13 Films that will transport you to war time Europe

To commemorate the ANZACs we share with you our favourite WW1 and WW2 films capturing the amazing stories of bravery and hardship from the battlefields and war torn cities of Europe and beyond. Be warned, get your tissues ready!

1. Gallipoli (1981)

Two Australian sprinters face the brutal realities of war when they are sent to fight in the Gallipoli campaign in Turkey during World War I.

Starring: Mel Gibson, Mark Lee, Bill KerrThe Great Escape

 

2. The Great Escape (1963)

The Nazis, exasperated at the number of escapes from their prison camps by a relatively small number of Allied prisoners, relocate them to a high-security "escape-proof" camp to sit out the remainder of the war. Undaunted, the prisoners plan one of the most ambitious escape attempts of World War II. Based on a true story.

Starring: Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough

 

3. Beneath Hill 60 (2010)

The extraordinary true story of Oliver Woodward. It's 1916 and Woodward must tear himself from his new young love to go to the mud and carnage of the Western Front. Deep beneath the German lines. Woodward and his secret platoon of Australian tunnelers fight to defend a leaking, labyrinthine tunnel system packed with enough high explosives to change the course of the War.

Starring: Brendan Cowell, Harrison Gilbertson


 

4. Life is Beautiful (1997)

In 1930s Italy, a carefree Jewish book keeper named Guido starts a fairy tale life by courting and marrying a lovely woman from a nearby city. Guido and his wife have a son and live happily together until the occupation of Italy by German forces. In an attempt to hold his family together and help his son survive the horrors of a Jewish Concentration Camp, Guido imagines that the Holocaust is a game and that the grand prize for winning is a tank.

Starring: Robert Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi

 

5. War Horse (2011)

On the outbreak of the First World War, Albert's beloved horse 'Joey' is sold to the Cavalry by his Father. After being sent to France, in a bid to survive, Joey has an unexpected journey across war torn Europe. Albert enlists in the British Army, and is wounded during the Battle of the Somme. Whilst recovering in Hospital, he learns of a Horse, found in no mans land.

Starring: Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, David Thewlis

 

6. 1917 (2019)

April 6th, 1917. As a regiment assembles to wage war deep in enemy territory, two soldiers are assigned to race against time and deliver a message that will stop 1,600 men from walking straight into a deadly trap.

Starring: Dean-Charles Chapman, George MacKay, Daniel Mays


7. The Pianist (2002) 

A brilliant pianist, a Polish Jew, witnesses the restrictions Germans place on Jews in the Polish capital, from restricted access to the building of the Warsaw ghetto. As his family is rounded up to be shipped off to the German Nazi labor camps, he escapes deportation and eludes capture by living in the ruins of Warsaw.


Starring: Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Frank Finlay

 

8. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Following the Allied invasion of Normandy, two brothers lay dead in the wake of the onslaught. Meanwhile, in New Guinea, a third brother has been killed fighting the Japanese. After the Army General Staff learns that a fourth brother is missing in the French countryside, a rescue mission is ordered to find the young soldier and return him safely home. The mission is mounted by a veteran Ranger Captain commanding a squad of men who have mixed feelings about risking their lives to "Save Private Ryan".

Starring: Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore


 

9. Dunkirk (2017)

In 1940, 400,000 British and French soldiers are stranded in the French port town of Dunkirk. The only way out is via sea, and the Germans have air superiority, bombing the British soldiers and ships without much opposition. The situation looks dire and, in desperation, Britain sends civilian boats in addition to its hard-pressed Navy to try to evacuate the beleaguered forces. This is that story, seen through the eyes of a soldier amongst those trapped forces, two Royal Air Force fighter pilots, and a group of civilians on their boat, part of the evacuation fleet.

Starring: Fionn Whitehead, Barry Keoghn, Mark Rylance


10. Schindler’s List (1993)

The incredible true story of the enigmatic and opportunistic businessman Oskar Schindler, who saved the lives of more than 1,100 Jews during the Holocaust. Schindler's List chronicles the trials and triumph of one man who made a difference and the tribulations of those who survived one of the darkest chapters in human history because of his actions.

Starring: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley



11. Fury (2014)

As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened Army sergeant named Wardaddy commands a Sherman tank and his five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Outnumbered, out-gunned, and with a rookie soldier thrust into their platoon, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.

Starring: Brad Pitt, Shia LeBeouf, Logan Lerman


12. A Bridge Too Far (1977)

It is near the end of World War II. The Germans have lost most of France, and the Allied forces decide to give them the final hit. They plan to drop thousands of paratroopers in the Netherlands and keep a few key positions there, until reenforcements arrive. The most important spot is the bridge of Arnhem. Once it's captured, it can block everything west of Germany.

Starring: Sean Connery, Ryan O’Neal, Michael Caine

 

13. The Monuments Men (2014)

In 1943, the American Professor Frank Stokes convinces President Roosevelt that the art stolen by the German should be retrieved and he recruits six art experts to form the Monuments Men's unit to travel to Europe with him to search the treasures. On the arrival, they split to several cities to guide the Allies to find the arts to return them to the owners.

Starring: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray


Visit our blog for more film recommendations, including 17 Films that will transport you to France.

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Michele Zavaglia

Michele Zavaglia is the Marketing Manager at Albatross Tours.