World War II Japan The Best Movies About World War II Japan  

Ranker Film
966 votes 401 voters 39.2k views 29 items

Movies about World War II Japan fascinate audiences, and with good reason. This period in history is marked by drama and bloodshed, from the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the Battle of Iwo Jima. Many great films have been made about this era, and the very best lend depth and shading to figures that are often misunderstood. This is a list of the greatest movies about WWII Japan including everything from Empire of the Sun to Grave of the Fireflies to Midway.

What films will you find on this list of the best movies about WW2 Japan? Clint Eastwood seems especially fascinated by the subject, and even directed two features about Iwo Jima. In Flags of Our Fathers, he follows the Marines and Navy Corpsman who famously raised the American flag on the site. Letters from Iwo Jima shifts the perspective to that of the Japanese soldiers fighting the same battle. Hayao Miyazaki 's The Wind Rises may be animated, but grapples with adult concepts of responsibility as it tells the real-life story of a designer of war planes. Other good films featured on this list include Unbroken and To End All Wars.

Do you have a favorite WWII movie about Japan? Vote the best films up to number one, and please add any great films that are missing.

list ordered by

1
114 24
Letters from Iwo Jima is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies About World War II Japan
Ken Watanabe, Ryan Kelley, Kazunari Ninomiya
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

2
69 14
Tora! Tora! Tora! is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies About World War II Japan
Jason Robards Jr., Martin Balsam, Joseph Cotten
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

3
67 22
Empire of the Sun is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Movies About World War II Japan
Christian Bale, Ben Stiller, John Malkovich
Empire of the Sun is a 1987 American coming of age film based on J. G. Ballard's semi-autobiographical novel of the same name. Steven Spielberg directed the film, which stars Christian Bale, ...more

4
53 19
Flags of Our Fathers is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies About World War II Japan
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

5
54 20
Midway is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Movies About World War II Japan
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 film directed by Jack Smight and produced by Walter Mirisch from ...more

6
44 13
Grave of the Fireflies is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Movies About World War II Japan
Yoshiko Shinohara, Akemi Yamaguchi, Ayano Shiraishi
Grave of the Fireflies is a 1988 Japanese animated drama film written and directed by Isao Takahata and animated by Studio Ghibli. It is based on the 1967 semi-autobiographical novel Grave of ...more

7
44 16
Unbroken is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Movies About World War II Japan
Garrett Hedlund, Domhnall Gleeson, Jack O'Connell
Unbroken is a 2014 American biographical drama film, produced and directed by Angelina Jolie, and based on the 2010 non-fiction book by Laura Hillenbrand, Unbroken: A WWII Story of Survival, ...more

8
31 10
Emperor is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Movies About World War II Japan
Tommy Lee Jones, Matthew Fox, Masatō Ibu
Emperor is a 2012 American-Japanese post-World War II film directed by Peter Webber, marking his first film in five years. Tommy Lee Jones and Matthew Fox star in lead roles as General Douglas ...more

9
18 5
Yamato is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Movies About World War II Japan
Tatsuya Nakadai, Kyōka Suzuki, Yū Aoi
Yamato is a 2005 Japanese war film. It was directed by Junya Satō and is based on a book by Jun Henmi. With a framing story set in the present day, by flashbacks it tells the story of the crew ...more

10
17 5
Ip Man is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Movies About World War II Japan
Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Louis Fan
Ip Man is a 2008 Hong Kong semi biographical martial arts film very loosely based on the life of Yip Man, a grandmaster of the martial art Wing Chun and master of Bruce Lee. The film focuses on ...more

11
17 6
The Human Condition is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Movies About World War II Japan
Tatsuya Nakadai, Michiyo Aratama
The Human Condition is a Japanese epic film trilogy made between 1959 and 1961, based on the six-volume novel published from 1956 to 1958 by Junpei Gomikawa 五味川純平. It was directed by Masaki ...more

12
18 7
A Pay by the Wayside is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Movies About World War II Japan
A Pay by the Wayside Isamu Kosugi, Bontarô Miyake, Ichirô Izawa
Five Scouts is a 1938 war film directed by Tomotaka Tasaka.

13
23 12
The Wind Rises is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Movies About World War II Japan
Emily Blunt, Martin Short, John Krasinski
The Wind Rises is a 2013 Japanese animated historical drama film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki and animated by Studio Ghibli. It was released by Toho on July 20, 2013 in Japan, and by ...more

14
12 4
To End All Wars is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Movies About World War II Japan
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.

15
12 6
Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Movies About World War II Japan
David Bowie, Beat Kitano, Ryuichi Sakamoto
Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence is a 1983 Japanese-British film directed by Nagisa Oshima, produced by Jeremy Thomas and starring David Bowie, Tom Conti, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Takeshi Kitano and Jack ...more

16
9 4
No Regrets for Our Youth is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Movies About World War II Japan
Takashi Shimura, Setsuko Hara, Susumu Fujita
No Regrets for Our Youth is a 1946 film written and directed by Akira Kurosawa. It is based on the Takigawa incident of 1933. The film stars Setsuko Hara, Susumu Fujita, Takashi Shimura and ...more

17
9 5
The Burmese Harp is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Movies About World War II Japan
Taketoshi Naitô, Rentarō Mikuni, Jun Hamamura
Biruma no tategoto is a 1956 film directed by Kon Ichikawa.

18
7 3
Paradise Road is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Movies About World War II Japan
Cate Blanchett, Glenn Close, Julianna Margulies
Paradise Road is a 1997 war film which tells the story of a group of English, American, Dutch and Australian women who are imprisoned by the Japanese in Sumatra during World War II. It was ...more

19
9 7
The Most Beautiful is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Movies About World War II Japan
Takashi Shimura, Takako Irie, Yōko Yaguchi
The Most Beautiful is a 1944 Japanese propaganda drama film written and directed by Akira Kurosawa. The film is set in an optics factory during the Second World War.

20
9 7
South Pacific is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Movies About World War II Japan
France Nuyen, Doug McClure, Mitzi Gaynor
South Pacific is a 1958 American romantic musical film adaptation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific, and based on James A. Michener's Tales of the South Pacific. The film, ...more

21
8 6
Rhapsody in August is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Movies About World War II Japan
Richard Gere, Hisashi Igawa, Hidetaka Yoshioka
Rhapsody in August is a 1991 Japanese film by Akira Kurosawa. The story centers on an elderly hibakusha, who lost her husband in the 1945 atomic bombing of Nagasaki, caring for her four ...more

22
6 4
Chocolate and Soldiers is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Movies About World War II Japan
Chocolate and Soldiers

23
6 5
Fires on the Plain is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Movies About World War II Japan
Eiji Funakoshi, Mickey Curtis, Osamu Takizawa
Fires on the Plain is a 1959 Japanese war film directed by Kon Ichikawa, starring Eiji Funakoshi. The screenplay, written by Natto Wada, is based on the novel Nobi by Shōhei Ōoka, translated as ...more

24
11 11
Eagle of the Pacific is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Movies About World War II Japan
Eagle of the Pacific

25
5 6
Barefoot Gen is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Movies About World War II Japan
Takeshi Aono, Katsuji Mori, Kōichi Kitamura
Barefoot Gen is a war drama anime loosely based on the Japanese manga series by Keiji Nakazawa. Directed by Mori Masaki and released in 1983, it depicts World War II in Japan from a child's ...more