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Guest TCMhost-Joy

World War II Films

128 posts in this topic

Guest TCMhost-Joy

With the upcoming release of Pearl Harbor, there is a resurgence of talk of war films.Is The African Queen(with Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn) or The Bridge on the River Kwai(starring William Holden and Alec Guinness) the best of the crop? Discuss your favorite.

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Guest TCMhost-Claire

To me, a "war movie" is always about a specific war: World War II. That conflict certainly spawned a golden era in filmmaking. What do you think is the best war movie ever made? What are some of the great war movies that were made about other wars: World War I, Korea, Vietnam, etc.? Canor shoulda war movie carry an anti-war message, or should war movies be about honoring those who served?

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Guest cfrances

As a kid, I also just saw war movies as adventure pictures, usually about WWII as Claire says above. But the films that really stick with me are the anti-war epics made about Vietnam, such as Platoon.

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Guest brennen

Thin Red Line. brilliant movie.

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Guest maggiemay

I'd include the two great prison camp movies- Stalag 17 and The Great Escape.

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Guest CaptainOT

Best WWI movie: "All Quiet On The Western Front" (1930)The romance of war is suddenly transformed into the horrors of war.Best WWII movie: "Patton" (1970)One of the last great war films without computerized special f/x.Best Korean War / Cold War movie: "The Manchurian Candidate" (1962)Communism, brainwashing, McCarthyism. That's entertainment!Best Vietnam War movie: "Platoon" (1986)Arguably the greatest war film ever made.Best anti-war movie: Tie: "J'Accuse" (1919), "Grand Illusion" (1937)Two looks against war; the first disturbing, the second humane.Best "those who served" movie: "Saving Private Ryan" (1998)Vivid portrayal of the sacrifices men made in wartime.Worst war movie: "The Green Berets" (1968)John Wayne's ode to Vietnam is so gung ho it's unintentionally funny!Honorable mention: "The Day The Clown Cried" (1971)The unfinished Jerry Lewis film set in Auschwitz. Need I say more?

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Guest cfrances

The scene in Platoon that I found most amazing was one in which there is a firefight in the jungle, with bullets flying from every direction. It's confusing to follow, but that's the point--the soldiers didn't know where the bullets were coming from either. They try to retreat or get backup and find that there is nowhere to go and nobody to help them, they're just stuck in the middle of this deadly, terrifying chaos. I never saw a war movie that gave me such a sense of what it must be like to actually be in a battle like that.

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Guest cinemanic

I agree with the Captain on The Green Berets! That movie was utterly unwatchable. John Wayne starred and directed, and I've heard he was also the main backer in getting this made. Apparently he was upset at all of the antiwar sentiment surrounding Vietnam, so he wanted to make and old-fashioned war movie about it. Besides simply being a bad movie, it also flopped because Vietnam was such a very different war, and pretending that the Vietnamese were the same sort of enemy as the Nazis was not something that anyone was going to buy. Trivia: According to the Leonard Maltin guide, the final scene of this movie has the sun setting in the east.

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Guest gene

I noticed an underabundance of WW II movies made during the war in TCM's war movie marathon. What happened to Guadalcanal Diary? Or Back to Bataan? Or the most outrageous of all propaganda films The Purple Heart? Oh, well - maybe for veterans' day.

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Guest couchpotato

No question! This is the most compelling movie, it shows without qualm the horrors suffered by the Jewish people, and the cold, callousness of the perpetrators. I cried during this movie, every time I watch it. It's one of those powerful movies that one hopes will keep us from repeating the same horrible mistakes! Neeson is incredible in this film.

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Guest ctalbott

Schindler's List is definitely up there in my top 2, but I'm torn between it and "The Best Years of Our Lives." It's natural to be able to conjure up images of the horror of war, but this movie showed -- and tragically well -- the afteraffects of war, on not only the men returning home, but of the family members left behind. It seems the horrors don't end once the war ends. This is a must see for war movie fans.

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Guest cfrances

The Great Escape and Stalag 17 are two of my favorite WWII movies. When I was a kid, I must have seen every war movie ever made, but they all blur together now! These two stand out from the crowd, though.

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Guest django

In truth I was never a fan of WWII films. Are there any of the intellectually stimulating variety from 1990? I find WWII films seem to have too much political flag propaganda and patriotic beating of the chest. But in the midst of all this glorification of war the horror and tragedy of it seems to get lost. To me they seem a little dated. Somebody throw me a lifesaver here.

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Guest keith

Recently, with films like Saving Private Ryan and Schindler's List the glorification of war on film has been put on hold. War films has taken an honest and truthful look at how terrible it can be. So,if you look at what these two films can do in presenting the topic of war you can have a new appreciation of what a war film can do.

