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): Schoendoerffer, Pierre
Year of Publication: 1977

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

Director(s): Godard, Jean-Luc
Year of Publication: 1960

This 1960 film, directed by Jean-Luc Godard, follows a Frenchman named Bruno Forestier, played by Michel Subor, who lives in Geneva during the Algerian War (1954–62) to escape enlistment. Forestier is nevertheless ordered by his superiors in...

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

One of the earliest mainstream French films that addressed the Algerian War (1954-1962). 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

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

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

In this critically acclaimed drama, director Samuel Moaz offers an innovative take of the Lebanon War 2006 partly informed by his own experiences as an Israeli soldier. Set inside an armored tank, a small crew of soldiers enters a devastated but...

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

Director Mahmoud Zemmouri, an Algerian émigré, offers a satirical perspective of the Algerian War of Independence (1954-1962). The story takes place in a small town of Algeria in the two last years of the war. Boualem and Sahah, two young...

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

Two young French lovers' lives are altered by the Algerian War for Independence (1954–1962). 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...

Director(s): Téchiné, André
Year of Publication: 1994

Four French adolescents transition to adulthood and discover their sexualities at the end of Algerian War for Independence. Serge, an Algerian immigrant, seduces his classmate François and tries to do the same to Maïté, François's best friend and...

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

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...

Director(s): Bernard, Chris
Year of Publication: 1985

In this English romantic comedy, two young women in Thatcher-era Liverpool, Elaine (Alexandra Pigg) and Teresa (Margi Clarke), meet a pair of Soviet sailors, Peter (Peter Firth) and Sergei (Alfred Molina), who are on shore leave. While Teresa and...

Director(s): Milland, Ray
Year of Publication: 1956

Lisbon is a 1956 American film noir crime film adapted from a short story by Martin Rackin. For Capt. Robert John Evans (Ray Milland), smuggling black-market goods is nothing out of the ordinary. But one day he's hired by Aristides...

Director(s): Benjamin, Richard
Year of Publication: 1988

An All-American teenager who wants to join the Air Force discovers his parents are Soviet spies in this late Cold War espionage thriller. With excellent performances from a top-notch cast, Little Nikita is a fast-paced suspense thriller in the...

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

Based on the 1957 novella, L'Hôte (The Guest), by Albert Camus, David Oelhoefen directs this story the story of two men on opposite sides of the Algerian War (1954–62) who find common ground. Daru, an Algerian-born French teacher of...

Director(s): Robson, Mark
Year of Publication: 1966

The war drama Lost Command, directed by Mark Robinson and based on the best-selling 1960 novel Les Centurions by Jean Lartéguy, explores France's loss of political control and military defeat in Indochina and Algeria through the...

Director(s): Arbid, Danielle
Year of Publication: 2004

Set in Beirut in 1983, torn by the prolonged civil war, twelve-year-old Lina is the sad and only child of an embattled couple, Fouad and his pregnant wife, Thérèse. Lina hovers on the outskirts of domestic strife as the family tries to cope with...

Director(s): Kazan, Elia
Year of Publication: 1953

Man on a Tightrope is a 1953 American film noir directed by Elia Kazan, based on a 1952 novel of the same title by Neil Paterson. Karel Cernik (Fredric March) is the owner of a small Czech circus that's been in his family for generations...