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Classic World War 2 movies - chronologically


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I posted awhile back about making a list of classic films that cover historical aspects of World War 2.  This is my final (well final for now) list which I have posted on my blog (which is usually booklists for homeschool families).  I thought I would share here though as someone might be interested. 

https://readingvoyages.blogspot.com/2019/11/viewing-world-war-2-through-classic.html

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Here's the list, for those who don't like to click links:
 
 
 
Classic World War 2 Films in Chronological Order

 

     
Prewar    
  Young Winston Winston Churchill childhood, young adulthood years
1933 The Mortal Storm Impact on German family when Hitler becomes Chancellor
1937 (and on) Inn of the Sixth Happiness Missionary Gladys Aylward leads 100 orphans to safety in China from invading Japanese
1939    
Sep Mrs. Miniver England declares war on Germany, homefront
Nov 15 - Dec 13 Battle of River Plate 1st major naval conflict of WW2
     
1940    
May 26 to Jun 4 Dunkirk Dunkirk Evacuation
  The Way Ahead Conscripted civilians trained and replace Dunkirk casualties
Sum 1940 Spitfire (First of the Few) Set in 1940 tells of Spitfire designers in 1930s
Jun – Sep 17 Battle of Britain Bombing of England by Germany
  Reach for the Sky Douglas Bader – RAF pilot & commander
Sep 5 – Jan 1941 The One that Got Away Downed German pilot escapes from Canadian prison camp
     
1941    
Mar 27 Sink the Bismarck Story of stopping the great German ship - Bismarck
Apr – Nov The Desert Rats Siege of Tobruk
Apr 41 – Jul 42 Flying Tigers US pilots volunteer for Chinese airforce
May 1940-Nov 22 1941 Under Ten Flags German ship sinks 22 merchant ships
Dec Casablanca Nazi occupation North Africa
Dec Tora! Tora! Tora! Pearl Harbor
  They Were Expendable Use of PT boats shortly after Pearl Harbor
     
1942    
Jan – Apr Bataan Battle of Bataan
1940-45 The Colditz Story Most escapes from POW camp during WW2
Early Destination Tokyo Reconnaissance for Doolittle
Feb – Apr 30 Seconds Over Tokyo Doolittle Raid
  The Cruel Sea Battle of the Atlantic (Uboats – from Fall 1939 through 1945)
  The Enemy Below Uboat/US Subs
  Action in the North Atlantic US Merchant Marine & U boats
  Counter-Attack (1945) Russians build underwater bridges
Jan – Jun The Malta Story Battle of Malta
  The Eternal Sea (Amazon) Rear Adm. John Hoskins loses leg and fights to stay on aircraft carrier
Mar Attack on the Iron Coast St. Nazaire Raid
  Fighting Seabees Naval Construction Battalions
Jun 4-7 Midway Battle of Midway
Jun Hangmen Also Die Assassination of Reinhard Heydrich #2 SS mastermind – very much a fictional version
Oct Edge of Darkness Norwegian resistance to Nazi occupation (fictional story but shows about the resistance)
After Jun 42 bef 43 Sahara Allied soldiers protect a well from a group of Axis soldiers
Nov 10 Sea of Sand On the eve of Battle of El Alamein, patrol to destroy fuel dump
  Island on Bird Street Boy survives in Polish ghetto, Robinson Crusoe style
     
1943    
1942-1943 Bridge on the River Kwai based on Burma railway built by Japanese from Jun 42 through Dec 1943
Jan Twelve O’ Clock High 1st bombing of Germany
1943 Command Decision bombing Germany at night
  The Gallant Hours Admiral Halsey leading up to and victory of Guadalcanal
Feb Guadalcanal Diary Battle of Guadacanal
Mainly Mid 1943 Patton – edited version Battle of El Guetta & Allied Invasion of Sicily (normal version has a lot of bad language)
May 16-17 The Dam Busters Operation Chastise
Jul – Aug 1943 To Hell & Back Audie Murphy, most decorated WW2 veteran – Allied Invasion of Sicily
Before Jul The Man Who Never Was Operation Mincemeat – used dead man to confuse Germany of Allied Invasion
Aug 7 Story of GI Joe War Correspondent Ernie Pyle during the Invasion of Siciliy
  The Counterfeit Traitor Erik Erikson – swedish oil executive who becomes a spy for the Allies
Sep 15 Guns of Navarone Battle of Leros
43-45 Above Us the Waves British X-class (midget) submarines
Dec The Devil’s Brigade 1st Special Service Force (Devil’s Brigade) first mission Italian Campaign
Aug 1943 – 1944 Operation Crossbow Development of VI and V2 Rockets
1943-1944 Five Fingers Elyesa Bazna – spy
     
