Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
United Kingdom/USA, 1987. Columbia Pictures Corporation, Nelson Entertainment, Goldcrest Films International, Davros Films. Screenplay by John Boorman. Cinematography by Philippe Rousselot. Produced by John Boorman. Music by Peter Martin. Production Design by Anthony Pratt. Costume Design by Shirley Russell. Film Editing by Ian Crafford. Academy Awards 1987. Golden Globe Awards 1987. Independent Spirit Awards 1987. National Board of Review Awards 1987. New York Film Critics Awards 1987.
Any moment your house could be bombed, and it is happening to your friends; German spies could be hiding in your neighbourhood; your father is off shooting strangers with a gun; there’s dangerously jagged shrapnel everywhere around for you to play with…it’s a kid’s paradise! World War II from the point of view of a nine year-old is pure fun and games in this deliciously good semi-autobiographical film by John Boorman. Little Billy’s mother (Sarah Miles) knows she should send her children to Australia where they will be safer, but can’t part with them after her husband has left her alone while he’s off supporting the war effort. Her eldest, teenaged daughter (Sammi Davis) has found love with, what else, an American soldier (Jean-Marc Barr), while Billy (Sebastian Rice-Edwards) is left to play in the ruins of London with his friends and live completely free of the fear that is plaguing the city’s grown-ups. Boorman’s film has an episodic nature so well edited and scripted that it never feels sloppy, and injects plenty of humour without ever taking away from the sober nature of the film’s setting. Ian Bannen is a stand-out as the family’s blustering grandfather.