ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Best World War II Movies for Memorial Day, July 4, Veterans Day

Updated on May 25, 2015

World War II Movie Reviews & Information

World War II movies have been popular since World War II, and they continue to be popular today. John Wayne made several World war II movies during his career including The Sands of Iwo Jima, The Longest Day, Flying Leathernecks and Sergeant Stryker. In 1955, Audie Murphy, who was the most decorated American soldier in world War II, made a movie about his experience called To Hell And Back. Other great WWII movies include 1970's Patton with George C. Scott and Tora! Tora! Tora! also from 1970.

Popular recent WW2 movies include 1998's Saving Private Ryan and 2001's Pearl Harbor, as well as other Second World War movies I have reviewed below.

World War II movies have also been popular as made-for-TV movies and television miniseries.

World War II movies are popular all year, but especially great viewing for 4th of July, Veteran's Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day and other patriotic celebrations. I will be adding more World War II movie reviews, so check back!


Tora! Tora! Tora!

Tora! Tora! Tora! [Blu-ray Book]
Tora! Tora! Tora! [Blu-ray Book]

A relatively historic Hollywood account of the bombing of Pearl Harbor

 

World War II Movie Reviews

Some of the most popular World War !! movies include, Bridge on the River Kwai, Patton, The Dirty Dozen, Von Ryan's Express and Stalag 17. Some of my other personal favorites are featured throughout this hub page.

Red Tails (2012)

Major Emanuel Stance (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) and Col. A.J. Bullard (Terrence Howard) lead the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of African American USAAF fighter pilots who are sent into combat in Italy during WWII.

The Cain Mutiny

Humphrey Bogart leads this stellar cast of actors including Jose Ferrer, Van Johnson and Fred MacMurray in this fictional account of a mutiny aboard a fictitious World War II U.S. Navy destroyer minesweeper, the USS Caine (DMS-18), and the subsequent court-martial of two officers. Bogart plays Lieutenant Commander Phillip Queeg, a by-the-book commander whose sometimes odd behavior hints at possible mental problems when those traits are pointed out to others by communications officer and writer Lieutenant Thomas Keefer (Fred MacMurray).

More great war movies follow:

Bridge on the River Kwai

The Bridge on the River Kwai (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
The Bridge on the River Kwai (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)

After decades of hearing about it, I saw "Bridge on the River Kwai" for the first time in Feb. 2012. I was pretty quickly drawn in by the story. Although some of the movie was somewhat predictable, much of the movie, including the ending, were completely unexpected. "Bridge on the River Kwai" is is a 1957 British World War II film starring William Holden, Jack Hawkins, Alec Guinness and Sessue Hayakawa.

 

The Brylcreem Boys


The Brylcreem Boys is set in an internment camp in Ireland during World War II. The film stars Billy Campbell and Angus Macfadyen as two pilots who fall in love with an Irish woman played by Jean Butler. Gabriel Byrne plays the internment camp commander in this entertaining war flick.

The Brylcreem Boys

The Brylcreem Boys
The Brylcreem Boys

The Brylcreem Boys, a World War II movie.

 

Miracle at St. Anna Now on DVD and Blu-Ray

Miracle at St. Anna is one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. Released in theaters on September 26, 2008, Miracle at St. Anna just came out on Blu-Ray and DVD on February 10, 2009. This movie deals with faith and features a strong Christian character.

Valkyrie with Tom Cruise Takes Flight on DVD on May 19

The movie Valkyrie starring Tom Cruise is based upon the true story of Colonel Claus Von Stauffenberg, the Nazi officer who was a leader in the conspiracy to assassinate Adolf Hitler in July 1944 during World War II. The war movie released in theaters in North America on December 25, 2008 and will be released on DVD on May 19, 2009.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas - Brilliant Holocaust Movie Now on DVD

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is the tragic story of Bruno, an innocent, inquisitive eight-year-old, and the son of a Nazi officer who is promoted to direct the operations at a concentration camp.

