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Most Historically Accurate WW2 Films


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As for my great interest in history (here in Holland WW2 being a huge part of our history-classes) and movies, I'd love to join in!

Films I've seen:

- The great dictator (let's not judge on historically correct yet :p )

- Das Boot

- The Diary of Anne Frank

- Soldier of Orange (Soldaat van oranje)

- Sophies Choice [not the movie, read the book]

- Schindler's List

- The English Patient

- Saving Private Ryan

- Band of Brothers

- Pearl Harbor (only half of the movie)

- The Pianist

- Blackbook (Zwartboek)

- The Reader

- Oorlogswinter (Winter in wartime)

- Inglourius Basterds

- The King's Speech

- Sarah's Key (Her name was Sarah)

- De Tweeling

- Het bombardement

Didn't realize there were so many..

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Thank you M!

Very nice, W! :) I've seen the below:

As for my great interest in history (here in Holland WW2 being a huge part of our history-classes) and movies, I'd love to join in!

Films I've seen:

- Das Boot

- Schindler's List

- Saving Private Ryan

- Band of Brothers

- Pearl Harbor

- The Pianist

- Inglourius Basterds

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I have been interested in war since I was a small child, and have since accumulated knowledge of this particular conflict, including the completion of a university course, related friendships, and the collection of 150+ reference volumes in my personal library since then. I will show you my view of things.

A few points:

-My memory will be hazy, as many of these films have not entered my eyes in ten years. However, I will try to draw on my long term memories and show you where the historical value is. So I will emphasize bits and pieces of the film that are good reenactments of reality, and have informational value. But I must emphasize that there is no 'Historically Accurate' WW2 film. It's the format..a two hour format has limitations, and there are limitations in budgets. At best, a good war film can instruct the spirit of the times, and stimulate interest (going into the history books)

-Essentially, I will be posting here first and foremost as a military history & technique commentator. I also know of the war crimes and the economic & social histories of the times.

-So before I start, I want to say that I will initiate with the foundations of the war and attempt to move chronologically. The first films will be 'Hitler in Color' and 'Triumph of the Will'. Then I will focus on the war in the Eastern Front, which was 1. A war of Annihilation and the greatest conflict in human history 2. Where the war was won, and in upwards of 75% of Nazi & Axis Allied war material was destroyed 3. The decisive months: June 1941, The Invasion of Russia to Feb 1943, the German defeat at Stalingrad & also the largest battle in human history.

--------------------------------------------------

I have also attached excellent paintings that chronologically illustrate the most important part of WW2: June 1941-Feb 1943, Russia.

These slides successfully deliver the 'feel' of the Eastern Front, but in abbreviated form. Kind of like films, actually. :)

Selection 1 to 12: Year 1941.

Slide 1: Invasion of Russia

Slide 13: High water mark of the Nazi advance, just outside of Moscow

Year 1942

Slide 14-15: The deadly winter battles

Slide 16-20: The summer and autumn battles

Slide 21-23: Winter battles: Leningrad and Stalingrad

Slide 24: Germany is defeated at Stalingrad. Soldiers try to escape by boarding the last aircrafts.

The Nazis have lost the strategic initiative, and their conquests of Europe will decline from here.

If you have any questions about the slides (and there will be more of them), feel free to ask and I will tell you what they are, and the story behind them.

Anyway, Enjoy!

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I'm thinking of doing these. Most war films about this time period are Russian produced, and I'm afraid that I haven't seen many of them. But the ones below are good, and have high educational value:

June 1941- Feb 1943

Hitler in Color N/A

Triumph of the Will N/A

Speer und er (essentially, "Speer and Hitler", German miniseries) 5/5

The Goebbels Experiment N/A

The SS: Himmler (history channel) N/A

Hitler: Rise of Evil (miniseries) 3/5

------------------

Conspiracy 4/5

Come and See 1985 (Russian) 4/5 The story occurs after Feb., but it can be used as a metaphor elsewhere eg. 1941.

