I have been asked to write a blog entry. By the producer of The Girl Who Wore Freedom. Who happens to be my wife.
I do not have to do what the producer asks me to do because I do not technically work for the producer. And by golly, I do not have to write a blog just because my wife says so. I am my own man. I make my own decisions, thank you very much.
So I am writing a blog entry.
Given the circumstances, I might as well write on one of my favorite topics – WWII movies. So let’s make this simple and go with my ten favorite WWII movies of all time. I will not do exhaustive explanations of each film because… well… I do not want to be exhausted at the end of the list, nor do I want you to be exhausted after reading it. I care, after all.
So with no further ado, my list of my ten favorite WWII movies:
Tora! Tora! Tora! is the best movie ever made about the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.
I am sure that at least one or two of you now are thinking, “Wait, what about Pearl Harbor? Ben Affleck was great in that.” If you are that person, you should stop reading this list now because you and I are just never going to agree on anything. Ever. Same if you would put Fury on your list. Or Valkyrie. And I am not saying you cannot have guilty pleasures. Of course you can. I do. My Blue Heaven with Steve Martin qualifies for my guilty pleasure list. Go watch it. And Enemy at the Gates is on my WWII guilty pleasure list. You can watch that, too. But I would not put it on this top ten list, and you just cannot credibly argue that movies like Pearl Harbor and Fury and Valkyrie should be on a top ten list of the best movies about WWII and keep my attention.
A different take on presenting a war movie, one that takes some a second watching to really follow. But it is worth the second watching. Beyond that, the story of the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Forces from the shores of Dunkirk long has been a story that needed to be told, given that it was one of the more important moments in the early days of WWII.
I probably enjoyed watching Patton less than any other movie on this list. But I also recognize that a top ten list of WWII movies is hard to take seriously if Patton is not on that list somewhere. So here it is.
Sylvester Stallone, Pelé, and Max Von Sydow in a movie that combines WWII, soccer, and a prisoner escape. You’re in, aren’t you? Only caveat is that this movie probably should be watched on a VCR. Just because it should. In fact, if you can watch it on 8-track, go that route.
Yes, it is a WWII movie. And the only one of the list that you can credibly ask your family to watch at Christmas without getting laughed out of the room. So you should have it on your list, too.
This is one of those movies that surprises me in terms of being on my list. But then I watch it again and realize that yes, it absolutely has to be on the list, as it takes you through the invasion of, and ultimately the liberation of, Poland in a way that pulls at your heartstrings.
When you read this list and complain “Where is that Lee Marvin classic, The Dirty Dozen’?”, the answer is, “Here is that Lee Marvin classic, The Big Red One.”
A rare WWII movie told from the Japanese perspective. A worthwhile watch.
Objectively, Saving Private Ryan should be higher on this list. I know this. I accept this. But for whatever reason, it was a movie that I appreciated when I watched it, and thought it was important that I had the experience of watching it, but would not necessarily choose to watch it – or at least certain scenes of it – again if I do not have a reason to do so.
Midway is a war movie. About one of the most important battles in the Pacific Theater of WWII. And Erik Estrada is in it. Need I say more?
I am not saying this is the most accurate depiction of the Battle of the Bulge. But I like it. I do not have a better explanation than that.
A Steve McQueen classic with a fantastic theme song. In fact, this musical score would be perfect but for the fact that it lacks the theme to The Rockford Files, which I expect to hear played every time James Garner is in a scene.
Like Saving Private Ryan, this is a movie that you may not be pining to see twice … but the subject is important enough that you should.
For those of my generation, I will admit that it takes you a couple of scenes to adjust to the fact that Obi-Wan Kenobi is in a WWII movie. But once you do, you find yourself enthralled by one of the true mental twisters of this genre.
When you watch The Longest Day today, your initial thought is this is the kind of movie that should be taught to an elementary school class so that they understand what happened on D-Day. And hey, that’s fair. That’s exactly the movie it is today. But you know what? If you stop and think about it that is not the reason this movie should not be on this list … it is the reason the movie must be on this list.
Let’s start with the cast … Robert Redford, Sean Connery, Michael Caine, James Caan, Dirk Bogarde, Ryan O’Neal, Anthony Hopkins, Laurence Olivier, Gene Hackman, Elliot Gould, Maximilian Schell, and so on and so on and so on. Heck, Cliff Clavin of Cheers fame (John Ratzenberger) is in it. In other words, basically everyone that has ever been in any movie and been any good is in this movie. That should tell you all you need to know.
On top of that, that story is exceptional. If you have never heard of Operation Market Garden, look it up. Or watch this movie. In fact, that’s probably easier. Just do that.
OK, OK, I know what you are thinking. Band of Brothers is a mini-series, not a movie. Ten parts, hours and hours long … not a movie.
Whatever. My list, not yours. I get to have it on the list. And if you accept the fiction that it is a movie, I am sure you agree that it is ranked appropriately.
What exactly were you expecting?
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