Defiance with Daniel Craig Another Outstanding World War II Movie on DVD June 2


Defiance with Daniel Craig joins The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Miracle at St. Anna and Valkyrie as another great 2008 movie about World War II. I would rank Defiance right up there next to The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, and Miracle at St. Anna as one of the best movies I have seen recently.

Based on a true story, Defiance has a little bit of everything: family drama, love story, struggle against nature and World War II action.

Pearl Harbor

WWII film about the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor during World War 2, starring Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett, Alec Baldwin, Jon Voight, Kate Beckinsale, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Dan Aykroyd, and Jennifer Garner. Thiis movie has become a perennial favorite for patriotic holidays.

Stalag 17

William Holden and director Billy Wilder teamed up for the gripping World War II drama, Stalag 17. The result was a Best Director nomination for Wilder (his fourth), and the elusive Best Actor Oscar® for Holden. Holden portrays the jaded, scheming Sergeant J.J. Sefton, a prisoner at the notorious German prison camp, who spends his days dreaming up rackets and trading with the Germans for special privileges. But when two prisoners are killed in an escape attempt, it becomes obvious that there is a spy among the prisoners. Is it Sefton? Famed producer/director Otto Preminger tackles a rare acting role as the camp's commandant; actor Robert Strauss won a Supporting Actor nomination for his role as "Animal." Here's Wilder's powerful, acclaimed film classic -- now packed with never-before-seen special features, including audio commentary and "behind-the-scenes" featurettes.

Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition)
Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition)

Starring William Holden, Don Taylor, Robert Strauss, Neville Brand, Harvey Lembeck, and Peter Graves, Stalag 17 was upon the true experiences of the authors who were both prisoners in Stalag 17B in Austria and was also made into a Broadway play. It was also clearly the inspiration for the television series "Hogan's Heroes" with its flippant tone, familiar drum music, and names like Duke and Sergeant Schulz. If you enjoy "Hogan's Heroes," you will like Stalag 17.

 

The Dirty Dozen Franchise

The Dirty Dozen

One of the most popular WWII movies of the 1960s was "The Dirty Dozen" (1967) with a cast of actors who became Hollywood icons including: Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, John Cassavetes, George Kennedy, Trini Lopez, Telly Savalas, Donald Sutherland and more. "The Dirty Dozen" was about a group pf twelve soldiers convicted of felony offenses, either serving sentences of hard labor or condemned to death, and turn them into a unit capable of carrying out a top-secret pre-invasion mission.

The Dirty Dozen Sequels

Following the popularity of "The Dirty Dozen," which was the #1 moneymaker of 1967, several made-for-TV movies sequels were produced in the mid- to late-1980s. Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine reprised their roles for "The Dirty Dozen: The Next Mission" (1985), leading a group of military convicts in a mission to kill a German general who was plotting to assassinate Adolf Hitler. In "The Dirty Dozen: The Deadly Mission" (1987), Telly Savalas, who had played the role of the psychotic Maggott in the original movie, assumed the role of Major Wright, an officer who leads a group of military convicts to extract a group of German scientists who are being forced to make a deadly nerve gas. Ernest Borgnine again reprised his role of General Worden. "The Dirty Dozen: The Fatal Mission" (1988) depicts Savalas's Wright character and a group of soldiers culled from military prison attempting to prevent a group of extreme German generals from starting a Fourth Reich, with Erik Estrada co-starring and Ernest Borgnine again playing the role of General Worden. In 1988, FOX aired a short-lived television series, with no major stars, that lasted only eleven episodes.

"The Dirty Dozen: The Fatal Mission" is 1988 made-for-TV film and is the third sequel to the original "The Dirty Dozen." It features an all-new 'dirty dozen,' with the exception of the returning Joe Stern, under the leadership of Major Wright (now played by Telly Savalas).The new dirty dozen are sent to the Middle East, where 12 Nazi officers are organizing a Fourth Reich. Encore showed this movie on July 4, 2011, demonstrating the enduring popularity of "The Dirty Dozen" franchise.

