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Memorial Day thread...What's your Favorite WW II war movie?
one man's opinion

Posted on 05/30/2004 4:15:31 AM PDT by ken5050

If you happen to turn your TV set on at any time this Memorial Day weekend, there's a strong probability you'll come across a World War II war movie..... the classic Hollywood genre. There are many of them, and, happily a lot of very good ones. So, on this weekend of remembrance, and the dedication of the WW II memorial, what's your favorite, or favorites, and why?


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: movies; turass
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What's most amazing, from today's perspective, when one views the films produced DURING the war, how united the county was, how committed everyone was to the nobleness of the effort. If you watch any of these films on the various "movie networks" where they show ALL the credits, you'll always see the patriotic plea to "BUY WAR BONDS NOW" The audience would rush into the lobby of the theater after the show and purchase war bonds. Truly a different era. Indeed, many of the portrayals of Japanese and Germans would fail the PC test today.

But let's not delve too deeply into a study of film. Rather, just opine as to which you like best, and why.

I'm going to list my five top choices. Not ranking them, because they're not comparable, yet ALL tell a their story well.

"Twelve O'Clock High". Great cast, great story on two levels. The broad effort to make daylight precision bombing effective, and the study of the effects of war, the cost, on human lives. And not ONE female in the entire cast, even as an extra. Remember the scene where the adjutant and the doc are caught after having returned from going along on a bombing raid? When threatened with a court martial for disobeying orders if they do it again, , the two culprits innocently ask if the prohibition extends to the chaplain also, because he's been going along as well, and last mission he shot down a German fighter...

Note: As great as the film is, if you can find a copy of the novel, which is long out of print, buy it and read it.. "They Were Expendable"..stirring portrayal of the PT boats in the South Pacific. Shows how the issue of the fall of Corregidor, and MacArthur's bug-out to Australia, was presented to the war-time American public.

"A Walk in the Sun"..a rarely seen ( don't know why) "slice of war" film about an American platoon tasked to capture an enemy farmhouse. The first of the "all-American" type war films, where each member of the unit is a different ethnic American stereotype, and, oh, that great title song..

" The Bridge on the River Kwai". On all levels, spectacular. The "Colonel Bogie" theme music. The depiction of the brutalization of the POWs by the Japanese is an interesting contrast to those pics coming out of the Iraqi prison today. And Alec Guiness' portrayal of the Brit officer's descent into madness, without judging him, is superb.

"30 seconds over Tokyo"..As wartime propagana, to rally an American homefront that had been receiving nothing but bad news for months, this was a superb effort. Worth watching alone for the unforgettable scene of the bomber diving under the Golden Gate bridge, against that superb theme music.

"The Battle of Britain" ..My choice of all the "docu-drama war films, far better, I think, than "The Longest Day", or "A bridge too Far"..because of the superb aerial photography.

"The Best Years of Our Lives". Nothing to be said, except that one could make the argument that it really isn't a "war" film, in the classic definition. It's a study of the effects of war, but the viewer's mind makes the connection. There are several superb scenes int he movie. The shot from the nose of the bomber, as it flies over thousands of now-grounded planes, is the first hint, though it wasn't intended that way, of what post-war America would become. And of course, the scene where Homer finally allows his fiance to help him remove his prostheses; it served to remind Americans that many who came back, came back far different than when then left.

Note: The movie is based on MacKinlay Kantor's novella "Glory for Me"..alas, long out of print, but if you can find it, well worth the read. Kantor is one of our finest American writers; sadly few today know who he is.

Last thoughts. As we today bemoan "Hollywood", as exemplified by Michael Moore, Barbra Streisand, and countless others, it's almost hard to believe that not too long ago, there was time when the motion picture industry represented all that was good about this country.

1 posted on 05/30/2004 4:15:31 AM PDT by ken5050
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To: Howlin; JohnHuang2

FYI..ping list please


2 posted on 05/30/2004 4:16:42 AM PDT by ken5050 (Ann Coulter needs to have children ASAP to propagate her genes.....any volunteers?)
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To: ken5050
I have two.

Enemy at the Gates

and,

Saving Private Ryan.

