A tribute to the combatants in the First World War, this film traces the conflict through the war diary and private letters of five Canadian soldiers and a nurse. Hearing them, the listener detects between the lines an unspoken horror censored by war and propriety.
The film mingles war footage, historical photos and readings of excerpts from the diary and letters. The directorial talent of Claude Guilmain breathes life into these 90-year-old documents and accompanying archival images so that we experience the human face and heart of the conflict.
For the educational sector, five documentary vignettes have been drawn from the film: Nurses at the Front, The Officer's Role, The Life of the Soldier, Faith and Hope and The Trenches, each with further information on its particular subject.
This 1964 documentary returns to the battlefields where over 100,000 Canadian soldiers lost their lives in the First and Second World Wars. The film also visits cemeteries where servicemen are buried. Filmed from Hong Kong to Sicily, this documentary is designed to show Canadians places they have reason to know but may not be able to visit. Produced for the Canadian Department of Veteran Affairs by the renowned documentary filmmaker Donald Brittain.
This feature documentary profiles poet John McCrae, from his childhood in Ontario to his years in medicine at McGill University and the WWI battlefields of Belgium, where he cared for wounded soldiers. Generations of schoolchildren have recited McCrae’s iconic poem “In Flanders Fields,” but McCrae and Alexis Helmer—the young man whose death inspired the poem—have faded from memory. This film seeks to revive their stories through a vivid portrait of a great man in Canadian history.
This feature-length film, based on Margaret MacMillan's acclaimed book of the same name, takes us inside the most ambitious peace talks in history. Revisiting the event with a vivid sense of narrative, the film evokes a pivotal moment when peace seemed possible, and reflects on the hard-learned lessons of history.
In this short film, a young woman visits the Vimy Memorial to make a charcoal imprint of the engraved name of her great-grandfather who was lost in battle. She brings with her a notebook of sketches and diary entries that he made during his preparation for battle. The sketches transform into colourized archive footage and take us back in time to revisit the daily lives of the Canadian Corps soldiers.This project marks the first time the NFB has colourized its own archives for a film project.
Cavalry detachments come and go at a staging post, while in the background, men feed the horses. Various types of armoured vehicles travel along a country road. They are carrying provisions, soldiers and a heavy piece of metal. The armoured vehicles are also engaged in combat. From inside a bunker, a soldier fires on a tank with a machine gun.
A supply company transporting provisions and soldiers advances amid the ruins then along a country road. It then crosses the main square in a French town while a company on bikes goes by at a good clip. Soldiers move equipment in flooded trenches. On the battlefield, trains on a narrow-gauge track carry munitions, prisoners and casualties.
This short documentary made in 2008 looks at life in the trenches in the First World War. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year 2008, 90 years will have passed since the signing of the Armistice ending the Great War in Europe. More than 600,000 men and women crossed the Atlantic with the Canadian Expeditionary Force, and more than 60,000 of them never returned. Front Lines features veterans' letters to their families and images from the NFB archives, the Canadian War Museum and Library and Archives Canada.
This short documentary looks at Governor General Georges Vanier: his military service in two world wars, his diplomatic service between the wars and his investiture as Canada's 19th Governor General.
This short documentary made in 2008 looks at the role of nurses and health workers during wartime. Long days, brutal injuries and both sad and triumphant outcomes are part of their reality. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year 2008, 90 years will have passed since the signing of the Armistice ending the Great War in Europe. More than 600,000 men and women crossed the Atlantic with the Canadian Expeditionary Force, and more than 60,000 of them never returned. Front Lines features veterans' letters to their families and images from the NFB archives, the Canadian War Museum and Library and Archives Canada.
This third short film on the Battle of Arras shows artillery fire, troop movements and several explosions on the battlefield. German prisoners can also be seen in the trenches, as well as enemy bombs falling on the town of Arras. A classic World War One film.
This short film from 1918 shows various types of footage involving aircraft. An aircraft moves down the runway and takes off. Three planes in formation are seen from the air. Viewed from the cockpit, a pilot is at the controls. A hydroplane gets ready to land in a British port. Seen from the air, bombs fall on the battlefield. An enemy plane is pursued by fire from an anti-aircraft battery, while another spirals down and crashes on the ground. Canadian aviators pose proudly for the camera while an American crew attaches bombs to an aircraft.
Ages 14 to 17
English Language Arts - CanLit
History - World War I
Media Education - Journalism/News
Of interest to teachers of the history of World War I with a focus on the men and women on the front lines. Discuss the great emotional toll on the Canadian soldiers as they witnessed the atrocities of war. Compare their lives with the lives of the officers whose task it was to keep up morale, while forced to keep a tally of losses and casualties. Have students comment on the role of nurses and highlight their immense value to the war effort. Discuss the horrors and terror of trench warfare. Have students comment on the religious belief and faith displayed by those involved in the war and the value of communication with loved ones at home.