The Dirty Dozen

The Dirty Dozen
The Dirty Dozen

"The Dirty Dozen" was so successful as a movie in the 1960s, that several related movies and sequels were made through the 1980s which as still telecast today

 

WWII Television Miniseries

Some television miniseries made the lis: "The Pacific," a 2010 television series produced by HBO and the 2001 ten-part, 11-hour television World War II miniseries "Band of Brothers" as well as the "Winds of War" series and "War and Remembrance."

Hogan's Heroes

Hogan's Heroes - The Complete Series
Hogan's Heroes - The Complete Series

When I was a kid, I loved watching the TV show "Hogan's Heroes" with my father. "Hogan's Heroes" is a sitcom about allied prisoners in a German prisoner of war camp,

 

WWII Movies Make Great Gifts for Patriotic Holidays!

World War II Movies for Patriotic Events

The Best World War II Movies to Watch

There are so many good World War II movies to choose from for the 4th of July, Memorial Day, Veteran's Day, Flag Day and other patriotic celebrations. Here are the Best World War II Movies to Watch for July 4 and other patriotic holidays, listed in alphabetical order.

Top Ten World War II Movies for 4th of July & Other Patriotic Celebrations

For 4th of July, Memorial Day, Veteran's Day, Flag Day, D-Day, and other patriotic celebrations, what do you do after you go to the parade, eat bar-b-cue and watermelon, and watch the fireworks? You watch a good patriotic movie, of course!

Von Ryan's Express

This 1965 World War II movie, starring Frank Sinatra and Trevor Howard, follows the adventures of the predominantly British prisoners in a prisoner-of-war camp in Italy after an American pilot (Sinatra) is captured and becomes the ranking officer.

Related Movies

Movies Related to World War II

These movies feature World War II as a subplot.

25th Reich

I can't in good conscience included 25th Reich with real WWII movies, so I am putting it here. 25th Reich is a strange sci-fi adventure movie about US soldiers sent back in time to possess a flying saucer to use to win WWII. Then they are hurtled forward in time 300 years to battle Nazi robots. Watch it at your own risk!

Australia

Australia with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman features WWII as a background for much of the movie.

Brideshead Revisited on DVD

Brideshead Revisited, based on Evelyn Waugh's novel by the same name, is a story of love, power, and desire in patrician England during the 1920's and into the 1940s. Part of the movie takes place during World War II.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button a Slow, Bleak Look at Life - Now on DVD

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a curious movie starring Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Taraji P. Henson, Julia Ormond, Tilda Swinton and Jared Harris. Part of the movie is set in World War II.

Patton

Patton (Cinema Classics Collection)
Patton (Cinema Classics Collection)

My father, a decorated WW II soldier, was impressed by General George Patton, and this movie is shot in an almost documentary style. I remember watching this movie with my dad when I was young.

 

Remembering Our World War II Soldiers

The World War II Movies lens is dedicated to my father

My father, Lt. Col. William A. Darden, (Jr.) being awarded the Bronze Cross in World War II.

See:

World War II & Pearl Harbor as Seen through 1938 - 1944 Diary of William A. Darden, Sr.

The 1938 - 1944 diary of my grandfather William Allen Darden, Sr. records some of the details of World War II

The Cain Mutiny

This is a classic film of modern day mutiny aboard a Naval vessel based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Herman Wouk. The nervous and inept behavior of Captain Queeg (Humphrey Bogart) during maneuvers aboard the U.S.S. Caine a destroyer/mine sweeper attracts the attention of the ship's crew members and it's executive officer, Maryk (Van Johnson). When Queeg's neurotic behavior reaches a breaking point during a fierce typhoon, Maryk takes command of the ship.

The Caine Mutiny (Combat Classics)
The Caine Mutiny (Combat Classics)

Humphrey Bogart leads this stellar cast of actors including Jos� Ferrer, Van Johnson and Fred MacMurray in this fictional account of a mutiny aboard a fictitious World War II U.S. Navy destroyer minesweeper, the USS Caine (DMS-18), and the subsequent court-martial of two officers.

 

Please Sign the Guestbook!

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • KathrynDarden profile image
      Author

      Kathryn Darden 4 years ago

      @anonymous: That's how I feel when I watch these WWII films -- closer to my World War II father.

