The Best World War Movies

by Grace_from_Dogville | created - 05 Feb 2011 | updated - 27 Jan 2017 | Public
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1. Black Book (2006)

R | 145 min | Drama, Thriller, War

71 Metascore

In the Nazi-occupied Netherlands during World War II, a Jewish singer infiltrates the regional Gestapo headquarters for the Dutch resistance.

Director: Paul Verhoeven | Stars: Carice van Houten, Sebastian Koch, Thom Hoffman, Halina Reijn

Votes: 65,828 | Gross: $4.40M

2. Atonement (2007)

R | 123 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

85 Metascore

Fledgling writer Briony Tallis, as a thirteen-year-old, irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister's lover of a crime he did not commit.

Director: Joe Wright | Stars: Keira Knightley, James McAvoy, Brenda Blethyn, Saoirse Ronan

Votes: 216,432 | Gross: $50.93M

3. Schindler's List (1993)

R | 195 min | Biography, Drama, History

93 Metascore

In German-occupied Poland during World War II, Oskar Schindler gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazi Germans.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley, Caroline Goodall

Votes: 1,009,052 | Gross: $96.07M

4. Life Is Beautiful (1997)

PG-13 | 116 min | Comedy, Drama, War

59 Metascore

When an open-minded Jewish librarian and his son become victims of the Holocaust, he uses a perfect mixture of will, humor, and imagination to protect his son from the dangers around their camp.

Director: Roberto Benigni | Stars: Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Giorgio Cantarini, Giustino Durano

Votes: 508,477 | Gross: $57.60M

5. Jariskatsis mama (1965)

83 min | Drama, War

During World War II, Georgy Makharashvili, an old peasant wine-grower, leaves his Georgian village and goes off to the front lines to find his son, a wounded soldier. But before the father ... See full summary »

Director: Rezo Chkheidze | Stars: Sergo Zakariadze, Vladimir Privaltsev, Aleksandr Nazarov, Aleksandr Lebedev

Votes: 3,301

6. A Very Long Engagement (2004)

R | 133 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

76 Metascore

Tells the story of a young woman's relentless search for her fiancé, who has disappeared from the trenches of the Somme during World War One.

Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet | Stars: Audrey Tautou, Gaspard Ulliel, Jodie Foster, Dominique Pinon

Votes: 66,589 | Gross: $6.17M

7. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

R | 153 min | Adventure, Drama, War

69 Metascore

In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a plan to assassinate Nazi leaders by a group of Jewish U.S. soldiers coincides with a theatre owner's vengeful plans for the same.

Directors: Quentin Tarantino, Eli Roth | Stars: Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger, Eli Roth, Mélanie Laurent

Votes: 1,043,294 | Gross: $120.54M

8. Max Manus: Man of War (2008)

Not Rated | 118 min | Action, Biography, Drama

60 Metascore

The true story about one of the most brilliant saboteurs during World War II and his battle to overcome his inner demons.

Directors: Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg | Stars: Aksel Hennie, Agnes Kittelsen, Nicolai Cleve Broch, Ken Duken

Votes: 24,084

9. The Reader (2008)

R | 124 min | Drama, Romance

58 Metascore

Post-WWII Germany: Nearly a decade after his affair with an older woman came to a mysterious end, law student Michael Berg re-encounters his former lover as she defends herself in a war-crime trial.

Director: Stephen Daldry | Stars: Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes, Bruno Ganz, Jeanette Hain

Votes: 209,142 | Gross: $34.19M

10. Oorlogswinter (2008)

R | 103 min | Drama, History, War

66 Metascore

In the Nazi-occupied Netherlands, a teenage boy gets involved in the Dutch Resistance after coming to the aid of a wounded RAF pilot.

Director: Martin Koolhoven | Stars: Martijn Lakemeier, Jamie Campbell Bower, Yorick van Wageningen, Raymond Thiry

Votes: 11,173 | Gross: $0.54M

11. Defiance (I) (2008)

R | 137 min | Action, Drama, History

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: 126,253 | Gross: $28.64M

12. Angel (2007)

Not Rated | 113 min | Drama, Romance

The rise and fall of a young eccentric British writer, in the early 20th century.