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Guest bltapley

ctalbot & couchpotato,I agree with both of you about "Schindler's List", and with you, ctalbot, about both "Best Years of Our Lives" and "Schindler"; both films have a certain urgency, are real, and utterly human...yet very different films. The common thread here is absolute honesty, with a soul. In terms of ranking my own all-time favorite films, "Schindler" tops even "Citizen Cane." And "Best Years" is in my top five. Byron Tapley

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Guest Emersonn

Insofar as war movies are concerned, I enjoy the individual character studies. As a result my favorites are:A Walk in the Sun as a platoon/squad gets ready to attack a farm house held by Nazis each member reveals his true character by discussing their background and the job to be done.Battleground the study of a platoon/squad in the 101st Airborn during the Battle of the Bulge. It focuses on morale and the psychology of combat.Saving Private Ryan dont underestimate this film as a classic. It may be the only war movie and if it is not, it is by far the best to focus on that always mentally but never orally asked and always unanswered question asked by virtually everyone who has seen combat, Why Me?. Of all of those men who were better than I, why did I return and not them?

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Guest rmacdonald

I watched "The Battle of Britain" last night - and I'm curious, were the German sequences supposed to have sub-titles? It was very realistic to have them talk in German, but a bit hard to follow if you don't speak German.

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Guest GLabovitz

I noticed that too. I've seen it before several times with the subtitles. Though, I do have to say, the lack of subtitles wasn't a major distraction -- either I generally recalled what they were saying, but more importantly, from the acting, the tone of voices, etc, you could "tell" what they were saying, even if you didn't know the exact dialogue.

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Guest GLabovitz

While I was aware of some inconsistencies in the dialogue in the movie, when it aired over the weekend on TCM, I noticed something that I had not noticed before in all the times that I have seen the movie. After seeing a movie several times, I like to look for what else is occurring in a scene other than the main actors speaking. In Destination Tokyo, I noticed the following: when Captain Cassidy (Cary Grant) was at his desk writing his letter to his wife, just before they pulled out of port, the camera focused on the letter, with the hand and pen writing away as Cassidy spoke what he was writing. In the background, on the desk, there was a book standing up, held up by some other books and other things. I was a little surprised to see that the book was entitled to the extent that the title showed, "Racial Theory." Hmmm. Why would the captain of a U.S. submarine have a book on racial theory on his desk -- shades of pre-civil rights movement American "racism"? Just a passing thought.

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Guest PHeath60

Hello.. this forum is one of my favorite subjects... have watched WWII movies for a very long time... grew up with them.. My mother survived the Blitz in London, and my Father served as a Surgeon in the Pacific Theatre in WWII. I have to say that I think that the films of the time had to be filled with the Propaganda, and (sometimes) had to be somewhat sugar coated for the morale of the people who were left behind to work, and fight to keep this country together while so many were away. A great movie that depicts this that gets very little attention is "Since You Went Away"... it stars Claudette Colbert, Shirley Temple (as a Teen) and Jennifer Jones. The movie really encompasses all that the families went through while their husbands, fathers, brothers etc went to war. I highly recommend it...

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Guest on, Marching

I'm new here also. Have seen quite a few WWII movies over the years. I think some of the difference in the stories of then and now had to do with censors. There's a big difference what you can say and graphically illustrate today more than yesterdays films. PT-109 was a strong character (Kennedy) film.

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Guest G, Joe

"Saving Private Ryan" - a triumph of style over substance that is testimony to Spielberg's talent. He takes a cliched script, stereotypical characters, hackeneyed dialogue and makes the most unforgettable image of war ever committed to film. Older war films seem almost laughable now - no blood, no fuss, no wonder we thought it was fun when we were kids! I saw "The Dirty Dozen" again recently and found it almost quaint - scores of people shot, everyone just clutching their stomaches and falling over cinematically. "Ryan" changed all that, showed us war's true (horrible) face, and will continue to be the yardstick for years to come.

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Guest Waffled

Das Boot - This movie tops my list. This film is so compelling and the camera makes you feel you are actually going through the struggles with the sailors. One of the greatest endings to any movie.A Thin Red Line - The movie captures beautifully the manner at which the horrors of war effect the soldiers.Stalingrad - Another German movie that is exceptional. It follows the history of a proud German SS unit thrown into the battle and how they consumed by the chaos.

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Guest Winocki, Joe

Okay, so this title could never qualify as the "greatest" war film ever but...what makes it a "great" film to me are the parts that make it a whole.My father was an aerial gunner on a B17 during WW II and I heard many a story from him regarding the missions he flew. When I was very young he would mention the film "Air Force" as he referenced his own personal experiences during the war and of the close friends he lost. His emotion was always evident. Naturally I longed to see it for myself.I finally got my chance in 1961 (I was 13) when a late night showing on a local TV channel aired it virtually uninterrupted. I got my first film induced "lump in the throat" that night. Not during the well staged action set pieces but when, halfway through, John Ridgely and Gig Young are told by the Base Commander that crew chief Robbie's (Harry Carey Sr.)son had been killed. As they approached Carey with the yet untold facts, his face lit up with the anticipation of hearing about his "Boy". It was then that Max Steiner's score softly thumped out "Wild Blue Yonder" and it was then I began to ache. Carey's response to the news and to the small bundle of his son's personal effects presented to him was something I have never forgotten or experienced since. I realized then exactly what my father was trying to convey with all those stories he told me. War is personal.Nope, not the greatest war film, but truly a great moment to a 13 year old just discovering the power of the movies.

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Guest kilroy20

The besat war movie ever made is "Beach Red" and it should be shown on TCM more often than it is.

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