WAR FILMS : TOP 50

by louiskasatkin | created - 21 Aug 2012 | updated - 05 Dec 2012 | Public
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1. Downfall (2004)

R | 156 min | Biography, Drama, History

8.2
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
82 Metascore

Traudl Junge, the final secretary for Adolf Hitler, tells of the Nazi dictator's final days in his Berlin bunker at the end of WWII.

Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel | Stars: Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Maria Lara, Ulrich Matthes, Juliane Köhler

Votes: 275,952 | Gross: $5.51M

2. The Longest Day (1962)

G | 178 min | Action, Drama, History

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The events of D-Day, told on a grand scale from both the Allied and German points of view.

Directors: Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton, Bernhard Wicki, Gerd Oswald, Darryl F. Zanuck | Stars: John Wayne, Robert Ryan, Richard Burton, Henry Fonda

Votes: 46,215 | Gross: $39.10M

3. The Guns of Navarone (1961)

158 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

7.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A British team is sent to cross occupied Greek territory and destroy the massive German gun emplacement that commands a key sea channel.

Director: J. Lee Thompson | Stars: David Niven, Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn, Anthony Quayle

Votes: 38,946 | Gross: $28.90M

4. Das Boot (1981)

R | 149 min | Adventure, Drama, Thriller

8.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
86 Metascore

The claustrophobic world of a WWII German U-boat; boredom, filth, and sheer terror.

Director: Wolfgang Petersen | Stars: Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Klaus Wennemann, Hubertus Bengsch

Votes: 187,048 | Gross: $11.49M

5. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

R | 169 min | Drama, War

8.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
90 Metascore

Following the Normandy Landings, a group of U.S. soldiers go behind enemy lines to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns

Votes: 993,049 | Gross: $216.54M

6. Cross of Iron (1977)

R | 119 min | Drama, War

7.5
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A German commander places a squad in extreme danger after its Sergeant refuses to lie for him.

Director: Sam Peckinpah | Stars: James Coburn, Maximilian Schell, James Mason, David Warner

Votes: 22,025

7. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

Unrated | 136 min | Drama, War

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A young soldier faces profound disillusionment in the soul-destroying horror of World War I.

Director: Lewis Milestone | Stars: Lew Ayres, Louis Wolheim, John Wray, Arnold Lucy

Votes: 50,207 | Gross: $3.27M

8. The Great Escape (1963)

Not Rated | 172 min | Adventure, Drama, History

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Allied prisoners of war plan for several hundred of their number to escape from a German camp during World War II.

Director: John Sturges | Stars: Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson

Votes: 184,069

9. Operation: Daybreak (1975)

PG | 118 min | Drama, History, War

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In 1942, Britain sends a group of British-trained Czech commandos to Prague to assassinate SS-General Reinhard Heydrich, head of the Nazi security services.

Director: Lewis Gilbert | Stars: Timothy Bottoms, Martin Shaw, Joss Ackland, Nicola Pagett

Votes: 1,443

10. Valkyrie (2008)

PG-13 | 121 min | Drama, History, Thriller

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
56 Metascore

A dramatization of the 20 July assassination and political coup plot by desperate renegade German Army officers against Hitler during World War II.

Director: Bryan Singer | Stars: Tom Cruise, Bill Nighy, Carice van Houten, Kenneth Branagh

Votes: 199,542 | Gross: $83.08M

11. The Dirty Dozen (1967)

Not Rated | 150 min | Action, Adventure, War

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

During World War II, a rebellious U.S. Army Major is assigned a dozen convicted murderers to train and lead them into a mass assassination mission of German officers.

Director: Robert Aldrich | Stars: Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, John Cassavetes

Votes: 57,435 | Gross: $45.30M

12. The Bridge at Remagen (1969)

R | 115 min | Action, Drama, War

6.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

As the Allied armies close in, the Germans decide to blow up the last Rhine bridge, trapping their own men on the wrong side. But will it happen?

Director: John Guillermin | Stars: George Segal, Robert Vaughn, Ben Gazzara, Bradford Dillman

Votes: 7,166

13. Von Ryan's Express (1965)

Unrated | 117 min | Action, Adventure, War

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An American POW leads a group of mainly British prisoners to escape from the Germans in WWII.

Director: Mark Robson | Stars: Frank Sinatra, Trevor Howard, Raffaella Carrà, Brad Dexter

Votes: 11,046 | Gross: $17.11M

14. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

PG | 161 min | Adventure, Drama, War

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

After settling his differences with a Japanese PoW camp commander, a British colonel co-operates to oversee his men's construction of a railway bridge for their captors - while oblivious to a plan by the Allies to destroy it.