Director: François Ozon | Stars: Romola Garai, Sam Neill, Lucy Russell, Michael Fassbender

Votes: 4,807

13. Les femmes de l'ombre (2008)

TV-MA | 117 min | Drama, War

In 1944, in London, Lieutenant Pierre Desfontaines assigns his sister Louise Desfontaines to convince three other women to form a five-woman task force under his command to rescue a British... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Paul Salomé | Stars: Sophie Marceau, Julie Depardieu, Moritz Bleibtreu, Marie Gillain

Votes: 6,298

14. Downfall (2004)

R | 156 min | Biography, Drama, History

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: 288,052 | Gross: $5.51M

15. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

R | 169 min | Drama, War

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: 1,031,112 | Gross: $216.54M

16. The Pianist (2002)

R | 150 min | Biography, Drama, Music

85 Metascore

A Polish Jewish musician struggles to survive the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto of World War II.

Director: Roman Polanski | Stars: Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Frank Finlay, Emilia Fox

Votes: 592,114 | Gross: $32.57M

17. Valkyrie (2008)

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

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: 203,875 | Gross: $83.08M

18. The English Patient (1996)

R | 162 min | Drama, Romance, War

87 Metascore

At the close of WWII, a young nurse tends to a badly-burned plane crash victim. His past is shown in flashbacks, revealing an involvement in a fateful love affair.

Director: Anthony Minghella | Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafoe, Kristin Scott Thomas

Votes: 158,285 | Gross: $78.65M

19. The Thin Red Line (1998)

R | 170 min | Drama, War

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, Kirk Acevedo

Votes: 153,786 | Gross: $36.40M

20. Nirgendwo in Afrika (2001)

R | 141 min | Biography, Drama

72 Metascore

A German Jewish refugee family moves to and adjusts to a farm life in 1930s Kenya.

Director: Caroline Link | Stars: Juliane Köhler, Merab Ninidze, Matthias Habich, Sidede Onyulo

Votes: 11,398 | Gross: $6.17M

21. Anonyma - Eine Frau in Berlin (2008)

Unrated | 131 min | Biography, Drama, History

74 Metascore

A woman tries to survive the invasion of Berlin by the Soviet troops during the last days of World War II.

Director: Max Färberböck | Stars: Nina Hoss, Evgeniy Sidikhin, Irm Hermann, Rüdiger Vogler

Votes: 5,314 | Gross: $0.29M

22. Katyn (2007)

121 min | Drama, History, War

81 Metascore

An examination of the Soviet slaughter of thousands of Polish officers and citizens in the Katyn forest in 1940.

Director: Andrzej Wajda | Stars: Andrzej Chyra, Maja Ostaszewska, Artur Zmijewski, Danuta Stenka

Votes: 13,739 | Gross: $0.12M

23. Band of Brothers (2001)

TV-MA | 594 min | Action, Drama, History

The story of Easy Company of the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division, and their mission in World War II Europe, from Operation Overlord, through V-J Day.

Stars: Scott Grimes, Damian Lewis, Ron Livingston, Shane Taylor

Votes: 287,872

24. Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

R | 141 min | Drama, History, War

89 Metascore

The story of the battle of Iwo Jima between the United States and Imperial Japan during World War II, as told from the perspective of the Japanese who fought it.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Ken Watanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Ryo Kase

Votes: 142,078 | Gross: $13.76M

25. Flags of our Fathers (2006)

R | 135 min | Drama, History, War

79 Metascore

The life stories of the six men who raised the flag at the Battle of Iwo Jima, a turning point in World War II.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Ryan Phillippe, Barry Pepper, Joseph Cross, Jesse Bradford

Votes: 108,508 | Gross: $33.60M

26. Amen. (2002)

Not Rated | 132 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

57 Metascore

During WWII SS officer Kurt Gerstein tries to inform Pope Pius XII about Jews being sent to extermination camps. Young Jesuit priest Riccardo Fontana helps him in the difficult mission to inform the world.

Director: Costa-Gavras | Stars: Ulrich Tukur, Mathieu Kassovitz, Ulrich Mühe, Michel Duchaussoy

Votes: 12,125 | Gross: $0.27M

27. Underground (1995)

Not Rated | 167 min | Comedy, Drama, War

A group of serbian socialists prepares for the war in a surreal underground filled by parties, tragedies, love and hate.

