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Best World War 2 Documentary I've Seen

Discussion in 'WWII Films & TV' started by fr_filmr, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. fr_filmr

    fr_filmr recruit

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    This weekend I caught a local documentary called "We Were There" and was blown away. Has a bunch of 80-90 year old guys telling their stories in a format that outlines the whole war. They are about half Pacific and half Europe. Was really cool to hear these guys talking about battle and events it like it was yesterday. A couple of them get to you as well...to know they still hurt 65+ years later. When it was over I felt like half of these guys were my own grandpa...you just get to know them so well.

    Here's the website on the back of the DVD. I got it on Amazon.
    World War 2 Film - WWII Stories DVD - We Were There - Home
     
  2. John B

    John B Member

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    There are several WWII documentary series I would highly recommend:

    1. The World at War -Perhaps the grand-daddy of all WWII documentaries, this BBC production from the early seventies is still worth watching. (My father -a WWII vet- and I used to watch the series on public television every Sunday afternoon.) The DVD box set includes several additional full-length documentary pieces, including one with Trudel Junge, years before the documentary film Blind Spot.

    2. Why We Fight -Clearly dated in some respects, this Frank Capra film series remains a fascinating glimpse into the world of Allied propaganda methods in the early 1940s. Marvel at how the Americans praise the U.S.S.R. and offer a complete whitewash of Russian brutality in the Polish Campaign.

    3. Love, Hate and Propaganda -This recent documentary series made by the CBC focuses specifically on how the mass media were used to inform and motivate whole nations to engage in war. Rarely seen Canadian, Russian, German and Japanese propaganda films are examined.

    4. The Nazis: A Warning From History - Possibly my favourite documentary series on the Second World War, this series of six films made by the BBC with Ian Kershaw as historical adviser, explodes some of the most widely believed myths about the Third Reich. Watch with horror and fascination as the series exposes the complicity of ordinary Germans in working with the Gestapo, and how -in the first episode, titled "Helped into Power"- Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany with the active assistance of German capitalists and corporate interests.

    5. Hitler's Warriors -An excellent series of six films, titled "Rommel: the Hero," "Manstein: the Strategist," "Keitel: the Lackey," "Udet: the Flyer," "Paulus: the Defector," and "Canaris: the Spy" which examine the psychological makeup of key personalities in the Third Reich, with some fascinating interview footage with wives and children, military adjutants, etc.
     
  3. syscom3

    syscom3 Member

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    "Victory at Sea" is a timeless documentary.
     
  4. Phantom of the Ruhr

    Phantom of the Ruhr Member

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    Gotta go with Apocalypse and THC's The Lost Evidence (I especially like the latter since although it delves into the "usual suspects" as far as battles go (D-Day, Stalingrad, Okinawa) it also highlights battles that don't necessarily get as much limelight (like Luzon, Peleliu and Guam)

    EDIT: World at War also.
     
  5. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    I agree John...its impossible for me to go past World at War - Mason narrating - Done early enough to be able to interview almost all the players and their memories are still very sharp...
     
  6. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Got to go with adding Victory at Sea to the list.
     
  7. scrounger

    scrounger Member

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    I like the Battlefield documentary series , a British series made I think in the 1990's ...
     
  8. JJ123

    JJ123 Member

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    did anyone watch this film/documentry on the history channel? I have never seen anything so well made and so moving, even the web site is briliantly done


    Storming Juno
     
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  9. Phantom of the Ruhr

    Phantom of the Ruhr Member

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    I have it on DVD. And yes I enjoyed it too.
     
  10. DogFather

    DogFather Member

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    I agree this is a good series of documentaries from the BBC.
     
  11. Radar4077

    Radar4077 Member

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    Bought that a year or so ago. Only watched a couple clips, but I probably should watch the rest of it once my TV gets fixed.
     
  12. Justin Smith

    Justin Smith Member

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    I agree, World At War is the best, even if some of it isn`t 100% accurate, for example expounding the myth that "it was the RAF wot saved us from invasion". Brave as the fighter pilots undoubtedly were, what "saved" us was actually the English Channel, and the Royal Navy of course.
    Mind you it isn`t just that programme which repeats that mantra over and over, very annoyingly.
    Incidentally, wasn`t it Laurence Olivier who did the narration ?
     
