Ships with Wings

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Ships with Wings
Directed by Sergei Nolbandov
Produced by Michael Balcon
Written by Patrick Kirwan
Austin Melford
Diana Morgan
Sergei Nolbandov
Starring John Clements
Leslie Banks
Jane Baxter
Music by Geoffrey Wright
Cinematography Wilkie Cooper
Eric Cross
Mutz Greenbaum
Roy Kellino
Edited by Robert Hamer
Distributed by ABFD
United Artists
Release date
November 1941
Running time
103 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Ships with Wings is a 1941 British war film directed by Sergei Nolbandov and starring John Clements, Leslie Banks and Jane Baxter.[1] During the Second World War the British fleet air arm fight the Germans in Greece. The film was made by Ealing Studios, but filmed at Fountain Studios in Wembley Park, north-west London.[2]


The film premiered in November 1941 and went on general release in January 1942.[3] It was a commercial success and was the second most popular film in British cinemas that month behind It Started with Eve.[4] The sinking of the Ark Royal, on which a number of scenes were set and shot, in November 1941 added a sense of topicality to the film. Ark Royal portrays the fictional HMS Invincible - a name not used for a Royal Navy aircraft carrier until the 1970s.


Critical reception[edit]

The film received an overwhelmingly positive reception from the popular press on its release.[5] However, it came under attack from a number of intellectuals for what they considered its lack of realism while the Prime Minister Winston Churchill objected because of the large number of British casualties shown in the film which he considered bad for morale.[6] The producer Michael Balcon was disturbed by these criticisms and commenced a shift in Ealing’s production away from such films towards what were considered more realistic portrayals in an attempt to counter this perceived lack of authenticity. However, except for Dead of Night, Ealing's films for the remainder of the war failed to enjoy the same commercial success as the earlier "unrealistic" war films and were eclipsed at the box office by the Gainsborough Melodramas.[7]


  1. ^ BFI | Film & TV Database | SHIPS WITH WINGS (1941)
  2. ^ team, Code8. "On screen - WEMBLEY PARK". Retrieved 2016-07-18. 
  3. ^ Aldgate & Richards p.316
  4. ^ Aldgate & Richards p.324
  5. ^ Aldgate & Richards p.317
  6. ^ Aldgate & Richards p.319
  7. ^ Aldgate & Richards p.327


  • Aldgate, Anthony & Richards, Jeffrey. Britain Can Take It: British Cinema in the Second World War. I.B. Tauris, 2007.

External links[edit]