The Battle of the Somme
- Tony McKibbin
- 11 December 2008
Originally released in 1916, right in the middle of World War I, this important documentary might not be known to viewers in its entirety, but individual moments will probably be familiar: its images are regularly ransacked for various historical documentaries. Basically showing the lead up to and aftermath of part of a campaign that continued after the film’s release, the film is clearly more optimistic than the reality of the battle itself.
By the end of the four-month campaign that began on July 1 and ended in mid-November, the British suffered 420,000 casualties (according to Encyclopaedia Britannica). Not that the film shies away from showing hardship, as it mixes moments of the soldiers simple day to day actions with the war wounded coming back from the battlefield and needing care, but it obviously lacks critical distance as it serves also as a propaganda piece for the British war effort. Extras include a 36 page booklet.