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): 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 (1954-1962) 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...

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 (June 5 – 10, 1967), an Israeli woman struggles to forge her new identity in the face of grief,  bereavement and societal expectations. Tamar's friends and family believe she should behave as a...

Director(s): Solanas, Fernando E.
Year of Publication: 2004

In this visually arresting documentary, director Fernando E. Solanas weaves together the threads of globalization, neoliberalism, and political corruption to explain the decaying social, economic, and political fabric of Argentina in the late...

Director(s): Jacir, Annemarie
Year of Publication: 2008

Soraya, born in Brooklyn in a working class community of Palestinian refugees, discovers that her grandfather's savings were frozen in a bank account in Jaffa when he was exiled in 1948. Direct, stubborn, and determined to reclaim what is hers,...

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

This Cold War sports drama tells the story of Coach Herb Brooks (1937–2003), who led the U.S. Hockey team to Olympic Gold in 1980 after defeating the Soviet Union. 

Director(s): Stern, Steven Hilliard
Year of Publication: 1981

The Olympics often became a site of Cold War cultural tensions, pitting the United States against the Soviet Union. This film is based on real events and shows how the U.S. Olympic hockey team defeated the heavily-favored Soviets at the 1980 Lake...

Director(s): Aractingi, Philippe
Year of Publication: 2013

When director Philippe Aractingi is forced to leave his native Lebanon for the third time, the realization dawns on him: his ancestors have been fleeing wars for five generations. Exploring his roots, Aractingi goes back to the fall of the...

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): Gomes, Flora
Year of Publication: 1988

This film explores the struggles of a woman during and after the Guinea-Bissau War of Independence (1963-1974), fought between Portugal and its colony for over 500 years. Diminga, wife to a wounded guerilla commander, travels to the front lines...

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

Moscow on the Hudson is a 1984 American romantic comedy-drama about Vladimir Ivanoff, a Russian saxophonist (Robin Williams) visiting New York with a circus troupe, who suddenly decides to defect from the USSR during a shopping trip to...

Director(s): Spielberg, Steven
Year of Publication: 2005

After Black September's assassination of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972, Prime Minister Golda Meir okays a covert operation to hunt down and kill all involved. A team of five gathers in Switzerland led by Avner, a low-level...

Director(s): Resnais, Alain
Year of Publication: 1963

Family, friends, and strangers obsessively hold onto memories of the past within the changing French nation in the aftermath of the Algerian War for Independence (1954–1962). In the seacoast town of Boulogne, Hélène sells antique furniture,...

Director(s): Macdonald, Kevin
Year of Publication: 2007

This documentary reveals the conflicting aims of U.S. foreign policy in the Cold War era by exploring the life of German SS Officer Klaus Barbie. Barbie's war crimes in World War II earned him the name "the Butcher of Lyon," yet he was one of...

Director(s): Daves, Delmer
Year of Publication: 1953

Based on the 1949 novel Came the Dawn by Roger Bax, the Cold War film follows the disrupted love story between an American journalist and a Russian ballerina. Separated by the KGB on their attempt to leave the Soviet Union for the United...

Director(s): Hoàng, Vĩnh Lộc
Year of Publication: 1971

My Lan, a radio broadcaster of a program titled The Soldier's Heart  asks a South Vietnamese army colonel to allow her to travel to the front lines of the Vietnam War to search for her lover. Their relationship began through...

Director(s): Mann, Delbert
Year of Publication: 1982

Night Crossing is a 1982 British-American drama film, based on the true story of the Strelzyk and Wetzel families, who on September 16, 1979, fled from East Germany to West Germany in a homemade hot air balloon, when emigration to...

Director(s): Hitchcock, Alfred
Year of Publication: 1959

Director Alfred Hitchcock tackles a case of mistaken identity and a murder mystery in this masterful exploration of Cold War America. This classic suspense film finds New York City ad executive Roger O. Thornhill (Cary Grant) pursued by ruthless...

Director(s): Tasma, Alain
Year of Publication: 2005

This television film traces multiple perspectives of the October Massacre during the Algerian War of Independence. It follows members of the National Liberation Front (FLN), French military officers, Parisian police, journalists, and school...