Weird History The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time  

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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.
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Saving Private Ryan Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Vin Diesel 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

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2,824 802
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The Great Escape Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough, James Garner The Great Escape is a 1963 American World War II epic film based on an escape by British and Commonwealth prisoners of war from a German POW camp during World War II, starring Steve McQueen, ...more

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3,288 757
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Patton George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Paul Frees Patton is a 1970 American epic biographical war film about U.S. General George S. Patton during World War II. It stars George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Michael Bates and Karl Michael Vogler. It was ...more

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2,430 723
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The Bridge on the River Kwai Alec Guinness, William Holden, Jack Hawkins The Bridge on the River Kwai is a 1957 World War II 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 ...more

5
4,422 423
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Band of Brothers Donnie Wahlberg, Damian Lewis, Dexter Fletcher Band of Brothers is a 2001 American war 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

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2,177 848
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The Dirty Dozen Jim Brown, Donald Sutherland, Charles Bronson The Dirty Dozen is a 1967 war film directed by Robert Aldrich, released by MGM, and starring Lee Marvin. The picture was filmed in England and features an ensemble supporting cast including ...more

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2,735 441
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The Longest Day Sean Connery, John Wayne, Richard Burton The Longest Day is a 1962 war film based on the 1959 history book The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan, about D-Day, the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944, during World War II. The film was ...more

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2,964 787
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Schindler's List Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley 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

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2,228 604
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Das Boot Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Uwe Ochsenknecht Das Boot is a 1981 German epic war film written and directed by Wolfgang Petersen, produced by Günter Rohrbach, and starring Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, and Klaus ...more

10
2,065 444
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A Bridge Too Far Sean Connery, Anthony Hopkins, Robert Redford A Bridge Too Far is a 1977 epic war 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 ...more

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1,856 484
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Tora! Tora! Tora! Jason Robards Jr., Martin Balsam, Joseph Cotten Tora! Tora! Tora! is a 1970 American–Japanese war film that dramatizes the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The film was directed by Richard Fleischer and stars an ensemble cast, including ...more

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1,614 657
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The Guns of Navarone Olivia de Havilland, Gregory Peck, David Niven The Guns of Navarone is a 1961 British-American action/adventure war film directed by J. Lee Thompson. The screenplay by producer Carl Foreman was based on Alistair MacLean's 1957 novel The Guns ...more

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2,013 710
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Enemy at the Gates Rachel Weisz, Jude Law, Ed Harris Enemy at the Gates is a 2001 war 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

14
1,414 488
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Stalag 17 William Holden, Peter Graves, Otto Preminger Stalag 17 is a 1953 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 an informant. ...more

15
1,535 572
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Letters from Iwo Jima Ken Watanabe, Ryan Kelley, Kazunari Ninomiya Letters from Iwo Jima is a 2006 Japanese-American war film directed and co-produced by Clint Eastwood, starring Ken Watanabe and Kazunari Ninomiya. The film portrays the Battle of Iwo Jima from ...more

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1,389 397
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Sands of Iwo Jima John Wayne, Forrest Tucker, Richard Jaeckel Sands of Iwo Jima is a 1949 war film starring John Wayne that follows a group of United States Marines from training to the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II. The movie also features John ...more

17
1,633 433
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Midway Tom Selleck, Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda 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 war film directed by Jack Smight and produced by Walter Mirisch ...more

18
1,491 684
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Casablanca Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre 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

19
1,538 517
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Where Eagles Dare Clint Eastwood, Richard Burton, Michael Hordern Where Eagles Dare is a 1968 World War II action film starring Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood and Mary Ure. It was directed by Brian G. Hutton and shot on location in Austria and Bavaria. ...more

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1,744 536
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Kelly's Heroes Clint Eastwood, Donald Sutherland, Don Rickles Kelly's Heroes is a 1970 war comedy film directed by Brian G. Hutton, about a group of World War II soldiers who go AWOL to rob a bank behind enemy lines. The film stars Clint Eastwood, Telly ...more

21
1,489 455
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Memphis Belle John Lithgow, Sean Astin, Harry Connick 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

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1,364 542
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The Big Red One Mark Hamill, Lee Marvin, Robert Carradine The Big Red One is a World War II war film starring Lee Marvin and Mark Hamill, released in 1980. It was written and directed by Samuel Fuller. It was heavily cut on its original release, but a ...more

23
1,153 372
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Run Silent, Run Deep Clark Gable, Burt Lancaster, Don Rickles 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

24
1,315 364
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KimBruce added The Pacific 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

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1,454 407
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Battle of the Bulge Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson, Robert Shaw Battle of the Bulge is an American widescreen epic war film produced in Spain that was released in 1965. It was directed by Ken Annakin. It starred Henry Fonda, Robert Shaw, Telly Savalas, ...more

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1,167 361
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The Battle of Britain Walter Huston, Frieda Inescort, Anthony Veiller 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

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1,010 444
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Trioxin245 added Flags of Our Fathers Paul Walker, Ryan Phillippe, Jamie Bell Flags of Our Fathers is a 2006 American war film directed, co-produced and scored by Clint Eastwood and written by William Broyles, Jr. and Paul Haggis. It is based on the book of the same name ...more

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1,379 1,399
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Inglourious Basterds Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Diane Kruger Inglourious Basterds is a 2009 German-American war black comedy film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino and starring Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Mélanie Laurent, Michael ...more

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1,031 223
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Twelve O'Clock High Gregory Peck, Dean Jagger, Richard Anderson Twelve O'Clock High is a 1949 American war film about aircrews in the United States Army's Eighth Air Force who flew daylight bombing missions against Nazi Germany and occupied France during the ...more

