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Spirit of '45, The (U)

Spirit of '45, The (U)


A documentary on how the spirit of unity, which buoyed Britain during the war years, carried through to create a vision of a fairer, united society.

More information on this production is available at

The critical consensus

Ken Loach celebrates Labour’s post-1945 programme of nationalisation and mourns the dismantling of British Rail, the NHS and the welfare state. His outrage is unmistakable, but so is his refusal to engage with any opposing views.

***(*)(*)Siobhan Synnot, The Scotsman, 10/03/2013

Often fascinating and impassioned, Loach's doc lapses into polemic towards the end, an understandable side-effect of his granite-strong convictions. Probably won't get it onto Margaret Thatcher's LoveFilm list though.

***(*)(*)David Parkinson, Empire Online, 11/03/2013

Despite the best efforts of its contributors, The Spirit of '45 lacks passion and colour, the latter quite literally. This is undeniably an admirable film but it would have benefited from a little more of the titular spirit.

Emma Simmonds, The List, 13/03/2013

Viewers of the opposing political persuasion may instantly gripe about a lack of balance – there’s nothing but adoring words for trade unions – but demanding balance from a Ken Loach film is a little like wanting a goat to do a handstand.

****(*)Tim Robey, The Telegraph, 14/03/2013

The irony is that Loach's misty-eyed view of socialism wouldn't even be recognised by today's Labour Party. But politics isn't the problem here; it's dull and hectoring cinema.

**(*)(*)(*)Anthony Quinn, The Independent, 14/03/2013

The Loach '45 spirit may be mocked – yet it seems preferable to the 21st-century spirit of austerity and paradox in which we found money to nationalise failing banks, maintaining the spirit of what Milton Friedman called socialism for the rich, free enterprise for the poor.

****(*)Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, 14/03/2013

Hmm. Exactly the film you’d expect to see, and not in a good way.

**(*)(*)(*)David Jenkins, Little White Lies, 14/03/2013

By turns moving, angering, and inspiring, Spirit of '45 is in fact a very personal plea. And yet we are left with a sense that we have only been told half the story.

****(*)Ned Roberts, The Independent, 16/03/2013

There are heartening moments in Loach's film and evocative images. But The Spirit of '45 lacks the force and humanity of his fictional films and is a thin, misleading and sentimental account of history, and how we got from there to here.

Philip French, The Observer, 17/03/2013

What this film does magnificently is capture the hope of the many at the birth of the social-democratic era.

****(*)Rory Edgington, TVBomb, 19/03/2013

In short, old-school labour and social collectivism: good, Thatcherism: bad.

**(*)(*)(*)Stephen Carty, Flix Capacitor, 04/04/2013

Features about Spirit of '45, The (U)

Ken Loach on his new political film The Spirit of '45

BBC, 12/03/2013

Where and when?

General release. Check local listings for show times.

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