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): Enrico, Robert
Year of Publication: 1963
Abstract:

A young French veteran of the Algerian War of Independence returns home to live the good life. After struggling to obtain it, the army recalls him to service. 

Director(s): Courrière, Yves
Year of Publication: 1972
Abstract:

From the first attacks of November 1954 to Algerian independence in 1962, this landmark documentary disrupts familiar narratives of the Algerian conflict by presenting it through eyewitness testimony previously unavailable to the public and...

Director(s): Tavernier, Betrand
Year of Publication: 1992
Abstract:

This documentary focuses on the experiences of French veterans of the Algerian War of Independence. The memories of two dozen veterans provide anguished and honest accounts of a conflict that had yet to be called a war by their nation.

Director(s): Heynemann, Laurent
Year of Publication: 1977
Abstract:

Based on the controversial memoir by Henri Alleg, La Question highlights the role of torture in the Algerian War for Independence. The film recounts Alleg's detention and torture by French officials.

Director(s): Faucon, Philippe
Year of Publication: 2006
Abstract:

Lieutenant Roque attempts to bridge suspicions and tensions among a diverse group of soldiers under his command, including French nationals, French born in North Africa, and native Algerians, during the Algerian War of Independence. The film...

Director(s): Cassan, Charly
Year of Publication: 2013
Abstract:

A documentary detailing the consequences of the Algerian War for two groups: the harkis, native Algerians who served on the side of France for diverse reasons, and the pieds noirs, colonists of European descent. Neither were welcome in...

Director(s): Masharawi, Rashid
Year of Publication: 2008
Abstract:

An ordinary errand reveals the surreal everyday life of Palestinians in the West Bank. Abu, a former judge turned cab driver, deals with heavy traffic, unruly passengers, and surprise attacks to bring his 7 year-old daughter her birthday cake and...

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

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 the Vietnam War. The film's message of loss, despair, and grief reveals the larger impact of how...

Director(s): Cavalier, Alain
Year of Publication: 1962
Abstract:

This French New Wave drama reveals the political instability that engulfed France during the Algerian War of Independence. A son of an industrialist joins a right-wing, nationalist terrorist organization (loosely resembling the OAS) but is soon...

Director(s): Schoendoerffer, Pierre
Year of Publication: 1977
Abstract:

This film memorializes the French wars of de-colonization in Vietnam and Algeria by offering a romantic view of a disgraced French military officer. Known as the "crabe tambour" (crab drummer), Lt. Willsdorff inspires his men with his tenacity...

Director(s): Claude Berri
Year of Publication: 1970
Abstract:

One of the earliest mainstream French films that addressed the Algerian War. A private has no desire to serve in Algeria, and tries to call in a favor to avoid being drafted.

Director(s): Gianni Amelio
Year of Publication: 2012
Abstract:

August 1957: A famous writer in his forties, Jacques Cormery, visits his mother who lives in Algiers. The city is undergoing the urban warfare of the Battle of Algiers during the Algerian War of Independence. Cormery reflects on his school years...

Director(s): Abdelkrim Bahloul
Year of Publication: 2003
Abstract:

The poet and radio personality Jean Sénac was a pied-noir (European colonist) who chose to stay in Algeria after its independence in 1962, strongly attached to the country he was born and raised in. Ten years later, he was under surveillance by...

Director(s): Maoz, Samuel
Year of Publication: 2009
Abstract:

In this critically acclaimed drama, director Samuel Moaz offers an innovative take of the Lebanon War partly informed by his own experiences as an Israeli soldier. Set inside an armored tank, a small crew of soldiers enters a devastated but still...

Director(s): Riklis, Eran
Year of Publication: 2008
Abstract:

A grove of lemon trees becomes a metaphor for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. When the Israeli Defense Minister moves to a house bordering the West Bank, his security team views his neighbor's lemon trees as a potential threat. Salma, a...

Director(s): Zemmouri, Mahmoud
Year of Publication: 1986
Abstract:

Director Mahmoud Zemmouri, an Algerian émigré, offers a satirical perspective of the Algerian War of Independence. Two young men exchange their teenage rebellion, expressed through their obsession with pop culture, with the one surrounding them....

Director(s): Demy, Jacques
Year of Publication: 1964
Abstract:

Two young French lovers are altered by the Algerian War for Independence. Geneviève learns she is pregnant from her love affair with Guy, who has been drafted into the war. She agrees to marry a rich man to giver her child a better life. Guy opts...

Director(s): Rostan, Philippe
Year of Publication: 2010
Abstract:

This documentary traces the life of Madeleine Riffaud, a French poet and journalist who participated in and documented resistance during war. After gaining notoriety for her bold actions in World War II, she turned her attention to the Vietnamese...

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