Perched on a platform, which made him an easy target for Japanese bullets, director John Ford filmed a historical document. This is the film that records the events of the bloody and decisive Battle of Midway, on the Pacific front, which faced the United States and Japan, in June 1942 (and which in turn inspired later films, such as the 2019). Ford, who had prestige in Hollywood thanks to films like The grapes of wrath (1940) o The diligence (1939), collaborated with the US government in the war and surprised audiences by filming the events in color. And although he was recognized, the reality of the war had an impact on him. Later, he spent three days in a row drinking alcohol after filming the Normandy landing, horrified by the massacre.
With a brutal 27-minute opening sequence, which recreates the assault on Omaha Beach during the Allied landing in Normandy, on June 6, 1944, the film directed by Steven Spielberg begins. But after the combat, the plot begins. A group of soldiers, led by the serious and reserved Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks), must find and save a recruit, the young James Francis Ryan (Matt Damon), who lost his three brothers in combat and is allowed to return home. The film was a box office success in 1998 and earned Spielberg the Oscar for Best Director.
Life inside a submarine is the axis of the German film The boat (1981), directed by Wolfgang Petersen (Troy, The endless story). Inspired by the book of the same title by Lothar-Günther Buchheim, it tells the story of U-96, and its dangerous patrol missions during World War II, in which it must confront British naval units. But it also details the tensions of the crew led by Captain Henrich Lehmann-Willenbrock (Jürgen Prochnow), on a ship whose space is limited and always maintains an uncomfortable sense of danger. The film’s success opened the doors to Hollywood for both Prochnow and Petersen.
Another propaganda film produced by the American government during the days of World War II. The direction was in charge of Frank Capra, a Sicilian immigrant, who directed the series of seven documentaries Why we fight, to convince the population to support the war effort against the axis powers. In The Negro Soldier, the film targets a particular audience: African Americans. Nothing less, considering that then the Jim Crow laws that allowed racial segregation were in force. The film recalls the exploits of African Americans in US history (from Crispus Attucks a Joe Louis), but it also tries to project a universal message.
Shocked by the horror of the persecution of Jews, a German businessman affiliated with the Nazi party, Oskar Schindler, decides to use his fortune to save as many as possible from death. Thus, he devises a plan to pass them off as workers in an enameled products factory. But the unfavorable course of the war for the Germans will make things even more difficult. That’s the fight that guides the plot of Schindler’s List (1993), Steven Spielberg’s film inspired by a true story. With a superb Liam Neeson in the title role and the score by John Williams, the film won Best Picture and Best Director at the Oscars.
This 2018 film tells the story of the location and capture in Argentina of Adolf Eichmann, the man responsible for implementing the so-called “final solution”, or the extermination of the Jewish population in the territories occupied by the Germans towards the end of the war. The film’s cast has Oscar Isaac as Mossad agent, Peter Zvi Malkin, Englishman Ben Kingsley as Eichmann, and Simon Russell Beale in the role of Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion. It is a production that had mixed reviews, but that tells the more human side of a story best known for its political and diplomatic entanglements, as well as the famous essay by Hannah Arendt.
A soldier who does not shoot can be a hero. It happened to the conscientious objector, Desmond Doss, who had an outstanding participation in the grueling battle of Okinawa (1945), on the Pacific front, which earned him a decoration from President Harry Truman. In this he saved no less than seventy-five companions, despite the fact that many made fun of him for his refusal to bear arms. The story was brought to the screen in 2016, under the direction of Mel Gibson and has actor Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spiderman) in the leading role.
This Spanish film of the year 2018 is based on the true story of the Catalan Francisco Boix, a photographer who fought on the Republican side during the Spanish Civil War, who is arrested and taken to the Mauthausen concentration camp (Austria) in WWII. There he works in the photographic laboratory of the SS, which he takes the opportunity to portray the abuses and crimes committed against the prisoners. His idea is to use the images to prove what happens there, so he will have to take a risk to hide and save the negatives. There the adventure begins.
This was originally a television movie released in 1980, with the script by the famous playwright, Arthur Miller. It is an adaptation of the memoirs of the pianist and composer Fania Fénelon (played by Vanessa Redgrave on screen), who was saved from death in the Auschwitz concentration camp, thanks to her participation in the Women’s Orchestra. This one had the tough mission of playing during grueling days, for Nazi workers and officers, who often humiliated the artists. But they understand that every note on their instrument and every melody sung with their worn out voices is a little more time to live.
Three stories intersect in the plot of Dunkerque (2017), Christopher Nolan’s celebrated film (Interstellar, the Batman trilogy), which takes as its axis the evacuation of the defeated British troops from France, during the first year of World War II. It is about the experiences of different subjects, who must face not only the constant attack of the enemies, but also the tensions of the human condition in the face of an extreme situation. These can be as dangerous or more dangerous than the German bombs. The Heartbroken are performed by, among others, Tom Hardy, Fionn Whitehead, Jack Lowden and singer Harry Styles.