Hope and Glory
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn Boorman
Written byJohn Boorman
Produced byJohn Boorman
Michael Dryhurst
CinematographyPhilippe Rousselot
Edited byIan Crafford
Music byPeter Martin
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
13 November 1987
Running time
113 minutes
CountriesUnited Kingdom
United States
Budget$9.3 million[1]
Box office$10 million

Hope and Glory is a 1987 British-American comedy-drama-war film, written, produced and directed by John Boorman and based on his own experiences of growing up in the Blitz in London during the Second World War.[2][3] The title is derived from the traditional British patriotic song "Land of Hope and Glory". The film was distributed by Columbia Pictures. The film tells the story of the Rohan family and their experiences of the Blitz as seen through the eyes of the son, Billy (Sebastian Rice-Edwards).

Hope and Glory was a critical and commercial success; it won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy and received five Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. It also received thirteen BAFTA Award nominations, winning for Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Susan Wooldridge).


Beginning just before the start of the Second World War, the film tells the story of the Rohan family: Billy, his sisters Sue and Dawn, and his parents Grace and Clive, living in a suburb of London. After the war starts, Clive joins the army, leaving Grace alone to watch over the children. She almost sends Billy and Susie away from London, but pulls them back at the last second on the train platform when she realizes she cannot bear to be apart from them. Thus Billy stays in London for the rest of the war.

Seen through the eyes of 10-year-old Billy, the "fireworks" provided by the Blitz every night are as exciting as they are terrifying. His family does not see things in quite the same way as the bombs continue to drop, but their will to survive brings them closer together. The nightly raids do not provide the only drama, however, as his older sister, Dawn, falls for a Canadian soldier, becomes pregnant and, finding her life turned upside down, soon discovers the value of her family. The family eventually moves to the Thames-side home of Grace's parents when their house burns down (not in an air raid, but in an ordinary fire). This provides an opportunity for Billy to spend more time with his curmudgeonly grandfather.


Filming locations

The main film set was built on the disused runway at the former Wisley Airfield in Surrey and other scenes by the river were shot near Shepperton Lock.[4]filming also took place in Hightown Road, Ringwood.Hampshire.

Archival film

The "newsreel" footage shown in the local cinema contains scenes from the 1969 film Battle of Britain.

Critical response

The film was favourably reviewed by critic Pauline Kael in her film reviews collection Hooked:

It's hard to believe that a great comedy could be made of the Blitz but John Boorman has done it. In his new, autobiographical film, he has had the inspiration to desentimentalize wartime Britain and show us the Second World War the way he saw it as an eight-year-old. The war frees the Rohans from the dismal monotony of their pinched white-collar lives. He doesn't deny the war its terrors. Yet he gives everything a comic fillip. That's the joy of the film: the war has its horrors, but it also destroys much of what the genteel poor like Grace Rohan (Sarah Miles), have barely been able to acknowledge they wanted destroyed. It's like a plainspoken, English variant of the Taviani brothers' The Night of the Shooting Stars.[5]

American critic Emanuel Levy's review was also positive; he wrote: "Director John Boorman offers a warmly nostalgic view of his childhood in a London suburb during WWII."[6]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 95% "Fresh" rating based on 19 reviews, with an average rating of 8.3/10.[7]

Box Office

Goldcrest Films invested £1,288,000 in the film and received £1,665,000 making them a profit of £377,000.[8]

Awards and nominations

Academy Awards

Golden Globe Awards

British Academy Film Awards

Hope and Glory also won the Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Film, the Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Film, the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Director and was named one of the year's Top Ten Films by the National Board of Review.


A sequel to the film, titled Queen and Country, was made in 2014. The film tells the story of an older Bill Rohan as a soldier during the Korean War.[9] The film was selected to be screened as part of the Directors' Fortnight section of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.[10] It was released generally in 2015.


  1. ^ CIEPLY, MICHAEL (19 March 1988). "Director Disputes Columbia Claim 'Hope and Glory' Helped Cause Loss". Retrieved 17 April 2017 – via LA Times.
  2. ^ Janet Maslin (9 October 1987). "Film Festival; Boorman's Hope and Glory". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 September 2008.
  3. ^ Richard Corliss (19 October 1987). "War Dreams: Hope and Glory". Time. Retrieved 24 September 2008.
  4. ^ "Interview with Alan Sutton". Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2017. ((cite web)): Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  5. ^ Kael, Pauline. Hooked. pp. 367–369. ISBN 0-7145-2903-6.
  6. ^ http://emanuellevy.com/article.php?articleID=10778
  7. ^ [1]. "Hope and Glory (1987): Rotten Tomatoes". Retrieved 5th May 2017.
  8. ^ Eberts, Jake; Illott, Terry (1990). My indecision is final. Faber and Faber. p. 656.
  9. ^ Justin Kroll (11 September 2012). "John Boorman sets 'Hope and Glory' sequel". Variety. Retrieved 28 October 2012.
  10. ^ "Cannes Directors' Fortnight 2014 lineup unveiled". Screendaily. Retrieved 26 April 2014.