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): Sam Mendes
Year of Publication: 2019
Abstract:

Directed by Sam Mendes, this film tells the story of two young British soldiers during the First World War who are ordered to deliver a message calling off an ill-advised attack soon after the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, the German...

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:

In this French romance drama  directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, a young French woman, Mathilde, is determined to find her fiancé, who has been missing and declared dead since disappearing during the Battle of the Somme from July to November 1916....

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): Lewis Milestone
Year of Publication: 1930
Abstract:

All Quiet on the Western Front is a 1930 American anti-war film based on the German novel, Im Westen Nichts Neues (1929), by Erich Maria Remarque (1898-1970). Directed by Lewis Milestone, the film won two Oscars for Best...

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): Ken Cameron
Year of Publication: 2014
Abstract:

Based on Peter Rees’ 2008 Book, The Other ANZACS, the series Anzac Girls is an Australian six-part television drama program first screened on Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in 2014. It tells the true story of nurses...

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): MacKinnon, Gillies
Year of Publication: 1997
Abstract:

Based on Pat Barker's 1991 novel, Regeneration, this film follows the stories of a number of officers in the British Army during World War I who are brought together in Craiglockhart War Hospital to be treated for various physical and...

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: 1993
Major Wars:
Abstract:

In 1973, Kenneth Griffith, the renowned documentary maker, gathered together a group of veterans of the Irish Rising. Almost half a century after the terrible events they lived through, this highly diverse group – branded terrorists by the...

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