Since its release in 1998, Steven Spielberg's D-Day drama Saving Private Ryan has become hugely influential: everything, from the opening sequence of Gladiator ("Saving Marcus Aurelius") to the marvellous 10-hour TV series Band of Brothers, has been made in its shadow. There have been many previous attempts to recreate the D-Day landings on screen (notably, the epic The Longest Day), but thanks to Spielberg's freewheeling hand-held camerawork, Ryan was the first time an audience really felt like they were there, storming up Omaha Beach in the face of withering enemy fire. After the indelible opening sequence, however, the film is not without problems. The story, though based on an American Civil War incident, feels like it was concocted simply to fuel Spielberg's sentimental streak. In standard Hollywood fashion the Germans remain a faceless foe (with the exception of one charmless character who turns out to be both a coward and a turncoat); and the Tom Hanks-led platoon consists of far too many stereotypes: the doughty Sergeant; the thick-necked Private; the Southern man religious sniper; the cowardly Corporal. Matt Damon seems improbably clean-cut as the titular Private in need of rescue (though that may well be the point); and why do they all run straight up that hill towards an enemy machine gun post anyway? Some non-US critics have complained that Ryan portrays only the American D-Day experience, but it is an American film made and financed by Americans after all. Accepting both its relatively narrow remit and its lachrymose inclinations, Saving Private Ryan deserves its place in the pantheon of great war pictures. On the DVD: Saving Private Ryan on disc comes in a good-quality anamorphic 1.85:1 transfer with a suitably dynamic Dolby Digital 5.1 sound mix in which bullets fly all around your living room. Extra features are pretty minimal, with a standard 30-minute "making of" piece called "Into the Breach" and two trailers. There are text notes on the cast and crew as well as the production, and a brief message from Mr Spielberg himself about why he decided to make the movie. --Mark Walker
This remarkable film follows the struggles of T.E. Lawrence (played by Peter O'Toole - My Favourite Year The Last Emperor) in uniting the hostile Arab factions during the First World War and leading them to victory over the ruling Turkish Empire. The film was released originally in 1962 to huge critical acclaim winning 7 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director for David Lean.
Based on the true story of the building of a bridge on the Burma railway by British prisoners-of-war held under a savage Japanese regime in World War II, The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) is one of the greatest war films ever made. The film received seven Oscars, including Best Picture, Director, Performance (Alex Guinness), for Sir Malcolm Arnold's superb music, and for the screenplay from the novel by Pierre Boulle (who also wrote Monkey Planet, the inspiration for Planet of the Apes). The story does take considerable liberties with history, including the addition of an American saboteur played by William Holden, and an entirely fictitious but superbly constructed and thrilling finale. Made on a vast scale, the film reinvented the war movie as something truly epic, establishing the cinematic beachhead for The Longest Day (1962), Patton (1970) and A Bridge Too Far (1977). It also proved a turning-point in director David Lean's career. Before he made such classic but conventionally scaled films as In Which We Serve (1942) and Hobson's Choice (1953). Afterwards there would only be four more films, but their names are Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Dr Zhivago (1965), Ryan's Daughter (1970) and A Passage to India (1984). On the DVD: Too often the best extras come attached to films that don't really warrant them. Not so here, where a truly great film has been given the attention it deserves. The first disc presents the film in the original extra-wide CinemaScope ratio of 2.55:1, in an anamorphically enhanced transfer which does maximum justice to the film's superb cinematography. The sound has been transferred from the original six-track magnetic elements into 5.1 Dolby Digital and far surpasses what many would expect from a 1950s' feature. The main bonus on the first disc is an isolated presentation of Malcolm Arnold's great Oscar-winning music score, in addition to which there is a trivia game, and maps and historical information linked to appropriate clips. The second disc contains a new, specially produced 53-minute "making of" documentary featuring many of those involved in the production of the movie. This gives a rich insight into the physical problems of making such a complex epic on location in Ceylon. Also included are the original trailer and two short promotional films from the time of release, one of which is narrated by star William Holden. Finally there is an "appreciation" by director John Milius, an extensive archive of movie posters and artwork, and a booklet that reproduces the text of the film's original 1957 brochure. --Gary S Dalkin
THE 12TH MAN is a breath-taking war thriller about an incredible true-life story of heroism and a man's unbreakable will to live. Norway, 1943: after a failed anti-Nazi sabotage mission leaves his eleven comrades dead, Norwegian resistance fighter Jan Baalsrud (Thomas Gullestad) finds himself on the run from the Gestapo through the snowbound Arctic reaches of Scandinavia led by Kurt Stage (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). It's a harrowing journey across unforgiving, frozen wilderness that will stretch on for months - and force Jan to take extreme action in order to survive. The legendary story of Jan Baalsrud's escape remains one of the wildest, most unfathomable survival stories of World War II.
