This Land Is Mine

Drama | English | 103 minutes


Albert Lory is an unmarried school teacher secretly in love with a fellow teacher, Louise. During an air raid, Albert shocks the people in the shelter, including Louise and fellow teachers, by displaying cowardice.  Paul, a resister, throws a grenade at commandant Major von Keller’s car. He misses von Keller, instead killing two German soldiers. George, Louise’s lover, reveals to von Keller that it was Paul who threw the grenade. Guilty of his betrayal, George shoots himself. Albert enters the room shortly after the suicide. As Albert foolishly picks up the gun, he is seen by witnesses, and is accused of being the killer. Before the court trial, von Keller visits Albert in his cell and offers Albert a deal: freedom if he keeps his mouth shut. At the trial Albert refuses to cooperate and delivers a stirring speech about opposing tyranny and cherishing freedom. Albert is acquitted and is subsequently regarded as a hero. He returns the next day  to his class. While teaching, German soldiers enter the classroom, and arrest Albert. When Louise sees this, she rushes to Albert and embraces him. Albert faces execution but he manages a smile  as the Germans escort him out of the building.   

Charles Laughton (Albert Lory) / Walter Slezak (Major Erich von Keller) / Maureen O’Hara (Louise Martin) / George Sanders (George Lambert) / Kent Smith (Paul Martin)
Why Stream This Film?
Set in 1943, at the height of German occupation of most of Western Europe, the film depicts the rise of one man,   heroically defying a brutal German officer, even as he knows his actions can lead to his execution.
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 71%
  • Academy Awards: Winner, Best Sound Recording (Stephen Dunn)
  • In 1998, Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader included This Land Is Mine in his list of the best unranked films  not included on the AFI Top 100.
  • This Land Is Mine set a record for the highest gross receipts on an opening day on May 7, 1943.
THIS LAND IS MINE is a steadily engrossing film based on the inner drama of character rather than the  physical action of some war films. Its theme is the invincibility of ideas over brute force, and its story is  how circumstances and realization of responsibility turn a craven weakling into a heroic champion of freedom.


It’s a sincere and responsible effort to penetrate beneath the melodramatic aspects of Nazi occupation of a foreign land and to contemplate freedom versus tyranny in terms of conflict within the human soul. Jean Renoir and Dudley Nichols have produced a sane and courageous film. 
Bosley Crowther

The New York Times

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