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): Ashby, Hal
Year of Publication: 1978

The winner of three Oscars, two Golden Globes, and several prizes at the Cannes Film Festival, Coming Home,directed by Hal Ashby, is the story of a Sally Hyde (Jane Fonda) whose husband (Bruce Dern) is fighting in Vietnam. Alone at home...

Director(s): Henckel von Donnersmarck, Florian
Year of Publication: 2006

This internationally acclaimed and Oscar winning film explores corruption and the surveillance state of East Germany in the mid-1980s. Captain Gerd Wiesler of the secret service (Stasi) spies on a famous playwright and his girlfriend but becomes...

Director(s): Cần, Hà Thúc
Year of Publication: 1973

Fleeing a North Vietnamese attack, two men return to their hometown of Hue to warn their family and loved ones shortly before the Tet Offensive in 1968 during the Vietnam War. The film's message of loss, despair, and grief reveals the larger...

Director(s): Huberty, Martin
Year of Publication: 2002

A young idealistic British man joins the French Foreign Legion to fight in the Algerian War. Their bonds, forged in brutal training, are tested when France declares Algeria independent. Different loyalties tear the group apart.

Director(s): Schoendoerffer, Pierre
Year of Publication: 1992

Closer to a documentary than a drama, this film draws from director Pierre Schoendoerffer’s personal experiences as an army cameraman in this battle. The film follows an American reporter as he finds himself in the middle of the 57-day battle of...

Director(s): Jackson, Mick
Year of Publication: 1986

Based on the true story of Yuri Nosenko (1927-2008), this TV film tells the story of a top KGB agent (Tommy Lee Jones) who defected to the United States in 1964. It aired as the second season finale of ...

Director(s): Kubrick, Stanley
Year of Publication: 1964

Rather than amplifying Cold War fears and hysteria in the early 1960s, director Stanley Kubrick's black comedy masterpiece satirizes them. A rogue American general orders B-52s to drop an atomic bomb on the Soviet Union. Back in the Pentagon's ...

Director(s): Meerapfel, Jeanine
Year of Publication: 2012

Argentina, in the middle fifties. Sulamit is the daughter of German-Jewish refugees. Friedrich is the son of German-Nazis refugees. Both children are closely friends as times goes by between the fall of Peron's Government in 1955 and the years of...

Director(s): Chahine, Youssef
Year of Publication: 1963

Director Youssef Chahine uses the history of the Third Crusade (1189–1192) to promote pan-Arab unity in the wake of de-colonization and wars with Israel in the early 1960s. Upon hearing of the slaughter of Muslims in in the Holy Lands, Saladin (...

Director(s): Robin, Marie-Monique
Year of Publication: 2003

Through interviews with military and intelligence officials, extant footage, and film clips, this documentary uncovers the French military's decisive role in the development of counter-insurgency techniques during the Cold War. After fighting...

Director(s): Siodmak, Robert
Year of Publication: 1962

One of the first films produced after the Berlin Wall divided the city in 1961, Escape from East Berlin mirrored real life stories of East Germans seeking freedom behind the Wall. After East Berlin chauffer Kurt Schroder (Don Murray)...

Director(s): von Trier, Lars
Year of Publication: 1991

In a highly technical visual style, director Lars von Trier explores the themes of accountability, gullibility, and guilt in post-World War II Germany. A simplistic American takes a job as a conductor of the Zentropa railway. The train serves as...

Director(s): Lumet, Sidney
Year of Publication: 1964

This chilling Cold War film, based on the 1962 novel of the same name by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler, reveals the dangers of nuclear warfare, militarism, and technology. During the Cold War, U.S. bomber jets are equipped with fail-safe...

Director(s): Hondo, Med
Year of Publication: 2004

In the summer of 1957, during the Algerian war, the Senegalese sub-lieutenant Souleymane Fall discovers among the bushes a young girl, Fatima, stunned, her eyes bulging with fear. He rapes her. This misfortune gives birth to a son with very black...

Director(s): Mohamed El Hadi Benadouda
Year of Publication: 2012

During the Algerian revolution, El Hadi joined his sister in France and became an active member of a secret FLN armed group. Encompassing settling of scores, attempted murder, hiding, imprisonment and finally deportation back to Algeria in 1962,...

Director(s): Almond, Paul
Year of Publication: 1980

Final Assignment is a 1980 Canadian thriller drama film about the late Cold War. Sparks fly between Nicole (Geneviève Bujold), a Western journalist on assignment in the Soviet Union, and government liaison Lyosha (Michael York), who has...

Director(s): Jolie, Angelina
Year of Publication: 2017

Based on the memoir by Loung Ung, this film by director Angelina Jolie explores the impact of the Cambodian genocide (from April 1975 to January 1973) on children after the Cambodian Civil War (...

Director(s): Clavell, James
Year of Publication: 1959

Five Gates to Hell tells the story of a group of a Red Cross doctor and several nurses, who are taken captive by guerillas in a fortress in the jungles of Vietnam. Forced to remain as sex slaves by a local warlord and the head of his...