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): 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: 1986

Two young British women have a night of fun with Russian sailors in 1980s Liverpool. Their personal relationships and personal ambitions show a thawing of the Cold War, and the constraints on the working-class women's lives reveal the harsh...

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): Mihaileanu, Radu
Year of Publication: 2005

During the early part of the Sudanese Civil War, a young boy escapes and pays a heavy emotional price. Schlomo, an Ethiopian Christian, and his mother face religious persecution in Sudan. She places her son with an Ethiopian Jewish woman waiting...

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

Lost Command explores France's loss of political control and military defeat in Indochina and Algeria through the eyes of a group of paratroopers. After suffering a humiliating defeat at Dien Bien Phu, Lt. Col. Pierre-Noel Raspeguy...

Director(s): Bartlett, Hall
Year of Publication: 1982

After the Laotian government cracks down on foreign journalists following the civil wars in Laos and Vietnam, Australian John Everingham remains behind to uncover the story. He is eventually arrested and exiled to Thailand after his lover turned...

Director(s): Berends, Andrew
Year of Publication: 2015

An unflinching and poetic glimpse into a forgotten war, Madina's Dream tells the story of rebels and refugees fighting to survive in Sudan's Nuba Mountains. After decades of civil war, South Sudan achieved its independence from Sudan in 2011. But...

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

Based on a true story, a leader of a circus troupe in Czechoslovakia attempts to defect to the United Stated in the early 1950s. The film shows why he decides to leave, providing propaganda for the efficiencies of American free enterprise, and...

Director(s): Chadwick, Justin
Year of Publication: 2013

A chronicle of Nelson Mandela's life journey from his childhood in a rural village through to his inauguration as the first democratically elected president of South Africa. [IMBd]

Director(s): Wisbar, Frank
Year of Publication: 1962

This German-Italian-Spanish production viewed the Algerian War of Independence through an anti-war lens. A commander of the French Foreign Legion takes his battle-scarred men to search for an Algerian nationalist leader. Though successful in...

Director(s): Dante, Joe
Year of Publication: 1993

A light-hearted comedy, Matinee romanticizes American innocence and Cold War culture before assassinations of political leaders and Vietnam disrupts them. A flashy producer of low-production horror and science fiction films arrives in a...

Director(s): Tofano, Gilberto
Year of Publication: 1969

After the death of her husband in the Six Day War, an Israeli woman struggles to forge her new identity. Tamar's friends and family believe she should behave as a proper widow, serving as a living memorial to her slain husband, but she wants to...

Director(s): Korki, Shawkat Amin
Year of Publication: 2014

In this absurdist black comedy, a filmmaking duo encounters tragedy and corruption as they attempt to make a movie about the Iraqi-led genocide of Kurds (the Al-Anfal campaign) during the Iran-Iraq War. 

Director(s): O'Connor, Gavin
Year of Publication: 2004

This Cold War sports drama tells the story of Coach Herb Brooks, who led the U.S. Hockey team to Olympic Gold in 1980 after defeating the Soviet Union. 

Director(s): Chetwynd, Lionel
Year of Publication: 1981

The Olympics often became a site of Cold War cultural tensions, pitting the United States against the Soviet Union. In 1980, the U.S. Olympic hockey team defeated the heavily-favored Soviets in Lake Placid, NY.

Director(s): Minh, Dang Nhat
Year of Publication: 1970

A child becomes entangled in the messy politics of the Vietnam War. Orphaned by war, little Nhung works as a maid for a rich family when Americans attack Saigon in early 1968. She communicates with Vietnamese soldiers to identify and defeat their...

Director(s): Herbiet, Laurent
Year of Publication: 2006

The murder of a high-profile French colonel opens up old wounds from the Algerian War for Independence. An investigator tracks down old connections and materials from the war to solve the case.

Director(s): Mazursky, Paul
Year of Publication: 1984

A Russian circus musician defects to the United States in this Cold War comedy. While in a New York Bloomingdale's, Vladimir Ivanoff flees from his handlers. A black security guard protects him and brings Ivanoff to his Harlem home. Despite...

Director(s): Spielberg, Steven
Year of Publication: 2006

Director Steven Spielberg explores vengeance and morality in an international episode of the Arab-Israeli conflict. After members of the Palestinian Liberation Organization murder Olympic athletes in the 1972 Munich games, the Israeli government...