    • KathrynDarden profile image
      Author

      Kathryn Darden 4 years ago

      @Eric Mayo: Those are all great WWII movies. Thanks for sharing!

    • Eric Mayo profile image

      Eric Mayo 4 years ago

      My three favorites: The Dirty Dozen, The Great Escape, The Battle of the Bulge. Honorable mention: To Hell and Back

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love these old World War Two movies... well, some of them aren't that old. I also had a father in World War Two, so these movies make me feel closer to him.

    • profile image

      GarminApproachGPS 5 years ago

      Very interesting lens, thanks for the sharing...:)

    • GeorgeneMBramlage profile image

      Georgene Moizuk Bramlage 5 years ago from southwestern Virginia

      An interesting lens....

    • profile image

      sojourner-1 5 years ago

      This is a great lens-so much info, thanks

    • KathrynDarden profile image
      Author

      Kathryn Darden 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Bridge on the River Kwai certainly is a classic and ahead of its time.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      "the Bridge on the River Kwai" is the best movie on WWII I have seen till date.Good Lens,keep it up.

    • KathrynDarden profile image
      Author

      Kathryn Darden 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks for visiting the World War II Movies Lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I love the movies from the 40s; I saw an oldie recently, it's kind of a chick flick from the 40s. "The Girls of Pleasure Island". This is a great lens.

    • profile image

      LuckyLongShot 6 years ago

      I'm working on a World War II movie. Maybe one day you'll review mine!

      http://www.squidoo.com/the-battle-off-samar

      Who knows :)

    • KathrynDarden profile image
      Author

      Kathryn Darden 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Hey Emily! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! If you click on the Benjamin Button link above, it will take you to my review of the movie where you will see how much I agree with you! I always like books better than movies, but the movies definitely add an element of costuming and location that helps flesh the books out for me. "Top Secret Flight" sounds interesting. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I wasn't a big fan of the Benjamin Button movie. It wasn't BAD perse, but it dragged on a bit. What did you think?

      I tend to like WWII novels better than movies - perhaps because so much more detail can be given in a book as opposed to two hours of film. A recent favorite of mine is "Top Secret Flight" by Dale Cox (http://topsecretflight.com). It's about a secret mission to Japan after the Pearl Harbor attack, and it's a great read for war buffs.

    • BuildABetterMouse profile image

      Steve and Annette 6 years ago

      I just finished watching "The Scarlet and the Black" which is a true story about a Catholic priest who helped hide over 6000 Jews and POWs during the Nazi occupation of Rome. It was an excellent story.

    • smithlights profile image

      smithlights 6 years ago

      Great list of movies! Don't forget Band of Brothers! And The Pacific too, though it wasn't nearly as good. And Patton!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I'm a big fan of WWII novels, and I keep hoping my favorites will get made into movies. I just finished a really good book called Fatal Incident by Jim Proebstle (http://fatalincident.com), which is about a 1944 plane crash that happened in Alaska. The actual story surrounding the crash is kind of a mystery, but I think the author did a really good job craftng a realistic and exciting tale.

      This is a pretty good roundup of films! I haven't seen all of them, but I might have to rent a couple soon. Thanks for the info.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 6 years ago from Canada

      Nice list of World War II movies.

    • KathrynDarden profile image
      Author

      Kathryn Darden 6 years ago

      @TonyPayne: Thank you for the Squid Angel blessing!

    • KathrynDarden profile image
      Author

      Kathryn Darden 6 years ago

      @anonymous: I have not heard of "Passchendaele." Will have to look it up!

    • KathrynDarden profile image
      Author

      Kathryn Darden 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks! I love "Pearl Harbor," too.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 6 years ago from Southampton, UK

      I love World War II movies. There are many to choose from, some serious, some not so serious. There are many categories too - different theaters of war (Europe, Pacific), land battles, aerial battles, naval battles.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I like war films too. I love the film Passchendaele. Please see my lens on it if you would like.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I love these types of movies too... especially "Pearl Harbor" ^_^

      Wonderful lens! 5*