WWII on film

Discussion in 'Films, Music and All Things Artsy' started by weekend_worrier, Aug 10, 2012.

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  1. Got the idea from reading another thread in which an ARRSEr was asking about films he could show his son to give him a bit of a background on the First World War, so I thought I'd do it for the second.

    My thinking revolved around one film for one theme, or one theatre of the war. The film would either be factually based, or at the very least it would be authentic (e.g. fictional, but not 'U571'). I've tried not to be Brit-centric, and made the list as balanced as possible:

    Free Europeans fighting in exile - 'Dark Blue World'.
    Fall of France - 'Dunkirk'.
    The Battle of Britain - 'The Battle of Britain'.
    Battle of the Atlantic (German perspective) - 'Das Boot'.
    Battle of the Atlantic (Allied perspective) - 'The Cruel Sea'.
    Britain fights for survival - 'Sink the Bismarck'.
    Eastern Europe between Hitler and Stalin - 'Europa, Europa'.
    Barbarossa - 'Come and See'.
    The Holocaust - 'The Pianist'.
    North Africa - 'Ice Cold in Alex'.
    Pearl Harbor - 'Tora, Tora, Tora'.
    Australia at war - 'Kokoda'.
    Occupation, collaboration and resistance - 'Army of Shadows'.
    Eastern Front - 'Cross of Iron'.
    America and the war against Germany - 'The Big Red One'.
    D Day - 'The Longest Day'.
    The Western front 1944 - 'A Bridge Too Far'.
    Fall of Nazi Germany - 'Downfall'.
    SOE - 'Carve Her Name with Pride'.
    Special operations - 'Sea of Sand'.
    Post-war - 'The Third Man'.

    There are some films which I haven't seen which cover the following categories (not sure how good they are, though):

    Colonial troops and WWII - 'Indigenes'.
    The Warsaw Rising and the Polish resistance - 'Kanal'.
    Pacific War (American side) - 'Flags of our Fathers'.
    Pacific War (Japanese side) - 'Sands of Iwo Jima'.
    The home front - 'Hope and Glory'.

    I'm also a bit stuck with recommendations on the following, either because I can't think of any films, or the ones I've seen I don't really rate:

    The Burma campaign.
    The Italian campaign (I can only think of 'Anzio', which was pretty weak).
    China at war.
    The strategic air campaign by Bomber Command/8th USAAF (not really impressed with 'Memphis Belle').
  2. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer

    The Dam Busters? Target for Tonight? Otherwise VG list I reckon.

    I thought Sands of Iwo Jima was a John Wayne film. Seem to remember the posters in London.

    Personally I like 'In Which We Serve' and 'The Battle of the River Plate' but then I would.
  3. A City of Life & Death. Have the child psychologist on speed dial. Seriously.

    Slightly less unrelentingly brutal coverage of the same subject is City of War, the Story of John Rabe.

    Truth be told, there aren't that many Chinese-made films about the anti-Japanese that aren't blatant propaganda for either the KMT or CCP. Most of the best films set in that era are personal stories about how individuals and communities were affected, rather than depictions of history.
  4. If you don't like subtitles look away now.

    Max Manus: Man of War (2008) - IMDb

    Ignore the slightly average to merely good IMdb rating as it's gets influenced by yanks who don't like films not in American, it's a corker.
    • Like Like x 2
  5. Bit disappointed not to see Mrs Miniver on the list.

    Or Odette.

    Days of Glory.

    The Winter War.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Yes I echo "Mrs Miniver" for the Home front- a much better film than "Hope and Glory"
  7. Went The Day Day Well?
    Theirs is The Glory
  8. Operation Mincemeat...

    The Silent Enemy...
  9. Not sure what everyone else thought of it but:

    Appointment in London (1952) about bomber command, starring Dirk Bogarde.

    Also what about Schindler's List?
  10. I would put up 'The life and death of Colonel Blimp' and 'Millions like us'

    Films made during the war are going to have a different perspective to post war films; compare and contrast 'Went the day well?' with 'The eagle has landed'. How he escaped plagarist charges is a mystery to me.
  11. Thanks for the recommends.

    @ seaweed - I had a mongy moment. The film I'm thinking of is 'Letters from Iwo Jima'. You're right about 'Sands' being the John Wayne film.

    @ putteesinmyhands - Take your points, but 'Indigenes' is the original French title for 'Days of Glory' (the name given when it was released in the UK). I'll try and get my hands on that Finnish film you mention.

    @ smartascarrots - Thanks for the recommends. I've heard about both these films but haven't seen them. I must admit that I'm not looking forward to watching any films about Nanjing.

    @ Biscuits_Brown - I thought 'Went the Day Well?' was an excellent film (and pretty graphic for the 1940s), but I haven't put it on the list as it describes an event which never occurred (namely a German invasion of the British mainland). I also suspect that Jack Higgins may have seen it before he wrote 'The Eagle Has Landed' (but then Chef has spotted this as well).

    Films like 'Mrs Miniver' and 'The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp' might be put in a seperate category, on Morale and Propaganda. I haven't see the first but I understand the second was pretty controversial (Churchill hated it).

    @ Chef

    I think you're right about the difference between wartime and post-war films, but I also feel that of the latter the films made with a generation of actors who had war experience have their own unique character. I recall Richard Todd being interviewed a few years before he passed away, and he said that when he was doing 'The Dambusters' Gibson's last line about having to write letters to the NOK of dead crewmen almost made him choke, because he had to do the same thing when he was serving in the Ox and Bucks in Normandy.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Windtalkers...
  13. One thing that was pointed out to me back in the 70s was this; in the films actors are playing characters who would have been teenagers, or early twenties; Audie Murphy was ten years older than he was when he portrayed himself in 'To hell and back'

    Another post war film which is good in its own right is 'Bad day at Black Rock'.
  14. My faith is restored in ARRSE
    The morons have not got hold of this thread yet,,,keep it up lads
  15. U571

    (Sorry, couldn't resist)