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Added by The Flagship on 27 Nov 2008 08:17
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World War II

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Theatre of war: Western European Front
Combatants: Nazi Germany Vs. Allied Forces
Point of view: Allied Rangers

A rescue mission is ordered to retrieve the sole surviving brother of four who went to war from the same family. After surviving the Normandy beachhead assault at Omaha, Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) is tasked with the retrieval, whilst battling against Nazi patrols and dissent amongst his own ranks, as his men question the validity of the mission.

Awe-inspiring scene: The opening assault on Omaha beach ranks as one of the most realistic depictions of the Normandy landings ever committed to celluloid. Horrific realism that equates to exemplary film-making.
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People who added this item 1636 Average listal rating (1004 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8.2
Theatre of war: Eastern European Front
Combatants: Nazi Germany Vs. Soviet Union
Point of view: Adolf Hitler's administrative staff

With Nazi Germany on the brink of defeat, a ruthless opponent rampages through the capital city and closes in on Hitler and the remnants of his regime. Whilst some generals turn their back on the Fuhrer, others remain defiant and inexplicably loyal to him, as he degenerates into a husk of a man.

Awe-inspiring scene: Watching in dismay as a young girl from the Hitler Youth tries in vain to defend Berlin from the combat hardened Soviet forces.
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People who added this item 317 Average listal rating (193 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.5
Theatre of war: Eastern European Front
Combatants: Nazi Germany Vs Soviet Forces
Point of view: German Infantrymen.

A tale following the retreating German forces after the unsuccessful attack on Stalingrad. While morale amongst the men is destroyed and faith in the Fuhrer and his Wehrmacht wavering, one reluctant general focuses his efforts on surviving. His popularity amongst the troops forges an uneasy relationship with the envious higher command, leading to an act of ultimate betrayal.

Awe-inspiring scene: After leading his men through Soviet lines and back to the German front, Steiner's men are met with brutal force at the hands of their own comrades. The following moments devolve into total insanity.
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Theatre of war: Africa and Western European Fronts
Combatants: Nazi Germany Vs Allied Forces
Point of view: Infantry of the American Army

A film that follows the US First Infantry Division through stints in Northern Africa, Sicily and then later Normandy and Central Europe. The fruitlessness of War is a reoccurring theme, as five men survive the entire conflict from beginning to end. As the film progresses, the insanity of the second world war is played out in full, until it ultimately impacts negatively on the veteran soldiers.

Awe-inspiring scene: Discovery and liberation of a concentration camp in Czechoslovakia and the profound psychological destruction this find has on Private Griff (Mark Hamill).
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People who added this item 30 Average listal rating (9 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.1
Theatre of war: Eastern European Front
Combatants: Soviet Union vs Nazi Germany
Point of view: Soviet Reconnaissance Platoon.

A skilled band of infiltrators are tasked with slipping behind enemy lines and discovering German plans for an armoured assault. The platoon routinely find themselves in intense situations as they meander through increasingly suspicious German lines.

Awe-inspiring scene: Being Russian-made, the film does have an obvious bias towards the Soviet troops, and this almost threatens to overwhelm the final last stand that the men make from a surrounded barn. But they just about get away with it. The rest of the film has huge intensity about it.
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People who added this item 723 Average listal rating (456 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.2
Theatre of war: Eastern European Front
Combatants: Civilian Partisans vs Nazi Germany
Point of view: Civilian Partisans

The story of a band of survivors who flee German persecution by escaping into the Białowieża Forest. Four brothers establish a small community which continually expands and offers refuge to other escapees. Leadership disputes and relentless harassment from the Nazi war machine leads to a miserable life for the survivors. Based on a heroic true story!

Awe-inspiring scene: The re-uniting of the feuding Bielski brothers just in the nick of time, which sees the partisans fend of an armoured assault from a Nazi platoon.
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Theatre of war: Pacific Arena
Combatants: American Infantrymen vs Empire of Japan
Point of view: Japanese Infantrymen

Japanese troops are seen fortifying a strategically important island and are ordered to fight oncoming American forces to the death. Following the initial invasion, Japanese troops are seen attempting to survive the ensuing chaos which sees the ultimate destruction of their entire force.

Awe-inspiring scene: The initial American invasion of the island, in which the Japanese allow the enemy to encroach almost on top of them, before opening fire and dishing out the pain.
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People who added this item 155 Average listal rating (88 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.1
Theatre of war: Western European and Italian Fronts
Combatants: Nazi Germany vs Allied/French forces
Point of view: Indigenous soldiers drafted into the French army

Arabic soldiers sign up to fight for the freedom of the French motherland - a country none of them have seen before, yet feel obliged and honoured to fight for. Despite the obvious sacrifice, the indigenous troops suffer abhorrent racism from within the ranks of the French army and are viewed as second-class citizens.

