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Teaching World War 2 with movies: Name the movies

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Teaching World War 2 with movies: Name the movies

Old 05-22-10, 07:21 AM
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Teaching World War 2 with movies: Name the movies

WW2 Cinema 101:

I'm not a teacher, but I was trying to figure out some of the World War 2 movies which give a good perspective from many different sides. I wonder if there would be enough World War 2 movies for every class day of a semester. Here are some good ones to show:

Saving Private Ryan
Schindler's List
Black Rain
Battle of Iwo Jima
Sophie Scholl (good film to show how hard it was for German people to go against the govt)
The Pianist
Black Book (maybe not realistic, but good film to show what happened to nazi collaborators)
Downfall

I know there are more. Can anybody list them?
Old 05-22-10, 08:09 AM
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Re: Teaching World War 2 with movies: Name the movies

Allow me to suggest some movies made before 1989:

Most recommended would be THE LONGEST DAY (1962).

(There's a Japanese film called JAPAN'S LONGEST DAY, which takes place on August 15, 1945, the day of Japan's surrender. And, also from Japan, I BOMBED PEARL HARBOR. I have both, but haven't watched either yet.)

And I think it would be valuable to show some movies actually made DURING World War II, to give a sense of the emotions of the time:

WAKE ISLAND
AIR FORCE
BATAAN
GUNG HO
SAHARA
ACTION IN THE NORTH ATLANTIC
GUADALCANAL DIARY
OBJECTIVE BURMA
THE STORY OF G.I. JOE
BACK TO BATAAN
THEY WERE EXPENDABLE
A WALK IN THE SUN

Problems on the homefront
TENDER COMRADE
SINCE YOU WENT AWAY
THE MAN I LOVE

And to show the problems of returning veterans:
THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES
FROM THIS DAY FORWARD
TILL THE END OF TIME

Or the issues involved in reconstructing Europe:
THE BIG LIFT
THE SEARCH
A FOREIGN AFFAIR
VERBOTEN
DECISION BEFORE DAWN

Other recommended titles:
BATTLEGROUND
THE SANDS OF IWO JIMA
MERRILL'S MARAUDERS
THE BIG RED ONE
(These last two made by WWII combat vet Sam Fuller)
TORA! TORA! TORA!

Japanese anime about the war, from the perspective of people on the ground in Japan:
GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES (the firebombing of Tokyo)
BAREFOOT GEN (Hiroshima)
and in Korea:
RAIL OF THE STAR (Japanese family and life in Occupied Korea until the war ends and the family is forced to flee when the Communists take over North Korea)

There are good reasons for including each of these films, but I don't have time to do anymore than just make suggestions.

And assign some supplemental reading. Here are some excellent novels about the war:
"The Thin Red Line," by James Jones
"The Naked and the Dead," by Norman Mailer
"Tales of the South Pacific," by James Michener.

Also, there's a great documentary of color footage from the war in Europe taken by Hollywood filmmaker George Stevens. I believe it's called "From D-Day to Berlin."

Last edited by Ash Ketchum; 05-22-10 at 08:38 AM.
Old 05-22-10, 08:10 AM
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Re: Teaching World War 2 with movies: Name the movies

Army of Shadows - What I would expect to be a very good portrayal of the lengths the French Resistance went through during Nazi occupied France during WWII.

Das Boot
- Classic German U-boat film that portrays the missions and eventual "hunting" of a historically famed U-boat crew behind enemy lines towards the latter end of the war.

Nice to the see the inclusion of Black Rain. That's quite a profound documentary.

Since you're looking for "perspectives", I could always throw out Giuseppe Tornatore's, Malena to illustrate the travesty of seeing Monica Bellucci get throttled and having all of her hair cut off for being a Nazi collaborator (for those that don't know, for prostituting herself to the Nazis). Besides, if this were to be shown to a younger crowd, more specifically, teenage boys, there are other more relevant elements that they would most likely appreciate
Old 05-22-10, 09:56 AM
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Re: Teaching World War 2 with movies: Name the movies

how about teaching WW2 with books?
Old 05-22-10, 10:04 AM
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Re: Teaching World War 2 with movies: Name the movies

Stalag 17
Old 05-22-10, 10:14 AM
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Re: Teaching World War 2 with movies: Name the movies

Originally Posted by TallGuyMe View Post
how about teaching WW2 with books?
what are those?
Old 05-22-10, 10:20 AM
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Re: Teaching World War 2 with movies: Name the movies

Originally Posted by toddly6666 View Post
what are those?
the things that come tucked into the OTHER side of the DVD case.
Old 05-22-10, 10:24 AM
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Re: Teaching World War 2 with movies: Name the movies

Inglourious Basterds.
Old 05-22-10, 10:33 AM
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Re: Teaching World War 2 with movies: Name the movies

Black Book w/ Clarice Houten was one that came to mind. I see its been mentioned but I'll second it.
Old 05-22-10, 10:41 AM
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Re: Teaching World War 2 with movies: Name the movies

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum View Post
And assign some supplemental reading. Here are some excellent novels about the war:
"The Thin Red Line," by James Jones
Why not just watch the film version of The Thin Red Line instead?
.
Old 05-22-10, 10:50 AM
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Re: Teaching World War 2 with movies: Name the movies

If you won't mind made-for-TV movies I'd suggest The Tuskegee Airmen which talks about black pilots and segregation in the armed forces.
Old 05-22-10, 01:10 PM
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Re: Teaching World War 2 with movies: Name the movies

Originally Posted by visitor Q View Post
Nice to the see the inclusion of Black Rain. That's quite a profound documentary.
It is a narrative feature, not a documentary, though there is a documentary called "White Light/Black Rain" which is very good and features some interviews with people on both sides of the A-bomb, including Keiji Nakazawa, the author of the Barefoot Gen manga.
Old 05-22-10, 02:09 PM
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Re: Teaching World War 2 with movies: Name the movies

How about teaching WW2 with video games? I'd have to vote a big fat No to SPR. BoB definitely yes but no to SPR.
Old 05-22-10, 03:19 PM
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Re: Teaching World War 2 with movies: Name the movies

I could see some of these movies being shown with parental approval, but I think "Black Book" pushes the boundaries of appropriate for teaching.


