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77 of 77 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Propaganda and realism
A story of the tough days of the Second World War (when Britain stood alone and kept losing up to the time of approaching victory in the Western Desert, despite losses in the Far East) made just before the Allied landings in Normandy. A 'keep the spirits up and victory will be ours' effort which has the massive advantage of great screenwriting (Ambler and Ustinov) and...
Published on 8 Jan 2003 by rob heath

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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The way we were
A splendid evocation of my father's generation.Ordinary men who accepted the discipline and uniformity of army life, obeyed orders and did their duty, while retaining their diversity and individualism. The truth is that the second world war was won by shop boys, car mechanics, clerks, bolier men, Oxford graduates,choral scholars teachers and park keepers, who, through the...
Published on 3 May 2006 by London reader


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77 of 77 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Propaganda and realism, 8 Jan 2003
This review is from: The Way Ahead [DVD] (DVD)
A story of the tough days of the Second World War (when Britain stood alone and kept losing up to the time of approaching victory in the Western Desert, despite losses in the Far East) made just before the Allied landings in Normandy. A 'keep the spirits up and victory will be ours' effort which has the massive advantage of great screenwriting (Ambler and Ustinov) and acting (Niven, Ustinov, Holloway et al and the wonderfully pompous Raymond Huntley). Excellent characterizations of, largely, moaning new soldiers being knocked into shape by Sergeant Hartnell as they become a force to take on Jerry. The last scene as the platoon advance into enemy fire is one to inspire and terrify: the ordinary British Tommy could win but there would be a cost; terrible but worth bearing. Bloody marvellous stuff. Literally.
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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The way we were, 3 May 2006
This review is from: The Way Ahead [DVD] (DVD)
A splendid evocation of my father's generation.Ordinary men who accepted the discipline and uniformity of army life, obeyed orders and did their duty, while retaining their diversity and individualism. The truth is that the second world war was won by shop boys, car mechanics, clerks, bolier men, Oxford graduates,choral scholars teachers and park keepers, who, through the regimental system were moulded into infantrymen. The final scene as the diverse characters advance into the enemy fire, united in a common beleif in King, Country and regiment, yet still individuals, is one of the most moving in Brtiish cinema.
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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An understated classic, 30 July 2002
By 
Anthony Porter (Huddersfield, WEst Yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Way Ahead [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This is one of those rarely seen films that is a joy to behold.
From the director that made 'The Third Man' we have an often told tale of how a disparate group of recruits into the army are gradually molded together to become a team.
The Difference here though, as with all Brithish films of this period is the characterisation, everyone you meet in the film has one, and you learn about them, and in a way grow with them.
From their first meeting in the Army base to the closing scene as they unflinchingly advance on the rarely seen enemy this film is full of character and low key drama. It is a tribute to the common infantry man of WW2 and the bonds of friendship they formed.
If you are fans of WW2 films or Classic British films in general then watch this film it will not dissapoint.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good Black & White WW2 film, 31 Jan 2007
This review is from: The Way Ahead [DVD] (DVD)
This movie follows the call up and training of various men, called up to fight in WW2.

It's interesting to see the men from different backgrounds, (the important business man, the travel agent and the labourer) all get lumbered into the same boat.

The men are portrayed well, not heroes nor idiots, just ordinary men.

They grumble and complain about how they are being treated unfairly, being shouted at and made to do pointless exercises. As the film goes on, you see the men bond before being shipped off to combat, this too is well done with the combat scenes being so understated as to be believable.

