This classic WWI film stars Malcolm McDowell, Christopher Plummer and Simon Ward and is Jack Gold’s big screen adaptation of the story of a naive young officer arriving straight from school to fight the air war against the Germans. Moving the setting of the play from trenches to the Flying Corps in France during 1916, Jack Gold focuses on the young British airmen of 76 Squadron. Croft (Firth), a public school boy turned RFC officer, arrives in France to take over as Second Lieutenant of a British detachment. He has deliberately manoeuvred his way into this particular position in order to be with Gresham (McDowell), an old boy from his school who has becoming something of a flying ace. But he isn’t prepared for what he finds – Gresham is an alcoholic cynic whose brilliance in the air is at least partly due to drunken bravado. The other officers don’t inspire a great deal of confidence either. Crawford (Ward) is a terrified coward who has faked illness in order to avoid combat and Sinclair (Plummer) is an avuncular veteran who tries to make the place as much like home as possible. Over the course of a few days, Croft is introduced into various facts of life; sex, drink, horror and the hell of 20th Century warfare.
Based on R. C. Sheriff’s 1929 London and Broadway stageplay, Journey’s End