Desert Victory

Desert Victory is a 1943 film produced by the British Ministry of Information, documenting the Allies' North African campaign against Field Marshal Erwin Rommel and the Afrika Korps. This documentary traces the struggle between General Erwin Rommel and Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, from the German's defeat at El Alamein to Tripoli. The film was produced by David MacDonald and directed by Roy Boulting who also directed Tunisian Victory and Burma Victory. Like the famous "Why We Fight" series of films by Frank Capra, Desert Victory relies heavily on captured German newsreel footage. Many of the most famous sequences in the film have been excerpted and appear with frequency in History Channel and A&E productions. The film won a special Oscar in 1943 and the 1951 film The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel took sections of the film for its battle footage.

Desert Victory
Directed byRoy Boulting
Produced byDavid MacDonald
Written byJames Lansdale Hodson
Distributed byMinistry of Information (United Kingdom)
20th Century Fox (United States)
Release date
  • March 1943 (1943-03)[1]
Running time
60 mins
CountryUnited Kingdom

The film has been criticized for emphasizing the British role in the victory, while playing down the American contribution to the battle. Mark Harris, author of the "Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War," a book about the role that five prominent Hollywood directors played in the war, has stated in an interview on Turner Classic Movies that when asked about the omission, the British war department retorted that the Americans "didn't have any good footage."[2] A sequel, "Tunisian Victory," was produced as a co-allied production between British and American propaganda agencies, with American film makers Frank Capra and John Huston allegedly restaging actual events, such as liberations, as well as tank and air battles (some of which was actually filmed in Orlando, Florida) to achieve high quality footage that the British could not refuse. The British supposedly knew immediately that the footage was fake, but since they themselves restaged much of the footage, this uneasy collaboration continued.[2]

See also

  • List of Allied Propaganda Films of World War 2


  1. Reeves, Nicholas (2004) [1999]. Power of Film Propaganda. A & C Black. p. 173. ISBN 0826473903.
  2. Turner Classic Movies interview with Mark Harris, 2 September 2015, 1:45 a.m. EST
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