Films about the Age of Second 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:

  • Cold War (1946–91)
  • Arab-Israeli Conflicts (1947ff)
  • War of Indonesian Independence (1945–49)
  • Korean War (1950–53)
  • African Wars for Independence (1952ff)
  • Algerian War (1954–62)
  • Indochina Wars (1946–79)

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Director(s): Schlesinger, John
Year of Publication: 1985

Based on the 1979 book, The Falcon and the Snowman: A True Story of Friendship and Espionage by Robert Lindsey, this film relays the true story of two young American men, Christopher Boyce (1953-) and Andrew Daulton Lee (1952-), who sold...

Director(s): MacKenzie, John
Year of Publication: 1987

This Cold War thriller, based on the 1984 novel of the same name by Frederick Forsyth, presents a Soviet plot to detonate the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom. A Soviet spy (Pierce Brosnan), recently relocated...

Director(s): Moreh, Dror
Year of Publication: 2012

This Oscar-nominated documentary explores the role of Shin Bet, the Israeli internal security force, and its role in shaping Israel's history since the Six-Day War. Interviews with six former directors, archival footage, and animated sequences ...

Director(s): Wayne, John
Year of Publication: 1968

U.S. Special Forces troops ("Green Berets") under the command of Colonel Mike Kirby  (John Wayne) defend a firebase during the Vietnam War. War correspondent George Beckwith (Davis Janssen), who objects to both the war and the means by which it...

Director(s): McTiernan, John
Year of Publication: 1990

A new technologically superior Soviet nuclear sub, the Red October, is heading for the United States coast under the command of Captain Ramius. The American government thinks Ramius is planning to attack. A lone CIA analyst has a different idea:...

Director(s): Furie, Sidney J
Year of Publication: 1965

The Ipcress File is a 1965 British espionage film, based on Len Deighton's novel The IPCRESS File (1962). Tasked with investigating the kidnappings and brainwashed reappearances of top scientists, including Dr. Radcliffe (Aubrey...

Director(s): Litvak, Anatole
Year of Publication: 1959

During the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, a group of international travelers tries to get out of Budapest, but are thwarted at every turn by the Soviets. With the airport closed, they decide to flee by bus, but are stopped at the Austrian border...

Director(s): Bertolucci, Bernardo
Year of Publication: 1987

The Last Emperor is a 1987 epic biographical drama film, directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, about the life of Puyi (1906-1967), the last Emperor of China. Puyi's autobiography, From Emperor to Citizen, published initially in 1960...

Director(s): Macdonald, Kevin
Year of Publication: 2006

The Last King of Scotland presents the life of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin (1925–2003) through the eyes of his (fictitious) personal physician. Nicholas Garrigan, a young Scottish doctor, arrives in Uganda in the early 1970s to work at a...

Director(s): Roth, Lynn
Year of Publication: 2009

Based on the novel Panther in the Basement by Amos Oz, the movie takes place in Palestine in 1947, just a few months before Israel becomes a state. Proffy Liebowitz, a militant yet sensitive eleven year old wants nothing more than for...

Director(s): Frankenheimer, John
Year of Publication: 1962

A masterpiece of political satire, The Manchurian Candidate explores fear, paranoia, and the culture of the Cold War and McCarthyism in early 1960s America. After suffering from recurring nightmares about an incident during the Korean...

Director(s): Page, Anthony
Year of Publication: 1974

A made-for-television play, Missiles of October gave American audiences its first dramatization of the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962 during the Cold War. It focused on the Kennedy administration's discussions, disagreements, and...

Director(s): Peckinpah, Sam
Year of Publication: 1983

Based on the 1972 novel of the same title by Robert Ludlum, The Osterman Weekend  is an American suspense thriller film about late Cold War tensions. The film plot follows an outspoken television personality, John Tanner (Rutger Hauer),...

Director(s): Robson, Mark
Year of Publication: 1963

The Prize is a 1963 American spy film, based on a 1962 novel of the same title by Irving Wallace. A group of Nobel laureates descend on Stockholm to accept their awards. Among them is American novelist Andrew Craig (Paul Newman), a...

Director(s): Mankiewicz, Joseph L.
Year of Publication: 1958

An innocent and enigmatic young American economist (Audie Murphy) and an embittered and cynical English journalist (Michael Redgrave) are both involved with a young Vietnamese woman (Giorgia Moll). Although the original novel was a critique of...

Director(s): Noyce, Phillip
Year of Publication: 2002

Based on Graham Greene's bestselling 1955 novel of the same name, this remake tackles the moral ambiguity of American involvement in the First Indochina War (1945–54). CIA operative Alden Pyle (Brendan Fraser) works to erect a third force between...

Director(s): Sidney, George
Year of Publication: 1949

As an example of Hollywood's anti-communism in the early Cold War, this film combines the classic tropes of the defector and the damsel-in-distress to warn about the dangers of the Soviet Union.  Assigned to repatriate Soviet nationals from...

Director(s): Springsteen, R. G
Year of Publication: 1949

In this Cold War B-movie, styled as a film noir, a disgruntled veteran becomes aware of the dangers of communism. Bill Jones joins the Communist Party USA after a real estate scam, but he soon realizes his mistake. After witnessing party leaders...