3 posted on 05/30/2004 4:19:53 AM PDT by The Scourge of Yazid ("I caughts a rheumatism a chancin' on the snow. I killed me seven yankees, I'd like to kill some mo')
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To: ken5050

The Bridge on the River Kwai, Sands of Iwo Jima, Battle Cry, Saving Private Ryan, Enemy at the Gates...


4 posted on 05/30/2004 4:20:50 AM PDT by VaMarVet
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To: Dave Dilegge
This list wouldn't be complete without:

The Dirty Dozen.

No one will ever top Lee Marvin.

No one!

5 posted on 05/30/2004 4:24:14 AM PDT by The Scourge of Yazid ("I caughts a rheumatism a chancin' on the snow. I killed me seven yankees, I'd like to kill some mo')
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To: ItsonlikeDonkeyKong

Good films when I was writing the piece, I was almost tempted to exclude films made after 1980, because they feel, and look diffeent..the whole "apocalypse Now" perspective..focusing on War as evil..ignoring that there are bad people, and bad countries in the world...BTW..md bad..my list of "5" ended up being "6"


6 posted on 05/30/2004 4:24:23 AM PDT by ken5050 (Ann Coulter needs to have children ASAP to propagate her genes.....any volunteers?)
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To: Hillary's Lovely Legs

FYI


7 posted on 05/30/2004 4:25:45 AM PDT by ken5050 (Ann Coulter needs to have children ASAP to propagate her genes.....any volunteers?)
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To: Liz

G'morning...


8 posted on 05/30/2004 4:26:21 AM PDT by ken5050 (Ann Coulter needs to have children ASAP to propagate her genes.....any volunteers?)
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To: ken5050

Midway/ A great movie and history lesson. The battle which gave us the upper hand over the Japanese.
The Devils Brigade/ Excellent character study of a commanding officer and the heavy toll that wartime decision making takes.
I cannot remember the name of the movie where the US and Canadien forces train together and go off on a difficult mission, but this movie has it all. Humor, sadness, intensity.


9 posted on 05/30/2004 4:27:23 AM PDT by somemoreequalthanothers
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To: ken5050
Still. All and all, a great list.

This will probably already be up there when this is posted, but I think I'd like to be one of the first to mention:

Patton.

10 posted on 05/30/2004 4:29:56 AM PDT by The Scourge of Yazid ("I caughts a rheumatism a chancin' on the snow. I killed me seven yankees, I'd like to kill some mo')
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To: ken5050

Modern war movies are like modern westerns. Most of them suck.


11 posted on 05/30/2004 4:31:05 AM PDT by somemoreequalthanothers
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To: somemoreequalthanothers

The Devil's Brigade was the film about the joint US/Canadian Special forces Commando..great film..Midway was ruined by the PC story line about the Navy pilot whose fiance was Japanese-American, and was interred with her family...For aerial footage, Tora 3x was better..


12 posted on 05/30/2004 4:31:38 AM PDT by ken5050 (Ann Coulter needs to have children ASAP to propagate her genes.....any volunteers?)
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To: ken5050

Bridge on the River Kwai, The Great Escape, Patton, The Longest Day, Saving Private Ryan, Midway, Tora Tora Tora


13 posted on 05/30/2004 4:31:52 AM PDT by theDentist (John Kerry never saw a TAX he wouldn't HIKE !!!)
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To: ken5050

The Old Geezer here, again... BY FAR.... FROM HERE TO ETERNITY... THE BEST MOVIE OF WHAT MILITARY LIFE IN THE ARMY WAS ALL ABOUT. EVERY-DAY LIFE OF THE GI... HIS UP'S AND DOWNS.... WHAT HE DID WHILE ON LEAVE... THE LIFE AMONG HIS COMRADS AND ESPECIALLY THE CORRUPTION OF HIGHER UPS.. AND FINALLY AT THE WINK OF AN EYE TURNED INTO A GREAT FIGHTING MACHINE....