Director: David Lean | Stars: William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, Sessue Hayakawa

Votes: 166,481 | Gross: $44.91M

15. Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (1983)

R | 123 min | Drama, War

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

During WWII, a British colonel tries to bridge the cultural divides between a British POW and the Japanese camp commander in order to avoid bloodshed.

Director: Nagisa Ôshima | Stars: David Bowie, Tom Conti, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Takeshi Kitano

Votes: 11,936 | Gross: $2.31M

16. Up from the Beach (1965)

99 min | Drama, War

6.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

After the D-Day landings in June 1944, a US squadron liberates a small village in Normandy from German occupation.

Director: Robert Parrish | Stars: Cliff Robertson, Red Buttons, Irina Demick, Marius Goring

Votes: 60

17. A Bridge Too Far (1977)

PG | 175 min | Drama, History, War

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Operation Market Garden, September 1944: The Allies attempt to capture several strategically important bridges in the Netherlands in the hope of breaking the German lines. However, mismanagement and poor planning result in its failure.

Director: Richard Attenborough | Stars: Sean Connery, Ryan O'Neal, Michael Caine, Laurence Olivier

Votes: 43,684 | Gross: $50.80M

18. The Thin Red Line (1998)

R | 170 min | Drama, War

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
78 Metascore

Adaptation of James Jones' autobiographical 1962 novel, focusing on the conflict at Guadalcanal during the second World War.

Director: Terrence Malick | Stars: Jim Caviezel, Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Elias Koteas

Votes: 150,329 | Gross: $36.40M

19. Too Late the Hero (1970)

GP | 145 min | Action, War, Drama

6.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A reluctant hero, American Lieutenant Sam Lawson, is secunded to a motley British unit tasked with destroying a Japanese radio on a Philippine island.

Director: Robert Aldrich | Stars: Michael Caine, Cliff Robertson, Ian Bannen, Harry Andrews

Votes: 2,774

20. The Colditz Story (1955)

94 min | Drama, History, War

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Allied prisoners of various nationalities pool their resources to plan numerous escapes from an "escape-proof" German POW camp housed in a Medieval castle.

Director: Guy Hamilton | Stars: John Mills, Eric Portman, Christopher Rhodes, Lionel Jeffries

Votes: 1,778

21. The Eagle Has Landed (1976)

PG | 123 min | Adventure, Drama, Thriller

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A German plot to kidnap Winston Churchill unfolds at the height of World War II.

Director: John Sturges | Stars: Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland, Robert Duvall, Jenny Agutter

Votes: 15,548

22. Patton (1970)

GP | 172 min | Biography, Drama, War

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
91 Metascore

The World War II phase of the career of the controversial American general, George S. Patton.

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner | Stars: George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Stephen Young, Michael Strong

Votes: 82,615 | Gross: $61.70M

23. The McKenzie Break (1970)

PG | 108 min | War, Drama, Action

6.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

During WW2, German POWs in Britain plot to escape from their prison camp in Scotland.

Director: Lamont Johnson | Stars: Brian Keith, Helmut Griem, Ian Hendry, Jack Watson

Votes: 1,220

24. King Rat (1965)

Approved | 134 min | War, Drama

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A fast-taking wheeler-dealer corporal in a Malaysian POW camp during WWII uses bribery and larceny to take de facto control of the camp from his senior officers.

Director: Bryan Forbes | Stars: George Segal, Tom Courtenay, James Fox, Patrick O'Neal

Votes: 3,340

25. The Train (1964)

Not Rated | 133 min | Thriller, War

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

In 1944, a German colonel loads a train with French art treasures to send to Germany. The Resistance must stop it without damaging the cargo.

Directors: John Frankenheimer, Arthur Penn | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Paul Scofield, Jeanne Moreau, Suzanne Flon

Votes: 11,318 | Gross: $7.41M

26. The Big Red One (1980)

R | 113 min | Drama, War

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
77 Metascore

The story of a sergeant and the inner core members of his unit as they try to serve in and survive World War II.

Director: Samuel Fuller | Stars: Lee Marvin, Mark Hamill, Robert Carradine, Bobby Di Cicco

Votes: 16,482

27. The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel (1951)

Approved | 88 min | Biography, Drama, War

7.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The story of the final years of the respected World War II German general, Erwin Rommel.

