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When the Wind Blows (1986 film)

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Title: When the Wind Blows (1986 film)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Murakami, Judith Trim, The Best of David Bowie 1980/1987, List of nuclear holocaust fiction, British black comedy films
Collection: 1980S Drama Films, 1986 Films, 1986 Soundtracks, Albums Produced by David Bowie, Albums Produced by Roger Waters, Animated Drama Films, Animated Science Fiction Films, British Animated Films, British Black Comedy Films, British Films, Cold War Films, David Bowie Soundtracks, English-Language Films, Film Soundtracks, Film4 Productions Films, Films About Nuclear War and Weapons, Films Based on Military Novels, Films Set in Sussex, Progressive Rock Soundtracks, Roger Waters Albums, Virgin Records Soundtracks
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

When the Wind Blows (1986 film)

When the Wind Blows
Directed by Jimmy Murakami[1]
Produced by John Coates[1]
Written by Raymond Briggs (also graphic novel)
Starring John Mills
Peggy Ashcroft[1]
Music by Roger Waters
Distributed by United Kingdom:
Recorded Releasing
United States:
Kings Road Entertainment Japan:
Nippon Herald Films/At Entertainment
Release dates

United Kingdom:
24 October 1986 Portugal:
17 February 1987
(Fantasporto Film Festival)
United States:
11 March 1988

25 July 1987[2][3]
Running time 80 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Box office $5,274[4]

When the Wind Blows is a 1986 British animated drama 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.


  • Plot summary 1
  • Soundtrack 2
    • Track listing 2.1
    • Personnel 2.2
      • The Bleeding Heart Band 2.2.1
      • Home media releases 2.2.2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Plot summary

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 "We'll 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 cut off. Over the following days, they also gradually become weaker and sicker from radiation.

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 rainwater. James keeps faith that a rescue operation will be launched to help civilians, but the devastation, growing radiation sickness, and lack of food lead the couple to despair.

After a few days, the Bloggs are practically bedridden, and Hilda is despondent when her hair begins to fall out. James is still confident that emergency services will come, but they never do, since they were 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.

At the very end of the closing credits, a Morse code can be heard being tapped, spelling "MAD" for mutual assured destruction.


When the Wind Blows
Soundtrack album by Various artists, and Roger Waters & the Bleeding Heart Band
Released 16 May 1986
Recorded Winter 1985
Genre Progressive rock
Length 45:36
Label Virgin
Producer Roger Waters, David Bowie, Hugh Cornwell, Peter Hammond, Paul Hardcastle & Squeeze
Various artists, and Roger Waters & the Bleeding Heart Band chronology
The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking
When the Wind Blows
Radio K.A.O.S.
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[5]

Track listing

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?"[6]

  1. "When the Wind Blows" (lyrics: Bowie; music: Bowie, Erdal Kizilcay) – 3:35
    • Performed by David Bowie
  2. "Facts And Figures" (Edgar Sampson) – 4:19
    • Performed by Hugh Cornwell
  3. "The Brazilian" (Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford) – 4:51
    • Performed by Genesis
  4. "What Have They Done?" (Chris Difford, Glenn Tilbrook) – 3:39
    • Performed by Squeeze
  5. "The Shuffle" (Hardcastle) – 4:16
    • Performed by Paul Hardcastle
  6. "The Russian Missile" – 0:10
  7. "Towers of Faith" – 7:00
  8. "Hilda's Dream" – 1:36
  9. "The American Bomber" – 0:07
  10. "The Anderson Shelter" – 1:13
  11. "The British Submarine" – 0:14
  12. "The Attack" – 2:53
  13. "The Fall Out" – 2:04
  14. "Hilda's Hair" – 4:20
  15. "Folded Flags" – 4:51


The Bleeding Heart Band

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. [1]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "When the Wind Blows".  
  2. ^ 風が吹くとき (1986) (in Japanese). AllCinema Online. Retrieved 1 December 2007. 
  3. ^ Kamata, Satoshi (August 1987). "Kaku o Kaita Igirisu Animēshon "Kaze ga Fuku Toki" o" 核を描いたイギリス・アニメーション「風が吹くとき」を [About the Nuclear Depiction in the English Animation 'When the Wind Blows'].   26 July 2008 (restored version – re-release)
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Allmusic review". 
  6. ^ "When The Wind Blows lyrics". Roger Waters International Fan Club. Retrieved 17 February 2010. 

External links

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