1944    
formed early 1944 Merrill’s Marauders Unit formed for Burma campaign
1940-44 Password is Courage Sgt Maj. Charles Coward – multiple escapes
Mar 24 & 25 The Great Escape True escape story of POWs
May I Was Monty’s Double Operation Copperhead
  13 Rue Madeline Training Spies for invasion of France
  36 Hours Germans try to trick American Major into telling about Allied invasion
Jun Ike Planning of Normandy Invasion
Jun Longest Day Normandy Invasion
Jun 1944 Carve Her Name with Pride True story of SOE agent Violette Szabo and her execution
+Jul 20, 1944 The Desert Fox Story of Rommel and the assassination attempt on Hitler on Jul 20, 1944
Oct Hell is for Heroes Siegfried Line
Dec Stalag 17 Life in POW camp
Dec – Feb Battle of the Bulge Battle of the Bulge
Late 1944 Decision Before Dawn Postwar Germany right before the war ends
     
1945    
Jan Miracle of the White Stallions Evacation of the Lipizzaner horses from Vienna by the US Army
Feb – Mar Sands of Iwo Jima Battle of Iwo Jima
  The Beginning or the End Development of Atomic Bomb
  Above and Beyond Bombing Japan
     
Postwar    
  Best Years of Our Lives Soldiers adjusting to postwar life
  Foreign Affair Real footage of bombed out Germany/postwar life
  Judgment at Nuremberg Nuremberg Trials
     

 

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31 minutes ago, wunderlong88 said:

I posted awhile back about making a list of classic films that cover historical aspects of World War 2.  This is my final (well final for now) list which I have posted on my blog (which is usually booklists for homeschool families).  I thought I would share here though as someone might be interested. 

https://readingvoyages.blogspot.com/2019/11/viewing-world-war-2-through-classic.html

Nice of you to do that for others.

Any reason why you didn't include HITLER'S MADMAN (1943); THE CAPTIVE HEART (1946); THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK (1959); and SCHINDLER'S LIST (1993)...?

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Just now, TopBilled said:

Nice of you to do that for others.

Any reason why you didn't include HITLER'S MADMAN (1943); THE CAPTIVE HEART (1946); THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK (1959); and SCHINDLER'S LIST (1993)...?

Hangmen Also Die covers the same story as Hitler's Madman.

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This Land is Mine 1943 (7.6)

Das Boot 1981 (8.3)

The Great Dictator 1940 (8.5)

Saving Private Ryan 1998 (8.6)

 

 

Sanctioning the mass murder of humans on an “industrial” scale is despicable – profiting through the “entertainment” of such exemplifies an unforgivable evil. 💔

 

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23 minutes ago, JeanneCrain said:

Sanctioning the mass murder of humans on an “industrial” scale is despicable – profiting through the “entertainment” of such exemplifies an unforgivable evil. 💔

 

Spielberg did an "unforgivable evil" by making the film Schindler's List?

 

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The OP did say he didn't want newer films on his list for the most part. And he didn't want highly fictionalized films either. So that can explain some of his omissions.

Then again, this is his list. Its still a fine list and a great start for someone just learning about the conflict, I think.

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4 hours ago, JeanneCrain said:

This Land is Mine 1943 (7.6)

Das Boot 1981 (8.3)

The Great Dictator 1940 (8.5)

 

Saving Private Ryan 1998 (8.6)

 

 

Sanctioning the mass murder of humans on an “industrial” scale is despicable – profiting through the “entertainment” of such exemplifies an unforgivable evil. 💔

 

Sometimes you have to remind people of such unspeakable evil from time to time to make sure it isn't repeated.

Just like in other parts of life, when an event fades farther and farther into the past, the shock of it all can tend to die down. So to dramatize it over and over might be necessary.

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5 hours ago, TopBilled said:

Nice of you to do that for others.

Any reason why you didn't include HITLER'S MADMAN (1943); THE CAPTIVE HEART (1946); THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK (1959); and SCHINDLER'S LIST (1993)...?

