The 40's & World War II (1939-1949)

by indeetee | created - 23 Mar 2014 | updated - 2 weeks ago | Public

Films & series set during and immediately after the Second World War, including the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945).

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1. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

R | 169 min | Drama, War

91 Metascore

Following the Normandy Landings, a group of U.S. soldiers go behind enemy lines to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns

Votes: 1,113,501 | Gross: $216.54M

2. The Sound of Music (1965)

G | 172 min | Biography, Drama, Family

63 Metascore

A woman leaves an Austrian convent to become a governess to the children of a Naval officer widower.

Director: Robert Wise | Stars: Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker, Richard Haydn

Votes: 182,983 | Gross: $163.21M

3. Schindler's List (1993)

R | 195 min | Biography, Drama, History

93 Metascore

In German-occupied Poland during World War II, industrialist Oskar Schindler gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazis.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley, Caroline Goodall

Votes: 1,090,708 | Gross: $96.07M

4. The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)

Approved | 180 min | Biography, Drama, Family

59 Metascore

During World War II, a teenage Jewish girl named Anne Frank and her family are forced into hiding in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands.

Director: George Stevens | Stars: Millie Perkins, Shelley Winters, Joseph Schildkraut, Richard Beymer

Votes: 11,035 | Gross: $5.01M

5. Boy Ecury (2003)

90 min | Biography, Drama, Thriller

Black Businessman Dundun Ecury from Aruba arrives in the Netherlands after World War II to search for the body of his son Boy, who was executed by the Nazis because of his work as a ... See full summary »

Director: Frans Weisz | Stars: Felix de Rooy, Steve Hooi, Johnny de Mol, Gaby Milder

Votes: 57

6. Empire of the Sun (1987)

PG | 153 min | Drama, History, War

62 Metascore

A young English boy struggles to survive under Japanese occupation during World War II.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Christian Bale, John Malkovich, Miranda Richardson, Nigel Havers

Votes: 105,958 | Gross: $22.24M

7. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

R | 153 min | Adventure, Drama, War

69 Metascore

In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a plan to assassinate Nazi leaders by a group of Jewish U.S. soldiers coincides with a theatre owner's vengeful plans for the same.

Director: Quentin Tarantino | Stars: Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger, Eli Roth, Mélanie Laurent

Votes: 1,121,310 | Gross: $120.54M

8. The Pianist (2002)

R | 150 min | Biography, Drama, Music

85 Metascore

A Polish Jewish musician struggles to survive the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto of World War II.

Director: Roman Polanski | Stars: Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Frank Finlay, Emilia Fox

Votes: 644,849 | Gross: $32.57M

9. Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

R | 141 min | Drama, History, War

89 Metascore

The story of the battle of Iwo Jima between the United States and Imperial Japan during World War II, as told from the perspective of the Japanese who fought it.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Ken Watanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Ryo Kase

Votes: 146,491 | Gross: $13.76M

10. Downfall (2004)

R | 156 min | Biography, Drama, History

82 Metascore

Traudl Junge, the final secretary for Adolf Hitler, tells of the Nazi dictator's final days in his Berlin bunker at the end of WWII.

Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel | Stars: Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Maria Lara, Ulrich Matthes, Juliane Köhler

Votes: 306,405 | Gross: $5.51M

11. Casablanca (1942)

PG | 102 min | Drama, Romance, War

100 Metascore

A cynical American expatriate struggles to decide whether or not he should help his former lover and her fugitive husband escape French Morocco.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains

Votes: 477,598 | Gross: $1.02M

12. Soldier of Orange (1977)

R | 165 min | Drama, Romance, Thriller

During WW2, Dutch students join the resistance movement against the German occupation of the Netherlands.

Director: Paul Verhoeven | Stars: Rutger Hauer, Jeroen Krabbé, Susan Penhaligon, Edward Fox

Votes: 10,188

13. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

PG | 161 min | Adventure, Drama, War

87 Metascore

After settling his differences with a Japanese P.O.W. camp commander, a British colonel co-operates to oversee his men's construction of a railway bridge for their captors, while oblivious to a plan by the Allies to destroy it.

Director: David Lean | Stars: William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, Sessue Hayakawa

Votes: 186,349 | Gross: $44.91M

14. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Not Rated | 89 min | Animation, Drama, War

A young boy and his little sister struggle to survive in Japan during World War II.

Director: Isao Takahata | Stars: Tsutomu Tatsumi, Ayano Shiraishi, Akemi Yamaguchi, Yoshiko Shinohara

Votes: 197,784

15. The Thin Red Line (1998)

R | 170 min | Drama, War

78 Metascore

Adaptation of James Jones' autobiographical 1962 novel, focusing on the conflict at Guadalcanal during the second World War.

Director: Terrence Malick | Stars: Jim Caviezel, Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Kirk Acevedo

Votes: 160,659 | Gross: $36.40M

16. Dad's Army (1968–1977)

30 min | Comedy, War

A ragtag group of Home Guard volunteers prepare for an imminent German invasion during World War II.

