War Time Watchers

The power of cinema is great!  It can transport you to a whole new world and stimulate the senses and emotions in such a way that you walk away forever changed, with a new perspective or more insight.  In sticking with this truth, one of the widest genres of film that bears such impact is World War II.  Hundreds of films have been made on this subject and it is hard to sift the good ones from the not so good ones.  However, here are a few notable finds.

For an epic perspective on the Battle of Iwo Jima, Flags of Our Fathers (2006) is a masterful film directed by the legendary Clint Eastwood.  It tells the story of five Marines and a Navy Corpsman who played a part in raising the flag at Iwo Jima, which was a turning point in World War II.  The film then explores the effects of this event on their lives.  This movie was critically acclaimed and said to be a “soaring and powerful work” and “a patriotic film.”  The story here is told from the American perspective of the Battle of Iwo Jima.  Interestingly enough, Eastwood also released Letters to Iwo Jima in 2006, which is told from the Japanese perspective.  For cinema lovers who appreciate stunning visuals, this film is a rich treat.

German WWII Stick Grenade:

German WWII Stick Grenade

If you are looking for a different angle of the war, Enemy at the Gates (2001) is sure to be a stellar choice.  Directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, the story takes place during the Battle of Stalingrad and centers on a Russian sniper and a German major caught in a cat-and-mouse duel of competitive skill and sheer will power.  While liberties are taken with the characterizations, the majority of the characters were real people.  In relation to the title, the words “enemy at the gates” became a call for anti-Nazi resistance during the war.  Shot on location in Berlin and near Cottbus, Germany, this film is bound to please the action fan and does not leave the hopeless romantic stranded, as it throws in a love story subplot.

Moving a little closer to the United States is the riveting action-drama The Big Red One (1980), written and directed by Samuel Fuller and starring the great Lee Marvin.  This lesser known film focuses on the experiences of a group of U.S. soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division (whose nickname was “The Big Red One”), serving on an infantry squad as part of a rifle company and details the toll the war takes on them.  This movie is also semi-autobiographical, as Fuller actually served in the U.S. 1st Infantry Division for which he received medals.  The main perspective in this cinematic work is seeing the madness of war that the soldiers experience, depicted through some frightening and poignant moments.  The studio release of the film omitted 45 minutes of footage from Fuller’s original version.  Fortunately, though, the original cut has been restored and is now available for your viewing pleasure.  For an eye opening look at the horrors of war, this movie is sure to capture your interest.

WW2 SS Leader’s Sword:

W2 SS Leader's Sword

Perhaps the perils of battlefield may be hard to handle.  In that case, take a view of an oldie, but a goodie, Mrs. Miniver (1942).  Directed by William Wyler, this film won six Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Actress.  The story is based on a fictional English housewife, created in 1937 for newspaper columns, and details a middle-class woman striving to keep her family together in the midst of the invading Nazi bombers.  This film had a very powerful effect on its audience when it was first released, as it came out in the midst of war and drew interest in people desiring to help the war efforts.  This movie is also set apart, as it shows how the war affected everyone, both on and off the battlefield.  This film promises to offer a unique perspective and comes highly recommended.

As World War II has so many different aspects, there is no possible way to discuss every motion picture in the genre here.  Hopefully, this brief glance at some of cinema’s most noteworthy works will peak your interest and propel you into further exploration of World War II.  And for true fans, see our World War II weapons collection at:  http://www.armorvenue.com/

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