World War II

[7.0] Maltese Falcon cast mates Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, and Sydney Greenstreet reunite with director John Huston for this wartime espionage flick. Bogart plays a dishonorably discharged army captain who catches passage on a Japanese steamboat headed for the Panama Canal. While on board, Bogey strikes up interesting and entertaining relationships with two other passengers played by Astor and Greenstreet. None of the characters seem …

[5.0] George C. Scott’s charisma is the best thing Patton has going for it. The film is a pastiche of the famous (and infamous) army general’s career through World War II, including his successful invasion of Sicily, media blunders resulting in military reprimand, and his eventual aid in the fall of the Third Reich. The film initially paints Patton as a hard-ass who gets the …

[6.0] A young boy in Hitler’s youth army (Roman Griffin Davis) finds himself in a moral dilemma after discovering a Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) hiding in a secret space behind his bedroom wall. This film written for the screen and directed by Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows, Thor: Ragnarok) has an off-beat, surreal sense of humor that wears thin over time. It’s …

[4.5] Burt Lancaster stars in this fictionalized account of the Nazis’ attempt to abscond with France’s most treasured paintings before the Allied Forces meet up with them. It’s up to Lancaster, playing a Resistance train station master, to head up an elaborate plan to dupe the Nazis and stop the train from leaving France without damaging it’s precious cargo. I love the idea of Resistance …

[7.0] This isn’t the romanticized WWII of modern cinema, it’s probably closer to the real thing. The Story of G.I. Joe is based on print journalist Ernie Pyle’s interviews with soldiers in the field. Pyle was in the foxholes with them, and he was in it for the long haul. His newspaper column became the public’s window into life on the battlefield. William Wellman’s (The …

[6.5] There is at least a certain amount of fun to be had in watching Clint Eastwood pump lead into Nazis. Where Eagles Dare is about a group of Allied forces trying to raid a Nazi stronghold to rescue a captured General who knows the secret plans of D-Day. The film tries very hard to be The Guns of Navarone (they’re both written by Alistair MacLean). …

[6.0] Richard Attenborough (Gandhi, Chaplin) reenacts the elaborate but doomed Operation Market Garden, a World War II strategy the Allied Forces valiantly attempted to execute in order to defeat German Forces in the Netherlands. A Bridge Too Far is a three-hour Cliffs Notes version of a historical event, largely plot-driven, with a lot of cross-cutting storylines being juggled at all times. The all-star cast get little …

[7.5] Christopher Nolan serves up a wartime survival flick about Allied soldiers stranded on the beaches of Dunkirk, France, while the German army surrounds them. The water was so shallow, warships couldn’t pick up the troops, so loading the hundreds of thousands of soldiers was simply impossible. But the battle later became known as ‘The Miracle of Dunkirk,’ as hundreds of civilian boats came to the military’s …

[7.0] William Holden leads an ensemble cast in Billy Wilder’s adaptation of Stalag 17. The film takes place entirely in a German prisoner-of-war barrack, where the captured Americans are beginning to suspect that Holden’s pessimistic black marketeer character may be informing on them to the Germans. But Holden knows better — that there’s a German spy planted in their midst, secretly thwarting all their chances …

[7.0] Paul Verhoeven (RoboCop, Turkish Delight) draws upon his memories growing up in 1940s war-torn Holland for this adaptation of Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema’ autobiography. When the Nazi’s occupied the Netherlands, Roelfzema and several classmates left college to join the resistance. Soldier of Orange begins with fraternity initiation, shortly before war was declared. Rutger Hauer plays Roelfzema’s alter-ego, Erik, who spends the first half of the picture …

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