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Private Peaceful tells the story of two brothers and the exuberance and pain of their teenage love for the same girl, the pressures of their feudal family life, the horrors and folly of war and the ultimate price of courage and cowardice.

It is a gritty and realistic tale of love and death set in the fields of Devon and the First World War battlefields of Flanders, giving us a heartbreaking glimpse of the way we once lived – and still die.

For teachers

Designed for students of English and history ages 11-14, the resource focuses on the film’s representation of war, and how the novel has been adapted to film.  Offering a range of activities based on the film and original interviews with author Michael Morpurgo and screenwriter Simon Reade, these materials provide students with engaging ways into understanding this representation of the First World War.  As well as reflecting on the style and purpose of this adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s novel, students are invited to consider how useful the film text is in understanding the period in history.  English activities develop students’ skills of close reading and critical analysis whilst the history tasks introduce students to concepts of historical enquiry and authenticity.

2012 © Eagle Media Group. All Rights Reserved.

Trailer transcript


[Artillery bombardment and explosions]

Charlie: Tommo

[Tommo coughs]


Charlie: I’m going to get you home, Tommo.

Title: From the best-selling novel by Michael Morpurgo

Colonel: The Peaceful family have been employed by my family for five generations.

Tommo:  Afternoon Molly

Grandma Wolf:  Your pinch of snuff, Colonel

Colonel:  I’d like to pinch you, Miss Farr

Grandma Wolf:  Colonel!

Title:  Award-winning writer of War Horse

Tommo: That’s it right [laughs]

Charlie: Ah ha ha

[Charlie whistles]

Tommo:  I think I’m in love.

Charlie:  Pardon?

Tommo:  I think I’m in love.

Charlie:  What, which one? Her?

Title: Comes the epic story of two brothers.

Tommo:  Do you think Molly might meet us later?

Charlie: Work, Tommo.

[Molly and Charlie laughing]

Charlie:  I didn’t want to hide it from you.

Tommo: You did hide it from me.

Charlie:  I didn’t want to hurt you.

Colonel:  The army need fit, able bodied young men ready to fulfil their patriotic duty.

Hazel:  My little boy, what have you done?


Tommo: Private Tommo Peaceful

[Artillery fire]

Charlie:  What’s it for?  So a few little rich men can hang on to power a little while longer while they bleed us dry?

Tommo: Well it’s better than breaking your back all your life working someone else’s land.

Hazel: Tommo

Tommo:  I don’t want to be stuck here forever.

Charlie: Here’s home, Tommo!

Tommo:  You’re a coward, Charlie Peaceful.

[Battle sounds: cries and artillery fire]


Charlie:  Do you think I should just stay here and let them fight without me?

Title:  The bond between brothers

Charlie:  Alright, Tommo, lad?

[Inaudible shouting]

Charlie: Thought we lost you, lad. He can’t walk sergeant.

Hanley:  Are you disobeying my orders Private Peaceful?

Title: Will never be broken

Tommo:  Charlie, I have to tell you.

Charlie:  You still have feelings for Molly?

Tommo:  I’ll love her till the day I die.

Charlie:  Oh, Tommo.

Charlie:  The world’s changing.  When you lot stop ruling our lives, England will change too.  There will be no more empire.  And there’ll be no more war.

Voiceover:  CHARGE!

Title:  Private Peaceful