LOS ANGELES — In 1938, as the world headed toward the second World War, British humanitarian Sir Nicholas Winton was racing against time.

A stockbroker by trade, Winton traveled to Prague and helped to rescue more than 600 predominantly Jewish children from Czechoslovakia, and from possible death, before Nazi occupation closed the borders. He did so without fanfare, and his story went unnoticed for nearly 50 years.

Decades later on the BBC show “That’s Life!” Winton was reunited with some of those he helped rescue, going from anonymity to a national hero.

His story is now on the big screen in the film, “One Life.”

In a recent interview with Spectrum News, Winton’s son, Nick Winton, said his father had no concept of the modern version of celebrity and wasn’t interested in watching himself on screen.

“It spoke to his modesty. We have him saying, ‘It is not about me. Anyone who wants to know about my story already knows it.’ I think that’s one of the important things about the film — it talks about a man who does good because it’s the right thing to do,” said the film’s director, James Hawes.

In recreating the scene in the film of the “That’s Life!” episode, Hawes said among the audience are the children and the children’s children that Winton helped saved.

Johnny Flyn as young Nicholas Winton in "One Life." (Image courtesy of Bleecker Street)

Nick Winton said it was much later in life, when he was in his 30s, that he realized what his father had done.

“It didn’t really mean anything to me until they stood up. Then the glory became real. The people became people who wouldn’t have stood up if he [his father] had not made the effort. That’s really when it made an impact on me,” he said.

Eva Paddock, one of the Kinder transportees saved by Winton, told Spectrum News that because the film is her life, it has particular significance to her.

“I think it is a really important film right now because it will inform young people about what they can do to help situations, not just sit back and wait. You can actually jump in and do something. To me, that is what is hugely important about the film. The way it [the film] tells our story is very special,” she said.

Helena Bonham Carter as Babette Winton in "One Life." (Image courtesy of Bleecker Street)

At a time when the world is once again in turmoil, Paddock says the film teaches that there is a place for everyone to exercise their humanity.

“My son, in his community, he has started a group that is re-homing refugees as we speak through the Welcome Corps. Everybody can at this time be doing something, not just sitting on their hands and looking at the news, saying, ‘I can’t watch the news, it’s so sad.’ There are children from Ukraine and children everywhere going to be needing homes, and people should start working on that,” she said.

“One Life” stars Academy Award winner Anthony Hopkins, Academy Award nominees Helena Bonham Carter, Jonathan Pryce and Johnny Flynn, Lena Olin, Romola Garai and Alex Sharp.

“One Life” is now playing in theaters.

Click the arrow above to watch the full interview with Helena Bonham Carter, Johnny Flynn, Nick Winton, Eva Paddock and James Hawes.


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