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« Diversity Notes | Main | Digital-Movie Future »

October 11, 2006

Another Movie-List Game

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

What's your favorite WWII movie? Link thanks to Anne Thompson, who comes up with some inspired candidates. Hmmmm: I'm offhand tempted to vote for Peckinpah's "Cross of Iron," or maybe Boorman's "Hope and Glory."

Have you voted yet in Andy Horbal's "Best American Fiction Movie of the Last 25 Years" poll? Then go here. Or in my "Your Favorite American Fiction Movie of the Last 25 Years, Critics Be Damned" poll? Then go here.



posted by Michael at October 11, 2006


Ice cold in Alex.

Posted by: dearieme on October 11, 2006 2:05 PM

The Cruel Sea.

Posted by: dearieme on October 11, 2006 2:07 PM

Where Eagles Dare
Kelly's Heroes

Clint did some good ones.

Posted by: the patriarch on October 11, 2006 2:41 PM

Oh, and The Big Red One, actually that one is probably #1. Fantastic movie. Lee Marvin is the personification of gruff.

Posted by: the patriarch on October 11, 2006 2:42 PM

Twelve O'Clock High. Gregory Peck's understated line "All right, let's settle down" is a gem in its circumstances. Kelly's Heroes - definitely.

Posted by: bridget on October 11, 2006 3:25 PM

Kelly's Heroes - Yes !

Honourable mentions for "Best Whistleable Theme Tune (in a Damn Fine War Movie)"...

The Great Escape
Bridge on the River Kwai

But my vote has to go to...
"Cross of Iron" - astonishing, and also a contender for "Best Movie Ending Enforced by Budget Overrun".

Posted by: Nigel on October 11, 2006 3:36 PM

Bugger me. The Cruel Sea gets second mention. I seriously thought I'd be first in with that one. And I'd forgotten the excellent Ice Cold in Alex.

Das Boot?

Empire Of The Sun was discussed here at length not so very long ago.

Posted by: Alan Little on October 11, 2006 4:13 PM

"Hope and Glory" -- good one.

The Germans have done some very good WWII movies. The German film "Stalingrad" was excellent, as was "Das Boot".

Posted by: MQ on October 11, 2006 4:21 PM

As with the literature, the movies made about WWII tend to reflect how a country sailed through that war. Hence, the enormous amount of glorious adventure movies made in the Hollywood studios. Elsewhere, the tone is different.

Also, no movie about WWII can hold a candle to documentaries as "Nuit et Brouillard".

I do have to think about good German, Russian, or other European future films I've seen. Right now, the only title that comes to mind is "Pastorale 1943", a little Dutch masterpiece about the clumsiness of our organized resistence.

Posted by: ijsbrand on October 11, 2006 4:28 PM

It's not even a close vote: The Bridge on the River Kwai (seven Oscars)

Other good ones...

The Longest Day
Das Boot
The Caine Mutiny

For great aerial photography: Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (you'll feel like you're in the bomber's bay)

Posted by: Charlton Griffin on October 11, 2006 4:30 PM

I guess you mean "movie about WWII" rather than "movie made during the actual WWII years"?

Boorman's "Hope and Glory" always kind of depressed me---can't pinpoint why. Candidly, the TV series "Hogan's Heroes" always was my favorite.

But I think "Where Eagles Dare" was pretty good. Also "Patton." Also, the TV miniseries "Holocaust"--Michael Moriarty is just chilling as an ambitious young Berliner who gets nagged by his socially ambitious wife into the SS--and the personality transformation that accompanies. Along with the first performance by Meryl Streep I ever remember seeing. Speaking of Streep---"Sophie's Choice" is a pretty searing WWII movie.

Posted by: annette on October 11, 2006 5:02 PM

Hollywood really did itself proud when it came to WW II.

The Young Lions. Lush production values as only the old time studios could do them.

