Reach for Glory (1963)

Genres - Crime, Drama, War  |   Sub-Genres - War Drama  |   Run Time - 89 min.  |   Countries - UK  |  
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John Rae's novel The Custard Boys became this World War II drama from British documentary filmmaker Philip Leacock. Martin Tomlinson stars as John Curlew, a troubled teenager who is part of a gang of London boys evacuated to a small English coastal town during World War II. Desperate to join the war effort and fearful that the fighting will be over before they're of age to enlist, the boys stage their own mock war games with the local teens, practicing to become soldiers and taking the entire matter very seriously. John, who is conflicted between his loyalty to his zealous friends and his burgeoning desire for an Austrian Jewish refugee, Mark Stein (Oliver Grimm), invites Mark to join the "battles." At first mocked for his Semitic heritage, Mark is eventually allowed to participate, but when he runs off during a battle, the gang decides to court-martial him for cowardice, with tragic results.

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Keywords

war, anti-Semitism, battle [war], Britain, coast, coming-of-age, conflict, death, ethics, evacuation, execution, fake, game, gangster, group, Judaism, mistake, problems, racism, refugee, teenagers, war-games, weapons, wound [injury], youth