The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

Synopsis: Portrays in warm-hearted detail the life and loves of one extraordinary man. We meet the imposingly rotund General Clive Wynne-Candy, a blustering old duffer who seems the epitome of stuffy, outmoded values. Traveling backwards 40 years we see a different man altogether: the young and dashing officer "Sugar" Candy. Through a series of relationships with three women and his lifelong friendship with a German officer, we see Candy's life unfold and come to understand how difficult it is for him to adapt his sense of military honor to modern notions of "total war."
Genre: Drama, Romance, War
Production: Archers
  1 win & 2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
163 min

Goddard's just arrived, Spud.

What's the ruddy idea?

It's total war, isn't it? What do you want?

- Message from HQ. Where's the CO?

- In the barn. Follow me.

Message from headquarters, sir.

- Sergeant Hawkins?

- Sir.

- Read it.

- Sir.

It's in code, sir. Message begins:

"Exercise invasion of the London area

by Regular Army.

Home Guard defending.

War starts at midnight."

Message ends.

The CO's put in pencil here, sir,

"Make it like the real thing."

Oh, he has, has he?

Section commanders.


Message from HQ. War starts at midnight.

You have your orders. Tell the men.

- Tell them to make it like the real thing.

- What do you mean by the real thing?

Divide our losses by 1 0

and multiply the enemy's by 20.

- Yes, sir.

- That's all for now.

- Anything for me, sir?

- No, no, nothing else.

War starts at midnight. We know...

- They know...

- We attack...

They counterattack.

Like the real thing, my Aunt Fanny!

Like the real thing...

Like the real thing!

Sergeant Hawkins, section commanders!

So, war starts at midnight, does it?

- Sir.

- We attack at six.

Take the Tommy guns and three trucks.

Section leaders with Tommy guns.

Arm the men with bombs, rifles, bayonets.

- Tommy.

- Sir.

From your section - Rice, Unsworth,

the two Owens,

- Nobby, Toots and Cochran.

- Not Cochran.

Stuffy, who are the biggest toughs in your lot?

- Bill Wall, Wimpey, Popeye.

- Right. Yours, Robin?

- Frank, Skeets, Duggie Stuart, sir.

- Taffy, Geordie, sir.

Busty, Simms and Pat Sullivan, sir.

Dai Evans - we must have him, look you.

All right, get going.

Excuse me, sir?

Did you say that we attack

before war is declared?

Yes, like Pearl Harbor. Now, get going.

By the way, there's just one stop - at The Bull.

I've got a date there with Mata Hari.

- Careless talk?

- Yeah. Now, scram.

Five minutes easy, Sergeant.

Five minutes easy, Stuffy.

I wonder what's keeping Spud.

Come on.

- Afternoon, Sergeant Hawkins.

- Afternoon, miss.

- Hey!

- Back on the trucks.


There's Spud.


- What's the matter? What's the matter?

- Sir, what happened?

- Spud!

- She got me.

- Who?

- Mata Hari! Come on, quick...

- Any luck?

- Not a hope. She's halfway to London by now.

She's gone to warn the wizard.

Come on, get my tin hat. Come on!

The barricade's open, sir.

God damn it!

You know, you ought to have

one of these field dressings on that.

Save it for her. She'll need it somewhere else

when I catch up with her.

See that barricade, my boys?

At midnight on the dot, it's got to be closed,

and, of course,

the enemy can't get through before,

because why?

- Because...

War starts at midnight!

- What's the objective, sir?

- Royal Bathers' Club.

What about Mata Hari?

We'll beat her to it. I know a couple of short cuts

after Marble Arch.

There she is!

Get the other trucks to close up.

See if you can pass her.

Blast that taxi!


Keep right on his tail.

Keep straight on.

Second left. We've got her!

Come on, Section. Number two? Number three?

- You have your orders. Sergeant Hawkins.

- Sir.

Yes, l...

- Is General Wynne-Candy here?

- He left an hour ago

with Brigadier General Caldicott

and Air Vice Marshal Lloyd-Hughes.

- Did he say where he was going?

- What is your business with him?

I have an urgent message.

If you give me the message, I'll see he gets it.

Damn it all, man! Are you in the Home Guard?

Why, sir?

The password is Veuve Clicquot 1 91 1.

The General and his staff

are in the Turkish baths, sir.

Sergeant Hawkins?

You're in charge. Stay with him.

And you're a prisoner of war.

- It doesn't start till midnight.

- That's what you think.

- That girl under the desk, she's a prisoner too.

- Sir.

All right, boys, this is it.

Brute force and ruddy ignorance!

Come on. After him! Double up.

(Telephone buzzes)

You're a prisoner.

Guard this man.

And answer that damn telephone!

Yes? Yes, miss? Warn General Wynne-Candy?

Can't do that, miss.

Sorry, miss.

The General's a prisoner, and so are you.

Oh! The war's over.

(Confused shouting)


Are you the ringleader of this outrage?

Quiet, please!

This is an Army exercise. You're all prisoners.

Now, stay where you are.

- Come here. Where's General Wynne-Candy?

- Who, sir?

- You heard.

- In the steam room.

Come on, then, show me the way. Go on.

This is it.



Go away.

General Wynne-Candy?


What? Who is it?

Lieutenant Wilson,

2nd Battalion, the Loamshires, sir.

What do you want?

Well, sir... I'm afraid, sir, we've...

Well, say it, man, say it. I've no time to waste.

Oh, yes, you have, sir.

I beg your pardon, sir?

You've got all night, sir.


I'm afraid he can't come.


- He's a prisoner, sir.

- What's going on here?

Invasion, sir.

But, you damned young idiot,

war starts at midnight.

- Haventyou been told?

- Oh, yes, sir. That's why we're here.

But may I ask on what authority?

On the authority of these guns and these men.

Authority?! Authority?!

How dare you, sir! How dare you!

Get out of here, sir,

you and your gang of awful militia gangsters.

Get out!

- Popeye. Guard this man. Stuffy?

- Sir?

Go to the cubicles. Find the General's.

You'll find a pigskin case there.

Yes, sir.

But you can't do that!

Look, the code is in that case.

The whole exercise'll be a farce

- ifyou have that code.

- Oh, no, sir. This is going to be the real thing.

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Michael Powell

Michael Latham Powell (30 September 1905 – 19 February 1990) was an English film director, celebrated for his partnership with Emeric Pressburger. Through their production company "The Archers", they together wrote, produced and directed a series of classic British films, notably 49th Parallel (1941), The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), A Matter of Life and Death (1946, also called Stairway to Heaven), Black Narcissus (1947), The Red Shoes (1948), and The Tales of Hoffmann (1951). His later controversial 1960 film Peeping Tom, while today considered a classic, and a contender as the first "slasher", was so vilified on first release that his career was seriously damaged.Many film-makers such as Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and George A. Romero have cited Powell as an influence. In 1981, he received the BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award along with his partner Pressburger, the highest honour the British Film Academy can give a filmmaker. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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