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Best World War II Films

Discussion in 'WWII Films & TV' started by JCFalkenbergIII, May 26, 2008.

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  1. André7

    André7 Active Member

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    You asked about Roman war films... Assuming you meant movies with battle scenes (preferably BIG battle scenes)... Please note that none of the below are recommended on the grounds of their dramatic qualities or historical accuracy. We're just talking about battles and fighting. So sorry "Great" movies set in antiquity are few and far between. Nobody really tries to show how people actually fought. Apparently "Alexander" tries hard, but Oliver Stone got criticized for it. His thesis is that in real battle things are confused and unclear until one side or the other wins. Worth listening to the ausio commentary.

    If you want a classic you have to see "The Fall of the Roman Empire" (1964). It parallels "Gladiator" in interesting ways. Of course, "Ben Hur" (1959) and "Spartacus" (1960) still can't be beat. Nothing made after 1970 can come close. "Antony and Cleopatra" (1972) tries, but Charlston Heston resorted to using stock footage from Ben Hur for the battle of Actium. The land battle was staged and directed by famous stunt man Joe Cannutt, son of Yakima Canutt.

    Recently there are few that have the budget or ambition to tackle battle scenes. My favorite is "Julius Caesar" (2002) starring Jeremy Sisto because it shows the surrender of Vergincetorix. There is also "Imperium: Augustus" (2002) that had some good character stuff. I don't remember the battle scenes.

    "The Eagle" "Centurion" and "The Final Legion" have mostly skirmish level fighting (but nifty modern choreography) and "King Arthur" still not an epic of the 1950s and 1960s variety, does some Saxon vs remnants of the empire fighting.

    The miniseries "Attila" (starring Gerard Butler) tries to reproduce the battle of the Catalonian Plains on a tight television budget. Same with the tv movie "Boudica". It tries to show the battle of Lundinium with some charriot work.

    If you liked "Rome", the "Spartacus" tv series (4 seasons from 2010 to 2013) doesn't lack for ambition, though it falls well short when it comes to the larger scale battles in the last season ("War of the Damned") It has some very enjoyable elements, if you can stomach the weird dialogue, the ultra gory violence and soft core porn scenes.

    I'm a big fan of both C.S. Forester and Bernard Cornwell. I wish the BBC had the massive budgets needed to really do them justice. They had the right actors and the tone was pretty good. Sharpe's tone and quality varies from script writer to script writer, didn't you think?

    Have you seen the classic Gregory Peck movie "Captain Hornblower R.N."?
     
  2. Bundesluftwaffe

    Bundesluftwaffe New Member

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    Thanks Andre, will try some of the movies. The older (classic) ones I have seen probably when I was still watching TV regulary.

    I guess I have seen the Peck movie.

    Have you also read the Alexander Kent navy books ?
     
  3. woolno2000

    woolno2000 Member

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    I believe that Tora Tora Tora is the best docu-drama of Pearl Harbor yet.
     
  4. F8F

    F8F New Member

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    One worthwhile movie that no one so far has mentioned is "Men Of The Yamato" (Otoko Tachi No Yamato), a 2005 Japanese film. It had engaging drama and a sense (like any good war movie should have) of the human cost of war. But what I most look for in a war movie is a realistic-seeming and visually vivid sense of what it may have felt to be in the battle. This movie delivers riveting scenes from a point of view that few outside of Japan would consider, that of late war sailors on the Yamato. The CGI of the ship sailing and in battle is great.

    I am surprised that more people have not mentioned "The Caine Mutiny". It was obviously less a war movie than a study in psychology, ethics, and military law - but it is unmistakably a WW2 movie nonetheless, and it was an excellent one.

    Finally, a few people on this thread have mentioned 1998's "A Thin Red Line". I found it to be one of the worst movies I've ever seen, perhaps in part because I had such high expectations for a movie about Guadalcanal. From what I recall, there was no plot, jarringly uneven visual technical elements (filters, focus, stuff like that), and famous movie stars that stood out as movie stars rather than disappearing into the roles. And the worst moment for me was when, like Bruckheimer's "Pearl Harbor", an obviously modern warship was used as stand ins for a WW2 era ship.
     
  5. Smiley 2.0

    Smiley 2.0 Smiles

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    You know I still find it greatly disappointing that "Saving Private Ryan" never won Best Picture in 1998/1999 :grumble:. I think its always been a shocker. My broadcasting teacher said that he was invited to a party about the movie with all the people involved with it, especially since it was highly expected to win the best picture. But when it didn't he said that the atmosphere at that party after the Oscars was extremely depressing. It's disappointing.
     
