Night time scene showing a bombed building on fire in London during the Blitz, 1940.
© IWM (HU 67287)

IWM has managed a Film Archive from its very beginnings as an institution, and the film collection now covers all aspects of conflicts in which British, Commonwealth or former Empire countries have been involved since the start of the twentieth century.

Our constantly growing collection now extends to over 23,000 hours of moving images, representing a wide and diverse range of material from public and service information films, documentaries and unedited combat film, through to official newsreels and amateur films.

Highlights of the collection include the original 1916 record of The Battle of the Somme (now granted UNESCO Memory of the World status), Academy Award-winning documentaries Target for Tonight (1941) and The True Glory (1945), the former library of NATO, UNTV Zagreb newsreels and library, and most recently, digital born material of operations in Afghanistan.

There is also a significant collection of amateur film – much of it in colour – covering wide areas of the former British Empire, the Second World War, India and Partition, and beyond.

IWM has a team of experienced film curators who offer assistance to commercial researchers and offers a website designed for the needs of commercial users, IWM FilmPlease see our policy on colourisation.

The Film Archive also offers a limited bespoke viewing and copying service for museums, armed forces, veterans and their immediate family, family history researchers, students and filmmakers involved with the IWM Short Film Festival. For details of these services and expert advice on accessing the IWM film collection for such purposes please contact

If you are looking for a film that you could previously view on this website but have found that it cannot currently be played, please bear with us. Video was previously delivered using Flash and when we launched our new website in January 2018 we took the opportunity to change to a universal format (MP4) that is usable on most devices.

We are working our way through all our digitised films to produce video in this format, but this work is not yet complete. In the meantime some films are unfortunately unavailable. We will add new videos every week so please check back over the coming months to see what has been added.

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