Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • Production
  • U
  • Documentary, History
  • 2013
  • 94 mins

The Spirit Of '45

Ken Loach's documentary about a pivotal year in British history.


1945 was a pivotal year in British history. Great changes in the post war social and political landscape redefined the way Britain was run. This documentary by Ken Loach is about the spirit of that era.


1945 was a pivotal year in British history. The unity that carried Britain through the war allied to the bitter memories of the inter-war years led to a vision of a better society. The spirit of the age was to be our brother's and our sister's keeper.

Director Ken Loach has used film from Britain's regional and national archives, alongside sound recordings and contemporary interviews to create a rich political and social narrative. The Spirit Of '45 hopes to illuminate and celebrate a period of unprecedented community spirit in the UK, the impact of which endured for many years and which may yet be rediscovered today.

DVD out now

The Spirit Of ’45 is available to buy on DVD from Dogwoof now. It’s a bit of a special release – as well as the film itself, which Time Out’s Dave Calhoun calls “powerful, rousing and saddening”, you’ll get a second disc featuring over seven hours of extras, an interview with Ken Loach and Ken Loach’s 53 minute documentary Which Side Are You On? from 1985. Click here to find out more about this DVD.

The two disc edition includes:

- 22 extended interviews with all contributors to the film including all new material
- Interview with Ken Loach
- Ken Loach short film: Which Side Are You On?
- Audio Description option for the blind or partially sighted
- English HOH subtitles
- UK Trailer

Press reactions

Dave Calhoun, TimeOut

“Always apparent is [Loach’s] clear thesis and the infectious commitment and fervour of his interviewees. The film works all at once as a lament, a celebration and a wake-up call to modern politicians and voters.”

Tim Robey, The Telegraph

“The footage [Loach’s] researchers have unearthed for Britain’s surges of industry and initiative in those Labour years is marvellous, and when he alights on subjects that really fire up passion, such as the founding principles of the NHS, and the piecemeal privatisation that threatens its future, the movie feels like a salutary reminder of exactly what Ken Loach is for.”

Andrew Pulver, The Guardian

“This is clearly a subject Loach has great feeling for, even if he keeps himself scrupulously off camera. There's a very contemporary purpose at work here too: to remind people, if nothing else, why the NHS is worth fighting for at the very moment it's being dismantled. Films are rarely this committed or, indeed, persuasive.”

Cast & Connections

  • Director: Ken Loach
  • Writer: Ken Loach
  • Producer: Rebecca O'Brien, Lisa Marie Russo, Kate Ogborn
  • Composer: George Fenton

In a nutshell

Released in UK cinemas 15th March 2013, The Spirit Of '45 premiered at The Berlin Film Festival February 2013 and is out now on DVD. Click here to buy the DVD

Please wait while this video loads. If it doesn't load after a few seconds you may need to have Adobe Flash installed.

Watch an exclusive clip

Watch an exclusive clip from The Spirit Of '45...

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4

    The Salt Of The Earth

    Brazilian documentary about the life of visionary photographer Sebastião Salgado, directed by Wim Wenders and Sebastião's son Juliano Ribeiro Salgado.

    On Film4: 2 Nov 1:00AM

  • Film4


    AnnaLynne McCord stars as a teenager with an unhealthy fascination with gore and surgery.

    On Film4: 29 Oct 11:05PM

  • Film4

    Black Cinema Season on Film4

    To tie-in with the launch of the BFIs Black Star season, Film4 presents a celebration of black filmmaking talent both in front of and behind the camera.

  • Film4

    12 Years A Slave on Film4

    Film4's Black Cinema Season begins with Steve McQueen's 12 Years A Slave, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender and Benedict Cumberbatch.

  • Channel 4 Blog

    TIFF 2016: Top Ten Editor Michael Leader runs through ten standouts from the Toronto International Film Festival...   The Oath I'd already seen three of the four Film4-backed films screening in Toronto (inc

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Baltasar Kormakur on The Oath

    As his Film4-backed Icelandic thriller The Oath premieres in Toronto, director/writer/actor Baltasar Kormakur speaks with editor Michael Leader about making films in Hollywood, returning to

Register with

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register


  • The Spirit Of 45

    Ken Loach

    on exploring a pivotal year in British history

Tweets @Film4

  • Coming up next at 11pm, Leonardo DiCaprio & Mark Ruffalo star in Martin Scorsese's thriller Shutter Island.

  • Our late-night highlight at 1.40am is Joachim Lafosse's award-winning Belgian drama Our Children, starring Émilie D…

  • On Wednesday at 11.15pm, Gary Bond and Donald Pleasence star in Australian cult classic Wake In Fright (aka Outback…

  • "It's not the dust I'm worried about..." Up next at 9pm, there's creepy goings-on on the red planet in The Last Day…

  • RT @Film4: 🎃👻😱🎥 #FilmFear