War Movies in the 1960s
Since it is said good things come in threes I thought I would finish out my war movies with a third and final hub. I've covered the 1940s and the 1950s, now I'm going through the 1960s. The Sixties was a cultural era, Baby Boomers came into their own - they were grown ups but so much was going on in the Sixties it was hard to tell.
As in past decades, Hollywood continued on with war movies. Seems war movies are always popular in spite of their basis. I think people look at them as just that, movies, not something based in fact. More like westerns with good guys and bad guys. A place where the guys with the white hats always win...or at least almost always.
War movies of the 1960s hold some true greats. Each decade from the forties to the sixties produced some good war movies with many that stand out for their quality production or story line or acting.
War Movies of the 1960s
The Guns of Navarone 1961
Hell is for Heroes 1962
The Longest Day 1962
Lawrence of Arabia 1962
PT 109 1963
In Harm's Way 1965
Von Ryan's Express 1965
Battle of the Bulge 1965
Charge of the Light Brigade 1968
The Sand Pebbles 1966
The Green Berets 1968
Where Eagles Dare 1969
The Great Escape
In my mind, probably one of the best war movies ever was "The Great Escape". Made in 1963 and starring Steve McQueen this movie, based in fact, was nominated for six different awards and has been called by some, "the greatest movie of all times." If you've never seen this two hour and fifty minute movie, the cast might give you an inkling of it's outstanding quality;
With a cast like that it couldn't go wrong...and it didn't!
Set in a German POW Camp in WWII, it is the story of a planned escape. Not just a small group of escapees, but an entire unit escaping together. The story delves into each character so that you feel as if you know them personally. You watch as they build or I should say dig out their tunnel and prepare clothes and documents for the outside world. You watch as they form friendships and special bonds. The Germans built this camp to be escape proof. Their mistake was in putting most the great escape artist prisoners - all in one camp!
The motorcyle chase scene between Steve McQueen's character and the Nazi's is the first of it's kind in a Hollywood production. By the way, Steve McQueen was one of the biggest box office draws of the 1960s!
To tell you anymore about this film would be to ruin it for you if you haven't seen it (which I can't imagine). Much goes on throughout the film with escape attempts, McQueen's time in solitary, tunnel digging, playing on the guards and so much more. Everything about this film is excellent...the actors, the script, the music, the scenery...this is a must see war movie!
The Great Escape
The Dirty Dozen
Another of my favorite war movies happened to be made in the Sixties, "The Dirty Dozen". Where else but in the movies would a dozen murderers be chosen to complete an assassination in WWII. Of course, much like the Great Escape, the cast singles it out from the get go;
Now that's the way to start a movie! And, yet another war movie based on fact. Seems there was a "Filthy Thirteen", a group assigned to destroy targets behind enemy lines (while not felons they were a group prone to drinking and fighting). This group of felons - with the shortest sentence of 20 years hard labor, with their individual hang-ups are brought together and trained for one job, to assassinate a group of Germans behind enemy lines. As their training begins some of the dozen think this may be a way out for them while others are thinking of a way to escape. They are promised pardons IF they survive.
Their training and subsequent mission allow the viewer to see their personalities and how this mission might play out. I have to admit by the time they got to Germany I was rooting for them to complete the mission, survive, and get their pardons. I won't tell you anymore because on the off chance you haven't seen this I don't want to ruin it for you.
The Dirty Dozen
Judgement at Nuremberg
Certainly not your average war movie, Judgement at Nuremberg was an extraordinary war movie. It is set in a courtroom, the courtroom of an international tribunal gathered to bring justice to those who committed crimes against humanity. It centers around the trail of four German judges accused of sentencing innocent people to death.
Nominated for eleven academy awards and winning two, it was condemned by German critics for bringing up ghosts of the past and fueling hatred for their country. It had taken a long time for people to forgive the German people for WWII and here was a movie that would remind them all over again of the atrocities that were committed on behalf of the German people.
"We cannot deny the fact, and we do not want to deny it, that the roots of the present position of our people, our country, and our city lie in this fact that we did not prevent right from being trampled underfoot during the time of the Nazi power. Anyone who remains blind to this fact can also not properly understand the rights which are today still being withheld from our people. It will probably be difficult for us to watch and hear this film. But we will not shut our eyes to it. ... I hope that world-wide discussion will be aroused by both this film and this city, and that this will contribute to the strengthening of right and justice." West Berlin Mayor Willy Brandt at the premiere of the film, December, 14, 1961
The cast of this movie was a memorable one:
William Shatner (in a small role)
Actual Nazi camp footage was used in this film. Footage shot by American soldiers who were at the camps at the end of the war.
One of the judges played by Burt Lancaster was loosely based on a real German Judge Franz Schlegelberger. Schlegelberger was tried before the Nuremberg Military Tribunal in 1947 (The Nuremberg Trials were held in 1945-46 in the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg, Bavaria, Germany.) In the movie Lancaster's character not only feels his guilt but admits to it, admits knowing about the concentration camps and what went on there, stating in his speech in the courtroom; "Where were we when every village in Germany has a railroad terminal where cattle cars were filled with children being carried out to their extermination! Where were we when they cried out in the night to us. Were we deaf, dumb, blind?"
Judy Garland's part was a small one comparatively. She played one Irene Hoffman who had been imprisoned by the Germans because she had a relationship with a Jew. Her performance was so powerful she was nominated for an Academy Award after appearing on film for only 15 minutes! Marlene Deitritch plays the widow of a German officer who was hanged rather than shot.
I could go on and on about this film and the roles that were played. Every part was played superbly, the story was well written, the camera work, and on and on.
This is definitely a must see, if you haven't already. The performances are all brilliant, the real footage disturbing, the photography innovative.
After reviewing this movie I think it is best for me to end my Sixties war movies.
I'm sure you've seen one or maybe all of the movies herein, but you may have other favorites I haven't even listed. Please feel free to add them in the comments section or just tell me what you think of the movies in this hub or just what you think of this hub.
Movie END TITLE: The Nuremberg trials held in the American Zone ended July 14, 1949. There were 99 defendants sentenced to prison terms. Not one is still serving his sentence.
Some may find the video below disturbing and or offensive. It contains real footage as seen in the movie. Please know it is graphic. Also, please know this IS a part of the movie.
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