Saving Private Ryan is almost always at the top of any WW2 movie list that you can find online. As one of the most well-recognized military films, it stands to reason. Even within the same conflict, the reality of war varies day to day, not only from conflict to conflict. Saving Private Ryan was able to accurately depict so many of these facts in only one film. In my opinion, it is one of the best World War II movies ever made.
Because of this, we didn’t put it in our list. You’ve already heard about it. Assumedly, you’ve already seen this. We’d like to introduce you to some of the other World War II films that are available on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other streaming platforms. Top 10 picks and two runners-up are included in this list.
1. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
Bridge on the River Kwai, one of many World War II films from the 1950s and ’60s, is widely recognized as one of the best films of all time, let alone one of the best WWII films. It won Oscars for best picture, best director, best actor, and best adapted screenplay in 1957. When British Colonel Nicholson is ordered to surrender by the Allies, the Allies force him to lead the construction of the Burma Railway Bridge, which would link Bangkok and Rangoon. During this time, British commandos plan to blow up the bridge. As the film’s tragically tragic conclusion approaches for several of its protagonists, madness descends.
2. The Longest Day (1962)
Nazi authorities are certain that bad weather and choppy seas imply that an Allied invasion is unlikely in the immediate future. The Allies, on the other hand, go ahead and launch the biggest coordinated military assault in history. Both Allied and German personalities, from high-ranking officials to soldiers on the ground, are included in The Longest Day, which provides an in-depth look at the political and military events that preceded D-Day.
3. The Great Escape (1963)
Following the escape of numerous British Commonwealth soldiers from a German POW camp, this fascinating World War II film is a must-see. They all have their own specialties, and viewers are enthralled by the complexity of The Great Escape plan. Iconic WW2 films in cinematic history include this film, which has an air of lightheartedness that contrasts with its brutally realistic conclusion.
4. The Dirty Dozen (1967)
On D-Day, twelve military prisoners teamed up for a suicide mission, and the film The Dirty Dozen tells their story. Inmates, most of whom have been imprisoned for horrible crimes, would parachute across enemy lines and kill high-ranking German officials. When it comes to World War II movies, this one stands out from the pack. An unusual band of “heroes” establish a team and work together to accomplish their purpose.
5. Patton (1970)
Known as one of the greatest American military commanders of all time, General George Patton was known for his outlandish behavior. Francis Ford Coppola and George C. Scott wrote and starred in Patton, a film about World War II. The story begins with the North African campaign and ends with the General’s dismissal from command for his outspoken opinions during World War II. To be preserved in the U.S. Film Registry for its historical significance, this excellent WW2 film and epic biopic captures Patton’s unique character in beautiful way.
6. Das Boot (1981)
Die Unterseeboot is based on a best-selling German novel and depicts the life of a German U-Boat crewman. Even the most ardent anti-Nazis can’t help but feel an emotional connection to these German soldiers when the captain’s sense of duty surpasses his loathing for Hitler and Nazism. Uncompromising underwater soundtrack, claustrophobic visuals, and performers’ representation of the toll of war are all elements of Das Boot, described as electrifying and unrelenting by critics. Our selection of WW2 films includes a few with subtitles, and this one is no exception. But we’re here to tell you that it’s worth your time.
7. The Thin Red Line (1998)
James Jones based his 1962 novel The Thin Red Line on his own military experiences, notably the Guadalcanal Campaign. There is no restraint in the script, and the audience is taken along for the ride as conflict ruins the world in the picture. It has left nothing but devastation, suffering, and dread in its wake. It’s been reported that key actors’ screen time was drastically reduced in favor of graphic footage from the Pacific War and powerful voiceovers. The outcome is one of Netflix’s best World War II films and a wartime reflection that is poetic in character, but absolutely not for the faint of heart.
8. Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)
During any conflict, soldiers on both sides of the conflict face similar challenges. Brutality, disease, and death. Feelings of helplessness, isolation, and fear are all too common. By telling the story of the Battle of Iwo Jima and its aftermath from the viewpoint of the Japanese, Clint Eastwood achieves a new level of empathy for his antagonists. As they struggle for their lives and the future of their country, the characters in Letters from Iwo Jima chronicle their final stand on the island of Iwo Jima.
9. Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
Hacksaw Ridge is a fan favorite and is based on a true story, despite the fact that it isn’t one of the most well-known World War II films. In war movies, pacifist heroes are rare, yet this is exactly what you get here. Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector who volunteered to serve as a medic during World War II, is the subject of the film. Doss is ostracized and humiliated by his unit because of his pacifist convictions and refusal to carry a weapon of any kind. Hacksaw Ridge hero Doss is remembered for his heroic rescue of 75 soldiers from the mountaintop during the Battle of Okinawa despite his personal views on the war.
10. Dunkirk (2017)
The 1940 Allied evacuation of Dunkirk is depicted in many timelines in Dunkirk, unlike most WWII movies. It takes place over the course of one week, and follows a group of stranded troops. An entire day in the life of trapped soldiers is chronicled in the second film. An Army pilot storms the beach from the air for about an hour in the third. The dramatic climax of Dunkirk, one of the most well-known World War II films of the twenty-first century, effectively conveys the spirit of the soldiers who battled so desperately to beat the enemy.