Here are 8 great war movies in honor of the Centenary of the First World War.
1. J’accuse (1919)
The first in our list of 10 great WWI movies started filming the year the Great War ended and came out just a year after. This French silent film blended romance and drama along with the horrors of the First World War. Some of its scenes were even filmed on the former battlefields of the Great War.
Described by some as an anti-war film, J’accuse (I Accuse) powerfully depicted the sufferings of war. It was a hit internationally, when it came out. Its writer-director, Abel Gance, was hailed as one of Europe’s most eminent directors.
2. Wings (1927)
Second in our list of 10 great WWI movies is this American silent film about the Great War. Interestingly, its director, William A. Wellman, was an experienced WWI pilot. There is even a story that Paramount Pictures had hired him at the time of the filming since he was the only established director to have had experience of war and flying.
Well, Director Wellman did deliver as Wings turned out to have very elaborate and realistic flight and air combat sequences.
Wings went on to win the very first Oscar for Best Picture. Furthermore, it stirred controversy as it broke new ground, featuring nudity and a scene with two men kissing.
3. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
The third film in our 10 great WWI movies list is an American film based on the novel written by German author Erich Maria Marque who served in the German Army during the Great War.
Like J’accuse, All Quiet on the Western Front is an anti-war film. It is even hailed as the first major one among sound films. Told from a soldier’s perspective, the movie showed how men were prepped up to the accolades of war only to find disillusionment at the battlefronts. War films of more recent times like Saving Private Ryan also use the soldiers perspective to tell the story.
4. Paths of Glory (1957)
The fourth picture in our 10 great WWI movies lineup was another film adaptation of a novel. Interestingly, the novel written by Humphrey Cobb never had a title when it was finished. So, the publisher held a contest for it with the winner coming from the ninth stanza of the well-known poem Elegy Written in the Country Churchyard by poet Thomas Gray.
Paths of Glory the novel enjoyed little success. An adaptation, for the stage directed by WWI veteran Sidney Howard, flopped due to its harsh and violent scenes. The movie had moderate success when it came out though it was critically acclaimed. Moreover, Paths of Glory was controversial after the French got offended about how the French Army was portrayed in the film.
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