Director: Emir Kusturica | Stars: Predrag 'Miki' Manojlovic, Lazar Ristovski, Mirjana Jokovic, Slavko Stimac

Votes: 48,983

28. Baarìa (2009)

Not Rated | 163 min | Comedy, Drama

Baaria is Sicilian slang for Bagheria where Tornatore was born and this is an autobiographic epic of three generations in the Sicilian village where he was born.

Director: Giuseppe Tornatore | Stars: Francesco Scianna, Margareth Madè, Lina Sastri, Ángela Molina

Votes: 6,081 | Gross: $0.00M

29. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008)

PG-13 | 94 min | Drama, War

55 Metascore

Set during WWII, a story seen through the innocent eyes of Bruno, the eight-year-old son of the commandant at a German concentration camp, whose forbidden friendship with a Jewish boy on the other side of the camp fence has startling and unexpected consequences.

Director: Mark Herman | Stars: Asa Butterfield, David Thewlis, Rupert Friend, Zac Mattoon O'Brien

Votes: 157,412 | Gross: $9.03M

30. Sophie Scholl: The Final Days (2005)

Not Rated | 120 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

76 Metascore

A dramatization of the final days of Sophie Scholl, one of the most famous members of the German World War II anti-Nazi resistance movement, The White Rose.

Director: Marc Rothemund | Stars: Julia Jentsch, Fabian Hinrichs, Alexander Held, Johanna Gastdorf

Votes: 24,184 | Gross: $0.68M

31. Tea with Mussolini (1999)

PG | 117 min | Drama, Comedy, War

53 Metascore

An orphaned Italian boy is raised among a circle of British and American women living in Mussolini's Italy before and during the Second World War.

Director: Franco Zeffirelli | Stars: Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright, Cher

Votes: 9,951 | Gross: $14.35M

32. Charlotte Gray (2001)

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

48 Metascore

A young Scottish woman joins the French Resistance during World War II to rescue her Royal Air Force boyfriend who is lost in France.

Director: Gillian Armstrong | Stars: Cate Blanchett, James Fleet, Abigail Cruttenden, Charlotte McDougall

Votes: 9,661 | Gross: $0.67M

33. Dark Blue World (2001)

R | 112 min | War, Drama, Action

56 Metascore

The friendship of two men becomes tested when they both fall for the same woman.

Director: Jan Sverák | Stars: Ondrej Vetchý, Krystof Hádek, Tara Fitzgerald, Charles Dance

Votes: 5,054 | Gross: $0.26M

34. Before the Rain (1994)

Not Rated | 113 min | Drama, War

In the republic of Macedonia, amid war in Bosnia, an Albanian girl being hunted by Christians is offered protection by a monk who has taken a vow of silence.

Director: Milcho Manchevski | Stars: Katrin Cartlidge, Rade Serbedzija, Grégoire Colin, Josif Josifovski

Votes: 12,354 | Gross: $0.76M

35. Aimee & Jaguar (1999)

Not Rated | 125 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

72 Metascore

In 1943 Berlin, a Nazi officer's wife meets and starts a passionate affair with a Jewish woman.

Director: Max Färberböck | Stars: Maria Schrader, Juliane Köhler, Johanna Wokalek, Heike Makatsch

Votes: 5,587 | Gross: $0.93M

36. Enemy at the Gates (2001)

R | 131 min | Drama, History, War

53 Metascore

A Russian and a German sniper play a game of cat-and-mouse during the Battle of Stalingrad.

Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud | Stars: Jude Law, Ed Harris, Joseph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz

Votes: 213,090 | Gross: $51.40M

37. The White Countess (2005)

PG-13 | 135 min | Drama, History, Romance

60 Metascore

Set in 1930s Shanghai, where a blind American diplomat develops a curious relationship with a young Russian refugee who works odd -- and sometimes illicit -- jobs to support members of her dead husband's aristocratic family.

