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): Gamboa, Zézé
Year of Publication: 2004

A 20-year veteran of the Angolan civil war returns to the capital city of Luanda where he faces the challenges of assimilation and survival.

Director(s): Chouraqui, Élie
Year of Publication: 2006

A friendship between two Americans is tested during the conflicts surrounding the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. Said, a Palestinian immigrant, and Bobby, a Jew, leave New York to support their respective sides. 

Director(s): Panijel, Jacques
Year of Publication: 1962

This documentary, censored for over ten years, explores the Paris Massacre of 1961 during the Algerian War for Independence (1954-1962) through interviews, newsreel, and re-enactments. After implementing a curfew for all Algerians in the city,...

Director(s): Abu-Assad, Hany
Year of Publication: 2013

Omar is accustomed to dodging surveillance bullets to cross the separation wall to visit his secret love Nadia. But occupied Palestine knows neither simple love nor clear-cut war. When Omar is captured after a deadly act of resistance, he falls...

Director(s): Kramer, Stanley
Year of Publication: 1959

On the Beach tapped into Cold War fears of nuclear annihilation and World War III. After the northern hemisphere is left uninhabitable from radiation, Americans find refuge in Australia. Survivors soon hear Morse code coming from the...

Director(s): Macdonald, Kevin
Year of Publication: 1999

This documentary presents the massacre of Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists during the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. Existing footage and interviews emphasize the lack of security, the botched rescue mission, and the preparation of the...

Director(s): Wilder, Billy
Year of Publication: 1961

This Cold War screwball comedy is based on the 1929 Hungarian one-act play Egy, kettő, három by Ferenc Molnár, with a "plot borrowed partly from" Ninotchka, a 1939 film co-written by Billy Wilder. C.R. MacNamara (James Cagney)...

Director(s): Solum, Ola
Year of Publication: 1985

Based on Jon Michelet's 1977 novel by the same name, Orion's Belt offers a biting critique of the Norwegian policy of allowing a Soviet presence on Svalbard during the Cold War. The film follows three Svalbard-based shabby seamen, played...

Director(s): Reed, Carol
Year of Publication: 1959

An adaptation of Graham Greene's 1958 novel, Our Man in Havana brings a deft touch to the Cold War spy game. British expatriate Jim Wormold (Alec Guinness) runs a vacuum cleaner store in pre-revolutionary Havana, Cuba. He has promised...

Director(s): Angus Macqueen
Year of Publication: 1996

At the end of the Second World War, Soviet and American troops met and rejoiced at the defeat of Nazi Germany. The mood on the river Elbe was one of camaraderie between Allies, and their optimism was shared by the liberated populations of Europe...

Director(s): Jennifer Clayton
Year of Publication: 1996

Part 13 of the film series People's Century: 1900-1999, Freedom Now: Colonial Rule Is Overthrown in Asia and Africa, focuses on the anticolonial...

Director(s): Bill Treharne Jones
Year of Publication: 1997

While in the second half of the century there are fewer conventional wars, civil conflicts under the backdrop of superpower rivalries emerge, fought by ideologically-driven guerrilla movements. Part 23 of the film series, ...

Director(s): David Espar
Year of Publication: 1995

At the end of the twentieth century People's Century looks back at the story of our times. This twenty-six part PBS television series offers new insight into the turbulent events of these hundred years through the revealing personal...

Director(s): Vautier, René
Year of Publication: 1963

In 1962, the French film director René Vautier, together with some Algerian friends, organized an audiovisual formation center to encourage a “dialogue in images” between the two factions involved in the Algerian War (1954–62). A film was edited...

Director(s): Robinson, Todd
Year of Publication: 2013

Phantom offers a fictionalized account of the sinking of the Soviet submarine K-129 in 1968. A retiring captain and his new executive officer embark on a new mission, but a group of rogue KGB officers take control of the sub. They plan...