Great War Films

by sbmt68 | created - 29 Mar 2013 | updated - 29 Mar 2013 | Public

Some unmissable films about or set in The Second World War

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1. 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: 1,002,330 | Gross: $96.07M

2. The Longest Day (1962)

G | 178 min | Action, Drama, History

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: 46,922 | Gross: $39.10M

3. Where Eagles Dare (1968)

PG | 158 min | Action, Adventure, War

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: 44,741

4. The Guns of Navarone (1961)

TV-PG | 158 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

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: 39,787 | Gross: $28.90M

5. Operation Crossbow (1965)

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

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

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

Votes: 3,548

6. Battle of Britain (1969)

G | 132 min | Action, Drama, History

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: 17,925

7. Battle of the Bulge (1965)

Not Rated | 167 min | Drama, History, War

A dramatization of Nazi Germany's final Western Front counterattack of World War II.

Director: Ken Annakin | Stars: Henry Fonda, Robert Shaw, Robert Ryan, Dana Andrews

Votes: 12,525

8. Sink the Bismarck! (1960)

Approved | 97 min | Action, Drama, History

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: 5,958

9. Pursuit of the Graf Spee (1956)

Not Rated | 119 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

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: 3,224

10. Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)

G | 144 min | Action, Drama, History

In 1941, following months of economic embargo, Japan prepares to open its war against the United States with a preventive strike on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor.

Directors: Richard Fleischer, Kinji Fukasaku, Toshio Masuda | Stars: Martin Balsam, Sô Yamamura, Jason Robards, Joseph Cotten

Votes: 27,612 | Gross: $29.55M

11. Malta Story (1953)

97 min | Drama, History, War

In WW2, the island of Malta, strategically located and vital to supply lines in the Mediterranean Sea, is fiercely attacked by the Germans but staunchly defended by the British.

Director: Brian Desmond Hurst | Stars: Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, Anthony Steel, Muriel Pavlow

Votes: 1,171

12. Conspiracy of Hearts (1960)

Not Rated | 113 min | Drama, War

Catholic nuns risk their lives to help Jewish children in an Italian internment camp escape to Palestine during World War II.

Director: Ralph Thomas | Stars: Lilli Palmer, Sylvia Syms, Yvonne Mitchell, Ronald Lewis

Votes: 381

13. Operation: Daybreak (1975)

PG | 118 min | Drama, History, War

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: 1,519

14. A Bridge Too Far (1977)

PG | 175 min | Drama, History, War

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: 44,573 | Gross: $50.80M

15. The Dam Busters (1955)

Approved | 105 min | Drama, History, War

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: 8,242

16. Enigma (2001)

R | 119 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

64 Metascore

A young genius frantically races against time to crack an enemy code and solve the mystery surrounding the woman he loves.

Director: Michael Apted | Stars: Dougray Scott, Kate Winslet, Saffron Burrows, Jeremy Northam

Votes: 18,708 | Gross: $4.30M

17. Hope and Glory (1987)

PG-13 | 113 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

A semi-autobiographical project by John Boorman about a nine year old boy called Bill as he grows up in London during the blitz of World War 2. For a young boy, this time in history was ... See full summary »

Director: John Boorman | Stars: Sarah Miles, David Hayman, Sebastian Rice-Edwards, Geraldine Muir

Votes: 10,671 | Gross: $10.02M

18. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

PG | 161 min | Adventure, Drama, War

87 Metascore

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: 174,357 | Gross: $44.91M

19. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

PG | 216 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

100 Metascore

The story of T.E. Lawrence, the English officer who successfully united and led the diverse, often warring, Arab tribes during World War I in order to fight the Turks.

Director: David Lean | Stars: Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins

Votes: 224,976 | Gross: $44.82M

20. Went the Day Well? (1942)

Approved | 92 min | Thriller, War

An English village is occupied by disguised German paratroopers as an advance post for a planned invasion.

Director: Alberto Cavalcanti | Stars: Leslie Banks, C.V. France, Valerie Taylor, Marie Lohr

Votes: 2,672 | Gross: $0.02M

21. 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: 1,024,474 | Gross: $216.54M

22. U-571 (2000)

PG-13 | 116 min | Action, War

62 Metascore

A German submarine is boarded by disguised American submariners trying to capture their Enigma cipher machine.

Director: Jonathan Mostow | Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton, Harvey Keitel, Jon Bon Jovi

Votes: 69,981 | Gross: $77.09M

23. 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: 212,350 | Gross: $51.40M

24. 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: 9,645 | Gross: $0.67M

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: 108,264 | Gross: $33.60M

26. The Great Escape (1963)

Approved | 172 min | Adventure, Drama, History

87 Metascore

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: 192,179 | Gross: $12.10M

27. The Colditz Story (1955)

94 min | Drama, History, War

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: 1,832

28. The Heroes of Telemark (1965)

Approved | 131 min | Action, Drama, History

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: 5,488

29. 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: 286,564 | Gross: $5.51M

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

Approved | 88 min | Biography, Drama, War

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: 4,816