by Nickii Wantakan Arcado
As Oscar and Golden Globe season is approaching, here is a look into some World War II films that have managed to snag the awards from two of the top organizations that celebrate cinematic merit and achievements.
Life is Beautiful “La vita è bella” (1997)
Director, produced, and acted by Roberto Benigni, the movie brilliantly manages to fuse humor within the serious of World War II by exploring the life of a Jewish bookstore owner and his employment of imagination and wittiness to protect his son from the horrors and dangers within a Nazi concentration camp. Trailer.
Academy Award Wins: Best Actor (Roberto Benigni), Best Foreign Film, Original Score
The English Patient (1996)
Based on the novel by Michael Ondaatje’s novel of the same name, the movie revolves around Laszlo de Almasy who, after being badly burned in a plane crash, is tended to by Canadian nurse Hanna. Throughout his recovery, the film slowly recollects his past via flashbacks, in which the audience uncovers his his involvement with a love affair. Trailer.
Academy Award Wins: Best Director (Anthony Minghella); Best Supporting Actress (Juliette Binoche); Art Direction; Cinematography; Costume Design; Film Editing; Original Score; and Sound.
Schindler’s List (1993)
German businessman Oskar Schindler navigates through a Nazi-occupied Poland and saves the lives of over a thousand Jewish refugees by employing them to work at his factories. Trailer.
Academy Award Wins: Best Picture, Best Director (Steven Spielberg), Adapted Screenplay, Original Score, Film Editing, Cinematography, Art Direction.
A biographical film about the controversial career of American general George S. Patton.The actor, George C. Scott, who played the title role, caused an uproar during the 43rd Academy Awards when he refused to accept the Oscar for Best Actor, arguing that he disapproved the Academy’s voting process and the concept of acting competitions itself. Trailer.
Academy Award Wins: Best Director (Franklin J. Schaffner), Best Actor (George C. Scott) Best Original Screenplay, Art Direction, Film Editing and Sound.
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
Based on Pierre Boulle’s 1952 novel of the same name, the movie delves into the physical and psychological impacts of British POWS who are forced, by the Japanese, to build a rail line connecting Thailand to Myanmar (Burma). Trailer.
Academy Award Wins: Best Director (David Lean), Best Actor (Alec Guinness), Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Film Editing, and Original Score.
Golden Globe Wins: Best Motion Picture - Drama, Best Director (David Lean), Best Actor - Drama (Alec Guinness)
Directed by Christopher Nolan, the film depicts the 8 day evacuation (via the three perspectives of land, sea, and air) of Allied soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk, France. The film was notorious for having little dialogue, a quality in which Director Nolan emphasized was for the purpose of creating suspense. Trailer.
Academy Awards Win: Film Editing, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing.
Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
Based on a documentary title The Conscientious Objector, the film explores the life of Desmond Doss (played by Andrew Garfield) an American combat medic who refused to carry firearms or perform any physical military service other than provide medical assistance to injured soldiers. The real life Doss (b. 1979 d. 2006) became the only conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor during World War II. Trailer.
Academy Award Wins: Sound Mixing, Film Editing
From Here to Eternity (1953)
Based on the novel of the same name, the movie explores the lives of three U.S. Army infantry soldiers who are stationed in Hawaii during the months leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor. In 2002, the Library of Congress selected the film to be preserved at the National Film registry. Trailer.
Academy Awards Wins: Best Picture, Best Director (Fred Zinnemann), Writing - Screenplay, Supporting Actor (Frank Sinatra), Supporting Actress (Donna Reed), Cinematography, Film Editing, and Sound.
Golden Globe Wins: Best Supporting Actor (Frank Sinatra), Best Director (Fred Zinneman)
Letters From Iwo Jima ‘硫黄島からの手紙’ (2006)
A companion piece to the movie Flags of Our Fathers (also released in 2006), the film portrays the Battle of Iwo Jima from the Japanese perspective (the former movie being from the American viewpoint). Starring Ken Watanabe and Kazunari Ninomiya, the majority of the film is shot in Japanese. Trailer.
Academy Award Wins: Best Sound Editing
Mrs. Miniver (1942)
Starring Greer Garson as Kay Miniver, the film looks into the impact the war has on families living in the rural parts of England. The film was named to the National Film registry in 2006. Trailer.
Academy Awards Wins: Best Picture, Best Director (William Wyler), Best Actress (Freer Garson, Writing - Screenplay, Supporting Actress (Teresa Wright), Cinematography
Starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in one of their most notable roles, the movie revolves around an American expatriate who helps his former lover and her Czech resistance leader husband flee the Vichy-controlled city of Casablanca and continue his fight against Nazi Germany. Trailer.
Academy Award Wins: Best Picture, Best Director (Michael Curtiz), Best Writing - Screenplay
The Imitation Game (2014)
The movie delves into the life of British cryptanalyst Alan Turing and his fight to decrypt German intelligence codes for the British government. Various LGBT civil rights advocacy organizations and the Human Rights Campaign have applauded the movie for bringing awareness to Turing’s struggles as a homosexual during war-time Britain to a wider audience. Trailer.
Academy Award Wins: Best Adapted Screenplay
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Set during the Invasion of Normandy, France, the film follows U.S. Army Rangers Captain John H. Miller (played by Tom Hanks) who alongside his squad, search for paratrooper Ryan, whose brothers have died in combat. Trailer.
Academy Award Wins: Best Director (Steven Spielberg), Cinematography, Sound, Film Editing, and Sound Effects Editing
Golden Globes Win: Best Director (Steven Spielberg), Best Motion Picture - Drama
*John Williams also won a Grammy for best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television
The Longest Day (1962)
Directed by three different directors depending on film locations, script, and exteriors the film, The Longest Day shows the Battle of D-Day from the American, British, French, and german perspective. Not only does the film utilize the stories of war survivors to ensure historical accuracy, but the film’s ensemble is one of the most celebrated in film history, containing actos such as John Wayne, Sean Connery, Henry Fonda, Robert Mitchum, Richard Burton, and Paul Anka. Trailer.
Academy Award Wins: Best Cinematography, Special Effects
Golden Globe Wins: Best Cinematography
Despite these films not receiving Academy Award or Golden Globe nods, we believe these films deserve recognition for its beautiful storytelling as well as its ability to offer cultural insights and perspectives of various community struggles during World War II.
Grave of the Fireflies “火垂るの墓” (1988)
One of the only animated films ever produced that is set during World War II, the movie depicts the life of siblings Seita and Setsuko and their struggle to survive the final months of World War II. The movie is produced under Hayao Miyasaki’s Studio Ghibli. Trailer.
The Thin Red Line (1998)
Focusing on the soldiers of C Company, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, the film takes place in the Guadalcanal Campaign in the Pacific Theater of World War II. It was Director Terrence Malick return to filmmaking after a 20 year absence. Trailer
Das Boot (1981)
Uniquely shot almost entirely in a submarine, this German film shows us the lives of the captain and crew of U-Boat U-96 during the Battle of the Atlantic. Trailer.
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