Director: James Ivory | Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Natasha Richardson, Vanessa Redgrave, Lynn Redgrave

Votes: 5,712 | Gross: $1.67M

38. Glorious 39 (2009)

R | 129 min | Drama, History, Thriller

The adopted daughter of a privileged British politician uncovers a family secret in the weeks leading up to World War II.

Director: Stephen Poliakoff | Stars: Romola Garai, Eddie Redmayne, Juno Temple, Toby Regbo

Votes: 4,727

39. Das Boot (1981)

R | 149 min | Adventure, Drama, Thriller

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: 196,062 | Gross: $11.49M

40. Malèna (2000)

R | 108 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

54 Metascore

Amidst the war climate, a teenage boy discovering himself becomes love-stricken by Malèna, a sensual woman living in a small, narrow-minded Italian town.

Director: Giuseppe Tornatore | Stars: Monica Bellucci, Giuseppe Sulfaro, Luciano Federico, Matilde Piana

Votes: 74,893 | Gross: $3.43M

41. The Pacific (2010)

TV-MA | 530 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

The Pacific Theatre of World War II, as seen through the eyes of several young Marines.

Stars: James Badge Dale, Joseph Mazzello, Jon Seda, Umut Tabak

Votes: 80,585

42. Conspiracy (2001 TV Movie)

R | 96 min | Biography, Drama, History

At the Wannsee Conference on January 20, 1942, senior Nazi officials meet to determine the manner in which the so-called "Final Solution to the Jewish Question" can be best implemented.

Director: Frank Pierson | Stars: Kenneth Branagh, Clare Bullus, Stanley Tucci, Simon Markey

Votes: 15,400

43. Jakob the Liar (1999)

PG-13 | 120 min | Drama, War

40 Metascore

In 1944 Poland, a Jewish shop keeper named Jakob is summoned to ghetto headquarters after being caught out near curfew. While waiting for the German Kommondant, Jakob overhears a German ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Kassovitz | Stars: Robin Williams, Hannah Taylor Gordon, Éva Igó, István Bálint

Votes: 13,688 | Gross: $4.96M

44. Youth Without Youth (2007)

R | 124 min | Drama, Fantasy, Mystery

43 Metascore

A love story wrapped in a mystery. Set in World War II Europe, a professor is changed by a cataclysmic event and explores the mysteries of life.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Tim Roth, Alexandra Maria Lara, Bruno Ganz, André Hennicke

Votes: 12,102 | Gross: $0.24M

45. Head in the Clouds (2004)

R | 132 min | Drama, Romance, War

40 Metascore

HEAD IN THE CLOUDS is a sweeping romantic drama set in 1930's England, Paris, and Spain. Gilda Bessé shares her Paris apartment with an Irish schoolteacher, Guy Malyon, and Mia, a refugee ... See full summary »

Director: John Duigan | Stars: Charlize Theron, Stuart Townsend, Penélope Cruz, Thomas Kretschmann

Votes: 13,451 | Gross: $0.40M

46. The Good German (2006)

R | 105 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

49 Metascore

While in post-war Berlin to cover the Potsdam Conference, an American military journalist is drawn into a murder investigation which involves his former mistress and his driver.

Director: Steven Soderbergh | Stars: George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, Tobey Maguire, Beau Bridges

Votes: 22,624 | Gross: $1.31M

47. The Edge of Love (2008)

R | 110 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

39 Metascore

Two feisty, free-spirited women are connected by the brilliant, charismatic poet who loves them both.

Director: John Maybury | Stars: Keira Knightley, Sienna Miller, Matthew Rhys, Simon Armstrong

Votes: 14,858 | Gross: $0.03M

48. Rosenstrasse (2003)

PG-13 | 136 min | Drama, War

49 Metascore

After the death of her father, Hannah becomes concerned with the strange behavior of her mother. As her mother's troubled childhood is revealed, Hannah realizes how little she ever knew.

Director: Margarethe von Trotta | Stars: Katja Riemann, Maria Schrader, Svea Lohde, Jutta Lampe

Votes: 2,120 | Gross: $0.73M

49. Casablanca (1942)

PG | 102 min | Drama, Romance, War

100 Metascore

A cynical nightclub owner protects an old flame and her husband from Nazis in Morocco.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains

Votes: 447,620 | Gross: $1.02M

50. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

PG | 216 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama