Against the Wind (film)

For the 2000 Italian film released under the same name, see Controvento.
Against the Wind

Release poster
Directed by Charles Crichton
Produced by Michael Balcon
Written by T.E.B. Clarke
Michael Pertwee
J. Elder Wills
Starring Robert Beatty
Simone Signoret
Jack Warner
Gordon Jackson
Music by Leslie Bridgwater
Cinematography Lionel Banes
Paul Beeson
Edited by Alan Osbiston
Distributed by Ealing Studios
Release dates
  • February 1948 (1948-02)
Running time
96 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Against the Wind is a black-and-white British film directed by Charles Crichton and produced by Michael Balcon, released through Ealing Studios in 1948. Against the Wind is a World War II sabotage/resistance drama set in occupied Belgium, starring Robert Beatty, Jack Warner and Simone Signoret (in her first English-language film role).


A disparate group of individuals is recruited by the wartime British Special Operations Executive to train for covert operations behind enemy lines in Belgium. These include a priest (Beatty) and a Belgian émigrée (Signoret), the latter having suffered personal tragedy during the occupation of Belgium. Her motives are initially questioned before she is finally given the green light. On completion of their training the operatives are parachuted into Belgium, briefed to destroy a Nazi records office in Brussels and to spring a prominent S.O.E. agent from custody. As the group arrive in Belgium, the S.O.E. discover that one of their number is a double-agent; however it is too late to raise the alert.

With the first part of their mission completed to plan, the operatives are hiding out with the Belgian resistance when the S.O.E. succeed in getting a message through, alerting one of them to the presence of a traitor among their ranks. The individual is executed following the discovery of unambiguous evidence of duplicity. The second part of the mission then goes ahead, with the captured S.O.E. operative being successfully released after a road and railway chase sequence.



Against the Wind performed only modestly at the box-office and received a mixed critical reception, with reviews ranging from the favourable ("This little film about a batch of saboteurs in wartime Belgium is...tense and artistic. It is a pleasing and worthwhile film")[1] to the unimpressed ("Against the Wind...has the aspect of contrived melodrama and a minimum of the truth behind the sabotage of World War II. Despite an experienced cast, Against the Wind is unconvincing fare.")[2] A frequent criticism levelled at the film was that the early scene-setting section was somewhat jerky in style, with sketchy attempts to provide back-stories for the main protagonists leaving many viewers rather confused as to what exactly was going on. The performances of the lead actors tended to be commented on in vague faint-praise terms such as "competent" and "proficient".


  1. Against the Wind review Sydney Morning Herald, 12-03-1950. Retrieved 23-07-2010
  2. Against the Wind review by A.J. New York Times, 27-06-1949. Retrieved 23-07-2010

External links

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