Director: Henry Hathaway | Stars: James Mason, Cedric Hardwicke, Jessica Tandy, Luther Adler

Votes: 4,682

28. Ice Cold in Alex (1958)

Approved | 130 min | Adventure, Drama, War

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

During WW2 in North Africa, a medical field unit must cross the desert in their ambulance in order to reach the British lines in Alexandria.

Director: J. Lee Thompson | Stars: John Mills, Anthony Quayle, Sylvia Syms, Harry Andrews

Votes: 4,047

29. The One That Got Away (1957)

Not Rated | 106 min | Adventure, Drama, War

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A cocky German flight officer is shot down over England and makes numerous attempts to escape to fight again.

Director: Roy Ward Baker | Stars: Hardy Krüger, Colin Gordon, Michael Goodliffe, Terence Alexander

Votes: 1,507

30. Breakout (1959)

101 min | Drama, War

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In 1943, an Italian-administered POW camp for captured Allies goes through a series of failed escapes only to culminate in a daring plan for a literally-dramatic mass escape.

Director: Don Chaffey | Stars: Richard Todd, Bernard Lee, Michael Wilding, Richard Attenborough

Votes: 383

31. Hell in the Pacific (1968)

G | 103 min | Adventure, War

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

During World War II, an American pilot and a marooned Japanese navy captain are deserted on a small uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean. There, they must cease their hostility and cooperate if they want to survive, but will they?

Director: John Boorman | Stars: Lee Marvin, Toshirô Mifune

Votes: 6,490

32. Where Eagles Dare (1968)

PG | 158 min | Action, Adventure, War

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Allied agents stage a daring raid on a castle where the Nazis are holding an American General prisoner... but that's not all that's really going on.

Director: Brian G. Hutton | Stars: Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood, Mary Ure, Patrick Wymark

Votes: 43,875

33. Carve Her Name with Pride (1958)

Not Rated | 119 min | Biography, Drama, War

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Violette Bushell is the daughter of an English father and a French mother, living in London in the early years of World War 2. She meets a handsome young French soldier in the park and ... See full summary »

Director: Lewis Gilbert | Stars: Virginia McKenna, Paul Scofield, Jack Warner, Denise Grey

Votes: 1,315

34. The Cruel Sea (1953)

Approved | 126 min | Drama, War

7.7
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The World War II adventures of a British convoy escort ship and its officers.

Director: Charles Frend | Stars: Jack Hawkins, Donald Sinden, John Stratton, Denholm Elliott

Votes: 3,305

35. Sahara (I) (1943)

Approved | 97 min | Action, Drama, War

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

After the fall of Tobruk in 1942, during the Allied retreat in the Libyan desert, an American tank picks-up a motley group of survivors but they face advancing Germans and a lack of water.

Director: Zoltan Korda | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Bruce Bennett, J. Carrol Naish, Lloyd Bridges

Votes: 6,696

36. Yanks (1979)

R | 138 min | Drama, War

6.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

During WWII, the United States set up army bases in Great Britain as part of the war effort. Against their proper sensibilities, many of the Brits don't much like the brash Yanks, ... See full summary »

Director: John Schlesinger | Stars: Richard Gere, Lisa Eichhorn, Vanessa Redgrave, William Devane

Votes: 2,724

37. Operation Crossbow (1965)

PG-13 | 115 min | Action, Drama, War

6.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Allied agents attempt to infiltrate the Nazis' rocket research site.

Director: Michael Anderson | Stars: Sophia Loren, George Peppard, Trevor Howard, John Mills

Votes: 3,446

38. Attack (1956)

Approved | 107 min | Drama, War, Action

7.5
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In 1945, an American Infantry company sets up an artillery observation post but tensions between Captain Cooney and Lieutenant Costa run high.

Director: Robert Aldrich | Stars: Jack Palance, Lee Marvin, Eddie Albert, Robert Strauss

Votes: 3,844

39. The Heroes of Telemark (1965)

Approved | 131 min | Action, Drama, History

6.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Norwegian resistance tries to stop German efforts to produce an atomic bomb component during World War II.

Director: Anthony Mann | Stars: Kirk Douglas, Richard Harris, Ulla Jacobsson, Michael Redgrave

Votes: 5,351

40. Battle of Britain (1969)

G | 132 min | Action, Drama, History

7.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

In 1940, the British Royal Air Force fights a desperate battle to prevent the Luftwaffe from gaining air superiority over the English Channel as a prelude to a possible Axis invasion of the UK.

