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157 Ratings

War Requiem

Directed by Derek Jarman
United Kingdom, 1989
Avant-Garde, War


The experiences of poet Wilfred Owen during World War I set to the music of Benjamin Britten. The final screen appearance by Sir Laurence Olivier.

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War Requiem Directed by Derek Jarman

What are people saying?

  • Adam GR's rating of the film War Requiem

    My first Jarman! The poetry of experimental film. It kind of gets real toward the end. I want to see all of Tilda Swinton's work because this will be one of my favorite performances of hers. Owen Teale is so magnificent in this role, what a character actor! A lot of men on men contact, but in tragic situations. Also my first Olivier.

  • Alessandro Tinchini's rating of the film War Requiem

    A true masterpiece by one of the purest and spontaneous filmmakers of the last century. A living canvas when actors go back to their original concept of acting in cinema, which was expressing without talking. A must watch for everybody and a must have for all the Jarman fans.

  • msmichel's rating of the film War Requiem

    Jarman followed up the amazing 'The Last of England' with this poetic work full of rich imagery that wedded the operatic requiem by Benjamin Britten with Jarman's compositions with cinematographer Richard Gretrex. Many memorable scenes brought to life by Jarman's stock company including a young Tilda Swinton and Nigel Terry. A little precocious for some but worthwhile.

  • Carina Dybevick's rating of the film War Requiem

    When I saw this film pop up, I audibly gasped. Wilfred Owen is one of my favorite poets of all time, so I deeply appreciate the effort to recreate moments of his life. To really understand this film, however, you must be familiar with the poet. At times the music felt a bit jarring/unfitting but overall, this film was very well executed. Jarman truly reveals the emotional burden that was World War I.

  • Slappy McGee's rating of the film War Requiem

    (2.5 stars) Some will LOVE it and some will HATE it. Most will "GET" it, but it won't be their bag. I fall into that latter category. It's visual poetry and it's certainly experimental in nature. Good to see filmmakers taking risks and trying things. Wish they would have left out the "real life" war atrocities. But yeah, it's very operatic and theatrical in design, and that's cool enough.

  • EdieEmm's rating of the film War Requiem

    Both the best & worst of Jarman’s sincerity (naïveté?) & theatricality. A true requiem; solemn, earnest - recruiting art (poetry, operatic choreography, orchestra, baroque aesthetics) & maybe half the symbolism in our collective consciousness in an exhortation to feel. Is it enough? For those open to it: immersive, moving, even devastating. But if it's your 1st Jarman, it'll likely be your last. Start somewhere else.

  • Stefan Drees's rating of the film War Requiem

    In reconstructing Wilfred Owens tragic story without words (and therefore giving a visual response to Benjamin Britten’s use of Owen’s poetry as inserts for the liturgical text of the "Missa pro defunctis") Jarman finds some disturbing pictures and convincing narratives for Britten’s highly inventive and historical important pacifist Requiem composition from 1961/62.

  • David R Williams's rating of the film War Requiem

    Agreed: " Like nearly all of Derek Jarman's films, his War Requiem is an uneven work where it's often easier to admire what was attempted more than what was actually achieved." -