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): Lean, David
Year of Publication: 1962
Abstract:

Widely considered one of the best films ever made, Lawrence of Arabia explores questions of British identity and colonialism during and after World War I. It focuses on writer, military officer, and archaeologist T.E. Lawrence's...

Director(s): Zwick, Edward
Year of Publication: 1994
Abstract:

World War I tears apart a family of brothers in this epic Western drama. Alfred, Tristan, and Samuel Ludlow live in the rustic Montana wilderness, guided by their father who was a veteran of the late 19th century Indian Wars. Samuel returns home...

Director(s): Bernard, Raymond
Year of Publication: 1932
Abstract:

1914, France. Student Gilbert Demachy enlists when the hostilities begin. His youthful illusions are quickly dashed against the hard realities of war, and it's at the side of his comrade Sulphart that he will live through the offensives, the...

Director(s): Le Bomin, Gabriel
Year of Publication: 2006
Abstract:

Shortly after World War I, a professor develops new methods for treating war traumas. Antonin Verset, a former soldier, must relive his memories of horror to be free from them. 

Director(s): Fernando de Fuentes
Year of Publication: 1936
Abstract:

Director Fernando de Fuentes overturns myths and heroes of the Mexican Revolution in this landmark film that ushered in Mexican cinema's "Golden Age." Six peasants leave their homes in San Padro to join Pancho Villa's army. One by one they...

Director(s): Tavernier, Bertrand
Year of Publication: 1989
Abstract:

Set after World War I, two women and one officer embody the French nation's trauma and mourning process. Major Dellaplane attempts to find and identify 350,000 missing soldiers. Two women search for their lost loved ones, representing different...

Director(s): Brunard, Alain
Year of Publication: 2014
Abstract:

A made-for-television movie, Marie Curie: A Woman on the Front chronicles the young French scientist's contributions to the homefront and professional medicine during World War I. In 1914 Curie set out to work in military hospitals. ...

Director(s): Hubert, Jean-Loup
Year of Publication: 1997
Abstract:

Men wounded in World War I find new life at a rehabilitation facility. One of them falls in love with a local school teacher. Their happiness is disrupted when called to go to war again.

Director(s): Bernard, Raymond
Year of Publication: 1937
Abstract:

This film tells the story of a female Alsatian spy who worked for France during the First World War, based on Marthe Richard's memoirs, whose veracity is somewhat doubtful. Richard was the sixth French woman to receive a pilot's license, ran in...

Director(s): Jordan, Neil
Year of Publication: 1996
Major Wars:
Abstract:

Neil Jordan's historical biopic of Irish revolutionary Michael Collins, the man who led a guerrilla war against the UK, helped negotiate the creation of the Irish Free State, and led the National Army during the Irish Civil War. [IMBd]

Director(s): Jordan, Neil
Year of Publication: 1996
Major Wars:
Abstract:

Beginning with the Easter Uprising of 1916 to the assassination of Michael Collins in 1922, this epic biopic reveals the revolutionary leader's central role in the creation the Republic of Ireland. Collin's relationship with Éamon de Valera...

Director(s): Pudovkin, Vsevolod
Year of Publication: 1926
Major Wars:
Abstract:

The first of director Vsevolod Pudovkin's "revolutionary trilogy," Mother explores a working-class woman's political awakening during the Russian Revolution of 1905. After her husband dies during a labor strike, Pelageya denounces...

Director(s): Aleksandrov, Grigori
Year of Publication: 1928
Major Wars:
Abstract:

In documentary style, events in Petrograd are re-enacted from the end of the monarchy in February of 1917 to the end of the provisional government and the decrees of peace and of land in November of that year. Lenin returns in April. In July,...

Director(s): Eisenstein, Sergei M.
Year of Publication: 1928
Abstract:

Commissioned by the U.S.S.R for the tenth anniversary of the October Revolution in 1917, this celebratory documentary film portrays events in revolutionary Petrograd (St. Petersburg) such as the end of the Russian monarchy and provisional...

Director(s): Griffith, D.W.
Year of Publication: 1921
Major Wars:
Abstract:

Director D.W. Griffith created politically influential images of race, gender, and violence in the silent film era that still resonates in American cinema and politics today. This film shows the experiences of two women traveling to Paris who get...

Director(s): White, Susanna
Year of Publication: 2012
Abstract:

In this HBO-BBC-VRT miniseries, an English aristocrat awakens to the modern world shaped by feminism and World War I. Spanning from 1908 to 1918, Christopher Tietjens continues to honor tradition with a socially approved marriage and service in...

Director(s): Gance, Abel
Year of Publication: 1940
Abstract:

An exploration of how war transforms a man's life and relationship with women in interwar France. On the front in World War I, Pierre receives news that he lost his wife in childbirth. He learns to love his daughter, whose own happiness is...

Director(s): Schatzky, Olivier
Year of Publication: 2011
Abstract:

A young man reconstructs his dreams after the tragedy of World War I. Louis Midavaine's hopes of becoming an artist and establishing life with the woman he loves fall to the horrors of war. While recovering from injury, he learns how to laquer...

Director(s): Herzog, Werner
Year of Publication: 2015
Abstract:

At the beginning of World War I, Allied nations turned to British-born Gertrude Bell to help organize the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire. Queen of the Desert offers a sweeping account of her life, her travels throughout the Middle East, and...

Director(s): Louhimies, Aku
Year of Publication: 2016
Abstract:

This televised miniseries explores the emergence of Irish nationalism during World War I. Friendships and relationships disintegrate as war disrupts society. In 1916 Irish rebels lead an insurrection, known as Easter Rising, the most successful...

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