The Brest Fortress 2010 (Russian) 4/5

Stalingrad 1993 (German) 4/5

Cross of Iron 1977 (US/German) 3.5/5 The Story occurs after Feb. but it can also be used as a metaphor.

Other arcs I plan on doing:

1. Asia and the Pacific theater

2. NW Europe 1944-1945

3. War Crimes

4. Miscellaneous (eg. Battle of Britain)

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Thanks. I think movies communicate can spirit of the times very well, though. And they can reproduce situations quite precisely. What movies do you like? :)

It's not a lot of work to me, as all of it is in my head. I'll be goaded into posting as the (if the) responses come in. :)

PS: I added more entries. ^^

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Forgot:

- Der Untergang

(Speaking of it, how do you feel about WW2 films that are of German origine?

I've watched a lot of Cold War movies that are set in Germany too, and personally I feel like WW2 is 'forgotten' all of the sudden.)

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What movies do you like? :)

My favorite WWII movie is Life is Beautiful- 1st foreign film I ever saw :cry2:

I also own/like-

Australia

Boy in the striped pajamas

Captain America

Casablanca

English Patient

Inglorious Basterds

Pearl Harbor

Schiendler's List

Saving Private Ryan

A league of their own

We own-Band of Brothers and The Pacific I just need to sit down and watch them.

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It's not that I've been ignoring your thread, I was just wary - as I think we may look for different things in 'war' films! Since you mentioned Kelly's Heroes though I thought I'd add mine, as I'm a big fan of this film, and actually think Inglorious Basterds is a hark back to the kind of ones I like of this genre from (primarily) the sixties and seventies. War films of recent years seem far more "worthy" and are probably far more respectful of detail and the history of the events - but I prefer the knockabout 'action' of classics such as The Dirty Dozen, Guns Of Navarone, The Great Escape and Where Eagle's Dare ('Broadsword calling Danny Boy') with dastardly German villains and many cries of 'Achtung!' 'Gott Im Himmell' and 'Vere are your papers?'!

On perhaps the more atmospheric and serious end, I enjoyed Tora! Tora! Tora! and Das Boot...

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Some of these films that you mention are actually action films in a war setting... ;) My personal favorite is 'Indiana Jones' 1 and 3. (pre-war)

Did you know that the uncut Das Boot is 5 hours long?

Kelly's Heroes is very much a product of the 1960s..there's a lot of beneath-the-surface satire on counter-culture, WW2 mythology/national obsession, biker culture, and the military. Half of the characters are bohemian hippies in uniform...

---

Yes, I know what you mean...! And the Americans are blue collar 'Joes' and the British go to action with stoicism, mild humor, tea & biscuits, and long sentences...

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It's not that I've been ignoring your thread, I was just wary - as I think we may look for different things in 'war' films! Since you mentioned Kelly's Heroes though I thought I'd add mine, as I'm a big fan of this film, and actually think Inglorious Basterds is a hark back to the kind of ones I like of this genre from (primarily) the sixties and seventies. War films of recent years seem far more "worthy" and are probably far more respectful of detail and the history of the events - but I prefer the knockabout 'action' of classics such as The Dirty Dozen, Guns Of Navarone, The Great Escape and Where Eagle's Dare ('Broadsword calling Danny Boy') with dastardly German villains and many cries of 'Achtung!' 'Gott Im Himmell' and 'Vere are your papers?'!

On perhaps the more atmospheric and serious end, I enjoyed Tora! Tora! Tora! and Das Boot...

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^Well I guess that depends on how you typify the genre. I mean, are you saying that 'Westerns' are action films in cowboy hats? It's a fine line - Schindler's List isn't a 'War' film, nor is Cabaret or The Sound Of Music although all three will (in very different ways) arguably tell you a lot more about the period than most of the ones I mentioned!