  13. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    I have found some of the Secrets of the Dead on PBS to have some good shows on subjects off the beaten path.
     
  14. DogFather

    DogFather Member

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    I like the History Channel's Lost Evidence, along with their program Shootout.

    On the more entertaining side of things, are shows like Battle 360 and DogFights, both from the History Channel.

    A History Channel program, that I remember and can no longer find on You Tube, Weapons at War was also pretty good.
     
  15. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Okay quick question needs clearing up... Was "World at War" narrated by James Mason or Laurence Olivier? My memory says Mason... * - Just checked, Its Laurence Olivier...Who new! (everyone except me it seems).
     
  16. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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  17. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    'World At War' is still my favourite, but I have to note an admiration for the 4-parter 'War Of The Century' produced in 1995 for the BBC by Laurence Rees. It's a superb telling of 'Barbarossa' and the war in Russia and what gives this series it's 'edge' are the veteran talking heads. The casual remarks made by elderly Germans and Russians are chilling and give a real insight into the vicious nature of the Eastern Front.

    Quite bizarrely, the DVD isn't available in the UK - it has to be imported from the USA ! :rolleyes:
     
  18. ANZAC

    ANZAC Member

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    Yep, 'World At War' is still the standard bearer.

    And 'Thunderbolts - The Conquest of the Reich' is a first class colour doco.

    Features P-47 pilots of the 362nd Fighter Group through tremendous color footage [as they say you'd never believe it was filmed over 60 years ago] from March 1945 through the end of the war. Shot from remote cameras on the planes themselves and specially equipped bombers following the strike teams,includes interviews with the pilots.
     
  19. Fred Wilson

    Fred Wilson "The" Rogue of Rogues

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    Apocalypse: The Second World War

    Thanks to the efforts of a few, private collectors and archivists, these forgotten films have been rediscovered, restored and made available by National Geographic Channel in an extraordinary six-part series: Apocalypse: The Second World War.
    In addition to stunning footage, the series presents WWII in an innovative and provocative way, giving audiences an unprecedented sense of the reality of war not conveyed by black and white footage.Made up entirely of original 35mm, 16mm and 8mm films, Apocalypse: The Second World War includes rare footage of the Polish officers’ massacre at Katyn, the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force at Dunkirk, the inhumane treatment of French soldiers taken prisoner by the Nazis and the sacrifice of Soviet soldiers at Stalingrad.

    By bringing this incredible footage together, Apocalypse: The Second World War provides viewers with a ground-breaking portrait of WWII that depicts not only its complexity, but the perspectives of both its victims and its victors.
    This documentary was made available on TDF thanks to a regular visitor Dai Evans. It’s with excellent quality and as far as I can tell is the only one on the web so far.
    EPISODES INCLUDE: The Aggression, The Crushing Defeat, Shock, The Turning Point, The Great Landing and The End of the Nightmare.

    Watch the full documentary now (27 Episode Playlist) http://www.topdocumentaryfilms.com/apocalypse-the-second-world-war/
     
  20. Fred Wilson

    Fred Wilson "The" Rogue of Rogues

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    "China’s CCTV presented a fascinating 12-part documentary series on a part of WWII not particularly well known in the West--namely, the Burma Theater.
    The presentation was in English, very factual and professionally done, absent of any propaganda.
    The program gave impartial rendering of the roles of Chiang Kai-shek, General Joe Stillwell, General Sun Liren and many others.
    The one nation that did not come out very well was UK. They were portrayed as arrogant, treacherous and had no stomach for battle
    ."

    Watch the full documentary now (12 Episode Playlist)

    George Koo: Don't Miss this Documentary on WWII History, Part 1
    - Episode 6 - 12 http://georgekoo.blogspot.com/2010/09/dont-miss-this-documentary-on-wwii.html

    Click on each episodes link for documentary film stock. Warning. Each clip is about 40 minutes.
    This is brilliant stuff. One stop here and you will quickly be over your monthly bandwidth...
     

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