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Millions Like Us

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Title: Millions Like Us  
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Subject: Basil Radford, Woman's film, War film, The Lady Vanishes (1938 film), List of British films of 1943
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Millions Like Us

Millions Like Us
Italian theatrical poster
Directed by Sidney Gilliat and Frank Launder
Produced by Edward Black
Written by Sidney Gilliat
Frank Launder
Starring Eric Portman
Gordon Jackson
Patricia Roc
Basil Radford
Naunton Wayne
Moore Marriott
Joy Shelton
Megs Jenkins
Terry Randall
Music by Louis Levy[1]
Cinematography Jack Cox
Roy Fogwell
Edited by R.E. Dearing
Distributed by Gainsborough Pictures
Release dates
  • 5 November 1943 (1943-11-05)
Running time 103 min
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Millions Like Us is a 1943 British propaganda film, showing life in a wartime aircraft factory in documentary detail. It starred Patricia Roc, Eric Portman, Megs Jenkins, Gordon Jackson and Anne Crawford, was written and directed by Sidney Gilliat and Frank Launder.[1]

Production background

The film was produced at Gainsborough Studios. Roger Burford had suggested to the producers that they create a film covering the entire British war effort on the homefront. The directors decided the task was too big and that the subject needed a fictional story to tie the material together.[2] The directors originally wanted to call the film 'The Mobile Woman'. The dance hall scene involved real serving soldiers, airmen and firemen..[2]

When Celia Crowson (Roc) is called up for war service, she hopes for a glamorous job in one of the services, but as a single girl she is directed into a factory making aircraft parts. Here she meets other girls from all different walks of life, and begins a relationship with a young airman.

Beethoven's Fifth Symphony is used liberally in the sound-track. Per the British Film Institute database, this film is the first in an "unofficial trilogy" of Millions Like Us, Two Thousand Women (1944), and Waterloo Road (1945).


Celia Crowson (Roc) and her family go on holiday to the south coast of England in the summer of 1939. Soon afterwards the Second World War breaks out and Celia's father (Moore Marriott) joins what was to become the Home Guard and her more confident sister Phyllis (Joy Shelton) joins the Auxiliary Territorial Service. Fearing her father's disapproval if she moves away from home, Celia hesitates about joining up but eventually her call-up papers arrive. Hoping to join the WAAF or one of the other services, Celia instead gets posted to a factory making aircraft components, where she meets her co-workers, including her Welsh room-mate Gwen Price (Megs Jenkins) and the vain upper middle class Jennifer Knowles (Anne Crawford). Knowles dislikes the work they have to do at the factory, causing friction with their supervisor Charlie Forbes (Eric Portman) which eventually blossoms into a verbally combative romance.

A nearby RAF bomber station sends some of its men to a staff dance at the factory, during which Celia meets and falls in love with an equally shy young Scottish flight sergeant Fred Blake (Gordon Jackson). Their relationship encounters a crisis when Fred refuses to tell Celia when he is sent out on his first mission, but soon afterwards they meet and make up, with Fred asking Celia to marry him. After the wedding they spend their honeymoon at the same south coast resort as the Crowsons went to in 1939, finding it much changed with minefields and barbed wire defending against the expected German invasion. Just after returning to the factory, they find furnished rooms nearby to set up house together, but then Fred is killed in a bombing raid over Germany. Celia receives the news while working at the factory and at a mealtime shortly afterwards the band play Waiting at the Church, without realising it had been played at Celia's wedding reception. About to break down, Celia is comforted by her fellow workers, as bombers from Fred's squadron overfly the factory en route to another raid.

This film can be taken as a working woman's Home Front counterpart to classic serving men's war films, made during World War II. The film begins with everyday activities before the start of the war, and ends before the D-Day invasion at Normandy, and in between there are moments of light comedy, family drama, romance, danger, death, courage and hope.



The film was a hit in the USSR.[3]


  1. ^ a b Millions Like Us, In: Programme book for Made in London Early Evening Films at the Museum of London (Museum of London and The National Film Archive), 24th season, 1992.
  2. ^ a b Brown G. Launder and Gilliat, quoted in Programme book for Made in London Early Evening Films at the Museum of London (Museum of London and The National Film Archive), 24th season, 1992.

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