Top 5 Movies, TV Shows and Documentaries about War

May 25, 2020

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When you think about academic resources, your mind immediately goes to books, journals, online publications. You rarely think of movies and documentaries in these situations. Movies about wars and international armed conflicts provide a lot of context and perspective about the realities of life during wartime on the battlefield and beyond.

This article does not include movies that trivialize the horrors of war, as well as other propaganda pieces produced during the peak of armed conflict. We will also exclude movies like Schindler’s List, which cover a specific theme.

Here are the most historically accurate motion picture depictions of the realities of war:

1.Generation War (2013 German TV Mini-Series)

A World War II mini-series from a German perspective might not be what you expect to see on this list. But this mini-series helped to change the perception of German soldiers who fought in the Second World War.

The series tells the story of four young people who join the war after making a pact to return after the conflict. The audience gets to experience their individual heartbreaking journeys as they try their best to keep their promise of meeting up after the war.

2. Band Of Brothers (2001 TV Series)

This TV Series covers the adventures of Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division from their days in boot camp to the beginning of the war until the end of the conflict. 

The actors’ outstanding performances properly detail the challenges the young men come face-to-face with and how it affects their psyche.

And whatever you do, never accept a cigarette from Lieutenant Speirs.

3. Dunkirk (2017)

With almost half a million men stranded on the beaches of Dunkirk, it was only a matter of time before the rapidly advancing Germans would unleash fury on them. Only the heroic efforts of civilians can save the stranded troops before a massacre ensues.

Christopher Nolan’s outstanding directing pedigree provides a heart-stopping cinematic experience without relying on the adrenaline rush of gunfights. 

4. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

After a young man loses all his brothers during the D-Day invasion, a special unit is sent to rescue him from the front, which is a privilege that only top officers had during wartime. This film takes us through the captivating adventure of the members of the unit who defy all sense of self-preservation to rescue the young private.

Without focusing on the gore and bravado, the director was able to depict what really goes on in special rescue missions.

5. They Shall Not Grow Old (2018 Documentary)

This World War I documentary makes use of actual war footage from the war fronts in narrating the horrors of war.

The gut-wrenching reality of looking into the eyes of scared young men who knew that above the trenches awaited death is nothing you will forget easily. The real footage of the corpses of the men you just saw in the previous scene mucking about with their mates will definitely change your perspective of ‘glory’ and war. 

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