Non English-language films are listed
under their English title, with the original language
title following in brackets. Where a film has never
been released with an English title, it is listed
under its original title with an English translation
in square brackets.
The date given is the production date, not the release
A chronoligical discrepancy related to Roses
Picardy in a film is mentioned as a curiosity.
Such a mention is not judgmental.
Links to video-sharing websites: the film
you expect to watch may have been blocked in your
Roses of Picardy
directed by Maurice Elvey (UK, 1927)
A young British officer pays a visit to
the village in Belgium where he was billeted in the
Great War. He remembers Madeleine who, like a mother
to a child, gave him the comfort he craved when he
went to pieces after a bloody night attack.
This silent film was accompanied by music
on records or by instrumentalists playing live. Roses
of Picardy was on the playlist. In some cases, a
singer would take part in the show.
Mr F. E. Weatherly, KC, the Famous Song Writer
Pathé Pictorial (UK, 1928)
F. E. Weatherly was an English barrister
who wrote the lyrics of many songs, including Roses of Picardy.
In this silent short, he is seen in his
garden amidst blooming roses.
The front page of Roses
Picardy sheet music is
superimposed on a close-up of a rose.
The documentary can be watched on the British Pathé channel on YouTube.
Strong and Willing
Vitaphone (USA, 1930)
The american vaudevillian Trixie
Friganza sings Strong and Willing, a
caricature of Roses of Picardy written by
It tells how Rosie O'Kerry, from a one
horse town, went to the big city and was immediately
engaged in a music hall company. The manager did not
realize the only song she could sing was Roses of
Picardy. Never mind! She will fit the song into
the show's weekly theme.
She sang Roses of Picardy as a
two-part song all by herself, and carried on in a fox
trot style. Next week it was a Spanish fandango.
Another week, it was a New Orleans jazz version.
Trixie Friganza sings and dances in this
five-minute-long quick-change act. She does not tell
how many weeks Rosie's engagement lasted!
Rudy Starita and His New
in Melodies of Long Ago
Pathé Pictorial (UK, 1936)
Rudy Starita plays Roses of Picardy
on the octa-rimba, accompanied by a guitarist and an
accordionist. They carry on with Love's Old Sweet
Song composed by J. L. Molloy.
This reel can be watched on the British Pathé channel on YouTube.
Forever and a Day
directed by Edmund Goulding, and others
a portmanteau film
This film was made with the entire
British colony in the Hollywood studios as a war
effort to raise money for charities. Producteurs,
writers, directors, actors and main technicians
volunteered. Haydn Wood agreed that no fee would be
paid for including Roses of Picardy in the
The film tells in as many episodes, the
changing fortunes of one mansion in London from 1804
when it was built, through 1941 when it was destroyed by
the Blitz. The episode directed by Edmund Goulding
starts in 1917; the mansion is by then a boarding house.
On 11 novembre 1918, the patrons—civilians or military,
manager and staff, and friends, have a party to
celebrate the armistice. They waltz and sing while a
sailor plays Roses of Picardy at the piano.
directed by Maclean Rogers (UK, 1943)
The son of the
Queen's Theatre manager visits his parents to
introduce his fiancée to them (he is a soldier on
leave). The show is about to begin; one can hear from
the lobby the orchestra playing Roses of Picardy.
The sequence begins
with a close-up of a sign announcing that today 20 May
1915, soldiers pay half price—and yet in actuality, Roses
of Picardy was not published in England until
This Happy Breed
directed by David Lean (UK, 1944)
London, 1919: Frank Gibbons is
demobilized after four years in the war. He has got a
job in a travel agency which proposes package tours to
the main battlefields of the Great War.
