When the Wind Blows

Watch When the Wind Blows

"A horrifying vision of tomorrow."
  • 16+
  • 1988
  • 1 hr 24 min
  • 7.7  (12,431)

When the Wind Blows is a 1986 animated drama film based on the graphic novel of the same name by Raymond Briggs. The movie depicts the lives of an elderly couple, James and Hilda Bloggs, living in the London suburbs during the height of the Cold War in the 1980s. The looming threat of a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union hangs over the couple as they go about their daily lives, oblivious to the extent of the danger that threatens them.

The movie portrays the couple's largely uneventful and mundane life, starting with Hilda tidying up their home in anticipation of James' return from his work as a draftsman. The pair's routine is charmingly portrayed, with Hilda cooking, dusting and singing to herself as she waits for James. The couple's banter evokes their comfort with each other, and their affectionate personalities are evident in their lighthearted conversations.

Despite the couple's daily existence, it is clear that the fear of a nuclear war is always present. The background music, alternating between a light-hearted score and ominous doomsday music, evokes this sense of foreboding. The conversation between James and Hilda on their table in the garden, where they discuss what to do in case of a nuclear attack, adds gravity to the situation. Their lack of awareness of the severity of the situation in which they find themselves is both poignant and defining.

The gravity of the situation is depicted most strikingly when the couple listens to a government information pamphlet explaining how to prepare for a nuclear attack. The information given is not helpful, nor is there a plan to protect the populace from the dangers of fallout radiation. Nevertheless, the couple is committed to following the instructions given, which includes building a makeshift shelter and covering up its walls with basic building materials. The scenes in which James and Hilda build the shelter and prepare themselves for the fallout showcase their confusion and fear, even as they try to convince themselves that they will survive.

The animation in the movie excellently portrays the couple's daily lives, with the use of vibrant colors and a thoughtful composition of scenes. Most impressively, the characters' motions are captured in a very natural and realistic way. The visuals undoubtedly add to the movie's beauty and create a sense of authenticity that is hard to miss.

The movie is brought to life by the exceptional voice-over work done by the film's characters. The performances by Peggy Ashcroft and John Mills, as Hilda and James, respectively, bring depth to the characters’ personalities. The emotive and touching performances lend a subtle and nuanced feel to the story, ensuring that viewers would feel a sense of empathy for the movie's protagonists.

The movie's pacing is slow but steady, a structure reflecting the Bloggs' everyday lives. It is a poignant and heartwrenching affair; yet there are sparks of humor to ease the tension. The scene where James discovers he has forgotten to include a tin opener in the store he had put together, and the couples' realization that the instructions for removing radiation fallout involves urinating on a newspaper before wrapping it around James' wounds are two instances of excellent and captivating humor used to break the tension.

The movie concludes with James and Hilda huddled together in their shelter, watching the mushroom cloud rising in the distance. The juxtaposition of the idyllic countryside within the shelter walls and the atomic devastation outside is strikingly sad. The film's extraordinary ending evokes a sense of helplessness and despair, brilliantly showing the sense of isolation that people feel during apocalyptic events.

In conclusion, When the Wind Blows is a remarkable film. The animation is excellent, but the movie's brilliance comes from its understated handling of the human cost of a nuclear war. It is an affecting and refined tale that unfolds with grace and poignancy, underlining that the struggles of the elderly couple were relevant regardless of the changing world around them. The distinction between humor and sadness, fear and bravery, love and loneliness are explored with a stark beauty that makes the audience feel the weight of the Bloggs struggles. It is an outstanding exploration of the depths of the human experience.

When the Wind Blows is a 1988 animated movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 24 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.7.

When the Wind Blows
Where to Watch When the Wind Blows
When the Wind Blows is available to watch free on The Roku Channel Free, Tubi TV and Vudu Free. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, Amazon and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent When the Wind Blows for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 24 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.7  (12,431)