GenreAnimation, Comedy, Drama Music directorRoger Waters, David Bowie CountryUnited Kingdom
Release dateUnited Kingdom:
24 October 1986 Portugal:
17 February 1987
(Fantasporto Film Festival)
11 March 1988
25 July 1987 WriterRaymond Briggs (book), Raymond Briggs (script) Initial releaseOctober 24, 1986 (United Kingdom) CastPeggy Ashcroft (Hilda Bloggs), John Mills (Jim), Robin Houston (Announcer) Similar moviesJurassic World, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1, Fury, Dr. No, Spy, Captain America: Civil War
In this hand-drawn animated tale, elderly married couple Hilda (Peggy Ashcroft) and Jim Bloggs (John Mills) have their quiet, simple lives in the English countryside interrupted when they learn of an impending nuclear attack. Not completely understanding the gravity of their situation, Hilda and Jim react archaically and insufficiently after the attack and the film takes a dark turn as the radiation begins taking its toll on the unsuspecting couple.
When the Wind Blows is a 1986 British animated disaster film directed by Jimmy Murakami based on Raymond Briggs graphic novel of the same name. The film stars the voices of John Mills and Peggy Ashcroft as the two main characters.
The film was Briggs second collaboration with TVC, after their efforts with a special based on another work of his, The Snowman, in 1982. It was distributed by Recorded Releasing in the UK, and by Kings Road Entertainment in the United States. A subsequent graphic novel by Briggs, Ethel and Ernest (1998), makes it clear that Briggs based the protagonist couple in When the Wind Blows on his own parents.
When the Wind Blows is a hybrid of drawn animation and stop-motion animation. The characters of Jim and Hilda Bloggs are drawn, but their home and most of the objects in it are real objects that seldom move but are animated with stop motion when they do.
The soundtrack album features music by Roger Waters and David Bowie (who performed the title song), Genesis, Squeeze and Paul Hardcastle.
With the help of government-issued pamphlets, an elderly British couple build a shelter and prepare for an impending nuclear attack, unaware that times and the nature of war have changed from their romantic memories of World War II
When the wind blows nuclear missile attack
James Bloggs, a retired man living with his wife Hilda in an isolated Sussex cottage, keeps track of the deteriorating international situation; while frequently misunderstanding some specifics, he is fully aware of the growing risk of a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. James is horrified at a radio news report noting that a war may be only three days away, and sets about preparing as instructed by government pamphlets. As Hilda continues her daily routine, and their son Ron dismisses such preparations as pointless (referencing the song "Well All Go Together When We Go" by Tom Lehrer), James builds a lean-to shelter inside their home (consistently referred to as the "inner core or refuge") and prepares a stock of supplies. He also follows through seemingly unusual instructions as painting his windows with white paint and readying sacks to lie in when a nuclear strike hits. Despite James concerns, he and Hilda are confident they can survive the war, as they did World War II in their childhoods, and that a Soviet defeat will ensue.
Hearing the report of a missile being launched on the radio James rushes himself and Hilda into their shelter, escaping injury as distant shock waves wreck their home. They remain in the shelter a couple of nights, and when they emerge they find all utilities, services and communications have been destroyed or rendered inoperable by the blast. Over the following days, they gradually become weaker and sicker from radiation poisoning. Ron and his wife Beryl have not made contact with his parents by the films end and presumably died when their city was attacked.
In spite of all this, James and Hilda attempt to continue their lives, preparing tea and dinners on a camping stove, noting numerous errands they will have to run once the crisis passes, and trying to renew their evaporated water stock with (contaminated) rainwater. James keeps faith that a rescue operation will be launched to help civilians. Apparently oblivious to the dead animals, ruined buildings and scorched, dead vegetation outside their cottage (apart from their own garden), they initially remain optimistic. However, as they take in the debris of their home, prolonged absence of other human company, lack of food and water, growing radiation sickness, and confusion about the events that have taken place, the couple begins to despair.
After a few days, the Bloggs are practically bedridden, and Hilda is despondent when her hair begins to fall out, after vomiting, developing cancerous and painful sores and lesions and experiencing bleeding gums. Either in denial about the extent of the nuclear holocaust, unable to comprehend it, or trying to comfort Hilda, James is still confident that emergency services will eventually arrive, but they never do, as they were also presumably destroyed in the attack. The film ends with the dying James and Hilda getting into paper sacks, crawling back into the shelter, and praying. Jim begins with the Lords Prayer, but then switches to the first lines of the Charge of the Light Brigade, whose militaristic and ironic undertones distress the dying Hilda, who weakly begs him not to continue. Finally, Jims voice mumbles away into silence. The last frames of the film focus on the outside of their shelter, as a framing shot of the night sky appears, symbolizing the encroaching darkness of death as it enshrouds the dying couple. At the very end of the closing credits, a Morse code can be heard being tapped, spelling "MAD" for mutual assured destruction.
Roger waters when the wind blows original soundtrack 1986 hq
All tracks written by Waters and performed by Waters and The Bleeding Heart Band except where noted. On some versions of the album, the Roger Waters tracks are all put into one 24:26 song. The lyrics to the closing song, "Folded Flags", feature a reference to the song "Hey Joe" in the lines "Hey Joe, where you goin with that gun in your hand?" and "Hey Joe, where you goin with that dogma in your head?"
"The Brazilian" (Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford) – 4:51
Performed by Genesis
"What Have They Done?" (Chris Difford, Glenn Tilbrook) – 3:39
Performed by Squeeze
"The Shuffle" (Hardcastle) – 4:16
Performed by Paul Hardcastle
"The Russian Missile" – 0:10
"Towers of Faith" – 7:00
"Hildas Dream" – 1:36
"The American Bomber" – 0:07
"The Anderson Shelter" – 1:13
"The British Submarine" – 0:14
"The Attack" – 2:53
"The Fall Out" – 2:04
"Hildas Hair" – 4:20
"Folded Flags" – 4:51
The Bleeding Heart Band
Roger Waters – bass guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals on "Towers of Faith" and "Folded Flags"
Jay Stapley – guitar
John Gordon – bass guitar
Matt Irving – keyboards, organ
Nick Glennie-Smith – piano, organ
John Linwood – Linn programming
Freddie Krc – drums, percussion
Mel Collins – saxophone
Clare Torry – backing vocals on "Towers of Faith"
Paul Carrack – keyboards and vocals on "Folded Flags"
Home media releases
The film was released on VHS in the United Kingdom by CBS/Fox Video after its theatrical run, and later on laserdisc. After a short theatrical run in the United States in one theatre and grossing $5,274 at the box office in 1988, it was released on VHS by IVE and on laserdisc by Image Entertainment. It was released on DVD in 2005 by Channel 4, with 0 region coding: the official UK DVD is still PAL format. The film was re-released on DVD in September 2010, again by Channel 4, it is formatted in NTSC and All region coding. A Blu-Ray release is slated for 11 November 2014.