The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time

Over 35.6K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time
Voting Rules
Movies must take place during World War II
Latest additions: Oppenheimer, Sisu
Most divisive: Inglourious Basterds

The best World War 2 movies remind us that perhaps no single event has had a greater impact on the future of filmmaking than World War II. It arrived at the dawn of a new era in glossy, professional mainstream filmmaking, and it affected literally every facet of daily life in North America, Europe, and Asia, where most of the world's films were being produced. World War 2 has remained a constant subject of fascination for filmmakers from the 1940s to the present day. A few of these WW2 films are even based on a true stories.

Though "WWII Films" could be classified as a separate genre from the general heading of "War Movies," they take on a lot of different styles, forms and tones. There are authentic WWII recreations, epic takes on the history of the entire period, personal stories about the soldiers, spies, revolutionaries and resistance fighters who fought the war and, naturally, sagas about the civilians of the time whose lives were forever changed by the conflict.

Many of the WW2 films on this list - from "Patton" to "Casablanca" to "Saving Private Ryan" - have secured their place among the most famous films of all time. Which of these good films are the best? Rerank your own list to nominate your favorites for this CrowdRanked collection of the best WWII films, and then be sure to vote on your favorites. Also check out this list of the best war movies ever and the best war movies on Netflix.

Ranked by
  • Band of Brothers
    1
    16,271 votes
    Donnie Wahlberg, Damian Lewis, Dexter Fletcher

    This gripping television miniseries follows the journey of Easy Company, a group of American paratroopers assigned to the 101st Airborne Division during World War II. Produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, the series showcases the soldiers' deep camaraderie, personal struggles, and heroic actions as they fight through Europe's most treacherous battlefields. Based on historian Stephen Ambrose's book of the same name, this epic series is lauded for its accurate portrayal of the events and lives of the soldiers who fought in one of the deadliest conflicts in human history.

  • Saving Private Ryan
    2
    17,396 votes
    Tom Hanks, Edward Burns, Tom Sizemore

    Directed by Steven Spielberg, this iconic film is renowned for its brutally realistic portrayal of the D-Day invasion of Normandy. The story follows a group of American soldiers, led by the stoic Captain John Miller (played by Tom Hanks), on their mission to find and save the last remaining brother of a family who has already lost three sons in the war. This cinematic masterpiece, with its powerful performances and breathtaking battle sequences, has left an indelible mark on the war genre and continues to inspire filmmakers and audiences alike.

  • Schindler's List
    3
    12,848 votes
    Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes

    This harrowing film, directed by Steven Spielberg and based on the true story of Oskar Schindler, tells the tale of a German industrialist who gradually becomes concerned about the Nazi treatment of Jews. Driven by his conscience and the realization of the horrors occurring around him, Schindler, played by Liam Neeson, works tirelessly to save over 1,000 Jewish lives by employing them in his factories. With its stark black-and-white cinematography and compelling performances from an ensemble cast, Schindler's List is a deeply moving and unforgettable tribute to the power of human compassion in the face of unspeakable evil.

  • The Longest Day
    4
    10,432 votes
    John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, Henry Fonda

    This epic war film, produced by Darryl F. Zanuck and based on Cornelius Ryan's book of the same name, recounts the events leading up to the pivotal D-Day invasion of Normandy. Featuring an all-star cast including John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, and Richard Burton, The Longest Day is a sweeping and detailed examination of the intricate planning and execution of one of World War II's most significant battles. With its breathtaking scope and meticulous attention to historical accuracy, the film remains an enduring favorite among history buffs and fans of the genre.

  • A Bridge Too Far
    5
    9,004 votes
    Dirk Bogarde, James Caan, Michael Caine

    Directed by Richard Attenborough and based on Cornelius Ryan's best-selling book, this film follows the ill-fated Operation Market Garden, an ambitious Allied plan to end the war in Europe by capturing key bridges in the Netherlands. Boasting an ensemble cast including Sean Connery, Gene Hackman, and Michael Caine, the film is a gripping portrayal of the bravery and determination shown by the soldiers involved in the ultimately unsuccessful operation. Its realistic battle scenes and exploration of the human cost of war make A Bridge Too Far a must-watch for any fan of World War II films.

  • Patton
    6
    11,829 votes
    George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Michael Bates

    This biographical war film centers on the controversial figure of General George S. Patton, played by George C. Scott in an unforgettable, Academy Award-winning performance. The film chronicles Patton's colorful career, from his successes in North Africa and Sicily to his eventual fall from grace during the Battle of the Bulge. Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, Patton is a riveting character study of a complex and often misunderstood military genius.