 

5 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

No A Bridge Too Far and Operation Market Garden?

 

4 hours ago, JeanneCrain said:

This Land is Mine 1943 (7.6)

Das Boot 1981 (8.3)

The Great Dictator 1940 (8.5)

 

Saving Private Ryan 1998 (8.6)

 

 

Sanctioning the mass murder of humans on an “industrial” scale is despicable – profiting through the “entertainment” of such exemplifies an unforgivable evil. 💔

 

Why don't we posters start a master list of such movies from the beginning to the end of the conflict ? Including all the films people believe should be on such a list ?

Its own thread or even its own group. Maybe not just WWII but, any event in history. Might interesting to try ?

 

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6 hours ago, wunderlong88 said:

I posted awhile back about making a list of classic films that cover historical aspects of World War 2.  This is my final (well final for now) list which I have posted on my blog (which is usually booklists for homeschool families).  I thought I would share here though as someone might be interested. 

https://readingvoyages.blogspot.com/2019/11/viewing-world-war-2-through-classic.html

Wunderlong, I noticed you only listed the film The Battle of the Bulge in reference to that major WWII battle. However, I would add a far superior film to this one in that specific area of your list here and within which that battle is shown through the eyes of the American foot soldier...1949's Battleground.

(...btw and as you may know, Dwight Eisenhower hated the 1965 Battle of the Bulge movie SO much that he called a press conference years after being President and just to say as much, and cited many of the fictitious and faulty historical elements within it)

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10 minutes ago, GGGGerald said:

Why don't we posters start a master list of such movies from the beginning to the end of the conflict ? Including all the films people believe should be on such a list ?

Its own thread or even its own group. Maybe not just WWII but, any event in history. Might interesting to try ?

I think it's great the OP came up with as many titles as he/she did.

Of course, lists could be put together about movies on the Korean war and the Vietnam War too.

Even on films (particularly westerns) that touch on the Civil War.

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Very well done! There are a number of holocaust movies that someone might want to see, some were US but some are foreign. For example Forest Of The Gods (2005). For the ending of the war there is For Those I Loved (1983), with flashbacks to the war era. There was the big production Holocaust (1978). Escape From Sobibor (1987), War And Remembrance (1988), The Man Who Captured Eichmann (1996) The Devil's Arithmetic (1999) Anne Frank (2001) Downfall (2004) The Winds Of War (1983) The Bunker (1981) Naked Among Wolves (2015)

 

Purge Movies--- Within The Whirlwind (2009) The Chekist (1992)

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I'm wondering....

Did the OP wish for a list of WWII movies from the entire spectrum of movie making?  Or just those movies about WWII that were made DURING the war? And listed chronologically. (which would include the unmention THE FIGHTING SULLIVANS)

Sepiatone

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59 minutes ago, Sepiatone said:

I'm wondering....

Did the OP wish for a list of WWII movies from the entire spectrum of movie making?  Or just those movies about WWII that were made DURING the war? And listed chronologically. (which would include the unmention THE FIGHTING SULLIVANS)

Sepiatone

Looks like his intent was the entire spectrum of movie making here Sepia, as there are quite a few movies listed that were released years and even decades after this conflict ended, and such as Command Decision, Stalag 17, The Desert Fox, The Battle of the Bulge, just to name a few.

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The OP stated that they were trying to avoid any films with graphic (gruesome) violence, and/or salty language (notice their mention of an edited version of Patton), and I'm assuming other more mature subject matter (nudity, sexual situations beyond the most chaste).

The film list was intended for use as a curriculum supplement for home-schooling children on WWII.

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 And what about the women who served in World War II?

Cry 'Havoc'-- Starring Margaret Sullivan, about Army nurses in The Philippines(1944)

So Proudly We Hail!-- Starring Claudette Colbert, about Army nurses in The Philippines(1943)

These were the films I grew up watching about World War II.

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1 hour ago, Sepiatone said:

I'm wondering....

Did the OP wish for a list of WWII movies from the entire spectrum of movie making?  Or just those movies about WWII that were made DURING the war? And listed chronologically. (which would include the unmention THE FIGHTING SULLIVANS)

Sepiatone

Original Post:

On 9/12/2019 at 10:31 AM, wunderlong88 said:

I made a list of classic world war 2 movies chronologically for my family to watch. Most of these I have seen but a few are new to me.  My basic criteria for the list is that each movie covers either a true event from the war or shows something unique or historical (homefront, holocaust, espionage, etc) about the time period.  I am ok with fictional story/characters if it is showing something historically significant.  For example, The Flying Tigers, although mostly fictionalized story and characters shows the American volunteer group that was formed to fight with China before the US entered the war.