Awe-inspiring scene: The finale - a 'four vs forty' scenario in which the troops have nothing left to fight for but their honour. The aftermath of their sacrifice, and the current political resentment highlighted in the closing credits will disgust you to the core.
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Theatre of war: Eastern European Front
Combatants: Nazi Germany Vs. Soviet Union
Point of view: Soviet Infantrymen

In the ruins of Stalingrad, a Soviet propaganda hero is born in the shape of Vasily Zaytsev. After several morale-draining losses, Germany's own legendary sharpshooter is despatched to find and eradicate Zaytsev. A sniper battle ensues amidst the ruins of the strategically worthless city.

Awe-inspiring scene: The Ill-equipped Soviet forces running at German lines, mostly without weapons, in a senseless slaughter. Retreat is punished with execution at the hands of their own men.
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Theatre of war: Western European Front
Combatants: Nazi Germany Vs Allied Forces
Point of view: Infantry of the American Army and British Empire.

An all-star cast depicts the events of an audacious plan to bring about a rapid end to the war by securing three tactically vital bridges in The Netherlands. The details of the doomed Operation Market Garden are consigned to history now, this film adds an almost comical sheen onto events in the form of stereotypical British 'stiff upper lip' depictions.

Awe-inspiring scene: The battered and broken Allied troops sitting in misery, before breaking into song with 'Abide with me' as German troops stroll in to take them prisoner.
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People who added this item 28 Average listal rating (16 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 6.2
Kokoda (2006)
Theatre of war: Pacific Arena
Combatants: Allied Forces vs Empire of Japan
Point of view: Australian Infantrymen

Kokoda has a totally refreshing angle as it covers an often overlooked front-line struggle as Australians battle the Japanese in Papa New Guinea in an attempt to stave of an invasion of their homeland. An ill-equipped, ill-trained patrol becomes lost after a brutal Japanese attack and attempt to rejoin their battalion from behind enemy lines.

Awe-inspiring scene: Every scene of Japanese brutality is sickening, and stays with you for a long time. The valiant last stand at the end of the film also tugs at the heart-strings.
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Theatre of war: Western European Front
Combatants: Allied Infantrymen vs Nazi Germany
Point of view: Various

A ludicrous reimagining of how World War II should have ended at the hands of both a secret platoon of blood-thirsty allied soldiers and disgruntled survivors of a ruthless Nazi General's murderous exploits.

Awe-inspiring scene: The final scene which takes place in a burning theatre is the stuff of absolute genius. Worth sitting through the rather slow-paced film for, without a doubt. Beautifully over-the-top.
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People who added this item 232 Average listal rating (134 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.5
Theatre of war: Eastern European Front
Combatants: Nazi Germany vs Soviet Union
Point of view: Nazi Grenadiers

A platoon of Nazi soldiers are drawn away from the relative comfort of the Italian frontier in order to participate in the Battle of Stalingrad. As the tide of war turns against them, the effect of constant battle without reprieve, and a degenerating chain of command have grave effects on the men. Criticised for pinning all blame on Nazi officers, insinuating that the rank-and-file soldiers of the Wehrmacht were ultimately innocent.

Awe-inspiring scene: The finale of the film results in the complete destruction of the platoon, not necessarily at the hands of the enemy, but as a result of complete psychological torture and relentless weather. A brutal reminder of just how wasteful war can be.
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Theatre of war: Pacific Arena
Combatants: American Forces Vs Empire of Japan
Point of view: American Marines

American forces are sent to take a picturesque Pacific island from Japanese antagonists. Film focuses on attitudes towards war from the men who are fighting it, as well as the impact it has on life back home. The film is ladened with epic slow motion combat, a heart-wrenching score and 'only in Hollywood' dialogue. It suffers as a result of overdoing the drama.

Awe-inspiring scene: Frontal assault on a Japanese hill-top machine gun emplacement. Despite the enemy being deeply malnourished and barely willing to fight, casualties are still suffered on both sides in the ensuing bloodbath.
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People who added this item 314 Average listal rating (219 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.7
Theatre of war: Western European Front
Combatants: Allied Forces vs Nazi Germany
Point of view: American Marines

A disgraced sergeant leads a platoon of opportunist comrades behind enemy lines in order to rob a bank. As well as the Nazi marauders defending the town, Kelly must also beat his own army to the town in order to successfully pull off the heist.

