Films about the Age of First World War

This collection provides information on selected movies, TV productions and documentaries on the themes of gender, military and war in the period covered by the Oxford Handbook.

The most important wars for this period include:

  • First World War (1914–18)
  • Russian Civil War (1917–22)
  • Irish War of Independence and Civil War (1919–23)

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Director(s): Peter, Jan
Year of Publication: 2014
Abstract:

This serial and epic documentary uses re-enactments and animations to tell the story of World War I through the eyes of ordinary people. It explores the lives of housewives, journalists, workers, and volunteers across Europe and North America...

Director(s): Back, Sylvio
Year of Publication: 1970
Abstract:

In 1913, in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil, the government gives some land to a foreign railway company, giving rise to revolt by the former owners of the land. The uprising became known as Guerra dos Pelados.

Director(s): Leconte, Patrice
Year of Publication: 2013
Abstract:

A forbidden love story set in Germany before World War II. A young assistant falls for his employer's wife, but war, promises, and time keep them apart. 

Director(s): Mikhalkov, Nikita
Year of Publication: 1976
Major Wars:
Abstract:

Loosely based on the life of Russian silent screen star Vera Kholodnaya, this film explores a woman's political awakening during the Russian Civil War. After the Bolsheviks take Moscow, a film crew moves to Odessa to continue work. Olga...

Director(s): Jeunet, Jean-Pierre
Year of Publication: 2003
Abstract:

A young woman searches for her fiancé, who has officially proclaimed dead due to battle in World War I. Mathilde's investigation uncovers the circumstances that lead to his disappearance, including how the French government dealt with those...

Director(s): Kravchuk, Andrey
Year of Publication: 2008
Abstract:

Based on the lives of Russian Admiral Alexander Kolchak and poet Anna Timiryova, Admiral weaves together love and war set during World War I and the Russian Civil War. Duty and marriage keep the two lovers separated, as each tries to...

Director(s): Gerasimov, Sergey
Year of Publication: 1957
Abstract:

Based on an acclaimed novel series by Mikhail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov, this six-hour, ideologically-driven epic celebrates the Cossacks and their experiences with revolutionary wars in Russia. Grigori exemplifies the honest and traditional...

Director(s): Dovzhenko, Aleksandr
Year of Publication: 1929
Abstract:

In this avant-garde silent film, acclaimed director Alexander Dovzhenko documents the demobilization of Ukraine and its embrace of the Bolshevik Revolution after World War I. Timosh, a veteran and factory worker, views Ukrainian independence...

Director(s): Eisenstein, Sergei M.
Year of Publication: 1925
Major Wars:
Abstract:

This international cinematic masterpiece portrays revolutionary events that preceded the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. In 1905 following the Sino-Russo War, sailors of the Potemkin protest poor conditions, stirring riots on board as...

Director(s): Fry, Stephen
Year of Publication: 2003
Abstract:

Loosely based on an Evelyn Waugh novel, Bright Young Things explores the culture of affluence, jazz, and cultural transformations in interwar England. A group of bohemian artists, journalists, and the idle rich seek out sexual...

Director(s): Tavernier, Bertrand
Year of Publication: 1996
Abstract:

Based on the acclaimed novel by Roger Vercel, this film explores ideas of civilization and humanity during and after World War I. Conan leads a band of former military prisoners who violently attack both enemy and civilian alike during and after...

Director(s): Schatzky, Olivier
Year of Publication: 2014
Abstract:

Inspired by the memoirs of Maurice Genevoix, this television series explores the loss of innocence and bonds of brotherhood forged during World War I. Genevoix eagerly volunteers for the French Army when war breaks out, but such excitement...

Director(s): Vasilev, Sergei
Year of Publication: 1934
Major Wars:
Abstract:

This popular propaganda film of the Soviet Realist era celebrates Vassilii Ivanovich Chapaev, a military hero of the Russian Civil War. Chapaev, an illiterate son of peasants, proves to be a brilliant strategist against the White Army. His...

Director(s): Rogozhkin, Aleksandr
Year of Publication: 1992
Major Wars:
Abstract:

Produced shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union, this film offers a damning critique of the Bolshevik Revolution. CHEKA, the Bolshevik secret police, round up and execute opponets, political dissidents, and ordinary people to impose absolute...

Director(s): Schlöndorff, Volker
Year of Publication: 1976
Abstract:

Set in Latvia during the Russian Civil War and World War I, Coup de Grâce offers a devastating critique of the impact of war and masculinity on sexuality, femininity, and personal politics. After Erich, a German soldier, rejects her...

Director(s): Griffith, Kenneth
Year of Publication: 1997
Major Wars:
Abstract:

Acclaimed documentarian Kenneth Griffith's film marking the 50th anniversary of the Easter Uprising, the seminal 1916 event that launched the Irish War of Independence. Nine veterans of the Irish Republican Army recall their awakening to Irish...

Director(s): Autant-Lara, Claude
Year of Publication: 1947
Abstract:

During the First World War in France, a young nurse in a military hospital--who is engaged to a soldier away at the front--begins a relationship with a high school student, too young to join the Army. However, she and her lover drift apart, and...

Director(s): Lean, David
Year of Publication: 1965
Abstract:

An epic love story set between the Russian Revolution and Stalin's Great Purge. Yuri Zhivago and Lara Lara Guishar fall in love years later after war and revolution have profoundly reshaped their lives. Duties to others keeps them apart. 

Director(s): Dovzhenko, Aleksandr
Year of Publication: 1930
Major Wars:
Abstract:

Widely regarded as a masterpiece of Soviet silent film and capping Alexander Dovzhenko's trilogy about the relationship between the Ukraine and the Soviet Union, Earth tackles the politics of collectivization and class in the Ukrainian...

Director(s): Wilcox, Herbert
Year of Publication: 1948
Abstract:

This film explores how women, women's roles, and ideas of femininity change through war. Spanning nearly 100 years across four wars (Crimean War, Boer War, World War I, and World War II), the women of Ladymead become more independent while their...

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