  6. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    I agree. Loved the movie, and a lot of good footage of period ships.

    Again, I agree. IMHO, one of the worst WWII movies ever.
     
  7. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    The Caine Mutiny is one of my favorites.

    I bought the novel several years ago and found it be excellent. I was certainly surprised to see how things ended up in the book as opposed to the movie.
     
  8. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Damnit man!!!! I'm reading/re-reading three books and an Army Command and Staff College paper right now. I loved the movie but never read the book on the Caine Mutiny, now you've got me wondering about the differences. Add another book to my reading queue. Thank you very much Jeff.
     
  9. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member

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    The Thin Red Line was just awful. I remember travelling to see it. What a waste of a story.
     
  10. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Keefer (Fred McMurray) turned out a lot differently than I expected. he he he.

    Bear in mind that the movie was based off of the play The Caine Mutiny Court Martial, which in turn was adapted from the book. The book covers a lot prior to Queeg taking command and then a substantial amount afterwards, The novel ends right after or during the Okinawa Campaign. It is a good book and I suspect you will like it.
     
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  11. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    The novel the Caine Mutiny ends right after the end of the war...Willie Keith takes the Caine back to the States and decommissions her. Unlike in the movie, Keith does not "get the girl." But, it is implied that he is going to make one helluva try to win her heart back.

    Yeah, I liked the movie, one of Bogie's finest, but I loved the book - read it 5 or 6 times through now. There is a lot more depth and detail in the book.
     
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  12. Karjala

    Karjala Don Quijote

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    Am sorry not to agree. I think that movie was actually quite good. Naturally it was not one of the typical action packed and flag waving Hollywood films, which are often not my cup of tea.
     
  13. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member

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    Interesting how that movie is split down the middle.
     
  14. Karjala

    Karjala Don Quijote

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    Yes. It definitely is quite different.
     
  15. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Yeah, I couldn't remember if they got all the way through the war or not. I remember bringing her home, just not when. Bogie was too old for the character, but he was still Bogie. I can't imagine anyone else playing Queeg.
     
  16. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    Put me down as being in the "WTF?" line of thought as walking out of "The Thin Red Line". What a waste of opportunity.
     
  17. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member

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    Lol
     
  18. Bundesluftwaffe

    Bundesluftwaffe New Member

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    Well like Apocalypse Now A Thin Red Line isn´t a "real" war movie. It is more a drama/psychological/humanistic/philosopy theme with topic war. And at that it excells ! Also the music and picture are superb. Nick Nolte & Sean Penn in finest forms...
    If someone above said it had no story then I saw a different movie ... it had a phantastic story. In my Top 5 of movies with war setting (not war movie per se).

    Only weakness I see in A Thin Red Line are the scenes at home. However they were probably inserted to show how the love at home and hate in war differ (?)
    I wonder why so often people dont like this movie (esp. in forums like this, are they expecting only action movies?)

    For real war movie one should NOT miss Talvisota (Winter War). It is one of the best despictions of battle imho. Grim scenes and good acting as well some real looking stuff (like T26s etc.). However it showed the war only from Finnish side. If red side would have shown too it would be even better. The soviets are sadly ony there too die in masses (what they did granted, but still...). However I would have prefered at least some scenes that also shows the suffering of the red soldiers. In this point also Thin Red Line is better, it shows suffering of Japanese.
     
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  19. Bundesluftwaffe

    Bundesluftwaffe New Member

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    Why ? It is a masterpiece, might even be in the top 20 of all films. Not in war movies, we must distingish, it is not a real war movie as I explained above. But a shame Private Ryan got oscar but Thin Red Line didn´t :( This movie must have some of the most memorable quotes in movie history, well Blade Runner & A. Now are both still better in this respect :p

    EDIT: I found the trailer for Talvisota:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ELfMprEbrI


    Guess most won´t like it here, as my taste seems quite different to most people here :(
    But I find it better than Stalingrad and Enemy At The Gates, for grim winter combat.
     
  20. Bundesluftwaffe

    Bundesluftwaffe New Member

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    Btw. Band OF Brothers is ok, just a viewed a 9min. scene, however the Tiger sounds like a Leo1 and the German MG´s also not MG42 :(
     

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