Historical events are one of the favorite topics of film makers when it comes to story line of the movies. And we admit that nobody can make war films as good as Hollywood.
If we had to put it in words; war films are probably as old as the cinema.
The birth of cinema opened the doors of artistic freedom for many creators in order to show the audiences the stories , the heroes and the sacrifices; that may have not been known or worse forgotten us. Some of the movies are usually focused on the how the entire story is presented . Some of the movies also focus on it as event that led to many psychological and political affairs. Many movies have had an immense effect on the viewers and they have been distressed by seeing it. Clever and thoughtful movies have always been appreciated by the audience. Here are 10 of the best foreign war movies of all time !
10. Au Revoir Les Enfants ( IMDb – 8.0)
Au Revoir Les Enfants is a beautiful movie set during the times of the Second World War.
A monk who runs a Catholic boarding school for the upper class rich kids hides Jewish kids from the Gestapo. It is an emotional movie with right music , editing and camera focus. It is considered as one of the best works of Louis Malle; one of the best French filmmaker.
The narrative of the film achieves every element it aims for. The film went on to win Golden Lion award and is still considered as one of the best French movies from 1980s.
9. Downfall (IMDb – 8.2)
Downfall is a 2004 German historical drama film directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel starring Bruno Ganz. This movie is extremely well made making it a tremendous film. It is the story from the perspective of Adolf Hitler about the last days of the Second World War.
Bruno Ganz was hailed for his outstanding performance as Hitler. And he portrayed him aptly about not only his side as a dictator but also him as a mentally ill person who due to his obsessive desire for power could never accept his defeat. This is a rare bold film for sure.
8. Son Of Saul (IMDb – 7.5)
There have been many Holocaust movies made on by many filmmakers. But Son Of Soul is one of the best in the list. The protagonist Saul Auslander played by Geza Rohrig searches for his son in the Auschwitz concentration camp . The film goes on to portray the horrors of the camp which are very lively , scary and even upsetting . The deception of the one of the darkest phase of history is very well done and the movie ends leaving audiences with a jaw dropping expression. It can be a difficult movie to watch but it gives an experience like no other. It went on to win the Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars .
7. Dunkirk (IMDb – 7.8)
Dunkirk is another great war movie which came out in 2017. It is one of the peak work of Christopher Nolan. The acting , visuals , sound , effects , editing ; every single element of the film works so well into a beautiful harmony !
The movie is based on the time of evacuation of the British soldiers who got trapped in the harbor on the beaches of Dunkirk, France with the Germans who driven the allied forces out to the sea. The way the story is portrayed is quite chilling. All these elements make it a thrilling war movie !
6. Schindler’s List (IMDb – 8.9)
This movie revolves around a man – Oskar Schindler played brilliantly by Liam Neeson . He opens a factory at Nazi occupied Poland and employs Jews at starvation wages, all to because he wanted to become a millionaire. But by the end of the war , he risks his life and even spends his money to save all those Jews. This movie is a brilliant work of Steven Spielberg , who despite of it received quite a lot of criticism.
This movie is heart – wrenching and leaves you ugly crying. It is a beautifully crafted hopeful movie with the message that even in the darkest and worst hours , there always is a light !
5. Saving Private Ryan (IMDb – 8.6)
This movie is another Spielberg master piece with Tom Hanks as one of the main leads.
The opening sequence is a classic graphic like any war footage. The story goes like this – soldiers are assigned to fine Private Ryan and bring him home safely . It is about tracking the last surviving son of an American family of course for propaganda purposes. The mother had lost 3 sons in the war and couldn’t afford to lose another. Ryan’s return would boost morale and end the carnage at Omaha Beach. This is a brutal film about wartime violence with all the front case giving terrific performances.
4. Paltoon (IMDb – 8.1)
There are rarely any war movies that are anti war , but Paltoon came closest to being one. The movie was written and directed by Oliver Stone who himself has fought in Vietnam and he has made this movie about his memory on what the war seemed to him. Charlie Sheen plays the character who is based on Oliver himself ; who gives up his studies to serve the country because he thinks it is his duty. Since Stone was a part of the infantry , he has accurately depicted the conflict and how gruesome the raid on a Vietnamese village was.
3. Das Boot (IMDb – 8.3)
This Wolfgang Petersen’s film is a submarine thriller and of the most claustrophobic film in the war genres. It is about the German U-boat and how desperate , dangerous and exacting job of manning a submarine can be. The crew on the boat are out there on the Atlantic ocean patrolling for any enemy warship during the Second World War. It showcases the emotions of the German sailors who face the horrific terrors under the wave. The crew is strictly ordered to not take any prisoners and torpedo a British tanker.
2. Life is Beautiful (IMDb – 8.6 )
Life is Beautiful is an overall crowd pleasing movie and was nominated for every award possible at the Academy Awards. It was the Award winning performance from the writer / director / actor Robert Benigni.
The movie is about an Italian father and son who are taken away to a concentration camp. The man takes utmost care to hide the situation from his son and in turn tries to make fun and humor around by making fun of the officers to protect his family from the horrific Nazi war. He even sends messages to his wife who is in another concentration camp.
The film explores the power of love and laughter and the success of the film is well deserved and so is the international film.
It gives us one powerful message – you can truly find beauty even in the worst and the most scary situations .
1. Inglourious Basterds (IMDb – 8.3)
Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Bastards is one of the most acclaimed films world wide. It runs two parallel stories. One if where a group of American Jewish soldiers called “The Basterds” led by Brad Pitt carry out terror attacks against German troops in France . On the other hand a theatre owner in Paris owner who is hiding her Jewish identity and is a part of the resistance is approached by a soldier to host a premier of his propaganda film.
Brad Pitt’s character – Aldo Raines takes no bullshit and wants his men to kill as many Nazi’s as possible.
The Basterds, French resistance and German high all want converge on the theater. It will be exciting to know what happens next.