war movies about 20th century

by exploded | created - 28 Nov 2013 | updated - 2 months ago | Public

mostly world war movies that ended up in my watchlist.

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1. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

R | 169 min | Drama, War

91 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: 1,131,499 | Gross: $216.54M

2. 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: 656,998 | Gross: $32.57M

3. My Way (2011)

R | 137 min | Action, Drama, War

30 Metascore

In World War II-era Korea, rival runners, one Korean (Jang Dong-gun) and one Japanese (Joe Odagiri), go to war together against the Soviets.

Director: Je-kyu Kang | Stars: Dong-Gun Jang, Joe Odagiri, Bingbing Fan, In-kwon Kim

Votes: 9,481 | Gross: $0.07M

4. 71: Into the Fire (2010)

Not Rated | 120 min | Action, Drama, War

The story of student-soldiers trying to protect a middle school during the early days of the Korean War.

Director: John H. Lee | Stars: Seung-won Cha, Sang-Woo Kwon, Seung-Hyun Choi, Seung-woo Kim

Votes: 4,719

5. The Flowers of War (2011)

R | 146 min | Drama, History, Romance

46 Metascore

An American finds refuge during the 1937 Japanese invasion of Nanking in a church with a group of women. Posing as a priest, he attempts to lead the women to safety.

Director: Yimou Zhang | Stars: Christian Bale, Ni Ni, Xinyi Zhang, Tianyuan Huang

Votes: 46,273 | Gross: $0.01M

6. Red Tails (2012)

PG-13 | 125 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

46 Metascore

A crew of African American pilots in the Tuskegee training program, having faced segregation while kept mostly on the ground during World War II, are called into duty under the guidance of Col. A.J. Bullard.

Director: Anthony Hemingway | Stars: Cuba Gooding Jr., Gerald McRaney, David Oyelowo, Andre Royo

Votes: 32,027 | Gross: $49.88M

7. 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: 69,050 | Gross: $4.40M

8. 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: 162,167 | Gross: $36.40M

9. Windtalkers (2002)

R | 134 min | Action, Drama, War

51 Metascore

Two U.S. Marines in World War II are assigned to protect Navajo Marines, who use their native language as an unbreakable radio cypher.

Director: John Woo | Stars: Nicolas Cage, Adam Beach, Peter Stormare, Noah Emmerich

Votes: 62,801 | Gross: $40.91M

10. 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: 332,605

11. 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, Ashton Holmes

Votes: 89,846

12. 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: 227,394 | Gross: $51.40M

13. War Horse (2011)

PG-13 | 146 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

72 Metascore

Young Albert enlists to serve in World War I after his beloved horse is sold to the cavalry. Albert's hopeful journey takes him out of England and to the front lines as the war rages on.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, David Thewlis, Benedict Cumberbatch

Votes: 137,972 | Gross: $79.88M

14. Days of Glory (2006)

R | 120 min | Drama, War

82 Metascore

During WWII, four North African men enlist in the French army to liberate that country from Nazi oppression, and to fight French discrimination.

Director: Rachid Bouchareb | Stars: Samy Naceri, Roschdy Zem, Sami Bouajila, Jamel Debbouze

Votes: 13,420 | Gross: $0.32M

15. 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: 213,905 | Gross: $11.49M

16. All Quiet on the Western Front (1979 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 150 min | Drama, War

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

Director: Delbert Mann | Stars: Richard Thomas, Ernest Borgnine, Donald Pleasence, Ian Holm

Votes: 7,123

17. The Front Line (2011)

Not Rated | 133 min | Action, Drama, History

59 Metascore

A drama centered on the Korean War's final battle that will determine the border between north and south.

Director: Hun Jang | Stars: Ha-kyun Shin, Soo Go, Seung-su Ryu, Chang-Seok Ko

Votes: 5,401 | Gross: $0.01M

18. Yamato (2005)

145 min | Drama, History, War

The movie follows 3 Japanese friends from embarking on Yamato, the world's largest battleship, until it's sunk 3 1/2 years later on April 7, 1945 on it's way to Okinawa to stop American advance at the end of WWII.

Director: Jun'ya Satô | Stars: Takashi Sorimachi, Shidô Nakamura, Yû Aoi, Takahiro Fujimoto

Votes: 1,887

19. Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War (2004)

R | 140 min | Action, Drama, War

64 Metascore

When two brothers are forced to fight in the Korean War, the elder decides to take the riskiest missions if it will help shield the younger from battle.

Director: Je-kyu Kang | Stars: Dong-Gun Jang, Won Bin, Eun-ju Lee, Hyeong-jin Kong

Votes: 36,014 | Gross: $1.11M

20. Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

R | 141 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

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: 147,401 | Gross: $13.76M

21. The Children of Huang Shi (2008)

R | 125 min | Drama, War

49 Metascore

About young British journalist, George Hogg, who with the assistance of a courageous Australian nurse, saves a group of orphaned children during the Japanese occupation of China in 1937.

