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The Consensus Greatest 100 War Movies

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  • #76
    Gallipoli_original_Australian_poster.jpg



    47. Gallipoli (1981)

    SYNOPSIS: Two Aussie buddies join the army in WWI. Archy (Mark Lee) and Frank (Mel Gibson) are shipped to Egypt for the bonding with comrades scenes and then it's off to Turkey for the Gallipoli campaign. They and their mates are stuck in the trenches facing the strong Turkish lines. The movie builds to a suicidal charge across no man’s land.

    BACK-STORY: "Gallipoli" is a war movie by Peter Weir ("Master and Commander"). It was part of the wave of Australian classics of the 1980s that included "Breaker Morant" and "The Lighthorsemen". Weir was inspired by the story of the ANZAC (Australian - New Zealand Army Corps) contribution to the British effort in the Gallipoli campaign of WWI. Early on the project evolved from a study of the entire campaign to a more personal study set in a brief period of the campaign. It stars Mel Gibson (coming off of "Mad Max" and "Attack Force Z") and a debuting Mark Lee. . It won the Australian equivalent of the Academy Awards for Best Film, Director, Actor (Mel Gibson), Supporting Actor (Bill Hunter), Screenplay, and Cinematography. Mark Lee was nominated for Best Actor.

    TRIVIA: wikipedia, imdb, TCM

    1. Peter Weir (the director) got the idea from a visit to Gallipoli in 1976.

    2. The movie was controversial for making the British command the villain for the suicidal final attack. Weir later said he regretted giving this impression, which was inaccurate. Not only did the British not order the attack, it was actually a diversion for a New Zealand attack, not a British attack.

    3. Due to lack of male riders, 200 of the 400 horsemen were female.

    4. At $2.8 million, the movie was the most expensive Australian movie up until then.

    5. The final image was based on a very famous photo by Robert Capa of a soldier dying in the Spanish Civil War.

    Belle and Blade = 3.5
    Brassey's = 4.0
    Video Hound = 4.4
    War Movies = 4.4
    Military History = no
    Channel 4 = #48
    Film Site = yes
    101 War Movies = yes
    Rotten Tomatoes = no

    OPINION: "Gallipoli" is well done and was influential on war movies of the eighties. It is fairly accurate, but piles on the British to elicit nods from its core audience which still resents Britain's misuse of the ANZAC. The acting is okay, if a bit over the top. Gibson is a young Mel Gibson, 'nuff said. Lee is a little e bland, but so is his character. It's themes of the loss of innocence and the futility of war are commendable. It is definitely anti-war. It is a buddy picture with some hints of a bromance between Archy and Frank which I feel it's safe to say escaped Gibson's notice when he read the script. I do think some critics have overemphasized the homosexual angle. Although the unrealistic way the cynical Frank runs off to a war because of his friendship with Archy gives ammunition to their argument. Not a bad movie, but not as good as "Breaker Morant" and not worthy of this high on the list.

    Comment


    • #77
      Stalag_17.jpg


      46. Stalag 17 (1953)

      SYNOPSIS: "Stalag 17" is a WWII prisoner of war movie set in Germany. The members of a barracks are frustrated by an apparent stoolie in their midst. Suspicion naturally turns to a black marketeer (William Holden) who is quite a cynical jerk. Matters come to a head when a heroic new prisoner, who sabotaged a train, needs to escape before Nazi justice ensnares him. How to accomplish this with a traitor involved?

      BACK-STORY: "Stalag 17" is considered one of the great WWII POW films. It is sometimes mentioned with "Bridge on the River Kwai" and "The Great Escape" as the triumvirate of top tier POW movies. It was released in 1953. It was based on a stage play by two veterans of Stalag 17B in Austria. Director Billy Wilder reworked the play for the better and got pretty boy William Holden to play the lead even though Holden was unhappy with the cynicism and selfishness of the Sefton character. Holden walked out on the play when he went to see it. Wilder refused to soften the character and Holden went on to win the Oscar for Best Actor. Wilder was nominated, as was Robert Strauss for Best Supporting Actor. The movie was shot in California and the mud was real. Wilder made the interesting decision to shoot the scenes in chronological order to where supposedly some of the main actors did not know who the stoolie was until the end (which sounds like bull crap to me). The movie was a smash hit in America and Europe.

