Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Mrs. Miniver


This is simply one of the best war movies ever made, and there’s only one soldier in it. It’s the story of a family in England during the early days of the Big War, how everything changes for them, very gradually. We in America suffered nothing like the people in Europe, and one has to admit that the Brits suffered less than most Europeans, in that Hitler’s planned invasion never happened, but it was bad, very bad. One scene in the Miniver’s backyard bomb shelter will stay in my mind forever. It builds so slowly from stiff-upper-lip boredom to roaring terror, with the children crying and the parents trying to protect them. I tear up just writing about it, and that’s only one of a dozen brilliant set pieces, including the miraculous evacuation of Dunkerque (British spelling) seen from the civilian side. And that’s the power of this movie. Everything is seen from the civilian side, one family and one small village, trying to survive. It is unabashedly patriotic, and it needed to be in those dark days. It was a real factor in showing Americans what our British allies were going through, getting us solidly on their side, and oddly, a morale builder.