GOD BLESS THOSE MEN OF THE 'GREATESST GENERATION'... CWEY FEW OF US LEFT. STRETCH


14 posted on 05/30/2004 4:31:58 AM PDT by Stretch (Stretch: The Old Geezer from Apple Va. Cal and Cumming Ga. (God's Country.) Long Live America!!)
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To: Miss Marple; areafiftyone

wanna opine, and/or ping...?


15 posted on 05/30/2004 4:32:40 AM PDT by ken5050 (Ann Coulter needs to have children ASAP to propagate her genes.....any volunteers?)
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To: ken5050
12 O'Clock High, with Gregory Peck, provides some lessons in leadership.
16 posted on 05/30/2004 4:33:33 AM PDT by pt17
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To: ken5050

"Saving Private Ryan"

"Schindler's List"

When I was a kid, my favorite was "Ambush Bay."


17 posted on 05/30/2004 4:34:03 AM PDT by Skooz (My Biography: Psalm 40:1-3)
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To: somemoreequalthanothers
I thought Tora, Tora, Tora was a great movie to give you the behind the scenes workings of the United States and Japan hours before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Battle of the Bulge, and Patton also come to mind.

The Battle of Britian is also a good one.

Favorite though... I'm still thinking on that one.

18 posted on 05/30/2004 4:34:27 AM PDT by Northern Yankee (Freedom Needs A Soldier!)
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To: somemoreequalthanothers
Haven't you seen "Tombstone" and "Unforgiven?"
19 posted on 05/30/2004 4:34:50 AM PDT by The Scourge of Yazid ("I caughts a rheumatism a chancin' on the snow. I killed me seven yankees, I'd like to kill some mo')
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To: ItsonlikeDonkeyKong

Oh yeah, I forgot "The Dirty Dozen." Great movie, and I enjoyed the book, as well. Also, "Kelly's Heroes."


20 posted on 05/30/2004 4:35:52 AM PDT by Skooz (My Biography: Psalm 40:1-3)
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To: ken5050
Patton and Mrs. Miniver.
21 posted on 05/30/2004 4:36:14 AM PDT by mewzilla
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To: ken5050

Definitely TORA TORA TORA. I went with my mom to see it and for some reason I never forgot that movie. I will never forget the words "We have awakened a sleeping giant!"


22 posted on 05/30/2004 4:37:34 AM PDT by areafiftyone (Democrats = the hamster is dead but the wheel is still spinning)
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To: ken5050

Operation Petticoat, Father Goose and The Wackiest Ship in the Army


23 posted on 05/30/2004 4:37:39 AM PDT by SolitaryMan
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To: ken5050

Saving Private Ryan and Blackhawk Down.

Both movies made me cry numerous times.


24 posted on 05/30/2004 4:37:45 AM PDT by Rays_Dad
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To: ItsonlikeDonkeyKong

Unforgiven makes the grade only because it starred the Master.


25 posted on 05/30/2004 4:38:21 AM PDT by somemoreequalthanothers
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To: ken5050

"The Great Escape" - great cast, great story, Steve McQueen
"A Bridge Too Far" - So tantalizing close to victory, but so far from success - great cast
"Flying Leathernecks" - Marines, John Wayne


26 posted on 05/30/2004 4:38:25 AM PDT by Gillsie
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To: mewzilla

"Mrs. Miniver" is a great film. I didn't thnk of it i that context, but it belongs,along with the "Best Years of our lives".. off to church..catch up with you later...


27 posted on 05/30/2004 4:39:26 AM PDT by ken5050 (Ann Coulter needs to have children ASAP to propagate her genes.....any volunteers?)
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To: ken5050

WWll movies are the greatest for me. I have many favorites but I guess #1 would have to be "The Battle of the Bulge". Honestly, I could, and do, watch WWll movies all day long. Today will be no exception.


28 posted on 05/30/2004 4:39:33 AM PDT by mrtysmm
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To: ken5050
The Best Years of Our Lives is one of the great films of all time. There are many good parts in this film but I especially liked the scenes of everyday America that the three protagonists witness from their taxi after arriving in their home town. The musical score by Hugo Friedhofer (which won one of the 8 Academy Awards), makes a great contribution to the effect of this film. This definitely should count as a WWII movie.

