9 World war movies that are a must watch

For decades, filmmakers have tackled the sensitive and emotionally-driven theme of World War II in an array of noteworthy and poignant pictures. These moving and oftentimes brutal depictions of the horrors, shocking realities, and devastating impacts of the violent war seem to deeply touch audiences across the world. Production studios continuously harness tales of this frightening and monumental period of history with gripping and heartbreaking stories, and moviegoers can’t help but be drawn to them. The most shocking stories are showed in light, reminding us that world wars were truly the most horrifying times, a person could live through.  Some of Hollywood’s most talented and esteemed visionaries have ventured into the touching and difficult subject, crafting memorable and thought-provoking results, and frequently winning Best Picture Oscars as a result. Here is a list of brilliantly made war movies you mustn’t miss out on

The Pianist

The Pianist is based on the Holocaust memoir of Polish-Jewish pianist and composer Władysław Szpilman, depicting his struggles to survive the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto of World War II. The emotionally-moving picture has a deep connection with Polanski, as he escaped from the Kraków Ghetto after the death of his mother and ended up living in a Polish farmer’s barn until the war’s end.

Hacksaw Ridge

Hacksaw Ridge focuses on the World War II experiences of pacifist combat medic Desmond Doss who, as a Seventh-day Adventist Christian refused to use or carry a weapon or firearm of any kind. The film was based on the 2004 documentary The Conscientious Objector, and after initially turning down the project twice, Gibson finally agreed and was tasked with creating a concoction of violence and faith. Andrew Garfield powerfully portrays Doss, and the biopic features the additional talents of stars like Sam Worthington, Teresa Palmer and Vince Vaughn. Upon reading the screenplay for the first time, Garfield revealed he was moved to tears. The Oscar-nominated drama garnered universal acclaim upon its release, earning praise for both Gibson’s directing and Garfield’s moving performance.

Schindler’s List

Spielberg’s deeply personal masterpiece is perhaps the most moving war film ever made. All the more so with the knowledge that it was based on the true story of Oskar Schindler, who originally set out to make his fortune by exploiting cheap Jewish labour in Krakow.However, as Schindler witnesses the unfolding horror of the Holocaust, his motivation changes and he bribes Nazi leaders to keep his employees out of the extermination camps, saving more than 1,100 lives. The winner of seven Oscars, Schindler’s List does full justice to Thomas Keneally’s source novel and remains just as powerful and relevant today.. Liam Neeson delivers the performance of a lifetime as Schindler, and appears alongside the gifted Ralph Fiennes and Ben Kingsley.


Dunkirk, which depicts the Dunkirk evacuation of World War II through the perspectives of the land, sea, and air. The outstanding ensemble cast features some of cinema’s finest performers like Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, and Tom Hardy, and the drama was portrayed with very little dialogue, as Nolan wanted to create suspense with the stunning cinematography and music. The filmmaker conceived the premise of the war flick in the mid-1990s, when he and his wife sailed across the English Channel, following the path of many small boats in the Dunkirk evacuation.

Saving Private Ryan,

 Saving Private Ryan, which is set during the Invasion of Normandy and follows a group of U.S. soldiers who go behind enemy lines to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action. The gripping film stars a myriad of distinguished leads including Tom Hanks, Edward Burns and Matt Damon and was partially inspired by the Niland brothers, four American brothers from New York who served in WWII, with only two surviving. On why he repeatedly returns to the subject, Spielberg revealed, “I think that World War II is the most significant event of the last 100 years; the fate of the Baby Boomers and even Generation X was linked to the outcome. Beyond that, I’ve just always been interested in World War II.” The Oscar-winning Saving Private Ryan is frequently cited as influential in the war and action film genre, and is credited with renewing World War II interest in the media.


Classic Hollywood movie is considered one of the finest films ever created. The 1942 romantic drama Casablanca famously features Hollywood icons Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, centring on a cynical American expatriate who must decide whether he wants to help his former lover and her fugitive boyfriend escape the Nazis in French Morocco. The iconic picture was based on an original play by writer Murray Burnett, who drew inspiration after traveling to Vienna in 1938.Since Casablanca’s premiere, its popularity has only continued to grow, with Burnett once calling it, “true yesterday, true today, true tomorrow.”

Grave of the Fireflies

Heartbreaking and thought-provoking anime from Studio Ghibli about brother and sister Japanese orphans desperately trying to survive in the dying days of the war. A haunting anti-war statement almost without peer, adapted from the story by Akiyuki Nosaka and based on his own experiences in the firebombed city of Kobe.

Inglourious Basterds,

Inglourious Basterds, telling an alternate history story of two plots to assassinate Nazi Germany’s leadership: one planned by a group of Jewish U.S. soldiers and the other by a French Jewish theater owner. Tarantino spent over a decade creating the script, and viewed the project as his masterpiece-in-the making and his best work thus far. He described the men of the picture as “not your normal hero types that are thrown into a big deal in the Second World War.” The famed director wanted the character of Hans Landa portrayed by a native German-speaking actor and cast Austrian Christoph. Tarantino was worried the part was unplayable, but Waltz delivered an Oscar-winning knockout performance as the ruthless SS officer

Letters From Iwo Jima

A companion piece to Eastwood’s Flags of Our Fathers, which told the story of the battle for Iwo Jima from the American perspective, this is the better of the two films, told from the viewpoint of the Japanese. The film marks the culmination of Eastwood’s growth as an artist, as he eloquently and movingly humanises the Japanese soldiers fighting against near impossible odds.Letters from Iwo Jima is stunning, depicting a group of soldiers even more bound by tradition and honour than their American counterparts, trapped in an unwinnable war and dreaming only of home.

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