David Lean shows the agency's window
with flags and a picture of soldiers patrolling a
An orchestral arrangement of the chorus of
Roses of Picardy is background music for this
I Live in Grosvenor Square
(aka A Yank in London)
The Duke of Exmoor has given his residence
in London for use by American GIs. His housekeeper
doesn't like foreigners, so she says, but she secretly
sews their uniforms' buttons back on and mends their
socks. As she does, she listens to a music box which
plays Roses of Picardy.
directed by Herbert Wilcox (UK, 1945)
Devil in the Flesh
(Le Diable au corps)
directed by Claude Autant-Lara (France,
François and Marthe meet again in a pub
in Paris. She suddenly lets him believe that she is
engaged; at this point, a service man at a piano
starts playing Roses of Picardy in a rather
Later at a restaurant, François alludes to
the promised Nivelle Offensive. This places the scene by
early April 1917, which was actually too soon for Roses
of Picardy to be well known in France.
The Courtneys of Curzon
Street (aka Kathy's Love Affair)
directed by Herbert Wilcox (UK, 1947)
England, 1900: despite his mother's
opposition, the lieutenant Edward Courtney marries
Kate, their chambermaid. A few months later, Kate
moves away from him so as not to hamper his military
career. She has always been a lovely singer and
succeeds in getting an engagement in a theatre, and
later becomes a star.
During the Great War in Arras, France,
Edward goes to an entertainment for the troops where
he unexpectedly sees Kate singing Roses of
Picardy, accompanied by a small orchesta. The
soldiers join in the chorus the second time around.
Edward goes backstage to find Kate, and they promise
to never part again.
Anna Neagle is Kate. She prerecorded Roses
Picardy with a bigger orchestra than the
orchestra seen in the film.
It's the Great Pumpkin,
Snoopy wearing his World War I flying ace
costume is entertained by Schroeder who plays famous
wartime tunes at the piano. He bursts into tears when he
hears Roses of Picardy.
directed by Bill Melendez (USA, 1966)
Oh! What a Lovely War
directed by Richard Attenborough (UK,
At an Army Ball in December 1915, soon
after Douglas Haig has been appointed as the new
Commander in Chief of the British expeditionary force,
guests can be seen waltzing to the music of Roses
There is a chronological discrepancy here:
Roses of Picardy was actually written in 1916,
and the waltz arrangement published in 1919.
Those Daring Young Men in
Their Jaunty Jalopies
This is a farcical film about the Monte
Carlo rally in the 1920s. The competitors from various
places in Europe drive to Chambéry, the common
destination where they are billeted at the same hotel.
Each of them breaks out into singing bits of the chorus
of Roses of Picardy while they are in the
(aka Monte Carlo or Bust!)
directed by Ken Annakin (Italy, France,
directed by Reima Kekäläinen (Finland, 1973)
television series, episode 3
During the 1930s and 1940s in Helsinki,
Solveig had a difficult childhood and adolescence,
what with a bad mother and a loving but ailing father.
Later in the 1950s, she is walking in
the snow with her boyfriend; this is the day of her
first kiss. Roses of Picardy is the
background music for this moment of happiness.
References are not known for this recording
of the chorus of Roses of Picardy for
saxophone with orchestra.
Downstairs: Peace out of Pain
directed by Christopher Hodson (UK, 1974)
television series: season 4,
London, November 1918, a few days before
the armistice: Hazel Bellamy is in bed with a high
fever. One can hear Roses
of Picardy played on a gramophone by her
husband in his room next door. The doctor wishes that
Hazel rests in a quieter ambience.
References are not known for this recording
of the chorus of Roses of Picardy sung by a
tenor with piano accompaniment.
directed by Jack Gold (UK, 1975)
October 1917: a Royal Flying Corps
squadron is based near Amiens in Picardy. At the mess
hall, the captain enjoys playing the chorus of Roses
of Picardy at the piano.
Superior officers and lower ranks have
dinner together. A few pilots hum Roses of
Picardy to hide their concern about a missing
comrade-in-arms. When his death is confirmed, they
carry on humming as if nothing had happened.
A couple of days later, their leader
takes some of his men on a binge to a nightclub in
Amiens. A singer gives Roses of Picardy,
accompanied by a pianist.
