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The Greatest World War II Dramas

Updated July 22, 2020 981 votes 170 voters 5.0k views35 items

List RulesVote 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.

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  • 1
    Casablanca is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
    65
    18

    Casablanca

    Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart

    Released1942

    Directed byMichael Curtiz

    Casablanca is a 1942 American romantic drama film directed by Michael Curtiz and based on... more on Wikipedia
  • 2
    Saving Private Ryan is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
    61
    19

    Saving Private Ryan

    Tom Hanks, Matt Damon

    Released1998

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    Saving Private Ryan is a 1998 American epic drama war film set during the Invasion of Normandy... more on Wikipedia

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  • 3
    Schindler's List is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
    51
    14

    Schindler's List

    Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes

    Released1993

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    Schindler's List is a 1993 American epic historical period drama, directed and co-produced by... more on Wikipedia
  • 4
    The Great Escape is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
    34
    9

    The Great Escape

    Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough

    Released1963

    Directed byJohn Sturges

    The Great Escape is a 1963 American WWII epic film based on an escape by British and... more on Wikipedia
  • 5
    The Longest Day is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
    27
    3

    The Longest Day

    Sean Connery, John Wayne

    Released1962

    Directed byDarryl 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... more on Wikipedia
  • 6
    Enemy At The Gates is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
    29
    11

    Enemy At The Gates

    Rachel Weisz, Jude Law

    Released2001

    Directed byJean-Jacques Annaud

    Enemy at the Gates is a 2001 film directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud. The film's title is taken... more on Wikipedia

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  • 7
    Flags Of Our Fathers is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
    29
    13

    Flags Of Our Fathers

    Paul Walker, Ryan Phillippe

    Released2006

    Directed byClint Eastwood

    Flags of Our Fathers is a 2006 American film directed, co-produced and scored by Clint... more on Wikipedia
  • 8
    Das Boot is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
    33
    18

    Das Boot

    Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer

    Released1981

    Directed byWolfgang Petersen

    Das Boot is a 1981 German epic film written and directed by Wolfgang Petersen, produced by... more on Wikipedia
  • 9
    The Pianist is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
    28
    16

    The Pianist

    Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann

    Released2002

    Directed byRoman Polanski

    The Pianist is a 2002 historical drama film co-produced and directed by Roman Polanski,... more on Wikipedia
  • 10
    Windtalkers is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
    20
    9

    Windtalkers

    Nicolas Cage, Mark Ruffalo

    Released2002

    Directed byJohn Woo

    Windtalkers is a 2002 American film directed and produced by John Woo, and starring Nicolas... more on Wikipedia

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  • 11
    The Thin Red Line is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
    28
    19

    The Thin Red Line

    George Clooney, John Travolta

    Released1998

    Directed byTerrence Malick

    The Thin Red Line is a 1998 American ensemble epic film written and directed by Terrence... more on Wikipedia
  • 12
    Fury is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
    26
    18

    Fury

    Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf

    Released2014

    Directed byDavid Ayer

    Fury is a 2014 American film directed by David Ayer. A grizzled tank commander (Brad Pitt)... more on Wikipedia
  • 13
    Downfall is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
    23
    17

    Downfall

    Alexandra Lara, Bruno Ganz

    Released2004

    Directed byOliver Hirschbiegel

    Downfall is a 2004 German film directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, depicting the final ten days... more on Wikipedia

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  • 14
    The English Patient is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
    25
    22

    The English Patient

    Willem Dafoe, Ralph Fiennes

    Released1996

    Directed byAnthony Minghella

    The English Patient is a 1996 romantic drama directed by Anthony Minghella from his own script... more on Wikipedia
  • 15
    Valkyrie is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
    20
    19

    Valkyrie

    Tom Cruise, Kenneth Branagh

    Released2008

    Directed byBryan Singer

    Valkyrie is a 2008 American-German historical thriller film set in Nazi Germany during WWII.... more on Wikipedia
  • 16
    American Guerrilla in the Phil is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
    9
    9

    Released1950

    Directed byFritz Lang

    American Guerrilla in the Philippines is a 1950 war film starring Tyrone Power as a U.S. Navy... more on Wikipedia
  • 17
    They Fought for Their Country is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
    9
    9

    They Fought for Their Country

    Sergei Bondarchuk, Vasily Shukshin

    Released1975

    Directed bySergei Bondarchuk

    They Fought for Their Country is a 1975 Soviet war film directed by Sergei Bondarchuk. It was... more on Wikipedia
  • 18
    Greyhound is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
    2
    2

    Greyhound

    Tom Hanks, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo

    Released2020

    Directed byAaron Schneider

    Greyhound is a 2020 war film directed by Aaron Schneider, based on The Good Shepherd by C. S.... more on Wikipedia
  • 19
    Midway is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
    5
    4

    Midway

    Woody Harrelson, Luke Evans

    Released2019

    Directed byRoland Emmerich

    Midway is a 2019 American historical action drama film directed by Roland Emmerich. The story... more on Wikipedia
  • 20
    Bent is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
    10
    11

    Bent

    Rachel Weisz, Jude Law

    Released1997

    Directed bySean Mathias

    Bent is a 1997 British/Japanese drama film directed by Sean Mathias, based on the 1979 play of... more on Wikipedia
  • 21
    Resistance is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
    4
    4

    Resistance

    Jesse Eisenberg, Ed Harris

    Released2020

    Directed byJonathan Jakubowicz

    Resistance is a 2020 biographical drama film directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz. The story of how... more on Wikipedia
  • 22
    Waiting for Anya is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
    4
    4

    Waiting for Anya

    Anjelica Huston, Sadie Frost

    Released2020

    Directed byBen Cookson

    Waiting for Anya is a 2020 British war film directed by Ben Cookson, based on the novel by... more on Wikipedia
  • 23
    The Painted Bird is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
    1
    2

    The Painted Bird

    Stellan Skarsgård, Harvey Keitel

    Released2020

    Directed byVáclav Marhoul

    The Painted Bird is a 2020 internationally co-produced war drama film directed by Václav... more on Wikipedia

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  • 24
    Crash Dive is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
    6
    8

    Crash Dive

    Tyrone Power, Anne Baxter

    Released1943

    Directed byArchie Mayo

    Crash Dive is a World War II film in Technicolor released in 1943. It was directed by Archie... more on Wikipedia
  • 25
    In Darkness is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest World War II Dramas
    10
    13

    In Darkness

    Weronika Rosati, Benno Fürmann

    Released2011

    Directed byAgnieszka Holland

    Hidden is a 2011 film directed by Agnieszka Holland.
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