This movie shows how you don’t need a big budget to produce exciting, thought-provoking cinema. It was quite subversive for its time, but then it was directed by Joseph Losey. Senator McCarthy did Britain a favor by forcing Losey to emigrate.
If the movie was very much rooted in its time, it still speaks to us today. Britain’s sci-fi literature of the 50s and 60s was always challenging; the story of These are the Damned fits right in with the post-apocalyptic themes of the novels of John Wyndham. At the time the film was made we had just weathered the Cuban missile crisis. For days, the world had waited with baited breath to see if the human race was about to destroy itself.
The movie makes a fairly obvious comparison between the petty criminals who like to mug and hurt people, and the ruthlessness of the Establishment, intent on ensuring survival at all costs. Oliver Reed is at his brooding, violent best but is gradually won over by the children.
Well worth watching if you get the chance to see it.