There are movies about war and then there are war films. And when it comes to World War II tales, two of our favorite subjects are the Special Operations Executive (SOE) and the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). 

And now SOE is going to be the subject of a Guy Ritchie film. The British director has filmed a number of blockbusters including Sherlock Holmes, Aladdin, and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Yet, he’s at his best when filming English and American gangster films, such as Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, and The Gentlemen

The film is to be based on Damien Lewis’s book, Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare: How Churchill’s Secret Warriors Set Europe Ablaze and Gave Birth to Modern Black Ops.

Jerry Bruckheimer and Chad Oman will produce the film. Arash Amel (A Private War), Eric Johnson, and Paul Tamasy (The Fighter) have signed on as screenwriters alongside Ritchie.

Ritchie loads his films with great ensemble casts, superb and at times hilarious dialogue, plenty of plot twists, and an abundance of action. Although the film should have a large budget the book’s story isn’t large in scope, involving only a handful of British operatives.

The Creation of Special Operations Executive

When France fell in the summer of 1940, Britain stood alone against the Nazi war machine. Winston Churchill saw the need to leave behind the “gentlemanly” way of conducting war. Therefore, he created SOE and tasked it with conducting “butcher and bolt” missions along the coasts of Europe. 

SOE was tasked to carry out, as Lewis writes “operations seen as too politically explosive, illegal or unconscionable as to be embraced by the wider British establishment.” Thus, the Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare was born. 

According to Lewis, amphetamines and bloodlust wired early SOE operatives. SOE was an unconventional, eclectic batch of warriors, thrill-seekers, and at times criminals.