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): Ford, John
Year of Publication: 1935
Major Wars:
Abstract:

The Informer explores guilt and personal morals during the Irish War for Independence. Ousted by the Irish Republican Army, Gypo Nolan turns his friend over to the Black and Tans for reward money and indirectly causes his death. His...

Director(s): Warner, Deborah
Year of Publication: 1999
Major Wars:
Abstract:

Based on the novel by Elizabeth Bowen, The Last September charts the decline of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy during the Irish War for Independence. Set at County Cork estate in the fall of 1920, an aristocratic couple hosts their young...

Director(s): Powell, Michael
Year of Publication: 1943
Abstract:

Widely considered a masterpiece, directors Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger explore the changing notions of modern warfare against the tradition of British military systems from the Boer War to World War II. Centered on Clive Candy, an aging...

Director(s): Raymond Bernard
Year of Publication: 1938
Abstract:

This film takes place in 1914, and analyzes the reactions of a French village "under the German boot" at the moment of the battle of the Marne, while two adolescents live a love story like Romeo and Juliette. A German officer has been killed, and...

Director(s): Dupeyron, François
Year of Publication: 2001
Abstract:

The horrors of modern warfare during World War I left men horrifically disfigured. This film recounts the story of Adrien, a handsome French soldier who becomes one of the "gueules cassées" ("broken faces") after a German shell explodes in his...

Director(s): Barnet, Boris
Year of Publication: 1933
Abstract:

Outskirts is an internationally renowned masterpiece of early sound cinema. In a remote Russian village during World War I, colorful and nuanced characters experience divided loyalties: family loyalty vs. personal desire, nationalism vs....

Director(s): Müllerschön, Nikolai
Year of Publication: 2008
Abstract:

This romanticized account of Baron Manfred von Richthofen, the famed German fighter pilot, interrogates his role in World War I. Richthofen orders his men to save the lives of the enemy pilots in downed aircraft, and his romance with a nurse...

Director(s): Connolly, Colm
Year of Publication: 1991
Major Wars:
Abstract:

A documentary on the life and death of Michael Collins, leader of the Irish independence movement during the early 20th century. It investigates the mystery of his death surrounding his death in 1922 at Béalnabláth in West Cork.

Director(s): Lewis, Jonathan
Year of Publication: 1991
Major Wars:
Abstract:

A made-for-television movie about the politics and drama behind the Anglo-Irish Treaty that ended the Irish War for Independence and created a free Irish state. Negotiations between the British and Irish leaders, which include Lloyd George and ...

Director(s): Ivory, James
Year of Publication: 2005
Major Wars:
Abstract:

A former Russian countess and a blind American form a relationship in Shanghai before the Second Sino-Japanese War. Countess Sofia Belinskaya supports her aristocratic family, all of whom fled Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution, by driving a...

Director(s): Loach, Ken
Year of Publication: 2007
Major Wars:
Abstract:

Against the backdrop of the Irish War of Independence, two brothers fight a guerrilla war against British forces. [IMBd]

Director(s): Loach, Ken
Year of Publication: 2006
Major Wars:
Abstract:

In this winner of the 2006 Palm D'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, this film explores the lives and politics of two brothers during the Irish War for Independence and the Irish Civil War. Damian initially believes independence is futile, while...

Director(s): Franju, Georges
Year of Publication: 1965
Abstract:

Based on the novel by Jean Cocteau, a French aristocrat and commoner forge an unshakable bond in World War I. Princess of Bormes shepherds wounded soldiers from the front to her Parisian home for medical care. Thomas, assuming the identity of a...

Director(s): Kulik, Buzz
Year of Publication: 1968
Abstract:

Villa Rides turns the Mexican Revolution into a spaghetti western. Revolutionary Pancho Villa forces an American pilot and gunrunner to join his campaign.

Director(s): Alessandrini, Goffredo
Year of Publication: 1942
Abstract:

A story of doomed love within a corrupt political world, based on the semi-autobiographical debut novel of the same title by Ayn Rand (produced, however, without securing the rights from her). At 18, the beautiful and smart Kira comes to...

Director(s): Motyl, Vladimir
Year of Publication: 1970
Major Wars:
Abstract:

One of the most popular films in the Soviet Union and Russia, White Sun of the Desert portrays the Russian Civil War in the vein of a classic American western. Fyodor Sukhov, a Red Army soldier on his way home, wanders in Central Asia...

Director(s): Vincent, David
Year of Publication: 2014
Abstract:

This short documentary raises questions about women's changing roles in England during World War I. Women took on traditionally men's roles by becoming factory workers, police officers, and surgeons as well as by forming football (soccer) leagues...

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