Produced by Stanhope Andrews, Country Lads was used to advocate for a reorganised government filmmaking body to publicise the war effort, before screening in cinemas as the first National Film Unit production. Lads shows footage of soldiers as they leave for the front. Adolf Hitler had called the Kiwi soldiers "poor deluded country lads"; but here the description is co-opted as a compliment. A national character is expressed — pioneers who had "helped make this country what it is: happy, prosperous and free" — and is used to underpin the soldiers' mission.
Our army, ourselves ... civilian into soldier. It’s an old story, but this time it is about us, and that makes it different. There is no goose-stepping here, just the swinging stride of free men who have put on their working clothes and got into step for the biggest job ever tackled.– ... from the newsreel's narration