If you want to check out some war films based on the first of the two wars that ravaged Europe during the twenty century, check out this list of the 10 best World War I films. While World War I was devastating for Europe in the early 1900s, it provided a fertile ground for storytellers looking to both glorify and demonize warfare. After the travesty of World War II, many filmmakers stopped making films about the first World War as evidenced by the number of pre-1940 films on this list, but there are still plenty of truly excellent films to choose from.
- "All Quiet on the Western Front" The second oldest film on the list of best World War I movies, "All Quiet on the Western Front" was based on the German novel of the same name. The haunting and tragic story follows a group of young German soldiers as they fight in the trenches of the war.
- "The African Queen." Not a war film per say, but the film has Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn dodging Germans when they are in German East Africa when war breaks out. Though technically a romance, don’t let that steer you away from this truly amazing film. This was the film that won Bogart the Oscar that he had so deeply deserved.
- "Lawrence of Arabia" "Lawrence of Arabia" is a biopic of T.E. Lawrence, focusing on his exploits during the first World War. The film won seven Academy Awards and is considered one of the greatest films of all time.
- "Sergeant York." This Howard Hawks directed biopic stars Gary Cooper as Alvin York, the most decorated American soldier during World War I. You see York’s transformation from peaceful Tennessee farmer to true American war hero after he gets drafted for the war.
- "Gallipoli" "Gallipoli" is the story of Australian soldiers who fight in the ill-fated battle of the same name. The movie focuses on the soldiers, who obviously suffer the most during the battle, and their troubles and relationships with each other.
- "Paths of Glory" Stanley Kubrick is known for directing disturbing films and "Paths of Glory" is no different. This story focuses on the execution of four French soldiers by the French military and takes an anti-war stance as it delves into the reasons for the execution.
- "Wings" "Wings" was filmed in 1927 and was the only silent film to win a Best Picture Oscar. The story follows two Air Service pilots form their entry in the first World War to their tragic end. The film also co-stars a young Gary Cooper in one of his first films.
- "The Lost Battalion" (2001) The movie tells the true story of the Lost Battalion, which was surrounded in the Argonne Forest in France. The movie accurately portrays the desperation of the situation and sucks you right in to a story that is somehow both depressing and uplifting.
- "A Farewell to Arms" (1932) The film is based on the classic Hemingway novel about an ambulance driver and his love affair with a nurse in the first World War. While no movie could ever match the majesty of the book, this one comes close.
- "Grand Illusion" "Grand Illusion" tells the story of two French aviators who are shot down and then held captive by the Germans, only to plot escape for most of the movie. The film is an anti-war study of friendship between the two heroes despite their different class backgrounds.
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