the war movie It is one of the oldest genres in film history, and has been used as a medium to document and comment on wars and conflicts since the advent of the camera. War films made during the wars around them often fall into the trappings of propaganda, but sometimes they go beyond that and become fascinating historical documents or delightful dramas worth remembering.

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In the list below, we’ve rounded up 12 war movies—some trailers, some fantasy novels, and a few documentaries—that were made and released during the wars raging around. Note that these are not necessarily the best war films ever made, as most of the truly great films were made years after the war they depicted; Rushed into production without much time to reflect on the current conflict, many of these films do not achieve their full potential. However, there are a few notable examples of this type working in the contemporary war situation in their favour.

12 Battle of the Somme (1916)

British War Films Committee

Battle of the Somme is a British documentary about the beginning of the Somme Offensive, a battle that would eventually last for nearly five months and claim over a million casualties. The film was filmed and shown before the battle was completed, however, and has a very strong propaganda slant, meaning that it does not accurately depict the horrors of the deadly battle that it does.

Nevertheless, the documentary is generally considered an important historical document, as it was among the first motion pictures to capture trench warfare in World War I.

11 Did the day go well? (1942)

Did the day go well?  movie scene
Ealing Studios

Did the day go well? is another British war film, even though it was filmed and set during World War II, and is only part propaganda. It is a fictional feature about a small, isolated English village that has been overrun by German paratroopers dressed as the Royal British Engineers.

Although it was certainly intended to inspire the citizens of Great Britain to be vigilant and ready to stumble upon Nazi spies at all times, the film notably avoids many of the trappings of other propaganda films that present an inaccurate and believable depiction of war. It’s actually a very well-made and suspenseful thriller, with more than a few scenes of surprisingly grueling violence.

Related: The Best World War II Movies Ever Made, Ranked

10 Bunny Fall (1943)

Bugs Bunny in Downfall Bunny
Pictures Warner Bros

Bunny landing is classic Meri Melodies A cartoon that pits Bugs Bunny against a mischievous gremlin bent on destroying an airplane. This funny short film hails from the golden age of American animation, and is set during World War II. Although it is not a feature film and does not depict any historical battles, it does provide one of the first motion picture depictions of gremlins, the popular folklore creatures closely associated with the planes and machines of World War II.

9 The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
United Artists

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp It’s a beloved war movie about a veteran general trying to beat up his division during World War II. Bookmarked with scenes set during World War II, the film ultimately goes back in time and takes us through the man’s incredible life, including his experiences in previous wars, romance, and lifelong friendship with a German soldier.

Directed by British director duo Emeric Pressburger and Michael Powell (commonly referred to as “The Archers”), The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp is an honest, action-packed, and stunning adventure that outshines almost every World War II movie during the war.

8 The Most Beautiful (1944)

the most beautiful

the most beautiful is a feature documentary about the daily lives of a group of female factory workers in Japan during World War II. The film is known as the second film directed by legendary director Akira Kurosawa. Although not one of his masterpieces from the hot-lined “middle period” of the 1950s and 1960s, this early effort sowed the seeds of the class-conscious human drama themes that would define his postwar output.

It fits perfectly into the mold of a propaganda movie, but don’t let that discourage you from checking it out – the most beautiful Provides a view of a Japanese woman on the main front of World War II that is rarely seen and highly valued.

Related: These are some of the best early Akira Kurosawa movies

7 Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944)

A scene from Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
Luv company

One of the best war films of the forties, Thirty seconds over Tokyo It tells the thrilling true story of the first US Air Force retaliatory air strike against Japan. Surprisingly gritty and realistic, this atmospheric action game features solid characters and plenty of exhilarating action. With a cast stacked with great talents, including Spencer Tracy and Van Johnson, plus fantastic special effects blended seamlessly with actual aerial footage from the war, the movie is a must-see for fans of wartime aviation.

6 The Story of Ji Joe (1945)

The Story of GI Joe United Artists
United Artists

JJ story is a classic World War II film about the true story of American journalist Ernie Pyle, who documented the experiences of a small band of soldiers as they made their way across the European front. atypical for a movie of its time, JJ story Unflinching in its depiction of the horrors and chaotic violence of war. With an all-star cast filled with Hollywood legends, including Meredith Burgess and Robert Mitchum, plus first-rate directing. wings Director William A. Wellman, this poignant war epic is one of the best out there during the war.

5 The Steel Helmet (1951)

The steel helmet
Liebert Pictures

One of many great war films from acclaimed director (and WWII veteran) Samuel Fuller, The steel helmet It is an intense, small-scale action thriller centering on a missing American sergeant in the Korean War. With the help of a young Korean orphan, the sergeant eventually joins forces with a small platoon of soldiers, and they stage an explosive final confrontation against the enemy in an abandoned temple shelter.

The movie takes time to flesh out its characters, making each of them their own way. The final battle sequence more than makes up for the lack of action in the first two-thirds, and is one of the most dramatic “last stands” in war movie history.

Related: 12 Lesser-Known War Movies That Don’t Get Enough Love

4 Green Berets (1968)

John Wayne in The Green Berets
Warner Bros.

green berets It is a controversial war film directed by and starring legendary actor John Wayne. Although The Duke starred in a number of great war films, this one set during the early days of the Vietnam War was one of his rare flops. Hard-line in its pro-war policies (a deeply unpopular opinion then and today) and directed strictly by 1968 standards, green beretswhile commercially successful, did not do so for most critics.

As Roger Ebert described it in his review of the film in 1968, “At this moment in our history, caught up in the longest and most contentious war we have ever fought, what we certainly don’t need is a movie that depicts Vietnam in terms of cowboys and Indians. It’s cruel and unkind.” Amen and unworthy of the thousands who died there.”

3 The Little Girl of Hanoi (1974)

Little Girl from Hanoi Vietnam Feature Film Studio
Vietnam Feature Film Studio

Hanoi little girl A Vietnamese drama about a young girl who tries to locate her family after her city is completely destroyed by US bombing. In contrast to Western media portrayals of the Vietnam War, this film offers well-crafted drama and important historical documentation from an aspect of the conflict that many rarely see.

Although it could easily be written off as one-sided propaganda as a no green beretsThe movie is much better than that and should be used as an educational tool in getting a fuller perspective on one of the most devastating wars in human history. The film is widely available on YouTube with English subtitles.

2 The Hurt Locker (2008)

Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker
The pinnacle of entertainment

A must-see movie directed by a prominent female director, Pain locker is Kathryn Bigelow’s massive thriller about an EOD team in the Iraq War. Filled with intense action and stunning cinematography, this modern war thriller revived the genre.

As Screen Rant explains, “Director Kathryn Bigelow is in full command of her craft here, with Pain locker It later won six Academy Awards, including Best Director and Best Picture; beating out some of the most popular films of the year including Inglorious BasterdsAnd symbol pictureAnd hidden sideAnd higher And District 9. “

1 Restrepo (2010)

National Geographic Entertainment

Restrepo It is a wonderful documentary made during the war in Afghanistan. Directed by photographer Tim Hetherington and journalist Sebastian Junger, this gritty, untold documentary aims to depict the daily lives of soldiers on the front lines. While some criticize her for her lack of message or commentary, others praise her for her candid photos that speak for themselves. Either way, it’s hard to deny that it’s a fascinating historical document.


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