The British Get the 'Mission Impossible' Treatment in 'The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare'

The cast of The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare

The cast of The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare

Daniel Smith/Lionsgate

The true history of the British Special Forces, known as the SAS, has been a popular subject in the last few decades as classified documents from the era pass into the public record. The shoestring and chewing gum operations of the era have been the stuff of legend since the end of the war, including directly giving rise to James Bond. (Former member of the SAS, Ian Fleming, used his experiences to inform the popular series.) But as the documents confirming these stories emerge, a cottage industry of nonfiction books on the subject has sprung up, and from them, TV shows and movies inspired by these events, including Guy Richie's latest would-be blockbuster, The Ministry Of Ungentlemanly Warfare.

Richie's is far from the first entry into this genre. Operation Mincemeat, for example, was originally planned for theatrical release, but the pandemic sadly put the kibosh on that, and it wound up lost on Netflix. SAS Rogue Heroes (which over here is merely titled Rogue Heroes) was a smash hit on the BBC when it debuted in 2022, but sadly completely went unnoticed on Epix, which was in the middle of its rebrand to MGM+ at the time. (Hopefully, Amazon will have gotten its house in order by the time Season 2 arrives later in 2024, and the series will get a fair shot this time.)

The good news for The Ministry Of Ungentlemanly Warfare is that it does not suffer from a lack of marketing like Operation Mincemeat did or lost on a platform no one subscribes to, a la Rogue Heroes. The film is getting a high-profile release in theaters, a full-scale marketing push worthy of its blockbuster status, and it even boasts a decent marquee cast, though perhaps not in the traditional "action star" sense, other than Henry Cavill (Argylle), who leads the roster as the real-life Gus March-Phillips, who led the team. Check out the trailer, which provides plenty of aforementioned action, and Cavill having a blast doing it.

Here's the film's official synopsis:

Inspired by true events, The Ministry is based upon recently declassified files of the British War Department. The film tells the story of the first-ever special forces organization formed during WWII by UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill and a small group of military officials, including author Ian Fleming. The top-secret combat unit, composed of a motley crew of rogues and mavericks, goes on a daring mission against the Nazis using entirely unconventional and utterly “ungentlemanly” fighting techniques. Ultimately, their audacious approach changed the course of the war and laid the foundation for the British SAS and modern Black Ops warfare.

Cavill's team, as noted, is filled with British high profile actors, though perhaps not the ones you'd immediately picture in a film filled with bullet casings and bombs. Henry Golding (Persuasion) and Cary Elwes (Stranger Things) co-star, for one thing. The crew is made up of  Alex Pettyfer (The Last Witness), Hero Fiennes Tiffin (The Tunnel), Freddie Fox (Slow Horses), Eiza González (Welcome to Marwen), and Alan Ritchson (Reacher). The film also includes Babs Olusanmokun (Dune), Til Schweiger (Medieval), Henry Zaga (The Stand), Fisher Stevens (Succession), Danny Sapani (Killing Eve), and Carlos Bardem (Assassin's Creed). And yes, that's Hero's uncle Ralph Fiennes in a cameo in the trailer as well.

Ritchie directed from his script, which was co-written with Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, and Arash Amel. Ritchie executive produced the film with Mr. Blow-Things-Up himself, Jerry Bruckheimer, plus Chad Oman, Ivan Atkinson, and John Friedberg. Hey, it may not be historically accurate, but it will at least be fun.

The Ministry Of Ungentlemanly Warfare is set to open globally in theaters on Friday, April 19, 2024.


Ani Bundel has been blogging professionally since 2010. A DC native, Hufflepuff, and Keyboard Khaleesi, she spends all her non-writing time taking pictures of her cats. Regular bylines also found on MSNBC, Paste, Primetimer, and others. 

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