Favorite Top 40 WWII Films

by r13370_99 | created - 24 Feb 2015 | updated - 24 Feb 2015 | Public

A list of my favorite films depicting action during World War II.

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1. Objective, Burma! (1945)

Approved | 142 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

A platoon of special ops are tasked to parachute into the remote Burmese jungle and destroy a strategic Japanese radar station, but getting out isn't as easy.

Director: Raoul Walsh | Stars: Errol Flynn, James Brown, William Prince, George Tobias

Votes: 4,196

2. Run Silent Run Deep (1958)

Approved | 93 min | Action, Drama, War

A U.S. sub commander, obsessed with sinking a certain Japanese ship, butts heads with his first officer and crew.

Director: Robert Wise | Stars: Clark Gable, Burt Lancaster, Jack Warden, Brad Dexter

Votes: 9,743

3. They Were Expendable (1945)

Approved | 135 min | Drama, War

The PT boat unit Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Three defends the Philippines from Japanese invasion during World War II.

Directors: John Ford, Robert Montgomery | Stars: Robert Montgomery, John Wayne, Donna Reed, Jack Holt

Votes: 7,235

4. The Longest Day (1962)

G | 178 min | Action, Drama, History

75 Metascore

The events of D-Day, told on a grand scale from both the Allied and German points of view.

Directors: Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton, Gerd Oswald, Bernhard Wicki, Darryl F. Zanuck | Stars: John Wayne, Robert Ryan, Richard Burton, Henry Fonda

Votes: 50,558 | Gross: $39.10M

5. Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)

G | 144 min | Action, Drama, History

46 Metascore

In 1941, following months of economic embargo, Japan prepares to open its war against the United States with a preventive attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor.

Directors: Richard Fleischer, Kinji Fukasaku, Toshio Masuda | Stars: Martin Balsam, Sô Yamamura, Jason Robards, Joseph Cotten

Votes: 30,528 | Gross: $29.55M

6. A Bridge Too Far (1977)

PG | 175 min | Drama, History, War

Operation Market Garden, September 1944: The Allies attempt to capture several strategically important bridges in the Netherlands in the hope of breaking the German lines.

Director: Richard Attenborough | Stars: Sean Connery, Ryan O'Neal, Michael Caine, Laurence Olivier

Votes: 49,282 | Gross: $50.80M

7. Where Eagles Dare (1968)

PG | 158 min | Action, Adventure, War

63 Metascore

Allied Agents stage a daring raid on a castle where the Nazis are holding American Brigadier General George Carnaby (Robert Beatty) prisoner, but that's not all that's really going on.

Director: Brian G. Hutton | Stars: Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood, Mary Ure, Patrick Wymark

Votes: 49,450

8. The Guns of Navarone (1961)

TV-PG | 158 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

A British team is sent to cross occupied Greek territory and destroy the massive German gun emplacement that commands a key sea channel.

Director: J. Lee Thompson | Stars: David Niven, Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn, Anthony Quayle

Votes: 43,618 | Gross: $28.90M

9. The Enemy Below (1957)

Approved | 98 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

During World War II, an American destroyer meets a German U-Boat. Both captains are experts, and so begins a deadly game of cat-and-mouse.

Director: Dick Powell | Stars: Robert Mitchum, Curd Jürgens, David Hedison, Theodore Bikel

Votes: 9,282

10. Patton (1970)

GP | 172 min | Biography, Drama, War

91 Metascore

The World War II phase of the career of controversial American general George S. Patton.

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner | Stars: George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Stephen Young, Michael Strong

Votes: 90,861 | Gross: $61.70M

11. Go for Broke! (1951)

Passed | 92 min | Drama, History, War

The story of Japanese-American soldiers who fought in Europe during World War II.

Director: Robert Pirosh | Stars: Van Johnson, Lane Nakano, George Miki, Akira Fukunaga

Votes: 1,167

12. To Hell and Back (1955)

Approved | 106 min | Action, Biography, Drama

The true WWII story of Audie Murphy, the most decorated soldier in U.S. history. Based on the autobiography of Audie Murphy who stars as himself in the film.

Director: Jesse Hibbs | Stars: Audie Murphy, Marshall Thompson, Charles Drake, Jack Kelly

Votes: 4,677

13. Battleground (1949)

Approved | 118 min | Action, Drama, History

True tale about a squad of the 101st Airborne Division coping with being trapped by the Germans in the besieged city of Bastogne, Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge in December of 1944.