Stars: Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier, Clive Dunn, John Laurie

Votes: 4,922

17. Goodnight Sweetheart (1993–2016)

Not Rated | 30 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

British sitcom in which an unhappily married man discovers he can time travel back to 1940s war-torn London where he masquerades as an MI5 agent and part-time songwriter whilst courting the local barmaid.

Stars: Nicholas Lyndhurst, Victor McGuire, Christopher Ettridge, Elizabeth Carling

Votes: 2,077

18. Land Girls (2009–2011)
Episode: Back to the Land (2011)

44 min | Drama

Lady Ellen is frustrated when Tucker is released from the charge of murdering her husband and her flighty, selfish sister Diana comes to Hoxley Hall. Rather than help Ellen with the ... See full summary »

Director: Steve Hughes | Stars: Becci Gemmell, Jo Woodcock, Liam Boyle, Susan Cookson

Votes: 43

19. Foyle's War (2002–2015)

TV-14 | 90 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

As WWII rages, DCS Foyle fights his own war on the home-front; investigating crime on the south coast of England. Later series, see the retired detective working as an MI5 agent in the aftermath of the war.

Stars: Michael Kitchen, Honeysuckle Weeks, Anthony Howell, Ellie Haddington

Votes: 11,406

20. The English Patient (1996)

R | 162 min | Drama, Romance, War

87 Metascore

At the close of WWII, a young nurse tends to a badly-burned plane crash victim. His past is shown in flashbacks, revealing an involvement in a fateful love affair.

Director: Anthony Minghella | Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafoe, Kristin Scott Thomas

Votes: 166,230 | Gross: $78.65M

21. The End of the Affair (1999)

R | 102 min | Drama, Romance

65 Metascore

A desperate man tries to find out why his beloved left him years ago.

Director: Neil Jordan | Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Julianne Moore, Stephen Rea, Heather-Jay Jones

Votes: 20,085 | Gross: $10.66M

22. Atonement (2007)

R | 123 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

85 Metascore

Fledgling writer Briony Tallis, as a thirteen-year-old, irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister's lover of a crime he did not commit.

Director: Joe Wright | Stars: Keira Knightley, James McAvoy, Brenda Blethyn, Saoirse Ronan

Votes: 228,609 | Gross: $50.93M

23. The Edge of Love (2008)

R | 110 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

39 Metascore

Two feisty, free-spirited women are connected by the brilliant, charismatic poet who loves them both.

Director: John Maybury | Stars: Keira Knightley, Sienna Miller, Matthew Rhys, Simon Armstrong

Votes: 15,423 | Gross: $0.03M

24. Men with Wings (1938)

105 min | Action, Drama, War

Plot #1 is the love triangle between two guys and one girl as they grow into adults and affiliate themselves in the new aircraft industry. Plot #2 is aircraft evolution from the days of Wilbur and Orville Wright to just prior to WWII.

Director: William A. Wellman | Stars: Fred MacMurray, Ray Milland, Louise Campbell, Andy Devine

Votes: 113

25. The Pacific (2010)

TV-MA | 530 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

The Pacific Theatre of World War II, as seen through the eyes of several young Marines.

Stars: James Badge Dale, Joseph Mazzello, Jon Seda, Ashton Holmes

Votes: 87,894

26. City of Life and Death (2009)

R | 133 min | Drama, History, War

85 Metascore

In 1937, Japan occupied Nanjing, the Chinese capital. There was a battle and subsequent atrocities against the inhabitants, especially those who took refuge in the International Security Zone.

Director: Chuan Lu | Stars: Ye Liu, Wei Fan, Hideo Nakaizumi, Yuanyuan Gao

Votes: 9,648 | Gross: $0.12M

27. Band of Brothers (2001)

TV-MA | 594 min | Action, Drama, History

The story of Easy Company of the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division, and their mission in World War II Europe, from Operation Overlord, through V-J Day.

Stars: Scott Grimes, Damian Lewis, Ron Livingston, Shane Taylor

Votes: 323,738

28. Oorlogswinter (2008)

R | 103 min | Drama, History, War

66 Metascore

In the Nazi-occupied Netherlands, a teenage boy gets involved in the Dutch Resistance after coming to the aid of a wounded RAF pilot.

Director: Martin Koolhoven | Stars: Martijn Lakemeier, Jamie Campbell Bower, Yorick van Wageningen, Raymond Thiry

Votes: 11,565 | Gross: $0.54M

29. Australia (2008)

PG-13 | 165 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

53 Metascore

Set in northern Australia before World War II, an English aristocrat who inherits a sprawling ranch reluctantly pacts with a stock-man in order to protect her new property from a takeover plot. As the pair drive 2,000 head of cattle over unforgiving landscape, they experience the bombing of Darwin, Australia, by Japanese forces firsthand.

Director: Baz Luhrmann | Stars: Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Shea Adams, Eddie Baroo

Votes: 113,801 | Gross: $49.55M

30. Coming Home (1998– )

101 min | Drama, Romance, War

Drama series about the Dunbar and Carey-Lewis families, before during and after WW2.

