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From Schindler’s List to Inglourious Basterds: Best WWII films and TV shows streaming on OTT

Ryan Gomez

Ryan Gomez
Jul 02, 2021

Nearly 80 years ago in the month of June 1942, the Allied Forces landed on the beaches of Normandy, France to defeat Nazi Germany. Over the years, countless films and TV adaptations have been made to retell the stories of the deadliest war mankind has ever seen. The following is a list of some of the best feature films and TV shows made about World War II.

1
Band of Brothers
9OTTplay Rating
HBO’s Band of Brothers is the only TV show on this list. The show is based on historian Stephen E Ambrose’s book of the same name. The series chronicles the history of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, of the 101st Airborne Division. Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks served as executive producers for the show. The series is one of the most authentic representations of the horrors of battle and war. It makes it a point to show that romanticising war is a fool’s errand - there is no glory waiting at the end of it for those who have fought – just pain and suffering.
2
Inglourious Basterds
8.4OTTplay Rating
Quinton Tarantino is a true genius when it comes to filmmaking. Like many of the directors of the films listed here, he does not know how to make bad films, and Inglorious Basterds is certainly one of his finest. In a slightly alternate take on World War II, a group of American soldiers are dropped into France to accelerate the fall of The Third Reich. The film’s editing, screenplay, visuals and sound design are simply spectacular. Christoph Waltz’s performances as SS Colonel Hans Landa, which earned him his first Oscar, will go down in history as one of the greatest villains in films. Tarantino, a master at editing scenes, directed three astonishing scenes in the movie - the opening scene, the ‘strudel scene’ and the ‘shootout in the basement’. Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Diane Kruger, Daniel Brühl, Eli Roth and Michael Fassbender were the top billed cast in the movie.
3
Saving Pirate Ryan
9OTTplay Rating
A movie that needs no introduction. The film is often regarded as one of the greatest war epics. It won 5 Academy Awards including Best Director for Stephen Spielberg. The story is about a group of American soldiers sent deep into France to rescue a private from behind enemy lines. The legend that is Tom Hanks, played the lead in the film, supported by an excellent ensemble cast which included Matt Damon.
4
Schindler's List
8.7OTTplay Rating
If Saving Private Ryan is the greatest war film ever made, then Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List is one of the greatest films ever made. The true horrors of the Holocaust and the dehumanisation of a community is portrayed in the film in excruciating details. The true story of one man’s mission to save people from hell on Earth is a tearjerker. Liam Neeson, Ralph Finnes, and Ben Kingsley star in this masterpiece.
5
Dunkirk
8OTTplay Rating
Christopher Nolan has earned a reputation of being one of the best in the business. He has successfully managed to make thought-provoking and complex storylines into blockbusters. For instance, his film The Dark Knight is a political thriller with Batman in it and Inception is a heist movie inside dreams. Similarly Dunkirk is a survival film under the guise of a war film. It is a cinematic achievement and purely based on the technical aspects of filmmaking, it is at the very top as one of the greatest films ever made. Ideally it must be viewed on a larger IMAX screen (70mm format). Additionally, the film has one of the most jaw dropping ensembles, which includes Mark Rylance, Cillian Murphy, Kenneth Branagh and Tom Hardy.
6
Fury
7.7OTTplay Rating
Before David Ayer was forced to release a studio-mandated drastically altered Suicide Squad to a critical panning in 2016, he directed an excellent World War II film about a tank unit fighting their way across war-torn Europe, called Fury. The film had a monumental task to match up to some of the predecessors in the genre. The film starring Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman, Shia LeBeouf, Michael Pena, Jon Bernthal and Jason Issacs, is elevated by their collective performances. Logan Lerman’s character acts as the conduit for the audience as they experience war from his point of view.
7
Casablanca
8.8OTTplay Rating
Casablanca is one of Hollywood’s greatest films ever produced. The film had two of the most influential and celebrated names in global cinema as the lead actors, Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. The film is a romantic drama set in the Moroccan city of Casablanca during World War II. The film explores various political themes, as well as love and war. The movie has inspired works of fiction across the globe since its release in 1942.
8
The Imitation Game
8.4OTTplay Rating
This is one of the most underrated films of the past decade. It is a biographical drama about the British mathematical genius, Alan Turing. Benedict Cumberbatch plays the role of Turing, whose actions may have helped save millions of lives during World War II. The film is crafted to near perfection with its stunning visuals, gripping screenplay, glorious sound design, and immaculate performances by the cast.
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