There are many, many WW2 movies which focus on different aspects of the
conflict. Here you will find a “Top 10” sorted by category. WW2 (World
War II) has long been an inspiration for directors. In addition to WW2,
the Vietnam war has also been shown on movie. If you want to get an
overview of WW2 movies in existence, it’s natural to divide them into
that follows is one such attempt.
1) WW2: War
Educational movies from the German Army (Wehrmacht)
German newsreel movies
Movies top 10
Documentaries (WW2 1945)
categories 1) to 4)
Many of the
movies in these categories are archived at the German Federal Archives
in Berlin. There are also supplementary documents on movies available
which tell and complete the story of WW2. Another good place to search
for videos which discuss WW2 is the Library and Military History
Research Office, which is based in Potsdam. Alternatively, you can get a
first look at most WW2 movies here simply using Youtube.
to approach all of these movies with a critic’s eye, since glorification
or vilification of the characters portrayed in the movie is typically in
the foreground. Here is a list of movies, which might not be the
ultimate “Top 10”, but do give a flavour of how the war was for people
at the time.
Bridge - Very young soldiers fight in the armed forces to survive in
Germany in 1945
Longest Day - A movie about D-Day. The day of the landing of Allied
troops in Normandy on June 6, 1944
Private Ryan - The movie shows the Allied landings in Normandy. In the
chaos of war, a son must be found and brought home (WW2 tanks).
4) Das Boot
- Wolfgang Petersen's oppressive submarine movie is shaped by the
claustrophobic tightness of the tiny cabin, and the long tracking shots.
The futility and horror of the WW2 unfolds slowly in this movie (U-Boats WW2).
Schindler's List - A movie about Oskar Schindler (1908-1974), an
industrialist in the WW2, who saved some 1,200 Jews from Poland and
Czechoslovakia from death in Auschwitz.
Battle of Britain - A British war movie about the struggle for air
supremacy in the WW2 between Britain and Germany.
Bridge over the River Kwai - A movie about Allied prisoners in the years
1942 - 1945 forced to work on Japanese railways.
Tora! Tora! - A movie that was movieed in 1970 by an American-Japanese
co-production. The story focuses on the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor
Empire of the Sun - movie about a British boy who lives in Shanghai at
the outbreak of war and later falls into captivity.
10) Der Zug
- a movie about the Geman army in 1944 who find significant works of art
in Paris and are trying to bring them back to Germany - in spite of
advancing Allied forces.
A Career (director: Joachim Fest, Chistian Herrendörfer: 1977)
on America: Hitler’s 9/11 (director: Christoph Weber: 2008)
Ford Goes to War (director: Tom Thurman: 2002)
4) My War (director:
Harriet Eder, Thomas Kufus: 1990)
The Field Marshal and the Trauma of Stalingrad (director: Henry Koehler:
Battle of Midway (director: John Ford: 1942) [short movie]
Stalingrad (director: Christian Klemke, Jan N. Lorenzen: 2002)
Stalingrad (director: Sebastian Dehnhardt: 2006)
Enemies - Death and Survival in Stalingrad (director: Rolf Schubel,
10) The WW2
or “Mirror TV - The War in Colour” (director: Michael Kloft: 1999)
selection of WW2 movies can really only be taken as an example of movies
that fit each category. The task of creating a comprehensive list is
beyond the scope of this site.