MovieChat Forums > Hanover Street (1979) Discussion > Fun, Underrated WWII Romance

Fun, Underrated WWII Romance

I can see why this kind of movie would annoy the pants off certain kinds of filmgoers, cynics in particular. For one thing, it's hard to categorize, which would be the first thing to throw off would-be critics. Despite the film's premise, it's not really a chick flick, but because the filmmakers don't make a big deal out of the battle scenes either, it's not really a war movie. The "romance" in HS is sincere, but even that isn't treated too seriously either. In fact, I can imagine plenty of people not liking this one because the whole thing feels calculatedly ironic.

All this could be dismissed as proof that the film lacks a consistent tone; I think the movie is simply a forerunner of romantic action pictures more common in the 80s, like Romancing the Stone and High Road to China -- or Raiders of the Lost Ark. (It's fun to see Ford transitioning from Han Solo to Indiana Jones.) It's a pastiche-y genre in which nostalgia, romance, light satire, and violence have to achieve just the right balance.

There, daddy, do I get a gold star?


SO it's not a chick flick, and it's not a war movie?

But it's set during the war and its primary plot concerns an illicit ROMANCE between a "dashing" pilot and a married woman.

So, then, what exactly IS this picture?

And in a fashion typical of those who can't effectively articulate why they like something, you instead accuse those who don't like it of being "cynical". I'm sure many people who viewed this movie and disliked it do not consider themselves cynics, and they did so for a variety of reasons, firstly for not buying into the film's treacly, Harlequin Romance view of a romance during World War II.

You say the romance is sincere. Then you say it's not taken seriously. Then you say it feels calculatedly ironic. As in—dare I say—cynical? In which case, wouldn't it APPEAL to cynics?

Please. There is NO irony in the romance in this film. Oh, it's calculated, alright, but only in the sense that it's simplified and half-baked so that it appeals directly to wistful housewives who aren't particularly discriminating when it comes to the convincing portrayals of all that wartime espionage stuff.

The movie was not a forerunner of anything. It was simply part of a long history of World War II romance pictures, a great many of which were much better.

It was also a huge flop.


Oh, please, list a few of the supposedly better WW II movies from the seventies or eighties for me. I though I've seen them all. So why did "Hanover Street" stick in my mind and not the others?


War & Remembrance ... Winds Of War ... Holocaust ... Playing for time ... Patton ... Cabaret ... Empire Of the Sun.

I could go on for days ...


Thanks for your answer.

WAR, WOW and Holocaust were TV productions (of course they are the best on this topic!).
I was actually thinking of movie theater productions from the 70's.
Yes, I've watched "Cabaret", "Playing for Time", "Sobibor", "Patton".
Didn't care for "Empire of the Sun" though.

Whenever I think of good WW II movies older productions like "The Great Escape","Stalag 17" and "Bridge on the River Kwai" come to my mind, but nothing from the 1970's.


I have a list of the best 750 WW2 films (using IMDB rating) and the list I provided you were in the top 125 (70/80 only) ... thus my comment I could go on all day.

The point I am making is there were plenty of great WW2 films from USA in the 70/80's.

Next 125 ... The Scarlet and the black ... Kelley's Heroes ... Sophie's Choice ... Day One ... Inside the Third Reich ... Man In the glass Booth ... Escape From Sobibor (7.5 IMDB)

Mind you HS got a rating of 6.2


What I found most odd (not bad, just odd) about Hanover Street is that, it's not just a movie SET in the 1940's, but it seems to be a movie where the filmmakers tried to make it appear to have been MADE in the 1940's. There's no postmodern irony going on here. No self-awareness of all the social changes in the intervening decades (that would normally seep into a retro film's POV).