A must see, however it is worth noting for this list that it is based on the efforts of Oscar Schindler to save Jews during the holocaust and therefore does not feature frontline battle scenes for those that like lots of action in there WWII films. (B & W)
Unusually this film is about a failed Allied mission to take Arnhem bridge in the Netherlands (Opertation Market Garden). It's one of my favorites due to the great cast and direction. A classic and a good companion piece to The Longest Day.
Tarantino back to his best with this fictional story set in World War Two, I'm not normally the biggest fan of fictional stories set in WW2 (due to there being so many untold factural stories) but he pulls this off very well.
A great true story about the German Officers who made a stand against Hitler. A story that has been told before, but not to this scale, I really enjoyed this, I feel it's important that people realise not all German soldiers were Nazis, many were merely patriots.
Another British classic, a tribute to those in the RAF and other allied forces (e.g Canada) who battled the German Luftwaffe to prevent the German forces taking Great Britain, features some great dog fights.
A German film based on a true story of German teenagers defending a bridge in their home town in the final days of Nazi Germany. A great film for its time, with some well worked cinematography, not a great deal of action. Nevertheless it is not an action film, it is a hard hitting film showing the absurdities of war.
(B & W)
There has been a 2008 TV re-make of the film, though many reviews have been unfavorable.
A fast paced WWII classic featuring Allied soldiers (mainly British) attempting to escape an Italian POW camp with the Germans in hot pursuit. Gripping get away action film, well worth a watch.
Another WWII classic with a very similar theme is 'The Train' (1964) Based on non-fiction book Le front de l'art. A German Colonel has loaded a train with stolen French artwork that he wishes to take to Germany. However the French resistance aren't too happy about this and attempt to recapture the masterpieces.
(B & W)
Set during The Battle of the Bulge, Saints and Soldiers follows the story of a group of soldiers who escape the Malmedy Massacre and have desperately try to get back to Allied lines not only in order to survive but to also inform their commanders of important intelligence they have gathered. Considering the budget of this movie I was very impressed and I'm glad that many seem to have given it the credit it deserves.
The second movie in the trilogy 'Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed' has recently come out and looks worth checking out if you enjoyed the first.
If you like this, a good WWII movie also set during The Battle of the Bulge is the underrated 'A Midnight Clear' (1992).
Follows a group of four Algerian (part of colonial France at the time) men who join the French First Army along with many other North Africans, to free France from Nazi oppression. However they find they also have to fight against discrimination from the French as well.
The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and deserves your attention.
Historical drama with a comical feel, Life is Beautiful is different to many on this list but is a touching film about a family trying their best to cope in desperate times and during WWII and well worthy of a mention.
Following along similar lines to Life is Beautiful, this movie follows a young German boy who makes an unlikely friend in the form of Jewish boy. However the camp his friend is in is also run by his father.
Follws German officer Hans von Witzland and his battalion through the horrible battle fo Stalingrad. Harrowing and far more accurate than most war films.
There is another filmed also named 'Stalingrad' due for release in 2013 being made by the Russians (from the director of 9th Company - Fedor Bondarchuk), it has a high budget and is set to be Russia's first IMAX format movie, so fingers crossed it's a gooden.
This impressive Russian film focuses on a true story of a group of Soviets who hold a last stand in Brest fortress (Belarus) against the invading German forces. Great battle scenes, what some might call a 'true' war movie.
If you are looking for lots of good action in a WWII film then this is it. Based on a true story, a group of Soviet soldiers go behind enemy lines on a reconnaissance mission to gather information on the occupying German forces during Operation Bagration. Very unknown & underrated film, easily a 7.5/10.
A Russian and a German sniper play a game of cat-and-mouse during the Battle of Stalingrad. Hollywood focusing on the Eastern front is uncommon and perhaps a little strange but an enjoyable watch nonetheless, with some great sniper scenes.
Both set during the 'Winter War' which occured in 1939-1940 between Finland and the Soviet Union (it was essentially a campaign of WW2). 'The Winter War (Talvisota)' (1989) is a little known Finnish film that has a great scale and accuracy to it.
