Open main menu

Fires Were Started is a 1943 British film written and directed by Humphrey Jennings, filmed in documentary style, showing the lives of firefighters through the Blitz during the Second World War. The film uses actual firemen (including Cyril Demarne) rather than professional actors.

Fires Were Started
Still from the documentary "Fires Were Started".jpg
Still from the documentary Fires Were Started
Directed by Humphrey Jennings
Produced by Ian Dalrymple
Written by Humphrey Jennings
Starring George Gravett
Phillip Wilson-Dickson
Fred Griffiths
Loris Rey
Johnny Houghton
T.P. Smith
John Barker
Music by William Alwyn
Cinematography C.M. Pennington-Richards
Edited by Stewart McAllister
Distributed by Crown Film Unit
Release date
12 April 1943 (UK)
Running time
65 min.
Country United Kingdom
Language English



Exterior shots were filmed on location, while the interior scenes were shot at Pinewood Studios. Jennings's first cut of the film - titled I Was a Fireman ran to 74 minutes, which was cut down to 65 minutes and released as Fires Were Started.

Critical receptionEdit

Film critics mostly praised the film for its realism and documentary value, despite its reconstructions. Dilys Powell, of the Sunday Times declared its authenticity to be 'moving and terrifying'.[1]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Winston, Fires Were Started, p. 66.


  • Winston, Brian, Fires Were Started (London, 1999)

External linksEdit