Wednesday 13 May 2020

IWM's impressive film collection holds over 25,000 hours of moving images, including official newsreels, public information films, cartoons and documentaries, representing over a hundred years of filmmaking. 

For this series, IWM curators introduce us to their highlights from this vast collection. We'll be releasing a new film fortnightly here and on our YouTube channel, so watch this space for more. 


Thumbnaiil make do and mend


From June 1941 until 1949, buying new clothes was rationed in Britain. This newsreel trailer, made by the Ministry of Information in 1943, is called ‘Make Do and Mend’. It was part of the Government's campaign urging people to repair, reuse and reimagine their existing clothes during the Second World War. Film curator Michelle Kirby introduces us to this delightful and humorous short film.

Watch this episode >


Calling Blighty thumbnail
Second World War
Calling Blighty from Burma, 1945
This film is from an extraordinary collection called Calling Blighty, in which Armed Forces personnel stationed in India and the Far East during the Second World War recorded messages to be sent back home. Here the Brighton Boys stationed in Burma are given around 10 seconds each to record their message. 
Vera Lynn thumbnail
Second World War
Vera Lynn chats with troops, 1944
The only known wartime footage of Vera Lynn, shot on 14 May 1944 near the Burmese border. The film captures Vera Lynn not singing but chatting to soldiers.
Calling Blighty thumbnail
Second World War
Choose Cheese, 1940
With rationing introduced early in 1940 in Britain, this public information film was created to advocate the advantages of eating cheese, explaining its health benefits with some (unverified) experiments as well as its versatility in cooking, from grilled cheese to cauliflower cheese.
Sword Beach thumbnail
Second World War
Filming the D-Day Landings on Sword Beach
On 6 June 1944, Sergeant Ian Grant was among the thousands of men landing on Sword Beach in Normandy on D Day, armed only with a revolver and a cine camera. He was part of the Army Film and Photographic Unit (AFPU) and captured this incredible mute footage of the landings.
Thumbnail Britain at War
Film and War
Britain at War by Rosie Newman
Britain at War is a 99 minute film, filmed and edited by amateur camerawoman Rosie Newman, capturing diverse scenes from the British home front during the Second World War. Curator Jane Fish introduces us to this remarkable film.

Explore our film archive

Cameraman at war still

Explore our film archive

IWM Film is designed for the needs of commercial researchers. We have licensed footage for use in productions for over 60 years, contributing material to major documentary series, feature films and more.

Discover IWM Film >


Evacuated troops on a destroyer about to berth at Dover, 31 May 1940.
Second World War
The Photographers And Filmmakers Who Captured The Second World War
When the Second World War broke out in September 1939, just one Army photographer, Geoffrey Keating, and one cameraman, Harry Rignold, accompanied the British Expeditionary Force to France. On 24 October 1941, the Army agreed to form a corps of trained photographers and cameramen.
A man chips away at a part of the Berlin Wall. Grafffiti above him reads 'Build Doors Not Walls.' Still from the NATO film collection.
Cold War
The Rise and Fall of the Berlin Wall on Film
Explore our timeline of key events in the Berlin Wall’s history using IWM’s film collection.