16 Haunting Photographs of World War II Hospitals The Greatest Simple Pleasures in Life

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1,055 328
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To Hell and Back Audie Murphy, Denver Pyle, David Janssen 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

31
859 474
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Von Ryan's Express Frank Sinatra, James Brolin, Trevor Howard Von Ryan's Express is a 1965 World War II war adventure film about a group of Allied prisoners who after Italy's armistice with the Allies in September 1943, conduct a daring mass escape by ...more

32
946 385
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They Were Expendable John Wayne, Donna Reed, Robert Montgomery They Were Expendable is a 1945 American war film directed by John Ford and starring Robert Montgomery and John Wayne and featuring Donna Reed. The film is based on the book by William L. White, ...more

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993 620
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The Thin Red Line George Clooney, John Travolta, Sean Penn The Thin Red Line is a 1998 American ensemble epic war film written and directed by Terrence Malick. Based on the novel by James Jones, it tells a fictionalized version of the Battle of Mount ...more

34
842 312
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Sink the Bismarck! Kenneth More, Dana Wynter, Michael Hordern Sink the Bismarck! is a 1960 black-and-white CinemaScope British war film based on the book Last Nine Days of the Bismarck by C. S. Forester. It stars Kenneth More and Dana Wynter and was ...more

35
767 451
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The Caine Mutiny Humphrey Bogart, Lee Marvin, José Ferrer The Caine Mutiny is a 1954 American drama film set during World War II, directed by Edward Dmytryk and produced by Stanley Kramer. It stars Humphrey Bogart, José Ferrer, Van Johnson and ...more

36
799 478
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Downfall Alexandra Lara, Bruno Ganz, Thomas Kretschmann Downfall is a 2004 German war film directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, depicting the final ten days of Adolf Hitler's reign over Nazi Germany in 1945. The film is written and produced by Bernd ...more

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720 338
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Stalingrad Thomas Kretschmann, Sylvester Groth, Dana Vávrová Stalingrad is a 1993 war drama film directed by Joseph Vilsmaier. The movie follows a platoon of World War II German Army soldiers transferred to Russia, where they ultimately find themselves ...more

38
751 469
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Cross of Iron James Coburn, David Warner, Senta Berger Cross of Iron is a British-German 1977 war film directed by Sam Peckinpah, featuring James Coburn, Maximilian Schell, James Mason and David Warner. The film is set on the Eastern Front in World ...more

39
771 299
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The Devil's Brigade William Holden, Richard Dawson, Richard Jaeckel The Devil's Brigade is a 1968 American war film based on the 1966 book of the same name co-written by American novelist and historian Robert H. Adleman and Col. George Walton, a member of the ...more

40
953 634
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U-571 Matthew McConaughey, Jon Bon Jovi, Bill Paxton U-571 is a 2000 war film directed by Jonathan Mostow, and starring Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton, Harvey Keitel, Thomas Kretschmann, Jon Bon Jovi, Jack Noseworthy, Will Estes and Tom Guiry. ...more

41
747 363
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Flying Leathernecks John Wayne, Robert Ryan, Milburn Stone Flying Leathernecks is a 1951 action war film directed by Nicholas Ray, produced by Edmund Grainger, and starring John Wayne and Robert Ryan. The movie details the exploits and personal battles ...more

42
895 590
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The Pianist Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Emilia Fox The Pianist is a 2002 historical drama film co-produced and directed by Roman Polanski, scripted by Ronald Harwood, and starring Adrien Brody. It is based on the autobiographical book The ...more

43
852 331
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All Quiet on the Western Front Fred Zinnemann, Lew Ayres, ZaSu Pitts All Quiet on the Western Front is a 1930 American epic war film based on the Erich Maria Remarque novel of the same name. It was directed by Lewis Milestone, and stars Louis Wolheim, Lew Ayres, ...more

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596 201
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Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo Robert Mitchum, Spencer Tracy, Van Johnson Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo is a 1944 American war film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It is based on the true story of the Doolittle Raid, America's first retaliatory air strike against Japan ...more

45
618 334
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The Dam Busters Robert Shaw, Patrick McGoohan, Michael Redgrave The Dam Busters is a British Second World War war film starring Michael Redgrave and Richard Todd and directed by Michael Anderson. The film recreates the true story of Operation Chastise when ...more

46
642 261
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The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel Jessica Tandy, Cedric Hardwicke, Leo G. Carroll The Desert Fox is a 1951 biographical film about Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in the later stages of World War II. It stars James Mason in the title role, was directed by Henry Hathaway, and was ...more

47
1,105 372
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We Were Soldiers Mel Gibson, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jon Hamm We Were Soldiers is a 2002 war film that dramatizes the Battle of Ia Drang on November 14, 1965. The film was directed by Randall Wallace and stars Mel Gibson. It is based on the book We Were ...more

48
604 244
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The Bridge at Remagen Robert Vaughn, George Segal, Ben Gazzara The Bridge at Remagen is a 1969 war film starring George Segal, Ben Gazzara and Robert Vaughn. It was directed by John Guillermin and was shot on location in Czechoslovakia. The film is based on ...more

49
667 309
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Bataan Robert Taylor, Desi Arnaz, George Murphy Bataan is a war film about the defense of the Bataan Peninsula at the start of World War II. It was made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, directed by Tay Garnett and produced by Irving Starr, with Dore ...more

50
709 341
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Battleground Ricardo Montalbán, James Arness, James Whitmore Battleground is a 1949 American war film that follows a company in the 327th Glider Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division as they cope with the Siege of Bastogne during the Battle of the ...more