For a film to boast a cast that includes Winston Churchill, Tony Benn, and Clement Attlee I some feat – the real cast of this wonderful documentary is of course the people themselves.
The theme of the film as the title suggests is the amazing election win on 1945 that saw Clement Atlee’s Labour defeat Winston Churchill’s Conservative’s – an amazing triumph given Churchill’s War status, yet not surprising when you consider the promise of unity and a clear vision of a better tomorrow lifted a people still counting the cost of WWII.
Clearly the groundbreaking national health reforms and affordable housing was a vote winner.
The film is ultimately of course something of a labour of love for director Ken Loach as it explores Britain's sociopolitical evolution from the poverty and uncertainty of the post-war period through to the bitterly divisive Thatcher regime.
The concoction of talking head interviews and stock material is extremely effective and the images form regional and national archives adds to the already given focus on working-class life and the challenges that inevitably come with it, as is the history of Loach’s films.
This is certainly a compelling and meaningful film, from the initial footage of crowds celebrating VE Day, identifying a nationwide sense of hope, optimism and hunger for change, to Margaret Thatcher's 179 election victory and the systematic dismantling of everything the 1945-51 government achieved.
The Spirit of '45 is a fascinating and important documentary.