Wolfgang Petersen's harrowing and claustrophobic U-boat thriller Das Boot was released as both a theatrical film and a six-hour mini-series, and remains the most expensive production ever made by a German studio. The expanded "Director's Cut" of the movie was re-released 1997 and it is this version that is available for home viewing. This epic story became an instant classic on its first release, provoking critical and audience acclaim worldwide for its sympathetic and entirely truthful portrayal of a German U-boat crew. Faithfully adapted from the bestselling novel by Lothar-Günther Buchheim, Petersen and his committed cast (led by the amazing Jürgen Prochnow) were concerned to ensure that every detail was rendered with painstaking accuracy--both physical and psychological--and the result is not only the best submarine drama ever made but also arguably the finest cinematic portrait of men at war and the terrible madness they must endure. On the DVD: The 200-minute "Director's Cut" version of the movie not only has several major scenes restored that were not in the theatrical release but also has been digitally remastered with significantly improved sound (new sound effects have been added) and anamorphic picture. (The six-hour TV version has yet to be released.) Here, the viewer can watch the movie in the original German, with or without subtitles, or in an English dubbed version that uses the voices of many of the original cast. On the utterly engrossing commentary track, director Wolfgang Petersen and star Jürgen Prochnow talk animatedly and in great detail about every aspect of making this epic story--from model shots using Barbie dolls to meeting the Captain of the original U-boat. This is one of the most consistently rewarding commentaries on disc. Also included is a five-minute featurette that promotes this new version. --Mark Walker
Quentin Tarantino presents a look at WWII the likes of which you have never seen before in the hotly anticipated "Inglorious Basterds".
Scorned by reviewers when it came out, Where Eagles Dare has acquired a cult following over the years for its unashamed and highly concentrated dose of commando death-dealing to legions of Nazi machine-gun fodder. In 1968 Clint Eastwood was just getting used to the notion that he might be a world-class movie star; Richard Burton, whose image had been shaped equally by classical theatre and his headline-making romance with Elizabeth Taylor, was eager to try his hand at the action genre. Author Alistair MacLean's novel The Guns of Navarone had inspired the film that started the 1960s vogue for World War II military capers, so he was prevailed upon to write the screenplay (his first). The central location, an impregnable Alpine stronghold locked in ice and snow, is surpassing cool, but the plot and action are ultra-mechanical, and the switcheroo gamesmanship of just who is the undercover double (triple?) agent on the mission becomes aggressively silly. --Richard T Jameson
The men of Bravo Company are facing a battle that's all uphill... up Hamburger Hill. Fourteen war-weary soldiers are battling for a mud-covered mound of earth so named because it chews up soldiers like chopped meat. They are fighting for their country their fellow soldiers and their lives. War is hell but this is worse. Hamburger Hill tells it the way it was the way it really was. It's a raw gritty and totally unrelenting dramatic depiction of one of the fiercest battles of America's bloodiest war. Dodge the gunfire. Get caught behind enemy lines. Go into battle beside the brave young men who fought and died. Feel their desperation and futility. This happened. Hamburger Hill - war at its worst men at their best.
The story of one of World War II's most famous sea battles is brought to the screen in this exciting semi-documentary style movie.In the Spring of 1941, Nazi Germany's greatest battleship- the Bismarck, scourge of Atlantic shipping, is pinned down at her anchorage in Norway. Making a break for freedom and the safety of air cover from the Luftwaffe, the great ship is chased by the Royal Navy.Kenneth More stars as Captain Shepard- the Admiralty's Director of Naval Operations who, embittered by the death of his wife in an air raid, is assigned to this post just as the Bismarck makes its escape.Excellent special effects make this tense, exciting sea drama one of the finest British war films ever made.
