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): Iliou, Maria
Year of Publication: 2013
Abstract:

This documentary reveals a largely forgotten past by recounting the Great Fire of Smyrna, which destroyed the ancient Greek city in 1922 during the Greco-Turkish War. Shortly after World War I, the Greek government set up a military state in...

Director(s): Poirier, Léon
Year of Publication: 1937
Abstract:

Designed to inspire patriotism before World War II, this film explores the real-life story of two French women's contributions during the Great War. Louise de Bettignies (1880–1918) and Léonie Vanhout carry vital intelligence to the British...

Director(s): Protazanov, Yakov
Year of Publication: 1927
Major Wars:
Abstract:

The Forty-First is a 1927 Soviet silent film based on the eponymous novel by Boris Lavrenyov. The film is set during the Russian Civil War (1917–1922) and tells the story of a tragic romance between a female sniper of the Red Army and an...

Director(s): Chukhray, Grigoriy
Year of Publication: 1956
Major Wars:
Abstract:

The Forty-First is a 1956 Soviet film based on the eponymous novel by Boris Lavrenyov. A remake of the 1927 movie under the same name, The Forty-Firstthe film is set during the...

Director(s): Robert, Jean-Denis
Year of Publication: 1996
Abstract:

Based on the novel Le Boucher des Hurlus by Jean Amila, this film reveals the bitterness, tension, and disunity within France during and after World War I. An orphaned child seeks revenge for the dissolution of his family after a...

Director(s): Kent, James
Year of Publication: 2015
Abstract:

In 1933, Vera Brittain (1893-1970) published her renowned autobiography, Testament of Youth, in which she recounted her experiences as a British Volunteer Aid Detachment (VAD) nurse in...

Director(s): Huston, John
Year of Publication: 1951
Abstract:

The African Queen is a 1951 British–American adventure film adapted from the 1935 novel of the same name by C. S. Forester. In this classic Hollywood film, a British missionary and an American boat captain travel the Ulanga River to...

Director(s): David Evans
Year of Publication: 2014
Abstract:

This six-part British drama television series, written by one of British television’s most exciting and original writers, was broadcasted on BBC One in 2014. The series portrays the lives of medics and the patients at a field hospital in France...

Director(s): Akin, Fatih
Year of Publication: 2014
Abstract:

This film is based on the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire 1915, which resulted in the forced migration and diaspora of the Armenian minority. One day a young family man, Nazaret Manoogian, gets deported by the Turkish authorities together...

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

The Informer explores guilt and personal morals during the Irish War for Independence (1919–1921). Gypo Nolan (Victor McLaglen) is a former Irish Republican Army (IRA) man who drowns his sorrows in the bottle. He's desperate to escape...

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 (1919-23). Set at County Cork estate in the fall of 1920, an aristocratic couple hosts...

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 (1899–1902) to World War II. General Candy (Roger...

Director(s): Terry George
Year of Publication: 2016
Abstract:

This epic war drama portrays life in Istanbul during World War I and the accompanying dissolution of the Ottoman Empire,  including the Armenian genocide (1915–17). Starring Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac, and Charlotte Le Bon, the film raises...

Director(s): Walsh, Raoul
Year of Publication: 1928
Major Wars:
Abstract:

The story is set in Russia at the time of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. Tasia, a beautiful lower class dancer with communist beliefs, falls for the noble Grand Duke Eugene. At the outbreak of the Russian Revolution, the Duke falls in...

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

Using rare film footage, photographs, interviews and re-enactments, this documentary traces the life and death of Irish political activist Michael Collins (1890-1922), who was killed at Béalnabláth in West Cork when his Free State Army convoy...

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

The Treaty is a television movie about the politics behind the Anglo-Irish Treaty that ended the Irish War for Independence (1919-1922) and created a free Irish state. Negotiations between the British and Irish leaders, which included...

Director(s): William Boyd
Year of Publication: 1999
Abstract:

In this psychological drama, director William Boyd takes viewers into the minds and emotions of the young British soldiers who are preparing to fight in what will later be known as the Battle of the Somme, one of the deadliest battles in modern...

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

The Wind That Shakes the Barley is a 2006 Irish war drama film directed by Ken Loach, set during the Irish War of Independence (1919–1922) and the Irish Civil War (1922–1923). This drama tells the fictional story of two County Cork...

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

Based on the 1923 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...

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

And Quiet Flows the Don is a three-part epic 1958 Soviet film directed by Sergei Gerasimov based on the novel of the same title by Mikhail Sholokhov. The first two parts of the film were released in October 1957 and the final third part...

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