On a side note my family used to know the actor who plays the son to Frederic March. He later became a very successful art dealer and is about 1000% gay.

29 posted on 05/30/2004 4:40:01 AM PDT by wideminded
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To: Skooz
Yeah, "Kelly's Heroes" is definitely one of the classics.

I know this would probably be more appropriate for a Veteran's Day thread, but I just thought I'd mention one of the best films ever directed by Stanley Kubrick:

Paths of Glory.

30 posted on 05/30/2004 4:40:27 AM PDT by The Scourge of Yazid ("I caughts a rheumatism a chancin' on the snow. I killed me seven yankees, I'd like to kill some mo')
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To: SolitaryMan

What..you forgot "McHales' Navy joins the Air Force?"


31 posted on 05/30/2004 4:40:58 AM PDT by ken5050 (Ann Coulter needs to have children ASAP to propagate her genes.....any volunteers?)
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To: wideminded

The score is wonderful..it blends in..doesn't overwhelm the film, there's no one "SONG" or theme, as is the usual custom..BTW..take my suggestion, if you can find the book, read it..


32 posted on 05/30/2004 4:43:04 AM PDT by ken5050 (Ann Coulter needs to have children ASAP to propagate her genes.....any volunteers?)
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To: ken5050

Easy...Band of Brothers.


33 posted on 05/30/2004 4:44:09 AM PDT by Jon Alvarez
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To: ken5050
And Frances Joins the WACs :)
34 posted on 05/30/2004 4:44:16 AM PDT by mewzilla
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To: ken5050; mewzilla
I agree on "Mrs. Miniver." I didn't see that movie until about 5 years ago, and I was really moved by the sacrifices the English made, and their efforts to keep normal life going in the face of the Blitz. Such a movie could not be made today, with its emphasis on sacrifice and faith.

I also like Kelly's Heroes, although I don't really consider it a WWII movie. The attitude of the film is very 70's...no patriotism but everyone in it for the gold. Still, watching Carroll O'Connor listen to the advance on the radio, thinking that they are gung-ho fighters rather than looking for the gold, is one of the funniest scenes ever filmed. "Did you hear that?! They've even got the damned grave-diggers on board!"

35 posted on 05/30/2004 4:44:26 AM PDT by Miss Marple
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To: somemoreequalthanothers
I don't know. I thought it was a pretty good flick, especially the unconventional plot-line.

By the way, Gene Hackman is one of my favorite actors. I don't know how anyone can compare him to that putz Dustin Hoffman. For me, there's simply no basis for comparison.

36 posted on 05/30/2004 4:44:32 AM PDT by The Scourge of Yazid ("I caughts a rheumatism a chancin' on the snow. I killed me seven yankees, I'd like to kill some mo')
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To: theDentist

"Bridge on the River Kwai, The Great Escape, Patton, The Longest Day, Saving Private Ryan, Midway, Tora Tora Tora..."

And the list goes on and on.....
I could picture a long weekend with snacks and these movies.....paradise!


37 posted on 05/30/2004 4:45:17 AM PDT by mrtysmm
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To: Gillsie
I never really cared for "A Bridge Too Far" because I saw the movie almost immediately reading the book, which is an almost guaranteed recipe for disliking any movie.

If you ever get a chance to read the book, I cannot recommend it highly enough. It is one of the best books written about the war.

38 posted on 05/30/2004 4:46:43 AM PDT by Skooz (My Biography: Psalm 40:1-3)
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To: ken5050
Just for comical relief, my favorite is Kelly's Heroes

Kelly is a former platoon leader who was busted down in rank, because the objective he was ordered to take, a hill, resulted in the lives of allied troops already holding the hill. He did as he was ordered, but had to take the fall for someoneelse's mistake.

The film is irreverant toward military ideals, but captures the truth and reality of fighting forces and the games that go on behind the lines, in the same vein of Joseph Heller's - Catch 22, the book, not the movie.

The cast is a great lineup -

Clint Eastwood .... Pvt. Kelly

Telly Savalas .... Master Sgt. Big Joe

Don Rickles .... Staff Sgt. Crapgame

Carroll O'Connor .... Major General Colt

Donald Sutherland .... Sgt. Oddball, Tank Commander

Gavin MacLeod .... Moriarty, Tank crewman

Hal Buckley .... Captain Maitland

Here is just one line.