Two feisty, free-spirited women are connected by the brilliant and charismatic poet Dylan Thomas who loves them both. Released Nationwide on Friday 27th June.
One of the cinema's great disappearing acts came to a close with the release of The Thin Red Line in late 1998. Terrence Malick, the cryptic recluse who withdrew from Hollywood visibility after the release of his visually enthralling masterpiece Days of Heaven (1978), returned to the director's chair after a 20-year coffee break. Malick's comeback vehicle is a fascinating choice: a wide-ranging adaptation of a World War II novel (filmed once before, in 1964) by James Jones. The battle for Guadalcanal Island gives Malick an opportunity to explore nothing less than the nature of life, death, God, and courage. Let that be a warning to anyone expecting a conventional war flick; Malick proves himself quite capable of mounting an exciting action sequence, but he's just as likely to meander into pure philosophical noodling--or simply let the camera contemplate the first steps of a newly born tropical bird or the sinister skulk of a crocodile. This is not especially an actors' movie--some faces go by so quickly they barely register--but the standouts are bold: Nick Nolte as a career-minded colonel, Elias Koteas as a deeply spiritual captain who tries to protect his men, Ben Chaplin as a G.I. haunted by lyrical memories of his wife. The backbone of the film is the ongoing discussion between a wry sergeant (Sean Penn) and an ethereal, almost holy private newcomer (Jim Caviezel). The picture's sprawl may be a result of Malick's method of "finding" a film during shooting and editing, and in some ways The Thin Red Line seems vaguely, intriguingly incomplete. Yet it casts a spell like almost nothing else of its time, and Malick's visionary images are a challenge and a signpost to the rest of his filmmaking generation. --Robert Horton
A critically acclaimed film that won a total of eight 1970 Academy Awards (including Best Picture) Patton is a riveting portrait of one of the 20th century's greatest military geniuses. One of its Oscars went to George C. Scott for this triumphant portrayal of George Patton the only Allied general truly feared by the Nazis. Charismatic and flamboyant Patton designed his own uniforms sported ivory-handled six-shooters and believed he was a warrior in past lives. He outmaneuv
Physics Professor Dr Pederson (Kirk Douglas) and underground leader Straud (Richard Harris) must convince British Intelligence that the Nazis are planning to build the A-bomb. The Norse Hydro Plant at Telemark is central to enemy strategy and the Allies decide to send in a task force to destroy it. Legendary director Anthony Mann (Winchester 73 El Cid The Fall of the Roman Empire) tells the story of nine courageous and indomitable Norwegians without whom the Second World War may ha
A tense engrossing adventure set in the 1942 Libyan war zone in the hot Western Desert. A British ambulance officer (John Mills) escapes the siege in Tobruk and tries desperately to get his passengers to safety in Alexandria where he dreams he will have the luxury of an 'ice cold' glass of beer. His passengers include a stranded hospital nurse a Sergeant-Major and a stray South African Officer trying to return to his unit. Despite saving the group from the Germans something is not quite right about the last passenger. As he begins to undermine the group's stamina using psychological tactics the British officer begins to suspect he might be a German spy...
Featuring a stellar cast, including Michael Caine, Trevor Howard, Laurence Olivier, Christopher Plummer, Michael Redgrave, Robert Shaw and Susannah York, Battle of Britainis a spectacular retelling of a true story that shows courage at its inspiring best. Few defining moments can change the outcome of war. But when the outnumbered Royal Air Force defied insurmountable odds in engaging the German Luftwaffe, they may well have altered the course of history!
From visionary filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow, "The Hurt Locker" is an intense portrayal of elite soldiers who have one of the most dangerous jobs in the world: disarming bombs in the heat of combat.
A law student becomes a lieutenant during World War II, is captured by the Germans and asked to defend a black prisoner of war falsely accused of murder.
It is the early years of World War II and the Royal Navy must fight a desperate battle to stop Germany's best battleship, the Admiral Graf Spee, from sailing to the South Atlantic.
Please wait. Loading...