Hope and Glory
Hope and Glory poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn Boorman
Written byJohn Boorman
Produced byJohn Boorman
Michael Dryhurst
CinematographyPhilippe Rousselot
Edited byIan Crafford
Music byPeter Martin
Distributed byColumbia-Cannon-Warner Distributors (United Kingdom)
Columbia Pictures (United States)
Release dates
16 October 1987 (New York City)
13 November 1987 (United Kingdom)
19 February 1988 (United States)
Running time
113 minutes
CountriesUnited Kingdom
United States
Budget$9.3 million[1] or £5.56 million[2]
Box office$10 million

Hope and Glory is a 1987 comedy-drama war film, written, produced and directed by John Boorman and based on his own experiences of growing up in London during the Second World War.[3][4] 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[5] family and their experiences 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 13 BAFTA Award nominations, winning for Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Susan Wooldridge).


The film begins on 3 September 1939, the day Britain declared war on Germany. It tells the story of the Rohan family, Billy, his sisters Sue and Dawn and his parents Grace and Clive, who live in a suburb of London. 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 first years of the war. Seen through the eyes of 10-year-old Billy, the "fireworks" provided by the Blitz (September 1940 – May 1941) every night are as exciting as they are terrifying and the ruins they leave behind are a fascinating playground for Billy and other boys his age, who are largely unsupervised.

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, as his older sister Dawn falls for Canadian soldier Bruce, becomes pregnant and finding her life turned upside down, soon discovers the value of her family. When their house burns down (not in an air raid but in an ordinary fire), the family moves to the bucolic Thames-side home of Grace's parents. This provides an opportunity for Billy to spend more time with his curmudgeonly grandfather, who teaches him "the ways of the river".

In the autumn of 1942, Winston Churchill delivers his famous "end of the beginning" speech. Bruce returns from his secret posting and goes AWOL to find Dawn. They are married in the village church; the MPs take him away. That afternoon in the living room, Dawn gives birth to a son, encircled by her family. Billy swoons at the sight. Grace has purchased a house for the family, just down the river, but Billy must go back to London until he can get into the local school. His grandfather drives the miserable boy to his old school, only to find the block filled with screaming, ecstatic children. A stray bomb has destroyed the building, "Thank you Adolf!" one boy cries.

Roaring with laughter, his grandfather drives Billy home. The adult Billy recalls, "In all my life, nothing ever quite matched the perfect joy of that moment. My school lay in ruins, and the river beckoned with the promise of stolen days". The credits roll over the river, in its autumnal glory, to their laughter and the music of "Land of Hope and Glory".


In addition, the director’s daughter, Katrine Boorman, appears as Charity while his son, Charley Boorman, appears as the downed Luftwaffe pilot.

Filming locations

According to TCM host Dave Karger's afterword to an April 2021 broadcast of the film, Boorman re-created the street on which he lived. The million-dollar, 40-acre set was the largest constructed in England since World War II. 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.[6] Filming also took place in Hightown Road, Ringwood, Hampshire. Filming also occurred at Bray Studios in Berkshire.[7]

Archival film

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

Critical response

Hope and Glory received very positive reviews at the time of its release, and was named one of the best films of 1987 by over 50 critics.[8] Only Broadcast News appeared on more top 10 lists in 1987.

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 flip. 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.[9]

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."[10]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 96% "Fresh" rating based on 23 reviews, with an average rating of 8.3/10.[11]

In 1987, Roger Ebert wrote: "Maybe there is something in the very nature of war, in the power of guns and bombs, that appeals to the imagination of little boys. Bombers and fighter planes and rockets and tanks are thrilling at that age when you are old enough to understand how they work but too young to understand what they do. John Boorman's Hope and Glory is a film about that precise season in the life of a young British boy who grows up in a London suburb during World War II. The film is first of all a painstaking re-creation of the period. All of the cars and signs look right, and there are countless small references to wartime rationing, as when the older sister draws seams on her legs to make fake nylons. But after re-creating the period, Boorman also reconstructs the very feeling that was in the air. Hope and Glory is an enormous success right now in England, where every frame must have its special memories for British audiences. Through American eyes, it is a more universal film, not so much about war as about memory. When we are young, what happens is not nearly as important as what we think happens. Perhaps that's true even when we are not so young."[12]

Box office

Goldcrest Films invested £1,288,000 in the film and received £1,665,000 making them a profit of £377,000.[13]

The film made £845,927 in the UK.[2]

