Drama

The Greatest World War II Dramas 

Ranker Film
670 votes 153 voters 4.4k views 32 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite dramatic movies set during WWII.

Set during a time of global unrest, the best World War II movies deal with life-or-death scenarios at every turn. The top World War II dramas feature complex characters fighting for humanity and often falling in love during this turbulent era. This is a list of the greatest WWII drama movies including everything from The Bridge on the River Kwai to In Another Lifetime to The Pianist.

What films will you find on this list of the best movies set during World War II? The timeless classic Casablanca focuses on the relationship between Rick Blaine and Ilsa Lund as they reconnect after many years apart. The only problem is Ilsa is now married to a Czech Resistance leader who is wanted by German forces. The English Patient is another good romantic movie set during the Second World War. The 2016 film Allied follows a pair of spies as they fall in love and play mental games with one another. Other good films featured on this list include Flags of Our Fathers, The Railway Man, and Sunshine.

Which World War 2 dramas are your favorites? Give the best films a thumbs up to move them to the number-one spot on the list, and please add any movies that are missing.

1
Casablanca is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
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

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#169 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #184 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

2
Saving Private Ryan is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
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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#6 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Madefeaturing 17 Surprising Facts You Probably Didn't Know About 'Saving Private Ryan'listed on The Highest Grossing 90s Movies

3
The Longest Day is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
Sean Connery, John Wayne, Richard Burton
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

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#129 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #7 of 382 The Best War Movies Everlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

4
Flags of Our Fathers is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
Paul Walker, Ryan Phillippe, Jamie Bell
Flags of Our Fathers is a 2006 American 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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#82 of 116 The Best Native American Movies #106 of 382 The Best War Movies Ever #26 of 80 The Most Patriotic Movies of All Time

5
Das Boot is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Uwe Ochsenknecht
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

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#376 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #13 of 382 The Best War Movies Ever

6
The Great Escape is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough, James Garner
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

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#281 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #11 of 382 The Best War Movies Ever

7
Schindler's List is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
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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#506 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #2 of 157 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Againlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

8
Fury is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman
Fury is a 2014 American film directed by David Ayer. A grizzled tank commander (Brad Pitt) makes tough decisions as he and his crew fight their way across Germany in April, 1945.

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#46 of 221 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time #5 of 23 Great Movies So Patriotic, They Are Basically American Propaganda #452 of 748 The Greatest Action Movies of All Time

9
Enemy at the Gates is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
Rachel Weisz, Jude Law, Ed Harris
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

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#27 of 382 The Best War Movies Ever #15 of 304 The Best Military Movies Ever Made

10
The Pianist is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
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

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#28 of 157 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again #15 of 205 The Best Movies About Musiclisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

11
Valkyrie is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
Tom Cruise, Kenneth Branagh, Eddie Izzard
Valkyrie is a 2008 American-German historical thriller film set in Nazi Germany during WWII. The film depicts the 20 July plot in 1944 by German army officers to take down Adolf Hitler and to ...more

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#79 of 382 The Best War Movies Ever #23 of 42 The All-Time Best Tom Cruise Movies

12
The Thin Red Line is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
George Clooney, John Travolta, Sean Penn
The Thin Red Line is a 1998 American ensemble epic 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

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#44 of 382 The Best War Movies Ever #170 of 582 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time #39 of 221 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time

13
Windtalkers is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
Nigel Fong added
Nicolas Cage, Mark Ruffalo, Christian Slater
Windtalkers is a 2002 American film directed and produced by John Woo, and starring Nicolas Cage and Adam Beach. The film was released in the United States on June 14, 2002.

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#328 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #9 of 116 The Best Native American Movies #408 of 748 The Greatest Action Movies of All Time

14
Downfall is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
Alexandra Lara, Bruno Ganz, Thomas Kretschmann
Downfall is a 2004 German 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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#36 of 221 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time #187 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars

15
American Guerrilla in th... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
PietraChandlerRadcliff added
Tyrone Power, Jack Elam, Robert Barrat
American Guerrilla in the Philippines is a 1950 war film starring Tyrone Power as a U.S. Navy ensign stranded by the Japanese occupation of the Philippines in World War II. Based on the story of ...more
16
The English Patient is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
Willem Dafoe, Ralph Fiennes, Colin Firth
The English Patient is a 1996 romantic drama directed by Anthony Minghella from his own script based on the novel of the same name by Michael Ondaatje and produced by Saul Zaentz. The film was ...more

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#91 of 157 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again #260 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Madelisted on Movies That Won Best Picture at the Oscars and Golden Globes

17
Bent is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
Bent
Rachel Weisz, Jude Law, Ian McKellen
Bent is a 1997 British/Japanese drama film directed by Sean Mathias, based on the 1979 play of the same name by Martin Sherman, who also wrote the screenplay.
18
They Fought for Their Co... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
Firebird added
Sergei Bondarchuk, Vasily Shukshin, Yuri Nikulin
They Fought for Their Country is a 1975 Soviet war film directed by Sergei Bondarchuk. It was entered into the 1975 Cannes Film Festival. The film is the story of a Soviet platoon fighting a ...more
19
Crash Dive is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
PietraChandlerRadcliff added
Tyrone Power, Anne Baxter, Harry Morgan
Crash Dive is a World War II film in Technicolor released in 1943. It was directed by Archie Mayo, written by Jo Swerling and W.R. Burnett, and starred Tyrone Power, Dana Andrews and Anne ...more
20
In Darkness is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
Weronika Rosati, Benno Fürmann, Maria Schrader
Hidden is a 2011 film directed by Agnieszka Holland.
21
Waiting for Anya is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
Anjelica Huston, Sadie Frost, Jean Reno
Waiting for Anya is a 2020 British war film directed by Ben Cookson, based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo. A young shepherd named Jo (Noah Schnapp) and a widow named Horcada (Anjelica Huston) ...more
22
Midway is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
Woody Harrelson, Luke Evans, Mandy Moore
Midway is a 2019 American historical action drama film directed by Roland Emmerich. The story of the battle of Midway, told by the leaders and the soldiers who fought it.
23
Allied is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
Allied
Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard, Jared Harris
24
To End All Wars is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
Kiefer Sutherland, Mark Strong, Robert Carlyle
To End All Wars is a 2001 war film starring Robert Carlyle, Kiefer Sutherland and Sakae Kimura and directed by David L. Cunningham.
25
The Aftermath is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
Alexander Skarsgård, Keira Knightley, Jason Clarke
The Aftermath is a 2019 British-German-American drama film directed by James Kent, based on the novel by Rhidian Brook. Post World War II, a British colonel (Jason Clarke) and his wife (Keira ...more