I do suggest "The Dam Busters" though.
Old 05-22-10, 03:56 PM
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Re: Teaching World War 2 with movies: Name the movies

Top Secret
Old 05-22-10, 04:31 PM
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Re: Teaching World War 2 with movies: Name the movies

Stalingrad
1993
Director: Joseph Vilsmaier

Stalingrad

Trailer
Old 05-22-10, 04:31 PM
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Re: Teaching World War 2 with movies: Name the movies

Based on real people or events:

Memphis Belle
Band Of Brothers
Bridge Too Far
Tora, Tora, Tora
Flags Of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima
Big Red 1


Although fictionalized because the English were the first to grab the decoder; U-571 gives a good account of subs and the life the the submariners lived.

Last edited by JimRochester; 05-22-10 at 04:34 PM.
Old 05-22-10, 08:41 PM
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Re: Teaching World War 2 with movies: Name the movies

Originally Posted by dhmac View Post
Why not just watch the film version of The Thin Red Line instead?
.
(I hope you're being funny.)

Malick's movie is a pale echo of the book, one of the most powerful war novels I've ever read. The movie is full of "Malickisms" that are not in the book at all and did not reflect the soldiers' experiences and state of mind.
The only good parts of the movie are those taken directly from the book.
Old 05-22-10, 08:53 PM
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Re: Teaching World War 2 with movies: Name the movies

Speaking of Black Book, whattabout Verhoeven's 'Soldier of Orange' he directed while living in the Netherlands? It's similar to Black Book but centering a Dutch male hero during Dutch neutrality during war and the oppression their society faced while being attacked and intruded by Nazi troops. Great film, as well as being Verhoeven's cross into his more mainstream Hollywood works.

Also Andrzej Zulawski's 'The Third Part of the Night' - more avant garde and somewhat elusive at times, it's an interesting WWII film with a dark atmosphere, involving focus on the footwork and medicinal testing of the underground, while centering around a man escaping from Nazis after the execution of his family.

Emir Kusturica's 'Underground' focuses on the split of Czechslovakia, spanning several decades, and I cannot remember if it spanned far back to edge of the WWII era or not, but it's one of the best films I've ever seen.

Siberiade is a great film also spanning like 6 decades, involving Russian industrialization pre and post WWII, and the prospects of oil in the Siberian forests. It's pretty incredible, and not to mention is written and directed by Andrei Tarkovsky's collaborator for 'Andrei Rublev'.
Old 05-22-10, 11:45 PM
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Re: Teaching World War 2 with movies: Name the movies

Originally Posted by PopcornTreeCt View Post
How about teaching WW2 with video games? I'd have to vote a big fat No to SPR. BoB definitely yes but no to SPR.
Why no Saving Private Ryan?

The original poster didn't specify that he/she would be showing the entire movie.

I think the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan is still the single greatest scene in the history of cinema and, although I'm far from a WWII expert, I think it portrays the invasion of Normandy almost perfectly.

The middle of the movie lags a bit and I don't know much about the real events depicted at the end of the movie, so even though the end is very well done and exciting, maybe it wasn't historically accurate.

But anyway, if a teacher was going to teach about the invasion of Normandy and use a Hollywood film as supplemental material, I can't imagine any beter material than the opening 20 or so minutes of Saving Private Ryan.

If you want to just sit back and let Hollywood teach your students about WWII then by all means just pop in Band of Brothers and sit back and relax for a couple weeks, but if you want to show the invasion of Normandy, I can't imagine anything beating the opening of Saving Private Ryan.
Old 05-23-10, 12:18 AM
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Re: Teaching World War 2 with movies: Name the movies

Originally Posted by whoopdido View Post
but if you want to show the invasion of Normandy, I can't imagine anything beating the opening of Saving Private Ryan.
If you believe that the only thing involved with the invasion of Normandy was the beach landing, then fine. For a real look at the invasion, The Longest Day is a much better portrayal.
Old 05-23-10, 12:41 AM
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Re: Teaching World War 2 with movies: Name the movies

Originally Posted by Numanoid View Post
If you believe that the only thing involved with the invasion of Normandy was the beach landing, then fine. For a real look at the invasion, The Longest Day is a much better portrayal.
When did I say that the only part of the invasion was the beach landing?

I've seen The Longest Day and it's a great film. Saving Private Ryan does a better job depicting the beach invasion in my opinion however and beyond that, Band of Brothers covers the arirborne very well.

Last edited by whoopdido; 05-23-10 at 12:59 AM.
Old 05-23-10, 12:46 AM
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Re: Teaching World War 2 with movies: Name the movies

Triumph of the Will
Old 05-23-10, 05:58 AM
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Re: Teaching World War 2 with movies: Name the movies

1941
Old 05-23-10, 06:39 AM
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Re: Teaching World War 2 with movies: Name the movies

Originally Posted by Boba Fett View Post
I do suggest "The Dam Busters" though.
The original edit without the dog being renamed.

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