World War Two provided a backdrop for some of the greatest war film of all time, and we've brought some of them together to make this list of the 10 best World War Two movies. World War II provided an easy enemy in the Nazis and Japanese, but not all of the movies on the list deal only with combat between the Allied and Axis forces. Most of these World War II movies provide some insight into the horrors of war, and take the visual medium to new heights in the process.
- "Das Boot". Wolfgang Peterson’s U-boat epic is not just one of the best World War II movies but it is one of the greatest movies ever. The combination of a gripping story and cinematography that makes you feel claustrophobic makes this one movie that just won’t let you go.
- "Cross of Iron". Sam Peckinpah’s only war film, "Cross of Iron" is a gory study of class divisions in wartime. James Coburn’s protagonist is bitter and brutal as he drifts from reality to delusion and back. This is a film that will stick with you for a while.
- "Come and See". With a title derived from the Book of Revelations, it’s no surprise that "Come and See" plays with the idea that WWII could be the end of times. This Russian classic tells the story of a Belorussian boy who gets pressed into service on the eastern front, and the atrocities that he witnesses.
- "Schindler’s List". "Schindler’s List" is by far Spielberg’s most powerful film, and won seven Academy Awards. The movie tells the story of Oscar Schindler and how he saved the lives of over a thousand Jewish people during the Holocaust. While a drama, the movie obviously revolves around the events of the Second World War, and the film is one of the most stunning ever made.
- "Tora! Tora! Tora!" This retelling of the events leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor is both compelling and accurate. "Tora! Tora! Tora!", which was the Japanese radio call to confirm that they had achieved complete surprise, tells both sides of the story, and had different directors for the two different parts.
- "Run Silent, Run Deep". Clark Gable plays a U.S Navy submarine commander who is out for vengeance in the Pacific during WWII. The movie discusses themes of honor and loyalty, as Gable pushes his men by ignoring orders and focusing on his only goal, destroying the Japanese boat that sunk his previous ship.
- "Patton". The opening scene of George C. Scott, as Patton, giving a speech in front of an American flag remains one of the most iconic images in American film history. The movie itself is a sweeping biopic on Patton’s life during WWII.
- "The Dirty Dozen". Lee Marvin plays an army major who rounds up a group of criminals and trains them to kill Nazi officers. This film is an action classic with a huge cast including Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, Jim Brown, Telly Savalas and Donald Sutherland.
- "Life is Beautiful". "Life is Beautiful" is Roberto Benigni’s bittersweet look at like in World War II concentration camps. Benigni plays an Italian Jew who is sent to a concentration camp with his son. The story is light at times, especially the first half, before the war, but the second half of the film is as deep and touching as any film in the genre.
- "Saving Private Ryan". The second Speilberg film on the list, "Saving Private Ryan" tells the story of John Miller, who has to find private Ryan to send him home, since all three of his brothers died within days of each other during the war. The film opens on the beaches of Normandy, with twenty minutes of breathtaking non-stop action.
What Others Are Reading Right Now.
6 Signs She Wants You to Come Talk to Her at the Bar
These not-so-subtle hints mean legit interest—and time for action.
10 Types of Tattoos Women Love
That dumb bet you lost in college? It’s actually endearing.
How to Turn (Almost) Every Lady’s Head
Top female stylists share their favorite men’s looks.