Director: Roger Spottiswoode | Stars: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Radha Mitchell, Yun-Fat Chow, Michelle Yeoh

Votes: 9,015 | Gross: $1.03M

22. Flyboys (2006)

PG-13 | 140 min | Action, Drama, History

47 Metascore

The adventures of the Lafayette Escadrille, young Americans who volunteered for the French military before the U.S. entered World War I, and became the country's first fighter pilots.

Director: Tony Bill | Stars: James Franco, Jean Reno, Jennifer Decker, Scott Hazell

Votes: 39,754 | Gross: $13.08M

23. Flame & Citron (2008)

Not Rated | 130 min | Action, Drama, History

74 Metascore

A drama centered on two fighters in the Holger Danske World War II resistance group.

Director: Ole Christian Madsen | Stars: Thure Lindhardt, Mads Mikkelsen, Stine Stengade, Peter Mygind

Votes: 16,604 | Gross: $0.15M

24. 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: 25,076

25. Admiral (2008)

Not Rated | 124 min | Biography, Drama, History

The story of admiral Aleksandr Kolchak who remained faithful to his oath to the Russian Emperor and fought against the Bolshevik rule after the 1917 October Revolution.

Director: Andrey Kravchuk | Stars: Konstantin Khabenskiy, Elizaveta Boyarskaya, Sergey Bezrukov, Vladislav Vetrov

Votes: 7,251

26. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008)

PG-13 | 94 min | Drama, War

55 Metascore

Through the innocent eyes of Bruno, the eight-year-old son of the commandant at a German concentration camp, a 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: 173,689 | Gross: $9.03M

27. Defenders of Riga (2007)

118 min | Action, Drama, History

The First World War is over. Martins, after many years spent in war abroad, returns to his bride Elza in Latvia. He does not realize that the decisive battle for the heart of Elza and for the newly founded Latvian state is yet to come.

Director: Aigars Grauba | Stars: Janis Reinis, Elita Klavina, Girts Krumins, Romualds Ancans

Votes: 1,788

28. We Were Soldiers (2002)

R | 138 min | Action, Drama, History

65 Metascore

The story of the first major battle of the American phase of the Vietnam War, and the soldiers on both sides that fought it, while their wives wait nervously and anxiously at home for the good news or the bad news.

Director: Randall Wallace | Stars: Mel Gibson, Madeleine Stowe, Greg Kinnear, Sam Elliott

Votes: 122,557 | Gross: $78.12M

29. Tigerland (2000)

R | 101 min | Drama, War

55 Metascore

A group of recruits go through Advanced Infantry Training at Fort Polk, Louisiana's infamous Tigerland, last stop before Vietnam for tens of thousands of young men in 1971.

Director: Joel Schumacher | Stars: Colin Farrell, Matthew Davis, Clifton Collins Jr., Tom Guiry

Votes: 36,523 | Gross: $0.14M

30. Into the White (I) (2012)

R | 104 min | Action, Biography, Drama

Norway, WWII: A group of British and German soldiers find themselves stranded in the wilderness after an aircraft battle. Finding shelter in the same cabin, they realize the only way to survive the winter is to place the rules of war aside.

Director: Petter Næss | Stars: Florian Lukas, David Kross, Lachlan Nieboer, Stig Henrik Hoff

Votes: 18,223 | Gross: $0.00M

31. Beneath Hill 60 (2010)

R | 122 min | Drama, History, War

In 1916, the 1st Australian Tunnelling Company is tunneling beneath German fortifications and bunkers to detonate massive explosive charges.

Director: Jeremy Sims | Stars: Brendan Cowell, Harrison Gilbertson, Steve Le Marquand, Gyton Grantley

Votes: 6,987

32. The Fighter Pilot (2013)

144 min | Action, Drama, Mystery

A young woman and her brother explore the history of their grandfather, who died in the WW2. They start contacting the m'en who flew with him, asking them about who he was.

Director: Takashi Yamazaki | Stars: Jun'ichi Okada, Haruma Miura, Mao Inoue, Gaku Hamada

Votes: 1,976

33. Fury (2014)

R | 134 min | Action, Drama, War

64 Metascore

A grizzled tank commander makes tough decisions as he and his crew fight their way across Germany in April, 1945.

Director: David Ayer | Stars: Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Peña

Votes: 388,573 | Gross: $85.82M

34. Unbroken (I) (2014)

PG-13 | 137 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

59 Metascore

After a near-fatal plane crash in WWII, Olympian Louis Zamperini spends a harrowing 47 days in a raft with two fellow crewmen before he's caught by the Japanese navy and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp.