She sings the chorus of the French version
which actually was published in 1918.
MASH: Old Soldiers
directed by Charles S. Durbin (USA,
television series: season 8,
The Korean war in
1950: refugee orphans are looked after at an American
field hospital. Colonel Potter withdraws into his
office to remember his four comrades-in-arms of the
Great War; the last of them has just died in hospital
in Tokyo. Potter plays a record of Roses of
Picardy together with a Korean kid who has
stepped into the office when he heard the music
through the door.
This recording of Roses of Picardy
was probably recorded especially for the episode. It is
a duet for violin and accordion with added clicks
typical of a 78 rpm record.
One Deadly Summer
directed by Jean Becker (France, 1982)
Éliane was born after her mother was
raped by three men, one of them being a street
musician who would go from city to city pulling a
He is dead now but
under a drive for vengeance, Éliane flirts with his
son and soon asks him about the player piano. 'Hey,
how did you hear about it? … It's a pity it can play
one tune only!'
They make love that night at his place,
and the next morning she searches and finds the piano
abandoned in a barn. She dusts it off and unveils the
monogram M, the initial of the man who could have been
Another day, haunted by the rape, Éliane
spins herself around and around until she faints
beside the piano.
Later in the film, a flashback develops
at length as to how the rape happened.
Jean Becker and the composer Georges
Delerue chose Roses of Picardy as the only
tune which the piano can play. Actually, the piano is
never activated in the film. Roses of Picardy
is only heard as a haunting recollection at each
instance described above.
The Indomitable Teddy
directed by Harrison Engle (USA, 1983)
Theodore Roosevelt was president of the
United States from 1901 to 1909. In 1914, he
campaigned unsuccessfully for the US to join the
Allies when World War 1 broke out.
His four sons served in combat; two were
wounded, and the youngest, Quentin, was killed in 1918
when his airplane was shot down.
For Theodore Roosevelt it was a long,
lonely walk back to the house, to tell his wife Edith
the terrible news.
'To feel that one has inspired a boy to
conduct that has resulted in his death, has a pretty
serious side for a father.'
The music of John Philip Sousa accompanies
this feature-length documentary, except for this
sequence which is accompanied by the chorus of Roses of Picardy as sung
twice in a row by the tenor John
McCormack with an orchestra conducted by Josef
Pasternack (Camden, New Jersey, USA, 1919).
A Passage to India
India, the 1920s: the English Administrator
of Chandrapore (an imaginary town) has condescended to
give a reception for the local Indian elite in the
Club's garden. This is an unprecedented event which he
hopes will not be repeated, so that the Club will remain
strictly forbidden to Indian people. During the
reception, a military band plays Roses of Picardy.
directed by David Lean (UK, 1984)
He Died with His Eyes Open
(On ne meurt que
The detective Staniland investigates the
murder of a well-known pianist, Charly Berliner. He
hears from a barman about how Charly, when he couldn't
bear an unhappy love affair, would go to the bar late at
night and sit at the piano: 'You wouldn't believe it, an
artiste, he was on familiar terms with Beethoven … he
would play the Roses of Picardy, old crap of
the '20s!' The detective and the barman have fun with
humming together the chorus of Roses of Picardy.
directed by Jacques Deray (France,
A Month in the Country
directed by Pat O'Connor (UK, 1986)
Summer in the early 1920s: Tom Birkin, a
young man emotionally suffering from his participation
in the Great War, has arrived by train from London to
a remote Yorkshire village for a month's job,
restoring a mural in the local church. The
stationmaster's children, to keep him company, bring a
gramophone they install upon the baptismal font. The
first record they put on for him is Roses of
Picardy. While it is playing, the children have
almost an argument with Tom about the lilies in a
religious painting they have at home; Tom muses, "Why
just lilies? Why not roses, or lilies and roses, or
just roses, or roses and daisies?" He will not allow
them to climb up the ladder and look at his work in
One morning he thinks he hears the
children entering the church and he immediately tells
them that he doesn't want Roses of Picardy
today. When he turns around, he sees the vicar's
charming wife who dares join him on the scaffolding to
look at the mural; she wears a hat with one of the old
roses she grows in the vicarage's garden.