Awe-inspiring scene: Less awe-inspiring, more enlightening and memorable, the final attack on the French town shows just how competent the war-weary motley crew actually are in a fire fight.
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Theatre of war: Western European Front
Combatants: Allied Forces vs Nazi Germany
Point of view: American Marines

Survivors of a botched German massacre at Malmedy band together in an attempt to reconvene with Allied lines. With only one rifle and four bullets between them, their mission becomes more important after the discovery of a downed Allied pilot carrying top secret information that needs to be urgently delivered to the front.

Awe-inspiring scene: None. Action is pretty thin on the ground.
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People who added this item 1107 Average listal rating (656 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7.1
Theatre of war: Pacific Arena
Combatants: American Forces Vs Empire of Japan
Point of view: American Marines

A film showing the praise lavished on three marines who were photographed raising an American flag on Iwo Jima. The guilt endured by the men is also depicted as they are exploited for media and propaganda needs by the American government while their comrades continue to fight without acclaim.

Awe-inspiring scene: Initial assault on Iwo-Jima island which evolves into Normandy-esque proportions. Albeit on a much smaller scale.
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People who added this item 3391 Average listal rating (2184 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 6.1
Pearl Harbor (2001)
Theatre of war: Pacific Arena
Combatants: American Forces Vs Empire of Japan
Point of view: American pilots

One of the most significant events in human history is seen through the eyes of two American pilots serving at the Pearl Harbour base. The covert assault is seen planned by Japanese officials, predicted yet ignored by American brass, then carried out by zealous Imperial pilots. In the midst of a World War, they still manage to wrench in a love story.

Awe-inspiring scene: The attack on Pearl Harbour itself. From the scores of planes flying over Hawaii to the final resting place of the Arizona. No expense is spared.
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People who added this item 512 Average listal rating (319 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.6
U-571 (2000)
Theatre of war: Atlantic Ocean
Combatants: American Navy vs Nazi Kriegsmarine
Point of view: American Naval men

A grossly misleading and infinitely insulting 'Americanisation' of British triumph. Americans capture the enigma machine aboard U-571, despite the fact that this piece of equipment was obtained by British sailors before America even joined the war. To further glorify 'America', Nazi U-boatmen are depicted as merciless killers who shoot survivors of a naval engagement.

Awe-inspiring scene: The absurdity of a surfaced U-boat firing on a German Naval destroyer, before getting away unscathed and surviving an intense depth charge attack.
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People who added this item 8 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 4.8
Theatre of war: Western European Front
Combatants: American Forces vs Nazi Germany
Point of view: German Infantrymen.

A made-for-TV remake documenting the last desperate stand of young German troops, hopelessly conscripted and encouraged to fight to the death against the oncoming Allied invasion as the Nazi top-brass attempts to retreat. A good job is made of highlighting the chaos of the final days of the war, but the film is ruined by two-dimensional characters and hilarious voice-dubbing of stereotypical American soldiers.

Awe-inspiring scene: Really none, the action scenes at The Bridge were obviously low-budget, and the amount of bullets fired without hitting a single target was laughable.
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The Second World War, by far the greatest and most horrific of all wars. Back when wars were fought between two armies who had the ability to put up a fight and totally annihilate each other.

Listed here are most of the WWII films that I have watched. I have focused on War films which display a great deal of front line combat, rather than films that are purely set during the World War II era. If I'm missing an obvious film, it's probably because I haven't seen it yet - suggestions are welcome as this is definitely one of my favourite genres. The films are rated from favourite to least.




Theatres of war:
- Key offensives

Western European Front:
- Normandy Landings
- Battle of the Bulge
- Operation Market Garden
- Battle of Britain

Eastern European Front:
- Siege of Leningrad
- Battle of Stalingrad
- Invasion of Poland
- Capture of Berlin

Pacific theatre:
- Assault on Pearl Harbour
- Battle of Midway
- Invasion of Guadalcanal


Principal Antagonists:

Axis Powers:
- Nazi Germany
- Empire of Japan
- Kingdom of Italy

Allied Powers:
- United States
- British Empire
- China
- Republic of Poland
- Soviet Union



Key inventions of WWII:
- Radar/Sonar
- Aircraft Carrier
- Jet Engines
- Anti-aircraft artillery
- Atomic Bomb


Death Toll

Axis:4,000,000

Allied:36,000,000

72,000,000



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