I brought The Winter War in a DVD set with another Finish World War Two film (set in the Continuation War which followed the Winter War) named 'Ambush' (1999) also well worth seeing, Ambush I feel has a stronger narrative behind it with an officer seeking revenge for the death of his partner who was killed by the Soviets. The film however does not meet the scale and full on battle scenes of Talvisota.
Other Finish WWII Movies Include:
Tali-Ihantala 1944 (2007)
Beyond Enemy Lines (2004)
The Unknown Soldier (1985)
The Unknown Soldier (1955)
Many of the men this series focuses on had passed away, therefore it doesn't have the character depth of Band of Brothers, but it still is breath taking at times with first rate battle scenes and is a fantastic portrayal of what some of the men went through fighting in the pacfic. It once again features a first class score like BoB and I would strongly recommend it if you haven't seeen it yet.
Another British WW2 film, it is technically fictional, but is roughly based around the construction of the Burma railway by Allied POWs. Winner of numerous awards and rightly so, dispite being an old film now it stands up well, great story.
Clint Eastwood gives directing a go and does a good job here. Letters from Iwo Jima is widely regarded as the better of the two but both films are good and it's good to see the battle from both perspectives.
Both films focus around the Battle of Iwo Jima, Flags of Our Fathers however has a clear focus on those who lifted the flag (or did'nt as the case may be) in the famous WWII photo (also seen on the cover) and the impact this had on their lives.
Letters from Iwo Jima is not just Flags of our fathers without the flag, it gives you a deep insight into the Japanese army's culture at the time. The Japanese are not simply painted as the evil ones, Eastwood does a great job of showing how good and evil were on both sides.
Documents the events of The rape of Nanjing (Nanking) and the efforts of an international delegation (including John Rabe) that stayed in Nanjing in order to try to protect the cities citizens from the occupying Imperial Japanese army. Has been honored with several awards for its excellent cinematography.
(B & W)
A perhaps lesser, but still decent film also on the subject is 'John Rabe: City of War' (2009) which has a larger focus on the particular efforts of German businessman and Nazi party member John Rabe to protect innocent Chinese citizens.
Depicts the horrors of war some of the Australians faced when fighting the Japanese, a solid effort from Aussie cinema.
Most of these are 'War' films per say, some however lean more towards the period drama side, but all are based around the World War II era.
Placed in a rough order of the best at the top of each theater of war.
The flags denote the the countries that the films perspective is taken from. Please inform me if you feel a flag is missing or wrongly placed.
I'm trying to keep the limit of around 50 - adding worthy mentions on at the end.
The majority are traditional feature films, however it also features two TV mini-series. The list does not feature documentaries or comedies and I've left out romance based films like From Here to Eternity and Casablanca
Have mainly used modern coloured films, but have included some black & white classics and these have been denoted with B & W.
I've seen quite a lot of WW2 films, but not all of them,
so feel free to make any suggestions, I am always prepared to add in films I haven't seen.
Thanks for viewing
High budget movies to avoid if you want the facts:
-U-571 (joke of a film that attempts to re-write history, just watch Das Boot instead).
-Pearl Harbor (this isn't a list of the worlds most melodramatic & corny films, just watch Tora Tora Tora).
Well Received Period Romantic Dramas not included in the list:
From Here to Eternity
The English Patient
Top on the 'to watch' list:
Into The White (Cross of Honour)
The Downfall Of Berlin - Anonyma
The Heroes of Telemark
My Best Enemy
The Last Bullet
Sisters of War
The Army of Crime
Army of Shadows
In Harms Way
Battle of Neretva
Hope & Glory
Hell in the Pacific
The Bomber (TV series)
The Unknown Soldier (1955 & 85)
Stalag 17 (B & W)
Battleground (B & W)
Ice Cold Alex (B & W)
Attack (B & W)
Reach for the Sky (B & W)
Run Silent, Run Deep (B & W)
The Young Lions (B & W)
Sands of Iwo Jima (B & W)
Ballad Of A Soldier (B & W)
Stalingrad - Dogs Do You Want to Live Forever? (B & W)