Entertainment

The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time 

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Originally by Ranker Community
Updated February 7, 2020 367.8k votes 24.1k voters 939.4k views 221 items

List Rules Movies must take place during World War II

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. If you're interested in more movies you can watch right now on Netflix then check out our lists on the best action movies on Netflix, best drama movies and best comedies on Netflix.

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 iconic 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.

list ordered by
1
The Longest Day is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time
Sean Connery, John Wayne, Richard Burton

Released: 1962

Directed by: Darryl F. Zanuck, Ken Annakin, Bernhard Wicki, Andrew Marton, Gerd Oswald

The Longest Day is a 1962 film based on the 1959 history book The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan, about D-Day, the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944, during WWII. The film was produced by Darryl ...more
2
Band of Brothers is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time
Donnie Wahlberg, Damian Lewis, Dexter Fletcher

Released: 2001

Directed by: Mikael Salomon, Tony To, Richard Loncraine, David Frankel, David Leland, + more

Band of Brothers is a 2001 American WWII drama miniseries based on historian Stephen E. Ambrose's 1992 non-fiction book of the same name. The executive producers were Steven Spielberg and Tom ...more
3
Patton is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time
George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Paul Frees

Released: 1970

Directed by: Franklin J. Schaffner

Patton is a 1970 American epic biographical film about U.S. General George S. Patton during WWII. It stars George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Michael Bates and Karl Michael Vogler. It was directed by ...more
4
Saving Private Ryan is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time
Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Vin Diesel

Released: 1998

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Saving Private Ryan is a 1998 American epic drama war film set during the Invasion of Normandy in World War II. Directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Robert Rodat, the film is notable for ...more
5
Schindler's List is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time
Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley

Released: 1993

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Schindler's List is a 1993 American epic historical period drama, directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg and scripted by Steven Zaillian. It is based on the novel Schindler's Ark by Thomas ...more
6
The Bridge on the River ... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time
Alec Guinness, William Holden, Jack Hawkins

Released: 1957

Directed by: David Lean

The Bridge on the River Kwai is a 1957 WWII epic film directed by David Lean, based on the novel Le Pont de la Rivière Kwai by Pierre Boulle. The film is a work of fiction but borrows the ...more
7
A Bridge Too Far is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time
Sean Connery, Anthony Hopkins, Robert Redford

Released: 1977

Directed by: Richard Attenborough

A Bridge Too Far is a 1977 epic film based on the 1974 book of the same name by Cornelius Ryan, adapted by William Goldman. It was produced by Joseph E. Levine and Richard P. Levine and directed ...more
8
Das Boot is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time
Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Uwe Ochsenknecht

Released: 1981

Directed by: Wolfgang Petersen

Das Boot is a 1981 German epic film written and directed by Wolfgang Petersen, produced by Günter Rohrbach, and starring Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, and Klaus Wennemann. ...more
9
The Great Escape is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time
Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough, James Garner

Released: 1963

Directed by: John Sturges

The Great Escape is a 1963 American WWII epic film based on an escape by British and Commonwealth POW from a German POW camp during WWII, starring Steve McQueen, James Garner, and Richard ...more
10
Midway is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time
Tom Selleck, Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda

Released: 1976

Directed by: Jack Smight

Midway, released in the United Kingdom as Battle of Midway and in the US on video as The Battle of Midway, is a 1976 Technicolor film directed by Jack Smight and produced by Walter Mirisch from ...more
11
Tora! Tora! Tora! is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time
Jason Robards Jr., Martin Balsam, Joseph Cotten

Released: 1970

Directed by: Richard Fleischer, Toshio Masuda, Kinji Fukasaku

Tora! Tora! Tora! is a 1970 American–Japanese film directed by Richard Fleischer and stars an ensemble cast, including Martin Balsam, Joseph Cotten, Sō Yamamura, E. G. Marshall, James Whitmore ...more
12
Sands of Iwo Jima is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time
John Wayne, Forrest Tucker, Richard Jaeckel

Released: 1949

Directed by: Allan Dwan

Sands of Iwo Jima is a 1949 film starring John Wayne that follows a group of United States Marines from training to the Battle of Iwo Jima during WWII. The movie also features John Agar, Adele ...more
13
Twelve O'Clock High is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time
Gregory Peck, Dean Jagger, Richard Anderson