The chorus of Roses of Picardy,
arranged for violin and piano, followed by a few bars
for string orchestra, is heard in the film once only.
Yet rose symbolism pervades through several scenes.
The Whales of August
directed by Lindsay Anderson (USA,
Sarah tenderly looks at a picture of her
late husband (in uniform) and talks to him with a
glass of wine in her hand, a red rose and a white rose
beside her: '46 years, Philip, 46 red roses, 46 white,
white for truth, red for passion.' Then she puts the
gramophone on and listens to Roses of Picardy,
with the red rose in her hand.
Lindsay Anderson chose a recording by the
tenor John McCormack with an orchestra conducted by
Josef Pasternack (Camden, New Jersey, USA, 1919).
England, 1934: Alma, an ex-pianist and
composer, talks to George, her young servant. Learning
that he was born in November 1916, she confides to him
that she married her first husband in 1916. He was 19
when he left for the French front, and she never saw him
again. Seated at her piano, she nostalgically tinkles
the keys and hums the chorus of Roses of Picardy,
and bursts into tears.
directed by John Gorrie (UK,
directed by Woody Allen (USA, 1988)
Marion is a New York philosophy
professor on sabbatical leave who is facing a mid-life
crisis. She pays a visit to her brother Paul with whom
she long had a difficult relationship.
In the corridor leading to Paul's
office, one can hear Roses of Picardy played
in a nearby room. While they talk, Paul goes and shuts
his office door, putting an end to this musical
Woody Allen chose Frankie Carle's piano
rendition of Roses of Picardy (New York,
For a previous film, Radio Days
(1986), Allen wrote a scene about an amateur radio
channel: the Coopers broadcast from their garage; the
mother introduces the programme, and plays the piano
accompaniment for her daughter who sings Roses of
Picardy; the father is in charge of all
technicities. The scene was shot but it was not included
in the final version of the film.
The House of Eliott
directed by Graeme Harper (UK, 1992)
television series: season 2, episode 2
The House of Eliott is a London high
society fashion house in the 1920s. Beatrice Eliott
invites Alice Burgoyne to tea with the idea of hiring
her, because she believes her to be an experienced
saleswoman with an established list of clientele.
While they discuss the matter in the elegant tearoom,
a violin and piano duo plays Roses of Picardy.
Actually one doesn't see the two musicians.
This performance of Roses of Picardy was
probably recorded especially for the episode.
Performance: Message for
directed by David Jones (UK, 1994)
London, 1967: a commitee of the House
of Commons commissions a socialist Welsh painter,
James Player, to do a portait of
Sir David Browning who had been a long serving Tory
prime minister. Browning, retired
in the country, is aging and
He turns on the television, mumbling, 'I
hope they sing Roses of
Picardy for a change.'
One day, he falls asleep in his garden
and has a nightmare of the Great War. Visions of
trenches and cemeteries mix with a sustained machine-like soft dissonant drone
and a warbling soprano singing Roses
of Picardy. James Player
suddenly arrives, paying a first visit to David
Browning. He wakes him up and introduces himself:
– My name is James Player ... the painter, Sir.
– Ah yes, the
painter, in the hush of the
silvery dew! Player
does not get Browning's quotation from Roses
– I beg your pardon.
– You interrupted an unscheduled doze, Mr. Player.
Another day, Clara Browning is driving
to her grandfather's. The car radio is playing Roses of Picardy.
She gets tired of it: 'Oh, brother!' and switches the
The nightmarish visions mix with the
chorus of Roses of Picardy sung by the soprano Florence Smithson with
an orchestra (London, July? 1917). And the radio plays
a waltz version of Roses of
Picardy by Victor
Silvester and His Ballroom Orchestra (UK, circa 1960).
for Posterity can be watched on YouTube.
