mussolini strides on to the parade ground and an Italian commentary immediately starts up. We see Mussolini awarding campaign medals to soldiers and to the widows of men killed in battle. Most of the clip is accompanied by sombre music […]

  • Video contentIl Cammino part 1

    ‘il Cammino degli eroi der marsch der helden’ – The Way of the Heroes – Part 1

    This clip shows some ingenious machinery as Italian troops rig up some scaffolding to a truck and attach a screen to show a film from a projector mounted on the truck. Local people in Abyssinia then watch Mussolini in a […]

  • Video contentIl Cammino Part 3

    ‘il Cammino degli eroi der marsch der helden’ – The way of the heroes – Part 3

    This clip opens with Italian troops in action and then moves swiftly to show flight crews loading aircraft with bombs. We see Italian troops and African allies using modern artillery to bombard a position and officers observing through field glasses. […]

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