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): Stone, Oliver
Year of Publication: 1986

This Oscar-winning war drama based on director Oliver Stone's memories of the Vietnam War portrays the conflict as chaotic, disorienting, and disillusioning. Chris Taylor drops out of college to enlist and quickly finds himself out of place in...

Director(s): Rosenberg, Stuart
Year of Publication: 1961

In post-war East Germany, Peter Gottfried (Christian De Bresson) is the son of minister Friedrich Gottfried (Michael Gwynn). The Communist regime has decreed that all children of "dissidents" will be denied entry to a prestigious music...

Director(s): Boisset, Yves
Year of Publication: 1973

Controversial during its production and release, R.A.S. pulls from first-hand accounts to document the horrors of the Algerian War (1954-1962) through the perspective of three reluctant French conscripts. After experiencing a...

Director(s): Stone, Robert
Year of Publication: 1988

This internationally acclaimed, Oscar-nominated documentary explores the immediate and long-term effects of nuclear warfare by looking at the U.S. military test at Bikini Atoll. In the summer of 1946, the U.S. military tested the nuclear bomb to...

Director(s): Cosmatos, George
Year of Publication: 1985

Rambo: First Blood Part II is the second installment in the Rambo franchise. Sylvester Stallone reprises his role as John Rambo, a Vietnam War veteran...

Director(s): Milius, John
Year of Publication: 1984

Emblematic of heightened Cold War tensions during the 1980s, Red Dawn imagines World War III from the perspective of high school students in a small Colorado town. The film depicts a United States that has been invaded by the Soviet...

Director(s): Hill, Walter
Year of Publication: 1988

A dedicated Soviet cop (Arnold Schwarzenegger) arrives in Chicago, where he reluctantly teams up with a foul-mouthed American detective to search for the Russian drug dealer who killed both their partners. The drug plot connects the crack wave in...

Director(s): Zito, Joseph
Year of Publication: 1988

In this Cold War action film, a Soviet Special Forces soldier is sent on a mission to infiltrate the rebel army of an unknown African country and assassinate its leader. His encounters with indigenous peoples prompt him to support the anti-...

Director(s): Sonneborn, Barbara
Year of Publication: 1998

Produced over a span of ten years, filmmaker Barbara Sonneborn goes on a pilgrimage to the Vietnamese countryside where her husband was killed. She and translator (and fellow war widow) Xuan Ngoc Nguyen explore the meaning of war and loss on a...

Director(s): Werner Herzog
Year of Publication: 2006

This epic war drama, directed by Werner Herzog, is based on the true story of U.S. fighter pilot Dieter Dengler, played by Christian Bale. Dengler is shot down and captured by villagers sympathetic to the Pathet Lao during an American military...

Director(s): Horowitz, 'Yariv'
Year of Publication: 2012

The year is 1989. In an era of Palestinian demands for independence, the State of Israel sends young soldiers to oversee the Arab population in the Occupied Territories. After one of them is killed, the common fate of four young soldiers and one...

Director(s): Florey, Robert
Year of Publication: 1948

The movie Rouges’ Regiment, directed by Robert Florey, was the first American feature film to take place during the First Indochina War (1946–1954). An American intelligence agent and Nazi hunter is on the trail of a former SS war...

Director(s): Ustinov, Peter
Year of Publication: 1961

In this Romeo-and-Juliet story for the Cold War age, a president of a fictional European country tries to maintain neutrality in an important United Nations vote by encouraging forbidden love. In Concordia, the daughter of the American...

Director(s): Hachem, Georges
Year of Publication: 2010

A woman's reawakening leads to a battle for personal liberation during the Lebanese Civil War. Noha's meeting with an ex-lover, conflict with family, and witness to a brutal event prompts her to change her mind about marriage. Her decision causes...

Director(s): Friedkin, William
Year of Publication: 2000

This court-martial drama highlights loyalty and use of warfare in American engagement in Vietnam and later in the Middle East. Hayes Hodges finds his career aspirations dashed when he's wounded in Vietnam. He returns to America and becomes a...

Director(s): Seck, Amadou Saalum
Year of Publication: 1988

Filmed in the style of neorealism, Saaraba critically examines corruption and disillusionment in post-colonial Senegal. Tamsir returns to Senegal after 17 years in Europe. His uncle gives him a patronage job in Dakar, virtually without...

Director(s): Venault, Philippe
Year of Publication: 2011

In 1949, three 20-year-old childhood friends left their native village of Charente-Maritime for Indochina. As they discover love, they find themselves caught up in the turmoil of the Indochina war.

Director(s): Frankenheimer, John
Year of Publication: 1964

A planned military coup against the President of the United States threatens the nation during the Cold War. A nuclear disarmament treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union spurred the plot. Seven Days in May critiques the...

Director(s): Shinoda, Masahiro
Year of Publication: 1990

Childhood Days serves as a metaphor for Japan's transformation after World War II from a militaristic nation wedded to the past to a technological powerhouse shaping the future. A small bookish young boy flees Tokyo to live with family...

Director(s): Langton, Simon
Year of Publication: 1982

Based on a 1979 spy novel of the same title by John le Carré, and sequel to the 1974 novel Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by the same author that was also adapted into a filmSmiley's...