Johnny and the Dead
directed by Gerald Fox (UK, 1994)
television series: episode 3
England, the 1990s: the Blackbury
cemetery is sold to property developers. The dead
appear to Johnny, a boy who likes strolling around
there; they ask him to help them save their cemetery.
Two of the dead, Fletcher and Einstein,
decide to go to their favorite pub after so many
years. They find that the place hasn't changed much,
but to them the jukebox is making terrible music.
Fletcher presses a button and instantly Roses of
Picardy takes over. Einstein starts humming the
chorus. This tune of another age spreads confusion
and, although a middle-aged lady sings along, all
customers and staff run out when the pinball machine
and the jukebox both short-circuit. The dead are left
alone in the dark and have a beer, much to their
Roses of Picardy is performed by
Freddy Gardner on the saxophone with Peter Yorke and His
Concert Orchestra (London, UK, 1948).
Black Holes (I buchi neri)
directed by Pappi Corsicato (Italy, 1995)
Adamo and Angela are two tormented souls
in search of tenderness and love. He is a homosexual
whose job is driving a truck to take rotten bananas to
the dump. She is a prostitute.
One he dreams that they are making love
at the bottom of the Gulf of Naples. Suddenly, dozens
of bananas floating in the water sink over him while
This dream sequence is accompanied by Roses of Picardy
performed by Eddie Calvert on the trumpet, with Norrie
Paramor and His Orchestra (London, UK, 31 January
Holes can be watched on Vimeo.
Léargas: Ná Lig Sinn i
[Léargas: Lest We Be Forgotten ...]
directed by Pat Butler (Ireland, 2003)
This documentary remembers the some
fifty-five thousand Irish nationalists who fell
fighting with the British Army in the Great War.
The Irish writer Pól Ó Muiri is in
Albert (Somme, France) on his way to the battlefield
where his own relation, James Murray, died in 1916.
This sequence in Albert (from
the railway station to the basilica) is accompanied by
the chorus of Roses of
Picardy performed by the tenor John McCormack with an orchestra
conducted by Josef Pasternack (Camden, New Jersey,
This documentary can be watched on YouTube.
Ladies in Lavender
directed by Charles Dance (UK, 2003)
The coast of Cornwall in 1936: two
elderly spinster sisters, Ursula and Janet, take into
their home and soon into their hearts, a young Polish
shipwreck survivor, Andrea. Ursula has a dream: she as
a young girl is rolling in a sunny field in a loving
embrace with Andrea; but soon in her dream, Andrea is
looking tenderly at their neighbour, a young lady the
sisters are a little jealous of.
The chorus of Roses of Picardy
is background music throughout Ursula's dream and
continues into the next sequence, just long enough to
show a photograph of a soldier on Janet's bedside
table. Janet, a volunteer nurse in the Great War,
became very close to this soldier whose wounds she
tended, and who later died fighting.
Roses of Picardy is sung by the
tenor John McCormack, with Edwin Schneider at the piano
(New York, 1928). Dream-like reverberation and echo were
added to the original recording.
directed by James Strong (UK, 2011)
television series: season 2, episode 8
Yorkshire, 1919: cousins of Lavinia has
given her a gramophone. She tries it out with Lady
Mary who puts on a record of Roses of Picardy.
The dowager Countess of Grantham does not welcome this
new technology in Downton Abbey Castle.
Roses of Picardy is sung by a
tenor, with piano accompaniment. One hears the song, as
it quickly fades into the background, starting from the
piano introduction through the second line of the first
directed by Steven Spielberg (USA,
Dartmoor, Devon, 1914: to pay the rent,
Ted Narracott sells his son Albert's beloved horse
Joey to Captain Nicholls of the British Army. Nicholls
promises Albert that he will take good care of the
horse and possibly bring it back to him after the war.
Captain Nicholls and Joey go off to
train for battle, and Joey meets and becomes friends
with another horse. While they are nuzzling, the song
Roses of Picardy subtly begins ...
