They Shall Not Grow Old (2018) - Documentary, History, War

Hohum Score



A documentary about World War I with never-before-seen footage to commemorate the centennial of the end of the war.

IMDB: 8.3
Director: Peter Jackson
Stars: undefined, undefined
Length: 99 Minutes
PG Rating: R
Reviews: 21 out of 260 found boring (8.07%)

One-line Reviews (112)

It is a staggering experience, an immersive atmosphere and realistic portrayal of "the war to end all wars", from prior events, the horrors during, and the aftermath, the interview words (each formally credited in the end credits) sync well with footage playing, it does contain footage of real dead bodies which is very hard to watch, it is most evocative, making you feel closer to the soldiers' actual experiences, it really does bring an important part of history to life, an extraordinary documentary.

Then a bit later on, the movie changes over to stunning full-color, full-screen 3D footage shot 100 years ago...

The documentary film; stunning in its technical achievement, brings to life the black and white archival footage to vivid color, and 3-D effect gives one the feeling of being a participant in the war (archival footage from the Imperial War Museum).

And if you do, this documentary is riveting: A total immersion into the experience of being a young man - in too many cases as young as 15-years old!

However, in 2018 he greatly redeemed himself as a filmmaker with this fascinating documentary detailing the lives of soldiers during the Great War.

Fascinating, eye opening passion project from Jackson .

The restoration work is amazing, from the colouring, to the sound effects, and music by Plan 9 added, including an enjoyable extended version of the war song "Mademoiselle from Armentières" in the end credits.

The actors were horrible and the story was boring as hell.

Entertaining and compelling, "They Shall Not Grow Old" is a must-see documentary.

Mostly just really boring.

Yes, the restoration process used on the old footage is impressive, and the voice acting is good, but overall, this film left literally zero impact on me; it feels as if I didn't watch it, which is impossible because I vividly remember stroking my friends thigh while trying to keep myself from falling asleep in the theatre.

Maybe this one is on me, as I can understand the technical marvel that it is but when it was done, I was so ready to leave, and I never was moved or forced to think about anything at any point.

A truly stunning emotional and intellectual achievement.

)Also fascinating was the work done to remain faithful to English regional accents when certain parts of originally silent film footage was dubbed.

A century later, Peter Jackson produced an informative and fascinating documentary about the First World War, seen by the English, in the trenches of the Bay of Somme, with dusted and colored archive images.

Secondly, it's extremely repetitive and nonsensical and boring at several aspects that were its main selling points.

Boring as watching paint dry.

Breathtaking .

It was so God damn boring.

Jackson, at the end, said he wanted to explore the WWI British soldier and the mundane - but he focused way too much on the mundane and made an uneventful and boring film that does not do the awesome restoration work proud.

"When the crunch finally arrives for infantrymen to charge into the battleground, in deficiency of battlefield footage, Jackson opts for propaganda comic strips to fill the gaps (carefully editing out the "propaganda" part though), still, the harrowing narration alone is able to keep viewers spellbound, what might start out as a paean to those war heroes soon transmigrates into plain commiserations, and an acidulous critique of the futility and barbarity of the warfare itself, conditioning those cannon fodders into a state of mortal numbness, dragooning them into deliriously charge towards valleys of bullets and shrapnels and transfiguring them as a killing machine, how war can dehumanize and annihilate a person is clear as day, especially when it reveals there is no patent bad blood between the individuals of the warring parties, and the callous treatment of those fortunate survivors when the war is over only adds insult to injury.

What sets this documentary movie apart is the stunning visuals and sound.

I think it was watching this documentary that I realized that realistic, dialogue-light and plotless war movies make it difficult for me to pay close attention and keep from drifting off, as I've struggled to keep from dozing off here, with Dunkirk, and with Black Hawk Down.

The beginning dragged with random voice overs from brave veterans and black & white footage - often without much context.

Fascinating take on the trenches of the Western Front .

By utilizing state-of-the-art restoration, colorization and 3D technologies, and pulling from 600 hours of BBC archival interviews, Jackson puts forth an intensely gripping, immersive and authentic experience through the eyes and voices of the British soldiers who lived it.

Film disjointed.

The scenes of the soldiers just living in mud holes and trench systems filled up to their waists was mind blowing.

And they're very articulate and fascinating to listen to.

The only equipment of this movie was to convert the black and white frame in the colour, the only achievement of peter Jackson by the way I am very disappointed after watching the movie No story no story telling nothing special about the firm and it's very boring

It succeeds in depicting the brutality of war and humanity of the soldiers who were mostly very young men who bore and endured the decisions of their leaders.

Yes, it's got a slow start.

Visually Stunning .

Only that I found it fascinating to consider that most of the brave young soldiers in TSNGO came from a time when the average household did not own a movie camera.


Jackson is an intelligent and very knowledgeable, as well as a very modest and engaging, man, at least in his 20+ minute explanation, and I found it and him thoroughly fascinating.

Vivid and Compelling History .

Absolutely breathtaking .

It made it incredibly compelling and powerful.

For me, after taking in a great deal of informative and compelling content created for the WW1 centenary, this film, released toward the end that four-year period, was the absolute pièce de résistance.

it's breathtaking to see these figures become living, breathing, smiling young men from a century ago.

A more than stunning history lesson.

utilizing the soldiers' stories to create an intense viewing experience and establish pride in their courage.

We saw the 3D version on a big screen and stayed for the 30 minutes Peter Jackson narrative of the making of the movie which was fascinating.

I can only think of two suggestions that might have improved the experience, personally: One being that there are many long periods of constant talking and noise where I think the film could benefit with some breath to let the viewers slow down and reflect on what is happening and let the experiences of the soldiers really sink in.

