What are your favorite World War 2 films (either films about or made during the war) from different countries? I think it’d be quite interesting to see how a variety of participants portrayed World War 2, or even how those portrayals changed from during the war to after the war.
For example, the Soviet film Come and See, or Das Boot from Germany. Are there any trends that specific countries have that clash with others?
Germany: The Bridge
Italy: Rome, Open City
Japan: The Human Condition
Soviet Union: Come and See
China: Devils on the Doorstep
USA: The Thin Red Line
Great Britain: Listen to Britain
France: Army of the Shadows
Poland: Ashes and Diamonds
Czechoslovakia: The Shop on Main Street
India: Distant Thunder
Don’t agree with Thin Red Line.
You´re right, I was wondering wether to choose that one or “The Longest Day” which is of course about the D-Day, but decided to rather select an outstanding artistic approach since the war took place all over the world and not just in Europe. But anyway would we need to select documentaries if we´re looking for historical accurance. I would recommend “The World at War” and “Battlefield” both of which are very insightful.
Japan: Fires on the Plain (Kon Ichikawa, 1959)
Soviet Union: The Trial on The Roads (Alexei German, 1971)
China: Devils on the Doorstep (Jiang Wen, 2000)
France: The Sorrow and the Pity (Marcel Ophuls, 1969)
Poland: Kanal (Andrzej Wajda, 1956)
Sadly, I can’t think of a single British or American movie WWII movie that I actually like.
Some interesting American films set in World War II.
I’d start with The Americanization of Emily. Pretty powerful anti-war message for having no action to speak of.
Heaven Knows Mister Allison – really doesn’t have much to do with the war at all. Mitchum again.
A Walk in the Sun — War as talk, lots of talk, occasional action and the guilty pleasure that you survived.
Finland: Ambush by Olli Saarela. Takes place in 1941 on the Finnish-Russian border. Early in the war, the Finns allied with the Germans who aided them in their conflict with the Russians. The Finnish soldiers are outfitted with German military gear including the distinctive looking helmets.
The Story of G.I. Joe (1945) W. WellmanThey Were Expendable (1945) J. FordThe Best Years of Our Lives (1946) W. WylerGermania anno zero (1948) R. RosselliniBattleground (1949) W. WellmanThe Train (1964) J. FrankenheimerArmy of Shadow (1969) J.P. MelvilleLacombe, Lucien (1974) L. MalleCross of Iron (1977) S. PeckinpahSoldier of Orange (1977) P. VerhoevenThe Big Red One: The Reconstruction (1980/2004) S. FullerLa notte di San Lorenzo (1982) Paolo and VittorioTavianiHope and Glory (1987) J. BoormanEuropa Europa (1990) A. HollandThe Pianist (2002) R. Polanski
In addition to the ones listed, “The Burmese Harp” (again, Kon Ichikawa.) The film ripped open a lot of wounds in the Japanese national psyche after WW2 by its pacifist message and its description of the “heroic” Japanese soldiers as merely human.
For Soviet Union I would recommend Aleksei German’s “Check-up on the Roads”. A great film!
@Elvis. That’s a great list. And thanks for not including the highly overrated Come and See.
Come and See is more of a cult favorite than a classic of the genre. It is a unique and fascinating curio not a universally acknowleged masterpiece. How exactly is it overrated?
Come and See is ranked #357 on TSHDT’s Top 1000 film list, which is the most comprehensive aggregate of best film lists out there. That’s higher than almost all the films mentioned in this thread.
Can’t argue with statistics. Still don’t agree that it’s overrated though. The film is not perfect but is nevertheless powerful in content and unconventional in form. If we have to have an overrated Russian war film, I’d suggest “The Ascent” by Larissa Shepitko.
ha- I was going to suggest The Ascent as a cult fave!
Soldier of Orange and Blackbook are both well made WW2 films that kind of fell by the wayside. . . can’t believe Verhoeven didn’t receive more praise for them. Not to say these are classics.
One man’s meat is another man’s poison. :)
Did I just make it too awkward for this thread to continue?
The Cranes are Flying (Soviet, mid-fifties). It has utterly no distance from the then-recent events it portrays. Surprised no one has mentioned it. But the sensibility is antique. To understand, you have to go to it. It’s not going to come to you. So, it might be a useful Soviet baseline for the OP’s inquiry.
US – Saving Private Ryan
Germany – Mephisto
Japan – Grave of Fireflies
France – Army of Shadows
UK – The World at War (Yes, I’m cheating. Its a TV extended documentary, but the most complete take on the war that I know of.)
U.S.- Empire of the Sun (1987) Spielberg
U.S./Italy- Miracle at Santa Anna (2008) Spike Lee
U.S.- The Thin Red Line (1998) Malick
Germany- The Tin Drum (1979) Schlöndorff
Japan- Grave of the Fireflies (1988) Takahata
Czechoslovakia- The Shop on Mainstreet (1965) Kadar
France- Jeux interdits (1952) René Clément
France – Aurevoir les enfants (1987) Louis Malle
Italy- A Special Day/ Una giornata particolare (1977) Ettore Scola