... played on a gramophone while
Nicholls, still in England, draws a portrait of Joey
to send to Albert.
Nicholls and Joey with their unit have
been transferred to France. The song carries on for a
short moment over a shot of the cavalry who is going
to attack a German unit at Quiévrechain in 1914.
Since Roses of Picardy was not
written until 1916, there is a chronological discrepancy
here. Sung by the tenor John McCormack with an orchestra
conducted by Josef Pasternack (Camden, New Jersey, USA,
1919), one hears the chorus only, repeated as a loop a
couple of times.
directed by Philip Martin (UK,
television series: episode 1
A trench near
Béthune, 1916 : Lieutenant Wraysford and Captain Weir
get a break in a dugout. Wraysford plays solitaire and
turns over the Queen of Spades while Weir has a shave
before he half-heartedly opens a package sent by his
A faintly audible gramophone is playing
Roses of Picardy.
Roses of Picardy was not
recorded until 1917, and Philip Martin chose a
recording from 1919—by the tenor John McCormack with
an orchestra conducted by Josef Pasternack (Camden,
New Jersey, USA).
Note that another song was substitued for Roses
Picardy on the DVD of Birdsong.
Les Fils du vent
[Sons of the Wind]
directed by Bruno Le Jean
This feature-length documentary portrays
gypsy jazz artistes who perpetuate the legacy of
At Saint-Quay-Portrieux (Côtes-d'Armor,
France), one of them, Tchavolo
Schmitt, plays a uniquely contemplative rendition of Roses of Picardy
while sitting on a deck overlooking the English Channel
(year unknown: Les
Fils du vent was shot over eight years and
released in 2012).
Before the Winter Chill
directed by Philippe Claudel
(France, Luxembourg, 2012)
Paul, a successful French neurosurgeon,
has been married to Lucie for about thirty years. They
are still very much in love, although their
relationship has developed ongoing patterns of lack of
communication. After a tense dinner, he puts a record
on and they tenderly dance to Roses of Picardy,
sung in English.
It is about then that they start getting
anonymous bouquets of red roses, delivered to his
office at the hospital, or at home.
The recording chosen by Philippe Claudel
includes the chorus only of Roses of Picardy,
by the Irish entertainer Sonny Knowles (circa 1972).
An Accidental Soldier
directed by Rachel Ward
A town in France near to the front,
March 1918: Australian soldiers are idly hanging
around outdoors waiting to be called up to the front.
– Think we'll ever get there?
– I think there is no hurry to get myself shot.
– Yeah, we can't go back without seeing the show, can
we? It wouldn't be right.
A gramophone installed on the street is
playing Roses of Picardy.
Sung by the tenor Ernest Pike with an
orchestra conducted by Arthur Wood (London, 12 May
1917), one hears the beginning of the chorus of Roses
of Picardy which quickly fades into the
The Danish Girl
directed by Tom Hooper (UK, 2015)
Copenhagen, Denmark, 1926: Einar and
Gerda Wegener, both emerging painters, are a happily
married young couple.
While chatting at a party, they recount
the day they first met:
– We went for coffee, and after, I kissed him. And it
was the strangest thing. It was like kissing myself.
One can hear softly in the background an
ensemble playing Roses of Picardy.
Picardy is performed by Certains L'Aiment
Chaud, an all-female jazz orchestra (Soignolles-en-Brie,
France, January 2002). One hears their introduction,
which is the melody of the verses of Roses of
Cézanne et moi (Cézanne et moi)
directed by Danièle Thompson
Paul Cézanne and
Émile Zola, and friends, with
their wives or lovers, spend a
leisurely day in the country beside a river.
Writing notes (Zola),
painting from nature (Cézanne), picnic lunch on the grass,
Roses of Picardy is a
predominant non-diegetic feature for most of the
Picardy is performed by Certains L'Aiment
Chaud, an all-female jazz orchestra (Soignolles-en-Brie,
France, January 2002).