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WWII: An Overview in Moving PicturesMany Voices, Many StoriesMany Voices, Many StoriesThe Home FrontThe Home FrontCritical PerspectivesCritical PerspectivesSee Everything, Hear EverythingSee Everything, Hear Everything
Home > WWII: An Overview in Moving Pictures
WWII: An Overview in Moving Pictures
The war changed how people did and saw things. Even animated films, in the guise of entertainment, joined in the war effort. In this section, you'll find classics of the genre and get an overview of the conflict before discovering archival footage, comments and opinions on the main themes treated in the other sections of the site.
The War as seen by Norman McLaren
Dollar Dance
1943, Norman McLaren
Film  (4:05)
Message publicitaire sur l'inflation et le contrôle des prix. Animation image par image...
Five for Four
1942, Norman McLaren
Film  (2:52)

A short film made to promote the sale of war bonds, 5 for

V for Victory
1941, Norman McLaren
Film  (2:05)

In this publicity short designed to sell Victory bonds and drawn directly onto film

Dollar Dance



Internet connection

Each film on this site is available for viewing at low speed or high speed.

  • Low speed: recommended if your Internet connection uses a dial-up modem (56 kbps or slower). Low-speed viewing results in lower quality image and sound.
  • High speed: recommended if you have high-speed Internet (DSL, cable modem) or are connected to an institutional network. Viewing in high-speed mode may cause occasional jerky images and sound interruptions if the speed of your connection is not fast enough.

If you're not sure which speed to use for viewing the films, try high speed first. If the results are not satisfactory, switch to low speed.



Films can be available for viewing in either Macromedia Flash or QuickTime. Image and sound quality are similar for all these formats.

  • Flash: lets you view the film directly in the Web page without launching an external application. Requires the Flash plug-in (download for free at Macromedia Flash Player).
  • QuickTime (alternative format): requires QuickTime, version 7 or more recent (download for free at QuickTime).

Closed captions (CC)

Translation of the audio portion of a film into subtitles, for example, dialogue, narration, sound effects, etc. These captions let hearing-impaired viewers read what they cannot hear. Closed captions are available for a few films. To access them, you must select QuickTime (under Format) and With closed captions (under Accessibility).


Described video (DV)

A narrated description of a film's key visual elements to enable the vision-impaired to form a mental picture of what is happening on screen. Described video is available for a few films. To access them, you must select QuickTime (under Format) and With described video (under Accessibility).

Film  (4:05)
Made during the Second World War, this publicity trailer used the technique of drawing directly on film to tackle the issues of inflation and price controls.

More info on this film in NFB catalogue »»
Article by a specialist
Canada’s War, 1939-1945

World War II brought much personal tragedy to Canadians, but it also made its people well-off.

Read the article »»
Canada Remembers

Canada Remembers - Part One - Turning the Tide

1995, director: Terence Macartney-Filgate
Film  (53:40)
Men and machines begin the move down to the Channel coast of England. Naval vessels...

Canada Remembers - Part Two - The Liberators

1995, director: Terence Macartney-Filgate
Film  (54:15)
June to December, 1944. After years of dedication and sacrifice, an Allied victory seems...

Canada Remembers - Part Three - Endings and Beginnings

1995, director: Terence Macartney-Filgate
Film  (49:10)
Paratroopers dropping down to fight beyond the Rhine ushered in the final phase of the war...

Canadian Soldiers Display a German Flag
©LAC / PA-137461  Larger image
Canadian Soldiers Display a German Flag
Lieut. Ken Bell, photographie, Xanten (Allemagne), 9 mars 1945