Fortunes of War (1987): S01E01 – The Balkans: September 1939


Fortunes of War is a 1987 BBC television adaptation of Olivia Manning’s cycle of novels Fortunes of War.

It stars Kenneth Branagh as Guy Pringle, lecturer in English Literature in Bucharest during the early part of the Second World War, and Emma Thompson as his wife Harriet.


Newlyweds Guy and Harriet Pringle arrive in Bucharest, as does the impoverished Prince Yakimov, who takes a temporary job as a journalist on a British paper to save himself from destitution. Harriet is introduced to her fellow expatriates (making friends with the middle-class Bella, who has married a wealthy local man) and to Guy’s Romanian friend and admirer Sophie. Their happy life is interrupted by the assassination of the Romanian prime minister Călinescu and Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland. Rumours fly of a German invasion of Romania and Guy, though absorbed in his work and organising social events, takes steps to protect the family of a Jewish student of his, Sasha Drucker, from the anti-semitic Romanian regime.

Fortunes of War Series

You can find a full index and overview of Fortunes of War here.

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date: 11 October 1987.
  • Running Time: 60 minutes.
  • Rating: 15.
  • Country: UK.
  • Language: English.

Video Link(s)

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