Director: William A. Wellman | Stars: Van Johnson, John Hodiak, Ricardo Montalban, George Murphy

Votes: 6,315 | Gross: $10.29M

14. Guadalcanal Diary (1943)

Approved | 93 min | Drama, War

The story of a large U.S. Marines invasion task force bound for Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands in 1942.

Director: Lewis Seiler | Stars: Preston Foster, Lloyd Nolan, William Bendix, Richard Conte

Votes: 1,933

15. Decision Before Dawn (1951)

Not Rated | 119 min | Drama, War

As the US Army approaches Nazi Germany, they recruit German prisoners to spy behind German lines.

Director: Anatole Litvak | Stars: Richard Basehart, Gary Merrill, Oskar Werner, Hildegard Knef

Votes: 2,249

16. Das Boot (1981)

R | 149 min | Adventure, Drama, Thriller

86 Metascore

The claustrophobic world of a WWII German U-boat; boredom, filth and sheer terror.

Director: Wolfgang Petersen | Stars: Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Klaus Wennemann, Hubertus Bengsch

Votes: 220,732 | Gross: $11.49M

17. Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944)

Passed | 138 min | Drama, History, War

In the wake of Pearl Harbor, a young lieutenant leaves his expectant wife to volunteer for a secret bombing mission which will take the war to the Japanese homeland.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Van Johnson, Robert Walker, Tim Murdock

Votes: 5,120

18. Desperate Journey (1942)

Approved | 107 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

When the crew of a downed British bomber escape from their Nazi captors with Top Secret intelligence, they make a desperate journey to get out of Germany alive.

Director: Raoul Walsh | Stars: Errol Flynn, Ronald Reagan, Nancy Coleman, Raymond Massey

Votes: 1,899

19. Hell Is for Heroes (1962)

Approved | 90 min | Drama, War

76 Metascore

Small squad must hold off German attack.

Director: Don Siegel | Stars: Steve McQueen, Bobby Darin, Fess Parker, Harry Guardino

Votes: 6,140

20. In Harm's Way (1965)

Approved | 165 min | Drama, War

A Naval officer, reprimanded after Pearl Harbor, is later promoted to Rear Admiral and gets a second chance to prove himself against the Japanese.

Director: Otto Preminger | Stars: John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Patricia Neal, Tom Tryon

Votes: 7,678 | Gross: $4.20M

21. The Great Escape (1963)

Not Rated | 172 min | Adventure, Drama, History

87 Metascore

Allied prisoners of war plan for several hundred of their number to escape from a German camp during World War II.

Director: John Sturges | Stars: Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson

Votes: 214,175 | Gross: $12.10M

22. The Dirty Dozen (1967)

Not Rated | 150 min | Action, Adventure, War

73 Metascore

During World War II, a rebellious U.S. Army Major is assigned a dozen convicted murderers to train and lead them into a mass assassination mission of German officers.

Director: Robert Aldrich | Stars: Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, John Cassavetes

Votes: 64,235 | Gross: $45.30M

23. Battle of Britain (1969)

G | 132 min | Action, Drama, History

In 1940, the British Royal Air Force fights a desperate battle to prevent the Luftwaffe from gaining air superiority over the English Channel as a prelude to a possible Axis invasion of the U.K.

Director: Guy Hamilton | Stars: Michael Caine, Trevor Howard, Harry Andrews, Curd Jürgens

Votes: 19,862 | Gross: $4.36M

24. Twelve O'Clock High (1949)

Not Rated | 132 min | Drama, War

A hard-as-nails general takes over a bomber unit suffering from low morale and whips them into fighting shape.

Director: Henry King | Stars: Gregory Peck, Hugh Marlowe, Gary Merrill, Millard Mitchell

Votes: 11,772

25. Command Decision (1948)

Passed | 112 min | Action, Drama, War

Army generals struggle with the decision to prioritize bombing the German factories producing new jet fighters over the extremely high casualties the mission will cost.

Director: Sam Wood | Stars: Clark Gable, Walter Pidgeon, Van Johnson, Brian Donlevy

Votes: 1,837

26. The Cockleshell Heroes (1955)

Approved | 97 min | Action, War, Drama

During World War II, German ships are "safely" docked upriver at Bordeaux, but the British send a team of kayakers to attack them.

Director: José Ferrer | Stars: José Ferrer, Trevor Howard, Dora Bryan, Christopher Lee

Votes: 1,548

27. Halls of Montezuma (1951)

Approved | 113 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

A company of Marines races against the clock to find a Japanese rocket base.

