Dad's Army (2016 film)

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Dad's Army
Dads army poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byOliver Parker
Produced byDamian Jones
Written byHamish McColl
Based onDad's Army
by David Croft
and Jimmy Perry
Music byCharlie Mole
CinematographyChristopher Ross
Edited byGuy Bensley
DJ Films
Distributed by
Release date
  • 5 February 2016 (2016-02-05) (United Kingdom)
Running time
100 minutes[1]
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office$12.8 million[2]

Dad's Army is a 2016 British war comedy film, based on the BBC television sitcom Dad's Army. Directed by Oliver Parker, set in 1944, after the events depicted in the television series. Catherine Zeta-Jones plays an elegant German spy, posing as a journalist, reporting on the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard platoon.

The production design was by Simon Bowles, and the cinematography by Christopher Ross. The film was released on 5 February 2016 in the United Kingdom by Universal Pictures. DVD and Blu-ray released in the United Kingdom on 13 June 2016. It received mostly negative reviews from critics. When the film was released in the United Kingdom, it opened on #2, behind Goosebumps.[3]


It is the summer of 1944, and the invasion of Normandy is approaching. Nazi forces in France, seeking intelligence on the invasion location, send their best spy to a town on England's channel coastline, Walmington-on-Sea. In the town, Captain Mainwaring's Home Guard is suffering from a lack of luck and appreciation.

This is until an elegant journalist, Rose Winters, arrives to report on the platoon's motives and activities, allegedly for The Lady magazine. The platoon are charmed by her presence, especially Captain Mainwaring and Sergeant Wilson, causing feuds with the townsfolk, especially the platoon's wives. Adding to tensions, it emerges that Sergeant Wilson was Rose Winters' tutor at Oxford University.

Meanwhile, MI5 detect a radio signal transmitted from Walmington-on-Sea towards Berlin, believed to be from the Nazi spy. MI5's Major Cunningham and Captain Meeks locate Captain Mainwaring and inform him of the enemy presence, stating "it could be anyone". This news gives the Home Guard a chance to locate the spy and make a real difference in the war. They meet Winters who poses as a journalist while they are practising a routine of catch the Nazi after Wilson is chosen to play the Nazi.

While accompanying the platoon on a patrol, designated Top Secret by the British Army, Winters discovers the Dover base is intended to deceive German air reconnaissance, part of the (real) Operation Bodyguard. Winters now knows the invasion will target Normandy. As the platoon searches for the spy, Rose claims it is Sergeant Wilson. Captain Mainwaring believes Rose and arrests Wilson.

However, Private Godfrey's sisters investigate Rose and find evidence questioning her journalist credentials and that Rose has a home address in Berlin. The platoon and their wives rally to stop Winters and exchange fire with a German U-boat and a Wehrmacht landing party who are helping Winters escape.

The U-boat flees without Winters boarding. Mainwaring heroically arrests Winters and hands her over to MI5. The troop then parade through Walmington, having fought off the Nazis, and are congratulated by Colonel Theakes. Mainwaring and Wilson reconcile. Theakes underlines the platoon success by telling them they have played a prominent part in the war effort.


Ian Lavender makes a cameo as Brigadier Pritchard, providing a link with the original series,[4] and Frank Williams reprises his role as the Vicar.[5]

The regular series character of the Verger Maurice Yeatman was not recreated for the film. Mrs. Mainwaring, who was a completely unseen character for the whole of the original series, now has a prominently visible role in the film, where she is portrayed as a Chief Volunteer of the local Auxiliary Territorial Service, and is even more pompous, domineering and vociferous than her husband.[6]


Filming began in Yorkshire in October 2014.[7][8] Principal photography took place at North Landing, Flamborough Head and Bridlington. The East Riding Theatre in Beverley was used for Church Hall/Parade room and Captain Mainwaring's office. Sections of the film were also captured in Leeds and Pickering.[9] Jones' van from the original television series, on loan from the Dad's Army Museum, was used in the film.


Dad's Army has received generally negative reviews from critics. The film holds has a 31% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 35 reviews, with an average rating of 4.91/10.[10]

On Metacritic, it has a score of 38 out of 100, based on seven critics, which indicates "generally unfavourable reviews".[11] Sean O'Grady, of The Independent, gave the film a five star review, remarking that rather than threatening the series' legacy, it "surpasses the original", calling it a "well crafted reproduction" containing all the elements that made the original so clever, durable and loveable.[12]

Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian was less convinced, giving it two stars, stating that "it’s hard to escape the sinking feeling that this is a waste of talent — that this is a good natured, well meaning but pointless kind of Brit comedy ancestor worship; paying elaborate homage to a TV show that got it right the first time."[13]

Empire rated it two stars describing the plot as "moderately entertaining bunkum" and that "as a whole it's an inessential oddity — amiable enough but also over reverential and unlikely to leave a lasting impression".[14]


  1. ^ "DAD'S ARMY (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. 22 January 2016. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  2. ^ "Dad's Army". Box Office Mojo.
  3. ^ "UK Weekend Box Office 5th February 2016 - 7th February 2016". 25th Frame. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  4. ^ "Pictured: Ian Lavender plays cameo role in new Dad's Army film". The Telegraph. 21 November 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  5. ^ Boudicca Fox-Leonard (26 January 2016). "Dad's Army star Frank Williams: It was extraordinary playing scenes with the characters again". Mirror. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  6. ^ Owens, Mike (July 2016). "Dad's Army - wartime sitcom given modern makeover". Soldier Magazine. Vol. 72 no. 07. pp. 70–71. ISSN 1462-1509.
  7. ^ Amy Murphy (26 October 2014). "Dad's Army film: First photos of Catherine Zeta Jones, Toby Jones and Bill Nighy released". The Independent. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
  8. ^ "Gambon and Courtenay to star in Dad's Army film". BBC News. 8 October 2014. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
  9. ^ Clayton, Emma (9 February 2016). "Bradford youngsters step back in time to join star-studded cast in new Dad's Army film". Telegraph and Argus. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  10. ^ "Dad's Army (2016)". Retrieved 28 May 2020 – via
  11. ^ Dad's Army at Metacritic
  12. ^ O'Grady, Sean. "Dad's Army review: Mainwaring's men are back. And better than ever". The Independent. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  13. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (26 January 2016). "Dad's Army review: who don't you think you are kidding?". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  14. ^ Semlyen, Nick (2 February 2016). "Dad's Army Review". Empire Online. Retrieved 21 November 2016.

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