Fields of Sacrifice

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Fields of Sacrifice
Directed by Donald Brittain
Produced by Donald Brittain
Written by Donald Brittain
Narrated by Douglas Rain
Music by Eldon Rathburn
Cinematography Eugene Boyko
Edited by Rex Tasker
Distributed by National Film Board of Canada
Release dates
  • 1964 (1964)
Running time
38 minutes 13 seconds
Country Canada
Language English

Fields of Sacrifice is a 1964 documentary by Donald Brittain about Canadian war dead. The film visits former battlefields where over 100,000 Canadian soldiers lost their lives in World War I and World War II and examines Canadian military cemeteries and memorials from Hong Kong to Sicily.[1]


Fields of Sacrifice was produced by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) for the Canadian Department of Veteran Affairs. The film was originally intended to be a straightforward look at Canadian military cemeteries. Brittain, a staff filmmaker who had just completed the 13-part Canada at War series, decided on different approach. He combined stock footage with glimpses of the former battlegrounds a generation later and added his own commentary. Brittain shows that while these former battlefields are now peaceful and people are getting on with their lives, the sacrifices of Canadians are not forgotten.[2] The film was narrated by Douglas Rain and shot in 35 mm.[1][3]

Theatrical release[edit]

Fields of Sacrifice premiered in Ottawa in October 1963, attended by Governor General of Canada Georges Vanier. It would enjoy a two-year theatrical run, often shown as part of a double bill with the NFB's 70-minute drama Drylanders. It was broadcast on CBC-TV in 1965 on Remembrance Day.[1][4]


Fields of Sacrifice is considered Brittain's first major film as director.[5] It received an Order of Merit at the Canadian Film Awards.[3]


  1. ^ a b c Ohayon, Albert. "Fields of Sacrifice". Curator's comments. Montreal: National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 2009-11-11. 
  2. ^ Jim Leach and Jeannette Sloniowski, ed. (2003). Candid Eyes: Essays on Canadian Documentaries. University of Toronto Press. p. 119. ISBN 0-8020-8299-8. 
  3. ^ a b "Fields of Sacrifice". Collection. National Film Board of Canada. 1964. Retrieved 2009-11-11. 
  4. ^ Ohayon, Albert (November 27, 2009). "From documentary to fiction: The story behind the NFB's first feature film". Curator's comments. National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 1 December 2009. 
  5. ^ "Donald Brittain". Canadian Film Encyclopedia. The Film Companion; Take One's Essential Guide to Canadian Film. 2003. Retrieved 2009-11-11. 

External links[edit]