June 5, 2023
The 10 Greatest WWII Movies of All Time - IGN

The 10 Greatest WWII Movies of All Time – IGN

When it comes to portraying the terrors of war on screen, no war has been depicted more in film than World War II. Even today, movies are still being made about this hellish global conflict to eradicate fascism and genocide, with stories that cover many different aspects of the war. There are stories of love set against espionage and resistance, tales of deadly bullet-riddled battlefields, and stark dramas that shine a light on the atrocities committed, which we must all never forget.

We’ve rounded up, over the past eight decades, ten of the best WWII movies of all time, from acclaimed directors like Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino, David Lean, and more. They are stories of horror, heartbreak, heroism and humility that sometimes offer different tones about this utterly incomparable era of destruction.

10. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Where to watch: DirecTV, Sling or rentable on most platforms.

Quentin Tarantino’s violent and clever re-story Inglourious Basterds featured a Nazi squad, a Jewish cinema owner, a ruthless SS officer and a German movie star turned spy as they all converged on occupied Paris for a premiere of film this turns out to be quite crucial to the Allied war effort. Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Diane Kruger, Daniel Brühl, Mélanie Laurent and Christoph Waltz (who won an Oscar for his role) star in this tense and offbeat revenge saga nestled among the horrors of war.

Lily IGN’s take on Inglourious Basterds.

9. The Boat (1981)

Where to watch: Fubo, Tubi, Crackle or for rent on most platforms.

Written and directed by German filmmaker Wolfgang Petersen (who went on to direct Air Force One and Troy), Das Boot has been hailed as one of the greatest war films ever made. Tense, thrilling and clever, this epic naval adventure follows the crew of a German submarine as they go on patrol through the waters during the Battle of the Atlantic. Das Boot is moving, exciting and claustrophobic, depicting both the anxiety and the banality of combat.

8. Jojo Rabbit (2019)

Where to watch: Fubo, DirecTV or commendable on most platforms.

The most recent film on this list, Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit is a coming-of-age comedy-drama about a ten-year-old boy, a member of the Hitler Youth, who discovers that his mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a Jewish girl in their attic. Winner of the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar, Waititi presented an unusually whimsical and disarming look at Nazism, bordering on satire at times, as the boy, “Jojo” Betzler, had an imaginary friend in the form of Adolph Hitler (Waititi himself in the role). The end result is a deliberately insensitive anti-hate fable that is ultimately about empathy and inclusion.

Lily IGN’s take on Jojo Rabbit.

Where to watch: HBO Max, or commendable on most platforms.

An essential film classic, Casablanca, winner of the best picture, is a jewel of the “golden age” of Hollywood. Humphrey Bogart, in one of his most famous roles, plays a devious expat who must choose between loving a woman (Ingrid Bergman’s Ilsa) and helping her husband, a resistance leader, flee their city. occupied by the fascists. Paul Henreid, Claude Rains and Peter Lorre also star in this influential and timeless masterpiece of intrigue and romance.

6. Dunkirk (2017)

Where to watch: HBO Max, or commendable on most platforms.

Christopher Nolan’s complex and fast-paced ensemble war film depicting the Dunkirk evacuation of more than 300,000 Allied troops in northern France is a deeply moving spectacle full of dazzling imagery and an impressive sense of greatness. Fionn Whitehead, Harry Styles, Barry Keoghan, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance and Tom Hardy are just a few of the names here as three stories unfold, via overlapping timelines, illustrating land, sea and aircraft to mount a massive rescue mission. This is one of the best Christopher Nolan movies that everyone should see.

Lily IGN’s opinion on Dunkirk.

5. Come and See (1985)

Where to watch: The criterion channel

War films can shine a light on heroism and triumph or reach into the darkest corners of battle and reveal the true evils committed against humanity. The 1980s Soviet anti-war film Come and See, directed by Elem Klimov, navigated its way through nearly a decade of state censorship to get made and delivered the shocking, heartwarming story reflect on the atrocities a teenager witnessed during Nazi-occupied Belarus. It is a poignant and graphic presentation, using both realism and surrealism, which challenges its audience to confront the diabolical and diabolical nature of war.

4. Schindler’s List (1993)

Where to watch: Starz, or commendable on most platforms.

Director Steven Spielberg was well known long before the release of Schindler’s List, which would go on to win Best Picture at the Oscars. He had even directed dramas before, including The Color Purple and (WWII) Empire of the Sun. But nothing quite prepared audiences for the abject horror of the Holocaust presented in Schindler’s List, which starred Liam Neeson as German industrialist Oskar Schindler, whose growing awareness helped him to save more than a thousand Jewish refugees by employing them in its factories. Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes, Caroline Goodall and Embeth Davidtz co-starred in what would instantly become one of the most culturally and socially significant films of all time.

3. The Thin Red Line (1998)

Where to watch: Apple TV+, or rental on most platforms.

Focusing on the Pacific Theater of World War II – specifically the Battle of Mount Austen at Guadalcanal – The Thin Red Line is a soaring philosophical war poem directed by Terrence Malick, delivering his first film in 20 years. Stars flocked to this massive set (many eventually finding themselves cut out of the film altogether) like Sean Penn, Jim Caviezel, Nick Nolte, Adrien Brody, George Clooney, John Cusack, Woody Harrelson, Jared Leto, John C. Reilly, and more. others joined the cause (helping the rough cut of the film last five hours). The Thin Red Line is a beautiful and haunting look at the toll of war on humans and nature.

2 The Bridge Over the River Kwai (1957)

Where to watch: HBO Max, or commendable on most platforms.

David Lean’s The Bridge Over the River Kwai, based on the 1952 novel by Pierre Boulle, stars William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins and Sessue Hayakawa in a clever, complex and psychologically tense story about building the road to Burmese iron. With expert performances, seven Oscars (including Best Picture) to its name, and the highest box office of 1957, this landmark film is hailed as a towering cinematic achievement with career-defining work for all people. involved.

1. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Where to watch: Paramount+, or commendable on most platforms.

Featuring both courage and mayhem, heroism and heinous violence, Saving Private Ryan is a superb whirlwind of every war movie touchstone, kicking things off with a chilling and heartbreaking look at the D-Day landings at Omaha Beach. Director Steven Spielberg fused both warmth and nastiness for this on-the-ground look at soldiers scouring war-torn France in search of a paratrooper. Private First Class James Ryan. Tom Hanks headlined a cast that also included Matt Damon, Edward Burns, Tom Sizemore, Giovanni Ribisi, Barry Pepper and Vin Diesel. It was an unyielding look at war that drove the whole genre forward.

Looking for more genre-defining films? Take a look at our guide to the best thrillers of all time as well as the best horror movies.

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