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): Martin, Hugues
Year of Publication: 2010
Abstract:

A group of French soldiers encounter djinns (supernatural spirits) during the Algerian War. While on a rescue mission, they must fight off Algerian National Liberation Army forces as well as evil spirits of the desert. 

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

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): Kubrick, Stanley
Year of Publication: 1964
Major Wars:
Abstract:

This satirical film illustrates the president of the United States and his military personnel struggle to maintain national security on the home front after a mentally unable Air Force general launches a nuclear attack against the Soviet Union...

Director(s): Haroun, Mahamat-Saleh
Year of Publication: 2006
Abstract:

After Chad's government announces amnesty for war criminals at the conclusion of a civil war, an orphaned son orchestrates an elaborate revenge plot. Young Atim's relationships with his grandfather and the accused murderer of his father create...

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

Director Youssef Chahine uses the history of the Third Crusade 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, sultan of...

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

One of the first films produced after the Berlin Wall divided the city, Escape from East Berlin mirrored real life stories of East Germans seeking freedom behind the Wall. Kurt Schroder, a chauffeur to East German Major, agrees to help...

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

This chilling Cold War film reveals the dangers of nuclear warfare, militarism, and technology. After Strategic Command detects an unidentified intrusion into U.S. airspace, bombers armed with nuclear weapons are ordered to their fail-safe points...

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

Based on the novella L'Hôte by Albert Camus, two men on opposite sides of the Algerian War find common ground. Daru, a schoolteacher, escorts Mohamed, a peasant accused of the murder of his cousin, through the Atlas Mountains during a...

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

An interesting film that considers race, sexuality, and religion within the Algerian War for Independence. A French Senegalese rapes an Algerian woman. Years later he offers to marry her. Fatima accepts, in part to have a black father for her...

Director(s): Mohamed El Hadi Benadouda
Year of Publication: 2014
Abstract:

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
Major Wars:
Abstract:

In this Canadian Cold War thriller, a journalist working in the Soviet Union uncovers corruption and human rights abuses. She must work avoid the KGB and other spies to get the story out. 

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

Based on the memoir by Loung Ung, this film explores the impact of the Cambodian genocide on children after the Cambodian Civil War and during the Cambodian-Vietnamese War. Ung's family flees Phnom Penh after the Americans evacuate and the Khmer...

Director(s): Burnat, Emad
Year of Publication: 2011
Abstract:

5 Broken Cameras is a deeply personal, first-hand account of non-violent resistance in Bil'in, a West Bank village threatened by encroaching Israeli settlements. Shot almost entirely by Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat, the film follows...

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

An exploitation film of war and sexual violence, Five Gates to Hell represents the fears of communism that gripped Americans in the early Cold War. In the early 1950s, guerillas attack an army hospital in French Indochina, staffed by an...

Director(s): Sinclair, Ingrid
Year of Publication: 1996
Abstract:

This controversial film explores the meaning of independence through the lives of female soldiers during and after the Rhodesian Bush War/Zimbabwe War of Liberation. Two young women join the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army and rename...

Director(s): Rydell, Mark
Year of Publication: 1991
Abstract:

From World War II to the Vietnam War, two entertainers witness the drama behind the scenes of war. Dixie Leonard joins Eddie Sparks' U.S.O. tour and becomes an instant success. Over the course of thirty-five years, Dixie loses her husband, her...

Director(s): Young, Terence
Year of Publication: 1963
Major Wars:
Abstract:

Widely regarded as the best film in the 007 franchise, From Russia with Love places James Bond into the thicket of Cold War international politics. Bond must retrieve a Lektor decoder from a Soviet defector in Istanbul before the...

Director(s): Kubrick, Stanley
Year of Publication: 1987
Abstract:

An American soldier experiences the dehumanization of war from military training to the Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War. At Paris Island, new recruits encounter physical and emotional trauma as they become U.S. Marines. One escapes war through a...

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