This film was used at Sandhurst for many years to help train new officers.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic, 11 July 2007
By 
ray dorrity "ray dorrity" (New Forest, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Way Ahead [DVD] (DVD)
This movie shows what can be done when talents such as Ustinov and Ambler are told to make an Army training film and they then managed to come up with a classic like this.
It's the story of a diverse bunch of Brits grumbling their way through basic training, being put through their paces by David Niven and William Hartnell (who played the first Dr. Who) with the ultimate result in the end of being turned into a first rate fighting unit.
My favourite scene is the one just before the War starts, when David Niven as a T.A. private (that's a National Guardsman in "cousin-speak"), is being instructed in the use of a 1916 Lewis Gun by means of a large picture - The real thing would not have been available, and then being turned out of the training hall by a Dance Band arriving!
I like nmollo's comments above about not having seen a Brit war film where we are not portrayed as "crazy and eccentric".
Well apart from Los Angeles, UK probably has had more crazy and eccentric people than any other place on earth. Why else would we have put up with the weather when we could have emmigrated to Australia, New Zealand, Canada or even the USA?
Great film. Worth watching over and over again.
Buy and enjoy
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crazy or Eccentric!, 23 Mar 2006
By 
nmollo (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Way Ahead [DVD] (DVD)
“The Way Ahead” is a wonderful addition to the History of film. I am sure the Director took the material given to him and changed it beyond recognition. What would normally have been a run of the mill propaganda film has in the hands of Lewis Carol become a touching and poinenint reminder of World War Two.
The acting is first class. David Niven adds the hollywood dash and they’re off to war. Surprisingly few people die in this war that Lewis Carol is shooting yet he has obviously been given command of most of the British Army stationed in England. As the tanks, armoured cars and men featured are the real deal. The cast are, of course, professional seasoned actors. Quite old some of them.
The script co written with Peter Ustinoff is intelligent and you do find yourself caring for these drafted men. The final advance is haunting.
The battle scene is impressive in it recreation and at points reminded me of the first reel of “Saving Private Ryan”. Which only goes to prove that Directors have been shooting great Battle scenes for almost a century.
The “Way Ahead” is a good war film yet it has not dispelled a lingering and nagging thought. I have yet to see a war film where the British don’t come across as crazy and eccentric.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Greatest, 25 Jan 2008
By 
Denis Smith (Norfolk, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Way Ahead [DVD] (DVD)
This is one of the most affecting films I have ever seen, and makes me wonder how I could have passed so many years of life and never seen it before. It's difficult to pin down why it is so good - after all, to simply describe the bare bones of the plot would not make it sound anything special - but I think the sheer quality of the script is probably the most important thing. That is not, however, the only good thing about it: the direction, acting, and even the special effects are all exceptionally good. Above all, every character in the story is so realistic, and interesting to the viewer. As for David Niven's performance, that is close to perfection. If I had to mention just one specific scene from the film, I think it would be that unforgettable moment when, in a run-down bar, somewhere in the Western Sahara, the men start singing 'Lily of Laguna'. That must surely be one of the most memorable scenes ever put on celluloid. If that scene doesn't move you, nothing will. If, like me until a few weeks ago, you have never seen this film, buy it now, and experience a beautiful piece of cinematic history, made in England during the dark days of World War II.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic propaganda, 26 Jun 2008
By 
Mr. T. P. Kingston "Mr TPKingston" (South Bedfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Way Ahead [DVD] (DVD)
Great film. One can only imagine the frame of mind of those originally watching it during the war. Brilliantly avoids the trap of portraying characters as heroes, they're just normal flawed fellows... who you don't necessarily like, until they're the tight knit fighting unit we see at the end. Isn't propaganda clever?
David Niven is fantastic - a role model for every Englishman.
The rest of the cast are exceptional too. The last shots, soldiers advancing bravely through the smoke, was surely lifted for the opening credits of Dad's Army years later - and both featured the brilliant John Laurie.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars an other IIworld war film, 24 May 2010
By 
Carlo Scarafiotti (Torino, Italy) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Way Ahead [DVD] (DVD)
I like such films that remind me of my young age at that time: of course there is a large contribution to that period orpoaganda (but this is a valid documentation about that time, too). I liked the Brits praparing with courage to meet their challenge, and David Niven was a good witty player in many an occasion. I keep these films hoping to show to my kids what was the atmosphere of those years - but I doubt they will thoroughly appreciate it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very watchable, 18 May 2010
By 
S. Penny - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Way Ahead [DVD] (DVD)
"The Way Ahead"

David Niven stars as the young officer, with William Hartnell as his Sergeant, they are tasked with training a group of reluctant recruits from typically diverse backgrounds and melding them into a fighting unit. The regiment is fictitious of course, but the young officer's pride in it is quite typical for the Army. Having decided that the young officer and his 'tyrant sergeant' aren't so bad after all, they find themselves headed out to fight Rommel's Army in North Africa. Intended as a morale booster film during WWII the theme is necessarily upbeat, though not as gung-ho as American films of the period in fact they get positively homesick listening to the radio from home, so what's the best cure? A good old British sing-song. For those interested in training and attitudes of the day this is a good film to watch.
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