Director: Lewis Milestone | Stars: Richard Widmark, Jack Palance, Reginald Gardiner, Robert Wagner

Votes: 2,387

28. Sahara (I) (1943)

Approved | 97 min | Action, Drama, War

After the fall of Tobruk in 1942, during the Allied retreat in the Libyan desert, an American tank picks-up a motley group of survivors but they face advancing Germans and a lack of water.

Director: Zoltan Korda | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Bruce Bennett, J. Carrol Naish, Lloyd Bridges

Votes: 7,614

29. Sands of Iwo Jima (1949)

Approved | 100 min | Action, Drama, Romance

A dramatization of the World War II Battle of Iwo Jima.

Director: Allan Dwan | Stars: John Wayne, John Agar, Adele Mara, Forrest Tucker

Votes: 9,061

30. The Great Raid (2005)

R | 132 min | Action, Drama, War

48 Metascore

Taking place towards the end of WWII, 500 American Soldiers have been entrapped in a camp for 3 years. Beginning to give up hope they will ever be rescued, a group of Rangers goes on a dangerous mission to try and save them.

Director: John Dahl | Stars: Benjamin Bratt, Joseph Fiennes, James Franco, Robert Mammone

Votes: 20,827 | Gross: $10.17M

31. Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

R | 141 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

89 Metascore

The story of the battle of Iwo Jima between the United States and Imperial Japan during World War II, as told from the perspective of the Japanese who fought it.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Ken Watanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya, IHARA, Ryô Kase

Votes: 149,842 | Gross: $13.76M

32. Destination Tokyo (1943)

Approved | 135 min | Adventure, History, War

In order to provide information for the first air raid over Tokyo, a U.S. submarine sneaks into Tokyo Bay and places a spy team ashore.

Director: Delmer Daves | Stars: Cary Grant, John Garfield, Alan Hale, John Ridgely

Votes: 4,451

33. The Train (1964)

Not Rated | 133 min | Thriller, War

In 1944, a German colonel loads a train with French art treasures to send to Germany. The Resistance must stop it without damaging the cargo.

Directors: John Frankenheimer, Arthur Penn | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Paul Scofield, Jeanne Moreau, Suzanne Flon

Votes: 13,411 | Gross: $7.41M

34. Memphis Belle (1990)

PG-13 | 107 min | Action, Drama, War

In 1943, the crew of a B-17 based in UK prepares for its 25th and last bombing mission over Germany before returning home to the USA.

Director: Michael Caton-Jones | Stars: Matthew Modine, Eric Stoltz, Tate Donovan, D.B. Sweeney

Votes: 25,916 | Gross: $27.44M

35. Saints and Soldiers (2003)

PG-13 | 90 min | Action, Drama, War

56 Metascore

Four American soldiers and one Brit fighting in Europe during World War II struggle to return to Allied territory after being separated from U.S. forces during the historic Malmedy Massacre.

Director: Ryan Little | Stars: Corbin Allred, Alexander Polinsky, Kirby Heyborne, Larry Bagby

Votes: 19,634 | Gross: $1.31M

36. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

R | 169 min | Drama, War

91 Metascore

Following the Normandy Landings, a group of U.S. soldiers go behind enemy lines to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns

Votes: 1,173,617 | Gross: $216.54M

37. Too Late the Hero (1970)

PG | 145 min | Action, Drama, War

A reluctant hero, American Lieutenant Sam Lawson, is secunded to a motley British unit tasked with destroying a Japanese radio on a Philippine island.

Director: Robert Aldrich | Stars: Michael Caine, Cliff Robertson, Ian Bannen, Harry Andrews

Votes: 3,146 | Gross: $0.31M

38. The Devil's Brigade (1968)

Approved | 130 min | Action, Drama, War

A US Army Colonel is tasked with forming an elite commando-style unit from crack Canadian troops and the dregs of the US Army.

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen | Stars: William Holden, Cliff Robertson, Vince Edwards, Andrew Prine

Votes: 4,732

39. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

PG | 161 min | Adventure, Drama, War

87 Metascore

British POWs build a railway bridge across the river Kwai for their Japanese captors, oblivious of the Allies' plans to destroy it.

Director: David Lean | Stars: William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, Sessue Hayakawa

Votes: 194,063 | Gross: $44.91M

40. A Walk in the Sun (1945)

Approved | 117 min | Drama, War

During WWII, a platoon of American soldiers trudge through the Italian countryside in search of a bridge they have been ordered to blow up, encountering danger and destruction along the way.

Director: Lewis Milestone | Stars: Dana Andrews, Richard Conte, George Tyne, John Ireland

Votes: 3,190



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