Released: 1949

Directed by: Henry King

Twelve O'Clock High is a 1949 American film about aircrews in the United States Army's Eighth Air Force who flew daylight missions against Nazi Germany and occupied France during the early days ...more
14
Battle of the Bulge is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time
Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson, Robert Shaw

Released: 1965

Directed by: Ken Annakin

Battle of the Bulge is an American widescreen epic film produced in Spain that was released in 1965. It was directed by Ken Annakin. It starred Henry Fonda, Robert Shaw, Telly Savalas, Robert ...more
15
Memphis Belle is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time
John Lithgow, Sean Astin, Harry Connick

Released: 1990

Directed by: Michael Caton-Jones

Memphis Belle is a 1990 film directed by Michael Caton-Jones and written by Monte Merrick. The film featured an all-star cast with Matthew Modine, Eric Stoltz and Harry Connick Jr. in leading ...more
16
Run Silent, Run Deep is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time
Clark Gable, Burt Lancaster, Don Rickles

Released: 1956

Directed by: Robert Wise

Run Silent, Run Deep is a 1958 film starring Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster, based on the novel of the same name by Commander Edward L. Beach, Jr.. The title refers to "silent ...more
17
Stalag 17 is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time
William Holden, Peter Graves, Otto Preminger

Released: 1953

Directed by: Billy Wilder

Stalag 17 is a 1953 comedy-drama war film which tells the story of a group of American airmen held in a German World War II prisoner of war camp, who come to suspect that one of their number is ...more
18
The Pacific is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time
KimBruce added James Badge Dale, Joseph Mazzello, Jon Seda

Released: 2010

Directed by: Carl Franklin, Jeremy Podeswa, Tim Van Patten

The Pacific is a 2010 television series produced by HBO, Seven Network Australia, Sky Movies, Playtone and DreamWorks that premiered in the United States on 14 March 2010. The series is a ...more
19
Enemy at the Gates is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time
Rachel Weisz, Jude Law, Ed Harris

Released: 2001

Directed by: Jean-Jacques Annaud

Enemy at the Gates is a 2001 film directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud. The film's title is taken from William Craig's 1973 nonfiction book Enemy at the Gates: The Battle for Stalingrad, which ...more
20
To Hell and Back is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time
Audie Murphy, Denver Pyle, David Janssen

Released: 1955

Directed by: Jesse Hibbs

To Hell and Back is a CinemaScope war film released in 1955. It was directed by Jesse Hibbs and starred Audie Murphy as himself. It is based on the 1949 autobiography of the same name and is an ...more
21
Letters from Iwo Jima is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time
Ken Watanabe, Ryan Kelley, Kazunari Ninomiya

Released: 2006

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

Letters from Iwo Jima is a 2006 Japanese-American film directed and co-produced by Clint Eastwood, starring Ken Watanabe and Kazunari Ninomiya. The film portrays the Battle of Iwo Jima from the ...more
22
In Harm's Way is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time
John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Henry Fonda

Released: 1965

Directed by: Otto Preminger

In Harm's Way is a 1965 American epic film produced and directed by Otto Preminger and starring John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Patricia Neal, Tom Tryon, Paula Prentiss, Stanley Holloway, Burgess ...more
23
Kelly's Heroes is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time
Clint Eastwood, Donald Sutherland, Don Rickles

Released: 1970

Directed by: Brian G. Hutton

Kelly's Heroes is a 1970 comedy film directed by Brian G. Hutton, about a group of WWII soldiers who go AWOL to rob a bank behind enemy lines. The film stars Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Don ...more
24
The Battle of Britain is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time
Walter Huston, Frieda Inescort, Anthony Veiller

Released: 1943

Directed by: Anthony Veiller, Frank Capra

The Battle of Britain was the fourth of Frank Capra's Why We Fight series of seven propaganda films, which made the case for fighting and winning the Second World War. It was released in 1943 ...more
25
Casablanca is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time
Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre

Released: 1942

Directed by: Michael Curtiz

Casablanca is a 1942 American romantic drama film directed by Michael Curtiz and based on Murray Burnett and Joan Alison's unproduced stage play Everybody Comes to Rick's. The film stars ...more