Skip to main content
BFI logo











Screenonline banner
Cameramen at War (1944)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

As troops and tanks advance under heavy fire, the camera also goes to war. D.W.Griffith directs filming in the trenches of World War I, while in World War II the Army and RAF have their own film units. Members of the Army Film Unit are given training from experienced war cameramen in how to take pictures under fire.

Cameramen are depicted doing various tasks: checking equipment, on board ship, filming behind sandbags during the Battle of Britain, filming Sicilian beaches on the morning of the invasion, filming with a handheld camera, changing film in the field, filming the meeting of the American and 8th Army in Tunisia, and so on.

Examples of their work are also shown: the landing on the Dunkirk beaches, shots from inside a tank under fire, aerial shots taken from the door of a 'Flying Fortress' to film bombs being dropped onto an Italian warship.

The cameramen are shown filming regardless of conditions: under mortar fire, during a night raid, in a collapsing house, during a parachute jump, narrowly missing being hit while in a jeep. One cameraman is shown inspecting his smashed tripod.

Other incidents are shown: a shot from St Paul's Cathedral of blazing buildings, Nazi prisoners of war in North Africa, the rescue of a shot-down Spirfire pilot, victory signs being given by crowds in Tunis. A projectionist prepares to show a reel of film.