Stills from World War I films Lawrence of Arabia and Testament of Youth.
While Hollywood has made several movies on the Second World War, films on the First World War are comparatively lesser in number. However, with the release of Sam Mendes’ Oscar-nominated World War I drama 1917, things might change. The Sam Mendes directorial, which features Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch, releases in India on January 17.
Ahead of the release of 1917, here is a look at some of the best Hollywood movies on World War I.
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930): The Lewis Milestone movie realistically depicted the haunting and devastating consequences of World War I. Milestone earned an Oscar for helming the epic war movie. It featured Lew Ayres, John Wray, Scott Kolk, Owen Davis and Bertha Mann among others in significant parts.
A still from the Stanley Kubrick movie Paths of Glory.
Paths of Glory (1957): The Stanley Kubrick movie’s stance was clear — it’s anti-war. Based on the book by Humphrey Cobb of the same name, Paths of Glory featured Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Wayne Morris, Richard Anderson and Peter Capell among others in pivotal roles. In 1992, the movie was pronounced ‘culturally and historically’ significant by the Library of Congress. It currently holds a rating of 95 per cent on aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.
Lawrence of Arabia (1962): A World War 1 movies listicle that does not feature Peter O’Toole’s Lawrence of Arabia seems almost like an impossibility. Identity crisis, the futility of war and brotherhood are some of the major themes that the David Lean directorial dealt with.
A still from the World War I movie Lawrence of Arabia.
Gallipoli (1981): The war drama, starring Mel Gibson and Mark Lee, showed a group of young Australian men who were hellbent on enlisting in the army in order to help their country. The Peter Weir movie revolved around subjects like loss of innocence and the motivation to wage a war among other things.
Testament of Youth (2014): Adapted from the World War I memoir of the same name by Vera Brittain, the movie featured Alicia Vikander and Kit Harington in the lead. Vikander starred as Brittain who abandoned her academic persuasions midway to be a war nurse in order to be close to her beloved (Harington). Testament of Youth was directed by James Kent and bankrolled by Rosie Alison and David Heyman.