Director: Angelina Jolie | Stars: Jack O'Connell, Miyavi, Domhnall Gleeson, Garrett Hedlund

Votes: 131,885 | Gross: $115.64M

35. The Imitation Game (2014)

PG-13 | 114 min | Biography, Drama, Thriller

73 Metascore

During World War II, the English mathematical genius Alan Turing tries to crack the German Enigma code with help from fellow mathematicians.

Director: Morten Tyldum | Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Allen Leech

Votes: 630,152 | Gross: $91.13M

36. Memphis Belle (1990)

PG-13 | 107 min | Action, Drama, War

In 1943, the crew of a B-17 based in UK prepares for its 25th and last bombing mission over Germany before returning home to the USA.

Director: Michael Caton-Jones | Stars: Matthew Modine, Eric Stoltz, Tate Donovan, D.B. Sweeney

Votes: 25,480 | Gross: $27.44M

37. The Siege of Jadotville (2016)

TV-MA | 108 min | Action, Biography, Drama

Irish Commandant Pat Quinlan leads a stand off with troops against French and Belgian Mercenaries in the Congo during the early 1960s.

Director: Richie Smyth | Stars: Richard Lukunku, Danny Sapani, Andrew Stock, Mark Strong

Votes: 25,247

38. Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

R | 139 min | Biography, Drama, History

71 Metascore

World War II American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people, and becomes the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot.

Director: Mel Gibson | Stars: Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, Teresa Palmer

Votes: 377,372 | Gross: $67.21M

39. Battle for Sevastopol (2015)

110 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

A story of Lyudmila Pavlichenko, the most successful female sniper in history.

Director: Sergey Mokritskiy | Stars: Yuliya Peresild, Evgeniy Tsyganov, Oleg Vasilkov, Nikita Tarasov

Votes: 8,711

40. Warsaw '44 (2014)

130 min | Drama, History, Romance

A story of love, friendship and the pursuit of adventure during the bloody and brutal reality of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising.

Director: Jan Komasa | Stars: Józef Pawlowski, Zofia Wichlacz, Anna Próchniak, Antoni Królikowski

Votes: 4,360

41. Ambush (1999)

Not Rated | 123 min | War, Drama

Set during the World War 2. In the summer of 1941 the Finnish army crosses the border of Russia. A platoon led by Lt. Eero Perkola goes through the wilderness around the Lieksa lake to ... See full summary »

Director: Olli Saarela | Stars: Peter Franzén, Irina Björklund, Kari Heiskanen, Taisto Reimaluoto

Votes: 3,952

42. Dunkirk (2017)

PG-13 | 106 min | Action, Drama, History

94 Metascore

Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire, and France are surrounded by the German Army, and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Fionn Whitehead, Barry Keoghan, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy

Votes: 480,349 | Gross: $188.37M

43. Belyy tigr (2012)

Not Rated | 104 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Great Patriotic War, early 1940s. After barely surviving a battle with a mysterious, ghostly-white Tiger tank, Red Army Sergeant Ivan Naydenov becomes obsessed with its destruction.

Director: Karen Shakhnazarov | Stars: Aleksey Vertkov, Vitaliy Kishchenko, Valeriy Grishko, Dmitriy Bykovskiy-Romashov

Votes: 3,168

44. Fortress (2012 Video)

R | 105 min | Action, Drama, War

A replacement co-pilot joins a B-17 bomber crew in North Africa. He soon finds himself at odds with the remainder of the crew and has to regain their trust and support.

Director: Mike Phillips | Stars: Bug Hall, Donnie Jeffcoat, Sean McGowan, Chris Owen

Votes: 1,833

45. The Winter War (1989)

199 min | Drama, History, War

In 1939, two Finnish brothers are conscripted in the army to fight in the war between Finland and the Soviet Union.

Director: Pekka Parikka | Stars: Taneli Mäkelä, Vesa Vierikko, Timo Torikka, Heikki Paavilainen

Votes: 7,278

46. 1944 (2015)

100 min | Drama, History, War

In 1944 Estonia, a fratricide war ensues when Estonians of the retreating German forces fight against Estonians conscripted into the advancing Soviet Red Army.

Director: Elmo Nüganen | Stars: Kaspar Velberg, Kristjan Üksküla, Maiken Schmidt, Gert Raudsep

Votes: 4,369

47. 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: 5,281 | Gross: $0.26M

48. The 12th Man (2017)

Unrated | 135 min | Drama, History, Thriller

70 Metascore

They were 12 saboteurs. The Nazis killed 11 of them. This is the true story of the one who got away...

Director: Harald Zwart | Stars: Thomas Gullestad, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Marie Blokhus, Mads Sjøgård Pettersen

Votes: 13,489

49. Unbroken (I) (2014)

PG-13 | 137 min | Biography, Drama, Sport