40 Recommended WWII Films (English)


With just one week to go before the release of Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, we thought we’d help you warm up by sharing here the Forty WWII Movies in English as recommended by the authors of the Facebook Second World War Club. Rather than ranking the films though, we decided to list them in reverse chronological order, because we think every one of these films is worth watching. (The commentary next to the movie poster images though are purely my opinions.)

Next Tuesday (7/18), we’ll share with you Forty WWII Movies in languages other than English. And believe me, it is a fantastic list. Come back to our promo page then and see what we’ll recommend.

Now, our picks of 40 WWII English-speaking films:

  1. Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
  2. Anthropoid (2016)
    Tells the story of Operation Anthropoid, the World War II assassination of Reinhard Heydrich by Exile Czechoslovak soldiers on 27 May 1942.

    By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50833783
  3. Suite Française (2015)
  4. The Imitation Game (2014)
  5. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
    You’re wondering WTH is this movie doing on this list. Well, it’s one way to get your kids or grandkids interested in WWII. See? WWII is NOT Boring.

    By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30748989
  6. Eichmann (2010)
  7. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008)
  8. The Reader (2008)
  9. Valkyrie (2008)
  10. Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)
  11. Enemy at the Gates (2001)
  12. Enigma (2001)
    Before the Imitation Game, there was Enigma, a fictional suspense thriller about British cryptanalysts who have less than four days to decipher the code.

    By POV – Impawards, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12828916
  13. The End of the Affair (1999)
  14. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
  15. The Thin Red Line (1998)
  16. Schindler’s List (1993)
  17. Swing Kids (1993)
    A Disney production that came out the same year as Schindler’s List and receiving only lukewarm box office reception, this is one of those movie that actually steals its way into your heart and ages very well due to the strength of its young cast (including Robert Sean Leonard and Christian Bale). It also created the early 1990s swing and ballroom dancing craze.

  18. Biloxi Blues (1988)
    If you’ve never seen a Neil Simon play in live theatre, you need to get and watch this movie. Now. Biloxi Blues is the sequel to Brighton Beach Memoirs, a brilliant coming-of-age comedy about Eugene Morris Jerome, a Polish Jewish American teenager growing up in Brooklyn. In Biloxi Blues, Eugene was drafted for WWII and sent to Biloxi, MS for training.

    By POV – Impawards, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18550662
  19. Empire of the Sun (1987)
    Christian Bale is no doubt an incredibly talented actor. But his haunting portrayal of a young boy accidentally left behind in Shanghai after Japan’s invasion of China is unbelievable.

    By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5192536
  20. Eye of the Needle (1981)
  21. A Bridge Too Far (1977)
  22. Tora! Tora! Tora (1970)
  23. Where Eagles Dare (1968)
  24. The Dirty Dozen (1967)
  25. Von Ryan’s Express (1965)
  26. The Great Escape (1963)
  27. The Longest Day (1962)
    While the opening of Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan will always be the gold standard of cinematographic depiction of the landing at Normandy, The Longest Day is no second fiddle as the movie that tells the story of D-Day June 6, 1944.

  28. The Guns of Navarone (1961)
  29. Diary of Anne Frank (1959)
  30. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
  31. The Enemy Below (1957)
  32. To Hell and Back (1955)
  33. The Caine Mutiny (1954)
    This is one of those movies that you really, really have to watch. Not only because is it a great film, but also because your WWII street cred is dubious if you can’t say you’ve watched it.

  34. From Here to Eternity (1953)
  35. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
  36. To Have and Have Not (1944)
  37. This Land is Mine (1943)
    Move over, Scarlet. There’s a new O’Hara in town, and Maureen O’Hara doesn’t plan on giving up her land either.

  38. Millions Like Us (1943)
  39. Casablanca (1942)
  40. Miniver (1942)


To see our picks for Top 40 WWII Movies (Non-English), go here.

Have fun watching these great films. But for a more immersive version, there are always WWII novels. Be sure to join us for the Dunkirk Week Epic WWII Book Sale on 7/21-27, when more than 50 WWII fiction authors from the Facebook Second World War Group will offer their books for sale for a special discounted price of 99c, plus prizes and giveaways. Visit www.alexakang.com/dunkirk-book-sale/ to find out more.