      TRIVIA: wikipedia, imdb, TCM, DVD commentary

      1. It was based on a Broadway play by Donald Bevan and Edmund Trzcinski. Both were POWs in Stalag 17B in Austria.Bevan had been a tail gunner on a B-17 and was the inspiration for the Sgt. McIlhenny character in "Twelve O'Clock High". Trzcinski has a cameo in "Stalag 17". He plays the prisoner who gets the letter from his wife telling of the baby she found. Bevan and Trzcinski sued "Hogan's Heroes" for plagiarism and settled for an undisclosed amount.

      2. Director William Wilder insisted on shooting the scenes in order. The cast and crew did not know who the informant was until a few days before the scene was filmed. Wilder insisted on the script being followed to the word. He especially meant this for William Holden who wanted to humanize Sefton more. Wilder refused.Wilder showed up on set in expensive shoes which he allowed the muddy conditions to ruin so he could show the cast and crew he was with them. Wilder's mother and stepfather died in a concentration camp.

      3. Four members of the play appear in the movie: Robert Strauss (Animal), Harry Lembeck (Shapiro), Robert Shawley (Blondie) and William Pierson (Marko). Strauss was nominated for Best Supporting Actor. He took over for the actor that started the movie, but did not fit the part. Strauss and Lembeck did not get along during the shoot mainly because Lembeck felt Strauss was getting all the laughs.

      4. Charlton Heston was considered for Sefton, but Wilder decided he would not fit an unheroic figure.Kirk Douglas turned down the role.He later admitted he made a huge mistake.Holden was not keen on the role.When he went to see the play, he walked out during the first act because he did not like the character.The studio forced him to take the role.He pushed Wilder to make Sefton more sympathetic and Wilder refused.Specifically , Holden wanted Sefton to make a statement about how he hated Nazis.Holden won the Best Actor Oscar, but felt it was make-up for him not winning for "Sunset Boulevard".He thought Burt Lancaster or Montgomery Clift should have won for "From Here to Eternity".Holden's acceptance speech was the shortest by any Best Actor winner.He simply said "Thank you", but it was because the ceremony was running long.He paid for ads in trade paper to thank all the people he owed.

      5. Release was postponed for a year by Paramount because of doubts about the marketability of a WWII prison movie.It was released in 1953 in conjunction with the end of the Korean War and the release of American prisoners.

      6. The commandant role, played by famous director Otto Preminger, was not in the play.It was Wilder's idea to have the commandant put on his boots to call Berlin.

      7. The prisoner who sings at the Christmas party was Ross Bagdasarian.He wrote the songs "Witch Doctor" and "Come On-A My House".He also created the Chipmunks singing group.

      8. The opening escape is based on an actual escape from Bevan's camp.It was not exposed by a mole, it was exposed by the snow on the ground that gave away their tracks.One of the escapees was shot 17 times, but he survived.

      9. The play used an overturned stool as the signal.

      Belle and Blade = 3.0
      Brassey's = 4.0
      Video Hound = 3.1
      War Movies = N/A
      Military History = #18
      Channel 4 = no
      Film Site = yes
      101 War Movies = yes
      Rotten Tomatoes= no

      OPINION: Although it was not the first WWII prisoner of war film, "Stalag 17" certainly laid a strong foundation for the subgenre. It established some of the templates. Most of the action takes place in the barracks. There is a lot of interaction between "hale fellows well met". Comic relief is thrown in. The men try to make the best of their difficult conditions. "Stalag 17" is not typical in its mystery subplot and the fact that it is not predominately about an escape attempt. I can think of no other POW movie that includes humor, suspense, mystery, and a dislikable central character. The main strength of the film is the acting. Holden is great as possibly the first anti-hero in an American WWII movie, POW or otherwise. In fact, Wilder works wonders with the cast. It was genius and gutsy to cast Otto Preminger as the commandant. Preminger was legendary for treating actors like Von Scherbach treats the prisoners. Graves is appropriately hissable as the villain, although it is obvious to everyone (except the actors supposedly) that he is the bad guy early on. Strauss did not deserve an Oscar nod, but he and Lembeck do have some humorous moments. The movie is famous (and has been criticized) for its broad humor. I have to admit much of it is silly, but there are some truly funny lines. The movie is technically sound. Wilder’s cinematography gives the movie a dynamism that overcomes the static nature of the barracks. Many of the shots have depth to them. The set is nicely authentic looking. The barracks has nice touches like pin-ups, laundry hanging, and graffiti carved into the bunks. The score is used sparingly and not to force a mood on the audience.
      Last edited by warmoviebuff; 06 Feb 19, 23:06.