Big Joe: [shouting to the captured German Colonel] Look! We're not worried about the German army, we've got the troubles on our own. To the right General Patton, to the left the British Army, to the rear our own goddamn artillery, and besides all that it's raining.

39 posted on 05/30/2004 4:48:41 AM PDT by Dustoff45 (Before you pray, you can do nothing; after you pray, you can do everything.)
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To: ken5050

Maybe too "arty" for some but for me: "The Thin Red Line"


40 posted on 05/30/2004 4:51:22 AM PDT by weegie
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To: ken5050

Stalag 17


41 posted on 05/30/2004 4:51:53 AM PDT by ChuckShick (He's clerking for me...)
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To: mrtysmm
Try to snag a copy of "Charlotte Gray" if you get the chance. That's one of the best 'spy' movies set during WWII, in this case, in occupied France.

The main character is an English translator who decides to volunteer for service after her boyfriend from the RAF is shot down and taken as a POW by the German army.

Cate Blanchett stars as the title character. Great actress! Plus, she's absolutely one of the most gorgeous Englishwomen I've ever seen.

42 posted on 05/30/2004 4:53:13 AM PDT by The Scourge of Yazid ("I caughts a rheumatism a chancin' on the snow. I killed me seven yankees, I'd like to kill some mo')
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To: All
"Band of Brothers" has to rank way up there. But if we are just going with the 1940's black and whites then don't miss "Hitler Dead or Alive" with Ward Bond.(OK you know I'm Kidding.) Of course there is also that movie with Ward Bond and Ronald Reagan where their plane crashes and they work their way through enemy territory destroying most of Germany to get back to their base. And what would those WWII movies be without Conrad Veit, Helmut Dantine and Richard Loo?
43 posted on 05/30/2004 4:54:07 AM PDT by Bringbackthedraft (Will Kerry accept Osama's terms of unconditional surrender at the Paris Peace Conference?)
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To: ken5050
I agree with those who say "Patton".

Although your question was about WWII movies, I would add that "Sgt. York" was the best war movie of all time. "All Quiet on the Western Front" was also good.

44 posted on 05/30/2004 4:56:43 AM PDT by yarddog
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To: ItsonlikeDonkeyKong

That's actually what I didn't like, Hackman playing the sadistic goon. He's done that in a few films.


45 posted on 05/30/2004 4:57:08 AM PDT by somemoreequalthanothers
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To: ken5050

Schindler's list.


46 posted on 05/30/2004 4:57:51 AM PDT by mizzmouse
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To: Bringbackthedraft
I haven't actually watched it, but that cable movie about the Tuskegee Airman was supposed to be a really great film.

Personally, I think that we would be here forever if we were to list all of the noteworthy films which focused on WWII and it's attendant horrors; POW camps, civilian deaths, the Holocaust, etc.

I'm not sure if this was ever made into a feature film-it probably was, but I've never seen it-but

The Moon Is Down

was a fantastic novel, and a great piece of political, wartime propaganda!

47 posted on 05/30/2004 4:58:19 AM PDT by The Scourge of Yazid ("I caughts a rheumatism a chancin' on the snow. I killed me seven yankees, I'd like to kill some mo')
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To: ken5050

Guns Of Navarone - Americanization of Emily - The Big Red One - From Hell To Victory = Saving Private Ryan


48 posted on 05/30/2004 4:58:44 AM PDT by BonnieJ
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To: ken5050

Sorry, I didn't know it had to be a serious movie, in that case Operation Pacific, Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers.


49 posted on 05/30/2004 4:58:51 AM PDT by SolitaryMan
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To: ken5050

The Great Escape with Steve McQueen, The Dirty Dozen with Lee Marvin, and Operation Petticoat with Cary Grant - and anything with John Wayne.


50 posted on 05/30/2004 4:58:57 AM PDT by mathluv (Protect my grandchildren's future. Vote for Bush/Cheney '04.)
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