Also, with the exception of a three movies (Island on Bird Street, The Gathering Storm and Into the Storm) all the movies are older, classic films.  I'm not interested in adding newer movies.  I'm not interested in general WW2 movies that don't offer something new to this list or are just what I'd call general but totally fictional world war 2 movies.

Until we watch through all of these I am not 100% certain I have them in the best place chronologically and I have a few that I don't know where to put (see the Bio and Prison Break headings).

If anyone would like to contribute more to this list I would love that.  I am sure there are other significant WW2 movies that should be on my WW2 marathon list.  Also, I just thought I would share it here for anyone who might like to have the list for themselves.

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11 minutes ago, Princess of Tap said:

 And what about the women who served in World War II?

Cry 'Havoc'-- Starring Margaret Sullivan, about Army nurses in The Philippines(1944)

So Proudly We Hail!-- Starring Claudette Colbert, about Army nurses in The Philippines(1943)

These were the films I grew up watching about World War II.

I don't think the OP is a feminist like we are.

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Just now, TopBilled said:

I don't think the OP is a feminist like some we are.

Feminism has nothing to do with it.

We're talking about women who have served their country.

We're talking about the reality of War II.

And these are two top rated classic Studio movies with two big movie stars.

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2 minutes ago, Princess of Tap said:

Feminism has nothing to do with it.

We're talking about women who have served their country.

We're talking about the reality of War II.

And these are two top rated classic Studio movies with two big movie stars.

Well of course I agree with you. But some conservatives don't want to advocate films that show women in a heroic light, because it suggests they don't need men or the permission of a patriarchal power structure to succeed. The omission of Anne Frank from the original list suggests that the role of women or girls in the war may not be important to the OP. Though, to be fair, CARVE HER NAME WITH PRIDE was included...so that's progress.

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1 minute ago, TopBilled said:

Well of course I agree with you. But some conservatives don't want to advocate films that show women in a heroic light, because it suggests they don't need men or the permission of a patriarchal power structure to succeed. The omission of Anne Frank from the original list suggests that the role of women or girls in the war may not be important to the OP. Though, to be fair, CARVE HER NAME WITH PRIDE was included...so that's progress.

Well that's really just too bad because women weren't the only people who made great contributions to World War II,

 so did Black American soldiers and Mexican American soldiers and Jewish American soldiers and Japanese American soldiers and I can go on and on.

When you tell history the way it really happened, I don't call that progress --I call that reality.

And people who don't want to tell us the reality of History because women or minorities are involved--

Well--then there's a name for that too.

 

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I wasn't trying to start anything controversial with my inclusions or omissions on my list.  Many of the movies brought up in this thread I just didn't know about. Some movies are omitted simply because we just didn't find them enjoyable or entertaining.  I was just looking for family friendly classic films (Island on Bird Street being the exception because it tells a child friendly holocaust story).  I am a woman and as such not against them, LOL. I overlooked the Diary of Anne Frank and didn't know about the others.  I wasn't trying to be a completest just share a list that I spent a lot of time putting together and my audience was homeschool children.  Also, this list was meant to supplement a very intensive reading list.  The movies are just a fun supplement.

 

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3 minutes ago, wunderlong88 said:

I wasn't trying to start anything controversial with my inclusions or omissions on my list.  Many of the movies brought up in this thread I just didn't know about. Some movies are omitted simply because we just didn't find them enjoyable or entertaining.  I was just looking for family friendly classic films (Island on Bird Street being the exception because it tells a child friendly holocaust story).  I am a woman and as such not against them, LOL. I overlooked the Diary of Anne Frank and didn't know about the others.  I wasn't trying to be a completest just share a list that I spent a lot of time putting together and my audience was homeschool children.  Also, this list was meant to supplement a very intensive reading list.  The movies are just a fun supplement.

Thanks for explaining. If the school-aged kids are in the preteen or early teen range, then The Diary of Anne Frank is sort of essential. It's taught in many middle schools across America as part of our core literature. Probably you can find a lot of lesson plans online created for the book and the film.

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