Director: Guy Hamilton | Stars: Michael Caine, Trevor Howard, Harry Andrews, Curd Jürgens

Votes: 17,515

41. Paths of Glory (1957)

Not Rated | 88 min | Drama, War

8.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

After refusing to attack an enemy position, a general accuses the soldiers of cowardice and their commanding officer must defend them.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou, George Macready

Votes: 136,889

42. A Bridge Too Far (1977)

PG | 175 min | Drama, History, War

7.4
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Operation Market Garden, September 1944: The Allies attempt to capture several strategically important bridges in the Netherlands in the hope of breaking the German lines. However, mismanagement and poor planning result in its failure.

Director: Richard Attenborough | Stars: Sean Connery, Ryan O'Neal, Michael Caine, Laurence Olivier

Votes: 43,684 | Gross: $50.80M

43. Stalingrad (1993)

Not Rated | 134 min | Drama, War

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The story follows a group of German soldiers, from their Italian R&R in the summer of 1942 to the frozen steppes of Soviet Russia and ending with the battle for Stalingrad.

Director: Joseph Vilsmaier | Stars: Dominique Horwitz, Thomas Kretschmann, Jochen Nickel, Sebastian Rudolph

Votes: 25,900 | Gross: $0.08M

44. Objective, Burma! (1945)

Approved | 142 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A platoon of special ops are tasked to parachute into the remote Burmese jungle and destroy a strategic Japanese radar station, but getting out isn't as easy.

Director: Raoul Walsh | Stars: Errol Flynn, James Brown, William Prince, George Tobias

Votes: 3,768

45. Pursuit of the Graf Spee (1956)

Not Rated | 119 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

6.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A true WW2 story: the British Navy must find and destroy a powerful German warship.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger | Stars: John Gregson, Anthony Quayle, Peter Finch, Ian Hunter

Votes: 3,176

46. The Wooden Horse (1950)

101 min | Drama, History, War

7.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

True story of three British POWs and their attempt to escape from Nazi Germany.

Directors: Jack Lee, Ian Dalrymple | Stars: Leo Genn, David Tomlinson, Anthony Steel, David Greene

Votes: 1,007

47. The Cockleshell Heroes (1955)

Approved | 97 min | Action, War, Drama

6.7
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

During WW2, German ships are "safely" docked upriver at Bordeaux, but the British send a team of kayakers to attack them.

Director: José Ferrer | Stars: José Ferrer, Trevor Howard, Dora Bryan, Victor Maddern

Votes: 1,301

48. The Man Who Never Was (1956)

Approved | 103 min | War, Drama

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

True story of a British attempt to trick the enemy into weakening Sicily's defenses before the 1943 attack, using a dead man with faked papers.

Director: Ronald Neame | Stars: Clifton Webb, Gloria Grahame, Robert Flemyng, Josephine Griffin

Votes: 3,430

49. Defiance (I) (2008)

R | 137 min | Action, Drama, History

7.2
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
58 Metascore

Jewish brothers in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe escape into the Belarussian forests, where they join Russian resistance fighters, and endeavor to build a village, in order to protect themselves and about one thousand Jewish non-combatants.

Director: Edward Zwick | Stars: Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, Jamie Bell, Alexa Davalos

Votes: 124,262 | Gross: $28.64M

50. Hannibal Brooks (1969)

PG-13 | 101 min | Comedy, Adventure, War

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A prisoner of war working at a zoo gets the chance to escape from the Germans, so he does and he takes with him the elephant that he's been caring for. Together they head for the Swiss border and freedom.

Director: Michael Winner | Stars: Oliver Reed, John Alderton, Michael J. Pollard, Wolfgang Preiss

Votes: 1,117

51. Sink the Bismarck! (1960)

Approved | 97 min | Action, Drama, History

7.2
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The World War II story of the British Navy's effort to defeat Nazi Germany's most powerful warship.

Director: Lewis Gilbert | Stars: Kenneth More, Dana Wynter, Carl Möhner, Laurence Naismith

Votes: 5,846

52. The Dam Busters (1955)

Approved | 105 min | Drama, History, War

7.4
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The story of how the British attacked German dams in WWII by using an ingenious technique to drop bombs where they would be most effective.

Director: Michael Anderson | Stars: Richard Todd, Michael Redgrave, Ursula Jeans, Basil Sydney

Votes: 8,102