Stars: Joanna Lumley, Peter O'Toole, Gruschenka Stevens, Paul Bettany

Votes: 617

32. Into the White (I) (2012)

R | 104 min | Action, Biography, Drama

Norway, WWII: A group of British and German soldiers find themselves stranded in the wilderness after an aircraft battle. Finding shelter in the same cabin, they realize the only way to survive the winter is to place the rules of war aside.

Director: Petter Næss | Stars: Florian Lukas, David Kross, Lachlan Nieboer, Stig Henrik Hoff

Votes: 18,045 | Gross: $0.00M

33. Memphis Belle (1990)

PG-13 | 107 min | Action, Drama, War

In 1943, the crew of a B-17 based in UK prepares for its 25th and last bombing mission over Germany before returning home to the USA.

Director: Michael Caton-Jones | Stars: Matthew Modine, Eric Stoltz, Tate Donovan, D.B. Sweeney

Votes: 25,272 | Gross: $27.44M

34. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008)

PG-13 | 94 min | Drama, War

55 Metascore

Set during WWII, a story seen through the innocent eyes of Bruno, the eight-year-old son of the commandant at a German concentration camp, whose forbidden friendship with a Jewish boy on the other side of the camp fence has startling and unexpected consequences.

Director: Mark Herman | Stars: Asa Butterfield, David Thewlis, Rupert Friend, Zac Mattoon O'Brien

Votes: 170,503 | Gross: $9.03M

35. Life Is Beautiful (1997)

PG-13 | 116 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

59 Metascore

When an open-minded Jewish librarian and his son become victims of the Holocaust, he uses a perfect mixture of will, humor, and imagination to protect his son from the dangers around their camp.

Director: Roberto Benigni | Stars: Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Giorgio Cantarini, Giustino Durano

Votes: 554,512 | Gross: $57.60M

36. Golden Earrings (1947)

Approved | 95 min | Adventure, Romance, War

On the eve of World War II (1939) English officer Ralph Denistoun is in Nazi Germany on an espionage mission to recover a poison gas formula from Prof. Krosigk. He is helped by Lydia and ... See full summary »

Director: Mitchell Leisen | Stars: Ray Milland, Marlene Dietrich, Murvyn Vye, Bruce Lester

Votes: 935 | Gross: $7.00M

37. Rebecca (1940)

Not Rated | 130 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

A self-conscious woman juggles adjusting to her new role as an aristocrat's wife and avoiding being intimidated by his first wife's spectral presence.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders, Judith Anderson

Votes: 110,937 | Gross: $4.36M

38. Suspicion (1941)

Not Rated | 99 min | Mystery, Thriller

83 Metascore

A shy young heiress marries a charming gentleman, and soon begins to suspect he is planning to murder her.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Cary Grant, Joan Fontaine, Cedric Hardwicke, Nigel Bruce

Votes: 28,981 | Gross: $4.50M

39. Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

PG | 108 min | Thriller

94 Metascore

A young woman discovers her visiting uncle may not be the man he seems to be.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, Macdonald Carey, Henry Travers

Votes: 54,062

40. Notorious (1946)

Not Rated | 102 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Romance

100 Metascore

A woman is asked to spy on a group of Nazi friends in South America. How far will she have to go to ingratiate herself with them?

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Louis Calhern

Votes: 85,186 | Gross: $10.46M

41. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

Approved | 170 min | Drama, Romance, War

92 Metascore

Three World War II veterans return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed.

Director: William Wyler | Stars: Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews, Fredric March, Teresa Wright

Votes: 53,405 | Gross: $23.65M

42. Mrs. Miniver (1942)

Not Rated | 134 min | Drama, Romance, War

A British family struggles to survive the first months of World War II.

Director: William Wyler | Stars: Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Teresa Wright, May Whitty

Votes: 14,275 | Gross: $13.50M

43. To Be or Not to Be (1942)

Passed | 99 min | Comedy, War

86 Metascore

During the Nazi occupation of Poland, an acting troupe becomes embroiled in a Polish soldier's efforts to track down a German spy.

Director: Ernst Lubitsch | Stars: Carole Lombard, Jack Benny, Robert Stack, Felix Bressart

Votes: 23,348

44. To Be or Not to Be (1983)

PG | 107 min | Comedy

61 Metascore

At the onset of WW2, a Polish actor's family and the Polish Resistance help the troupe of a theatre escape Poland and the invading Nazis.

Director: Alan Johnson | Stars: Mel Brooks, Anne Bancroft, Ronny Graham, Estelle Reiner

Votes: 9,483 | Gross: $13.03M

45. Meet John Doe (1941)

Not Rated | 122 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

A man needing money agrees to impersonate a nonexistent person who said he'd be committing suicide as a protest, and a political movement begins.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward Arnold, Walter Brennan

Votes: 10,982

46. The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

Not Rated | 99 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Two employees at a gift shop can barely stand each other, without realizing that they are falling in love through the post as each other's anonymous pen pal.

Director: Ernst Lubitsch | Stars: Margaret Sullavan, James Stewart, Frank Morgan, Joseph Schildkraut

Votes: 24,518 | Gross: $0.20M