I usually like documentaries and interviews from WW I/II, but this one sort of kept me fighting to stay awake during the viewing.

Visually stunning .

Stunning .

-Analysis of Notable Work- *Writing/Directing: The way in which Peter Jackson directs his team to bring WWI to life is breathtaking.


Because the movie shots were primarily used for propaganda purposes, most include smiling faces, laughing and joking soldiers.

Peter Jackson provided a narration after the film, a mini-documentary about the making of the documentary, which was fascinating.

As director Peter Jackson explains in the fascinating "making-of" follow-up after the end of the main film, he and his crew had to make a choice from the start about how to focus the storyline.

That became somewhat tedious and boring.

I highly recommend it.


So interesting, gritty and engaging it feels more like a drama than a documentary.

Absolutely riveting .

It is once in the trenches that the film becomes most fascinating, with the footage opening into widescreen and transformed into colourised, using cutting-edge technology.

Breathtaking in many parts!

The standout moments for me came from our private view of the artillery cannons, so intense and powerful that they nearly shake the television itself.

This was equal parts funny, exciting, moving, harrowing, horrifying, upsetting.

In a stunning coup de theatre the screen changes shape.

Peter Jackson has done an amazing job of incorporating real footage in a breathtaking way.

What is initially a fascinating visual technique, adjusting the pacing of WW1 footage and filling in color and sound, becomes a bit of a liability and then loses its impact midway through the film, diluting what is otherwise a very strong recreation.

It is a harrowing, intense documentary, brilliantly remastered for the optimal experience that so effectively renews the reality of the Great War.

It gives you angles on the war that are unexpected and the stroies and opinions of soldiers you never thought possible.

This film is absolutely stunning to watch giving a whole new insight to the war in colour.

This film is absolutely stunning.

The restoration is impressive, but the film is boring .

The end result is simply stunning.

The perspective provided seemed to weigh heavily on boys joining the war just because it's what everyone else was doing and their experience seemed so dreadful and pointless; that is war.

You feel their confusion about what to do after the war has ended, and you understand the difficulty of life in the trenches.

On the downside, it was a bit monotonous and repetitive.

This movie is heartbreaking and stunning.

I want you to leave the room, come in again and say you are 19".

I have to say this film is a effective, especially when showing dead and wounded, with the message that war is pointless.

The soundtrack is entirely accompanied by actors reading out various diary entries from Tommies which adds to the experience immeasurably, and the footage itselfs, of huge explosions, of life in the trenches and the battlefields strewn with the gruesome dead, is often breathtaking.

It was just stunning to watch the archival footage transform into a three-dimensional experience.

This makes for a very engaging and realistic portrayal of what life was like for the average soldier.

A stunning piece of cinema .

Stunning .

I was very impressed by the quality of the film footage, however that was what caused me to leave the theater.

If you are able to see this, in any capacity, I highly recommend it.

If you're a budding documentarian you may find this movie even more fascinating than most.

The first 20 minutes or so, showing recruitment and training, were quite dull.

For instances where the voiceover interviewees are relating stories that the filmmakers don't have representative stock footage for, there are motion-comic style pans, tilts, and Ken Burns-effect zooms into drawings from the contemporaneous propaganda magazine "The War Illustrated" and, for lighter moments such as one soldier's description of his first brothel experience, a variety of Bruce Bairnsfather cartoons.

That's probably a good example of how the troops themselves felt, but it betrays the sheer magnitude of the war effort and leads to a few vacant lulls in the narrative.

A good estimate of the spirit of a soldier in the British Army is arrived at by absorbing the information the veterans are able to provide.

Look carefully at the expressions captured on the faces of the soldiers from this on-the-spot footage: the hope and enthusiasm during training camp evolved into grim and somewhat dull everyday routine in the trenches, punctuated by determination and outright fear as they are about to go "over the top" into an attack.

A truly stunning technical achievement.

The entire film was incredibly executed and I highly recommend it for anyone who's into WWI history.

But other than that, the full length of it becomes a bit "tedious".

The narration by different people representing those that served in the Great War was riveting and the imagery was both astounding and ghastly.

Having edited myself, I found the details of how it was done as absorbing as the product itself.

Absolutely Breathtaking And Heartbreaking.

Superb documentary: edifying, engaging, gritty, emotional and timely .

The discussion of the challenge to readjust to daily life after the war was an interesting note, but beyond that it just felt like the type of thing I'd watch and get bored by in a history museum.

I fell asleep in the theater.

it's truly fascinating to hear the words from those that were there.

Ken Burns style Presentation is Fascinating .

But indeed that's what iconic director Peter Jackson does in his stunning, magnificent meditation on World War I--They Shall Not Grow Old.

Peter Jackson worked with the BBC and the Imperial War Museum to create this stunning film, using every digital trick.

There is an extreme repetition at the style of narration that becomes dull within 10 minutes.

There's no story at play here other than the lived experience of British soldiers slogging through the Great War; specific battles are seldom even mentioned.

You won't be spared the gore or the horror, but you will be spared sanctimonious propaganda about the glory of war or the relative goodness of either side.

It's an incredibly detailed story of what it was like to be a British soldier on the Western Front with all the mundane details included.

Harrowing, stunning, outstanding.

Many of the testimonies are engaging, and helps bring the experience to life.

A very general sorry of ww 1 - unexpected.

Fascinating insight into the minds of those who prepared and then fought in the trenches.

After approximately 25 minutes, the small TV screen enlarges to full screen and the black and white footage turns to colour - and that moment is mind blowing.