Decade of Centenaries: Top 10 WWI Movies

Here at The Áed we feel that “The Great War” is somewhat overlooked in the history syllabus. We feel that it’s important to try and understand the significance of this war. So, in commemoration of those who lost their lives, here are The Áed’s top 10 World War I movies. We hope you enjoy!

1. All Quiet on the Western Front (1979). At the start of World War I, Paul Baumer (Richard Thomas) is a young German patriot, eager to fight. Indoctrinated with propaganda at school, he and his friends eagerly sign up for the army soon after graduation. But when the horrors of war soon become too much to bear, and as his friends die or become gravely wounded, Paul questions the sanity of fighting over a few hundreds yards of war-torn countryside. The film is based on the classic novel of the same name by Erich Maria Remarque.

2. Lawrence of Arabia (1962). Due to his knowledge of the native Bedouin tribes, British Lieutenant T.E. Lawrence (Peter O’Toole) is sent to Arabia to find Prince Faisal (Alec Guinness) and serve as a liaison between the Arabs and the British in their fight against the Turks. With the aid of native Sherif Ali (Omar Sharif), Lawrence rebels against the orders of his superior officer and strikes out on a daring camel journey across the harsh desert to attack a well-guarded Turkish port.

3.Paths of Glory (1957). During World War I, commanding officer General Broulard (Adolphe Menjou) orders his subordinate, General Mireau (George Macready), to attack a German trench position, offering a promotion as an incentive. Though the mission is foolhardy to the point of suicide, Mireau commands his own subordinate, Colonel Dax (Kirk Douglas), to plan the attack. When it ends in disaster, General Mireau demands the court-martial of three random soldiers in order to save face.

4. The Red Baron (2008) Though a national hero to the Germans for his efforts in World War I, Baron Manfred von Richthofen (Matthias Schweighöfer) grappled with his disgust for the war and his responsibility to his men.

5. War Horse (2011) Albert (Jeremy Irvine) and his beloved horse, Joey, live on a farm in the British countryside. At the outbreak of World War I, Albert and Joey are forcibly parted when Albert’s father sells the horse to the British cavalry. Against the backdrop of the Great War, Joey begins an odyssey full of danger, joy and sorrow, and he transforms everyone he meets along the way. Meanwhile Albert, unable to forget his equine friend, searches the battlefields of France to find Joey and bring him home.

6. Flyboys (2006) Before the United States enters World War I, some American youths volunteer for the French military. Subsequently, they become the first U.S. fighter pilots and form a squadron known as the Lafayette Escadrille, whose exploits and heroism become the stuff of legend

7. The Lost Battalion (2001) Fact-based war drama about an American battalion of over 500 men which gets trapped behind enemy lines in the Argonne Forest in October 1918 France during the closing weeks of World War I.

8. Gallipoli (1981) Archy (Mark Lee) and Frank (Mel Gibson) are two young Australian sprinters who want to join the army to fulfill their sense of duty. Turned down because they are too young, the pair hop a freight train to Perth, where they are allowed to join up. They board a troop ship headed to Cairo and, after training in the shadows of the Great Pyramids, the boys are finally sent to the front line, where their speed makes them candidates for messengers in one of the war’s bloodiest battles.

9. My Boy Jack (2007) Author Rudyard Kipling (David Haig) and his wife (Kim Cattrall) search for their son (Daniel Radcliffe) after he goes missing in action during World War I.

10. A Very Long Engagement (2004) Mathilde (Audrey Tautou) is told that her fiancé (Gaspard Ulliel) has been killed in World War I. She refuses to believe this, however, and begins trying to find out what actually happened on the battlefield the night he was supposedly killed, enlisting the help of a private investigator. During her search, she stumbles across evidence of the inhumane and morally bankrupt system used by the French to deal with deserters, and hears from other men who were sentenced to extreme punishment.

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