Entertainment

The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time

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. 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.

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list ordered by
  • Schindler's List
    1
    Businessman Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson) arrives in Krakow in 1939, ready to make his fortune from World War II, which has just started. After joining the Nazi party primarily for political ...more
  • Band of Brothers
    2
    The story of Easy Company, 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, U.S. Army.
  • Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) takes his men behind enemy lines to find Private James Ryan, whose three brothers have been killed in combat. Surrounded by the brutal realties of war, while searching ...more
  • The Longest Day
    4
    In 1944, the U.S. Army and Allied forces plan a huge invasion landing in Normandy, France. Despite bad weather, General Eisenhower gives the okay and the Allies land at Normandy. General Norma Cota ...more
  • The Great Escape
    5
    Imprisoned during World War II in a German POW camp, a group of Allied soldiers are intent on breaking out, not only to escape, but also to draw Nazi forces away from battle to search for fugitives. ...more
  • Patton
    6
    Biography of controversial World War II hero General George S. Patton. The film covers his wartime activities and accomplishments, beginning with his entry into the North African campaign and ending ...more
  • Adaptation of the Pierre Bouelle novel about POWs in Burma forced to build a bridge to aid the war effort of their Japanese captors. British and American officers plot to blow up the structure, but ...more
  • A Bridge Too Far
    8
    Late in 1944, the Allies seem to have the upper hand in the European land war. A combined British and American paratrooper force, led by American general Gavin and British general Urquhart (Sean ...more
  • Das Boot
    9
    Das Boot is a 1982 German epic film written and directed by Wolfgang Petersen, produced by Günter Rohrbach, and starring Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, and Klaus Wennemann. It has been ...more
  • Tora! Tora! Tora!
    10
    This dramatic retelling of the Pearl Harbor attack details everything in the days that led up to that tragic moment in American history. As United States and Japanese relations strain over the U.S. ...more
  • Midway
    11
    In this dramatization of the Battle of Midway during World War II, U.S. Navy Adm. Chester Nimitz (Henry Fonda) leads an outnumbered unit in the Pacific to break Japanese encryption codes. They soon ...more
  • The Pacific
    12
    The intertwined journeys of three U.S. Marines in World War II.
  • Long-buried missives from the island reveal the stories of the Japanese troops who fought and died there during World War II. Among them are Saigo (Kazunari Ninomiya), a baker; Baron Nishi (Tsuyoshi ...more
  • Enemy at the Gates
    14
    Vassili (Jude Law) is a young Russian sharpshooter who becomes a legend when a savvy polical officer (Joseph Fiennes) makes him the hero of his propaganda campaign. Their friendship is threatened ...more
  • The Dirty Dozen
    15
    As D-Day approaches, Colonel Breed hands the roguish Major Reisman (Lee Marvin) an important assignment: He must train a team of soldiers to parachute across enemy lines and assassinate German ...more
  • Memphis Belle
    16
    At a U.S. Army Air Force base in England, the crew members of B-17 bomber Memphis Belle prepare for their 25th and final sortie into enemy German territory. Bomber Capt. Dennis Dearborn (Matthew ...more
  • American Lt. Col. Dan Kiley (Henry Fonda), a military intelligence whiz, discovers that the Nazis are planning to attack Allied forces near Belgium. Certain that the exhausted enemy can't muster much ...more
  • Kelly's Heroes
    18
    In the midst of World War II, an array of colorful American soldiers gets inside information from a drunk German officer about millions of dollars worth of gold hidden on enemy soil. Kelly (Clint ...more
  • Sands of Iwo Jima
    19
    Marine Sgt. John Stryker (John Wayne) is despised by his own men for his rough attitude and exhausting training regimen. As the war in the Pacific progresses, though, they begin to respect Stryker's ...more
  • In 1942, an American Air Force unit stationed in England is plagued with morale problems until no-nonsense Brigadier General Frank Savage (Gregory Peck) assumes command. His tough leadership is ...more
  • Casablanca
    21
    Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), who owns a nightclub in Casablanca, discovers his old flame Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) is in town with her husband, Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid). Laszlo is a famed rebel, ...more
  • 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 and ...more
  • Where Eagles Dare
    23
    A crack team of Allied soldiers stages a daring rescue during World War II. A U.S. general is being held captive in an imposing castle fort, high in the Bavarian Alps. The audacious plan calls for ...more
  • Stalag 17
    24
    One night in 1944 in a German POW camp housing American airmen, two prisoners try to escape the compound and are quickly discovered and shot dead. Among the remaining men, suspicion grows that one of ...more
  • In 1943, a small commando team is sent to destroy huge German guns on the Greek Island of Navarone in order to rescue Allied troops trapped on Kheros. Led by British Major Franklin (Anthony Quayle), ...more