"The Battle of the Somme is a 1916 British documentary and propaganda film. Shot by two official cinematographers, Geoffrey Malins and John McDowell, the film depicts the British Army's preparations for, and the early stages of, the battle of the Somme.
Premiered in London on 10 August 1916 and released generally on 21 August, while the battle continued in France, the film gave a very graphic depiction of trench warfare, showing dead and wounded British and German soldiers. The film was a massive success, selling some twenty million tickets in its first six weeks of release in Britain and going on to be distributed in eighteen other countries. A second film, covering a later phase of the battle, was released in 1917 as The Battle of the Ancre and the Advance of the Tanks.
Preserved in the film archive of the Imperial War Museum since 1920, the film was inscribed on UNESCO's Memory of the World Register in 2005. The film has since been digitally restored and released on DVD in 2008.
The Battle of the Somme remains significant today as an early example of film propaganda technique, as an historical record of the battle, and as a frequent source of footage illustrating the First World War."