They Shall Not Grow Old
Documentary | English | 99 minutes
Peter Jackson’s First World War documentary used original footage from the Imperial War Museum’s archives, most previously unseen, all over 100 years old by the time of the film’s release. The audio was restored from BBC and Imperial War Museum interviews with British soldiers who fought during the conflict. The film crew reviewed 600 hours of interviews and 100 hours of original film footage. The interviews came from 200 veterans. Jackson decided not to use a narrator or identifying the names of the soldiers interviewed. He wanted to capture “the memories of the men who fought–giving just their impressions of what it was like to be a soldier.” The title comes from the poem, For the Fallen by Laurence Binyon:
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 99%
- Metacritic Score: 91
- BAFTA Awards: Nominated, Best Documentary
- Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards: Winner, Most Innovative Documentary; Best Director (Peter Jackson)
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THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD is an utterly breathtaking journey into the trenches. Peter Jackson and team’s painstaking restoration of first world war footage is a cinematic triumph that all but brings young British soldiers back to life. It is an endeavor that has succeeded superbly.
Peter Jackson’s first documentary is a technical dazzler with a surprisingly humane streak. In addition to a thorough clean-up job, the film’s oral history has been thoughtfully curated and threaded as the film footage it seamlessly accompanies.
THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD is an eternal reminder of the way battle dehumanizes all who come near it. We may continue to find new ways to pay tribute to the men and women we lose to war, but we can never bring them back.
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