Awards and nominations

Award Category Nominee(s) Result
Academy Awards[14] Best Picture John Boorman Nominated
Best Director Nominated
Best Screenplay – Written Directly for the Screen Nominated
Best Art Direction Anthony D. G. Pratt and Joanne Woollard Nominated
Best Cinematography Philippe Rousselot Nominated
Boston Society of Film Critics Awards[15] Best Film Won
British Academy Film Awards[16] Best Film John Boorman Nominated
Best Direction Nominated
Best Actress in a Leading Role Sarah Miles Nominated
Best Actor in a Supporting Role Ian Bannen Nominated
Best Actress in a Supporting Role Susan Wooldridge Won
Best Original Screenplay John Boorman Nominated
Best Cinematography Philippe Rousselot Nominated
Best Costume Design Shirley Ann Russell Nominated
Best Editing Ian Crafford Nominated
Best Make Up Artist Anna Dryhurst Won
Best Original Score Peter Martin Nominated
Best Production Design Anthony D. G. Pratt Nominated
Best Sound Ron Davis, Peter Handford and John Hayward Nominated
British Society of Cinematographers[17] Best Cinematography in a Theatrical Feature Film Philippe Rousselot Won
Evening Standard British Film Awards Best Film John Boorman Won
Best Technical or Artistic Achievement Anthony D. G. Pratt Won
Golden Globe Awards[18] Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Won
Best Director – Motion Picture John Boorman Nominated
Best Screenplay – Motion Picture Nominated
Independent Spirit Awards[19] Best Foreign Film Nominated
London Film Critics' Circle Awards Film of the Year Won
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards[20] Best Film Won
Best Director John Boorman Won
Best Screenplay Won
Best Cinematography Philippe Rousselot Runner-up
Mainichi Film Awards Best Foreign Language Film John Boorman Won
National Board of Review Awards[21] Top Ten Films 8th Place
National Society of Film Critics Awards[22] Best Film 2nd Place
Best Director John Boorman Won
Best Screenplay Won
Best Cinematography Philippe Rousselot Won
New York Film Critics Circle Awards[23] Best Film Runner-up
Best Director John Boorman Nominated
Best Screenplay Nominated
Tokyo International Film Festival Tokyo Grand Prix Nominated
Best Artistic Contribution Award Won
Writers Guild of America Awards[24] Best Screenplay – Written Directly for the Screen Nominated
Young Artist Awards[25] Best Family Motion Picture – Drama Nominated
Best Young Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama Sebastian Rice-Edwards Nominated


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.[26] The film was selected to be screened as part of the Directors' Fortnight section of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.[27] It was released generally in 2015.

See also


  1. ^ CIEPLY, MICHAEL (19 March 1988). "Director Disputes Columbia Claim 'Hope and Glory' Helped Cause Loss". Articles.latimes.com. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Back to the Future: The Fall and Rise of the British Film Industry in the 1980s - An Information Briefing" (PDF). British Film Institute. 2005. p. 24.
  3. ^ Janet Maslin (9 October 1987). "Film Festival; Boorman's Hope and Glory". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 September 2008.
  4. ^ Richard Corliss (19 October 1987). "War Dreams: Hope and Glory". Time. Archived from the original on 8 April 2008. Retrieved 24 September 2008.
  5. ^ Kempley, Rita (30 October 1987). "'Hope and Glory'". Washington Post. Retrieved 23 March 2023.
  6. ^ "Interview with Alan Sutton". Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  7. ^ Howard Maxford (8 November 2019). Hammer Complete: The Films, the Personnel, the Company. McFarland. pp. 70–71. ISBN 978-1-4766-2914-8.
  8. ^ "Film Critics Agree: 1987 Was a Good, Bad Year". Los Angeles Times. 24 January 1988. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  9. ^ Kael, Pauline (1990). Hooked. pp. 367–369. ISBN 0-7145-2903-6.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 December 2017. Retrieved 5 May 2017.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Hope and Glory". Rottentomatoes.com. Retrieved 19 April 2022.
  12. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Hope and Glory movie review & film summary (1987) | Roger Ebert". Rogerebert.com/. Retrieved 28 January 2021.
  13. ^ Eberts, Jake; Illott, Terry (1990). My indecision is final. Faber and Faber. p. 656.
  14. ^ "The 60th Academy Awards (1988) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  15. ^ "BSFC Winners: 1980s". Boston Society of Film Critics. 27 July 2018. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  16. ^ "BAFTA Awards: Film in 1988". BAFTA. 1988. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  17. ^ "Best Cinematography in Feature Film" (PDF). Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  18. ^ "Hope and Glory – Golden Globes". HFPA. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  19. ^ "36 Years of Nominees and Winners" (PDF). Independent Spirit Awards. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  20. ^ "The 13th Annual Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards". Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  21. ^ "1987 Award Winners". National Board of Review. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  22. ^ "Past Awards". National Society of Film Critics. 19 December 2009. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  23. ^ "New York Film Critics Circle: 1987 Awards". Nyfcc.com. Archived from the original on 7 September 2010. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
  24. ^ "Awards Winners". Wga.org. Writers Guild of America. Archived from the original on 5 December 2012. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
  25. ^ "10th Annual Youth In Film Awards". YoungArtistAwards.org. Archived from the original on 16 July 2015. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  26. ^ Justin Kroll (11 September 2012). "John Boorman sets 'Hope and Glory' sequel". Variety. Retrieved 28 October 2012.
  27. ^ "Cannes Directors' Fortnight 2014 lineup unveiled". Screendaily. Retrieved 26 April 2014.