Like you said, Saving Private Ryan has set a precedent for displaying the brutality truthfully and staying as close as possible to facts now.

To me, a 'war film' typically involves a setting that actually occurred. Naturally, events will be modified and fabricated, but the setting has to be there. Also, it must be centered on the armed forces.

So, I would say that 'Schindler's List' is a film about war crimes as there is no combat between opposing armies,

The 'strength' of SPR was its ability to show the individual details, such as the sheer exhaustion & psychological trauma of the men involved, the astronomical death tolls, the predominance of artillery/mortars, infantry organization, and the gruesome nature of the injuries. The webbing and equipment is also of a higher standard of accuracy.

The 'shakey cam' effect was also popularized by SPR, and many post-SPR films used this method in order to disorient the viewer.

But its adherence to historical accuracy ends there ....When I saw it 13 years ago or so, I found it thrilling and thoughtful. Now, with more knowledge, I find it inadequate...For one, the protagonists are all far too old (middle aged or in their 30s) to be doing what they are doing. Their traveling conversations are very hokey..The situation that they find themselves in (saving private ryan) is improbable.

^Actually I saw it as mini-series - so it probably was the uncut version.

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^Cabaret is set in the early '30s in Germany, and deals with the decadence of the Weimar republic and the rise of the Nazis; whilst The Sound Of Music is about the (real life) singing Austrian Trapp family, who fled the country when it was annexed to the Third Reich with the father and his friends opposed to the Anschluss. They are both popular musicals, and the foreboding and inevitable encroachment of WWII lends pathos to the respective stories.

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^

These characters :p were smart to escape from Austria, as Nazi Germany conscripted enormous numbers of Austrian males (effectively a generation) to die (mostly in Russia). Many Austrians found themselves in infantry and mountain divisions, and they would be killed or injured very soon.

-----------------------------------------------

Plate 1-3, 6: US fighting on the Beaches

Plate 4,5: US Paras dropping into France, and fighting

Plate 7- One of the great raids of WW2: British Paras secure Pegasus Bridge

Plate 8-11- The British & Commonwealth landings.

Plate 12- A foreboding plate- 12.SS Panzer division commanders are activated, and will now struggle to re-take the beaches. The Normandy Battles have begun.

June 6, 1944 D-day

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I screenshot these plates since I was talking about 'Saving Private Ryan'.

As far as I remember (I'm skimming through the wiki summaries, which is what I'll do if this thread survives (help me, people!) :) :

-Besides what I already said:

- The intro scene, with the Omaha Beach landings, and the penetration of the shingles is good history. 3,000 American soldiers were cut down by German machinegun, mortar, artillery, and infantry guns within a few hours. This lead to a large concentration of American corpses and much distress, which is shown in the film.

-The rest of the film is a journey through the 'sights and sounds' of this new reality. 'War has its own laws...'

-For the most part, I remember the middle being extremely hokey. The scenes with the radar tower made no sense; tripod-mounted MG positions were never isolated and on their own.

-The final confrontation, with the Tom Hanks saying "panzer tanks two of them, tiger tanks 2 of them, infantry 50 plus change.." is fictional and never happened this way.

The actual fight was a larger scale affair, and depicted on plate 5- it involved battalion sized units and a company of 1940 vintage French tanks (think around a dozen), with local German army regulars fighting US paras over the bridge at the Meredet river.

-Other problems with the scene- the matter in which the Americans organize their sparse assets is wrong, and the manner in which the Germans attack is worthy, at worst, of the officer receiving a court martial and, at best, being stripped of his duties...

-When looking closely at the Americans/Germans, they appear to be missing their hair...so I assume that the soldiers were portrayed by local soldiers. Also, the weapons they are carrying are wrong, and there is no evidence that they are remotely organized. Their collar and shoulder patches indicate that they are men from the 2.SS Panzer division, but in fact, this division did not fight the Americans on this day. The 2.SS division was still re-fitting, and did not really appear in the Normandy battle until July.

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