About the film
A documentary about World War I with never-before-seen footage to commemorate the centennial of the end of the war.
Warner Bros. and Roadshow Films are thrilled to be bringing this very special film to cinemas on Armistice Day, Sunday 11 November, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the war.
The director's new documentary, "They Shall Not Grow Old," brings to life World War I on the big screen like never before.
Peter Jackson is beloved by moviegoers for bringing J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth to life in “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” trilogies, and the Oscar winner is up to his usual ambitious tricks in his latest project, the World War I documentary “They Shall Not Grow Old.” Jackson utilized modern production techniques to restore and colourize nearly 100 hours of original WWI footage from Britain’s Imperial War Museum.
Employing state-of-the-art technology to transform audio and moving image archive footage more than a century old, Jackson brings to life the people who can best tell this story: the men who were there. Driven by a personal interest in the conflict, Jackson set out to explore the day-to-day experience of its combatants.
Using only the voices of those involved, the film explores the reality of war on the front line: their attitudes to the conflict; how they ate, rested and formed friendships in those moments between battles; as well as their hopes and dreams for the future. Each frame of the film has been hand-colourised by Jackson’s team, transformed with modern post-production techniques, enabling these soldiers to walk and talk among us. Reaching into the mists of time, Jackson has aimed to give these men voices, investigate the hopes and fears of these veterans that survived and were able to tell their stories, and detail the humility and humanity of those who represented a generation forever changed by the destruction of a global war.
The First World War proved to be a landmark in cinema history – the first time that the horrors of war could be caught on camera. Many hours of dramatic footage were filmed on the battlefields, capturing the realities of the conflict in remarkable and unprecedented detail. This footage provided the public at home with astonishing access to the frontline: The Battle of the Somme, a documentary film produced with the cooperation of the War Office, was seen by an estimated 20 million Britons in its first six weeks of release.
“The First World War, for good or for worse, is defined in people’s imaginations by the film that is always used in all the documentaries and it looks bloody awful, for obvious reasons,” Jackson told ITV News. “There were technical limitations and also a hundred years of age – of shrinkage and duplication and starches. I think it’s the best gift I can give at the moment, as well as this movie, to restore footage.”
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ A ‘visual and emotional achievement - a groundbreaking resurrection - that resonates.’ - The Times
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ‘As an act of popular history, it's outstanding.’ - The Guardian
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ‘Enthralling, moving and utterly electrifying.’ - Daily Mail
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ This film ‘brings a modern audience closer to those battlefields, and sacrifice, than perhaps any film before it.’ - The Daily Telegraph