The World at War is the benchmark to which all documentary programmes should be measured. Completed in the 70s with the benefit of Imperial War Museum sources, the series is vast offering detailed accounts of all facets of the Second World War. Despite its enormity, the World at War breaks the narrative down into a series of accessible episodes detailing the effects of the conflict across the globe.
Alongside the Great War, the World at War is one of the most impressive feats of historical programming available. Its haunting score, excellent narration and, above all, scale and depth set it apart from any more modern attempts to chart the war. By blending a wealth of footage with a variety of first hand accounts, the series provides a near comprehensive account of the events upto and during the war.
For anyone with an interest in Twentieth Century history, The World at War is essential viewing. Unless there's a warehouse's worth of new material available, it will be exceptionally difficult for anyone to come close to matching its coverage; even if the impetus was there to undertake such an immense project. We're lucky that thirty years ago producers were prepared to invest such effort into historical programming and whilst there are many good documentaries, The World at War is perhaps the finest achievement in this field.