From Here To Eternity. Really a movie about the peacetime army. But it ended with the attack on Pearl.

A little B movie called A Walk In The Sun. Filled with stock Hollywood figures: the kid from Brooklyn; the hick from Indiana; the tough talking soft hearted sergeant. But it always got to me. It used to be replayed continually on TV. Now you never see it.

The incredible first twenty minutes of Saving Private Ryan. The rest of it seemed kind of mediocre to me.

And, oh yes, the minor key pleasures of The War Lover, with Steve McQueen.

Posted by: ricpic on October 11, 2006 5:40 PM

Hehe, "The Americanization of Emily"?

Posted by: J. Goard on October 11, 2006 6:04 PM

Attack (1956), directed by Robert Aldrich, which is now on DVD, is definitely worth a look.

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on October 11, 2006 6:55 PM

My fave is Europa, Europa. When my son was little, I could hardly bear the thought of him finding out about stuff like the Holocaust -- Europa, Europa was the movie I finally watched with him to begin the conversation.

Posted by: missgrundy on October 11, 2006 9:12 PM

Whoops, sorry, forgot -- I also love A Midnight Clear.

Posted by: missgrundy on October 11, 2006 9:16 PM

Jeez, I don't know where to start... "The Bold and the Brave" with Mickey Rooney pretty much taking over; Mister Roberts, just the best, and the scene where Powell & Fonda build a bottle of scotch -- perfect; Stalag 17; the original "To Be or Not To Be" with Jack Benny; "The Guns of Navarone" with its brilliant score; "The Gallant Hours" with Cagney; "The Enemy Below"; "Battle Cry". Oh, and "Up Periscope", with James Garner, I think it was, young and adorable.

Posted by: Flutist on October 11, 2006 11:27 PM

Has anyone else even seen the German "Stalingrad"? It's grueling, like the battle, and really good. You practically get frostbite watching it.

"Mephisto" is another good German (I think) movie, about the moral compromise of an initially anti-Nazi actor who gets co-opted into the upper reaches of the Nazi party. Klaus Brandauer is fantastic. It's an excellent movie about the weakness of the artistic personality, a theme around here.

Posted by: MQ on October 11, 2006 11:51 PM

"The Night of the Shooting Stars"

Posted by: Jon Hastings on October 12, 2006 9:47 AM

Two that I saw and liked many years ago were

- A Walk in the Sun [about the war in Italy]

- They Were Expendable [PT boats during the fall of the Philippines]

Hope I got the titles right. Also, I have no idea if I'd like them now.

Posted by: Donald Pittenger on October 12, 2006 1:18 PM

In Which We Serve.

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp.


Posted by: Lexington Green on October 12, 2006 1:19 PM

Hope and Glory is a fave of mine too, Michael. I think that's my favorite John Boorman by a long shot. I've never been too fond of Cross of Iron, though.

I'd go with:

The Sorrow and the Pity
Fires on the Plain
Army of Shadows
The Night of the Shooting Stars
Forbidden Games
The Garden of the Finzi-Continis
The Best Years of Our Lives
Rome: Open City

A little less high falutin':

They Were Expendable
Air Force
Operation, Burma!
A Very Long Engagement


Posted by: Ron on October 12, 2006 4:15 PM

Interesting that someone picked Powell & Pressburger's 'Life & Death of Colonel Blimp', and not 'A Matter of Life and Death'.

Both wonderful movies.

Posted by: Nigel on October 13, 2006 10:13 AM

Stupid me-I was thinking of A Very Long Engagement earlier and remembered that it's actually a WWI film. Guess I'll have to cross that one of my list.


Posted by: ron on October 14, 2006 1:59 AM

Re the sailing through the war comment, any recommendations of movies from the Italian or Spanish soldier-in-Russia perspective? The Russians/Ukranians/Cossacks who joined up with the Germans? Films from the Eastern European perspective?

Posted by: chris on October 14, 2006 2:52 PM

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