      Comment


      • #78
        Sergeant_York_1941_Poster.jpg




        45. Sergeant York (1941)

        SYNOPSIS: "Sergeant York" is a biopic about the most decorated American soldier of WWI. The movie covers his wild and wooly teenage hillbilly days, his religious conversion, his attempt to attain conscientious objector status, and his exploits on the Western Front. It's big set piece reenacts York's (Gary Cooper) Medal of Honor winning exploit.

        BACK-STORY: "Sergeant York" is one of the great American classic war movies. It was directed by Howard Hawks ("Air Force", the original "Dawn Patrol") and starred the biggest Hollywood star of that time - Gary Cooper. It was the first major American biopic that told the story of a living person. The desire to avoid law suits and controversy led to great efforts by the studio to keep the film accurate and authentic. Of course, the main effort was to keep Alvin York happy. York (true to his portrayal at the end of the movie) was not interested in taking advantage of his fame. However, persistence on the part of producer Jesse Lasky eventually wore York down. York drove a hard bargain and insisted on veto power over the screenplay and would accept only Cooper playing him. The movie was a huge success and was the highest grossing film of 1941. (The studio insisted on the outrageously high ticket price of $2.20!) The movie was also critically acclaimed and garnered eleven Academy Award nominations, winning for Best Actor (Cooper over Welles in "Citizen Kane") and editing.

        TRIVIA: wikipedia, imdb, TCM

        1. It is based on York's diary.It took five writers to do the screenplay. One was John Huston.

        2. York did not want the movie made because he did not want the added fame.He agreed after producer Jesse Lansky convinced him to do it, but York insisted on three things.1.His profits be put into the creation of a Bible school.2.His wife had to be portrayed by an actress that did not smoke and had no "oomph" (aimed at Ann Sheridan)Jane Russell was considered!They settled on the wholesome sixteen year old Joan Leslie.3.Only Gary Cooper could portray him.
        Lansky sent a telegram to Cooper and signed it York.

        3. Cooper won the Best Actor Oscar and the film also won for Editing.It was nominated for Picture (losing to "How Green Was My Valley"), Director (Howard Hawks), Supporting Actor (Walter Brennan), and Supporting Actress (Margaret Wycherly).It was Brennan's only loss in his four nominations for Best Supporting Actor.It was also nominated for Original Screenplay, Art Direction,Cinematography, Sound Recording, and Music (Max Steiner).

        4. It is #57 on AFIs list of greatest movies.York is #35 on the list of heroes.

        5. It was the highest grossing movie of 1941 and one of the highest grossing movies of all time if you adjust for inflation.It was often reshown in theaters during the war either to replace flops or in conjunction with bond sales or scrap drives.

        6. York visited the set several times.The first time was so overcome when a crew member asked him how many Germans he had killed.York began to sob and then threw up.Later, York insisted that the man not be fired.

        7. It was Gary Cooper's favorite film. He considered it his contribution to the war since he was too old to serve.

        8. York was actually a corporal at the time of his Medal of Honor exploit.

        9. Incredibly, the movie reverses the most famous moment in the Medal of Honor action.York actually shot the charging Germans from last to first (like he learned from turkey hunting days).

        Belle and Blade = 3.0
        Brassey's = 4.0
        Video Hound = 4.4
        War Movies = 3.8
        Military History = #19
        Channel 4 = no
        Film Site = yes
        101 War Movies = yes
        Rotten Tomatoes = no

        OPINION: "Sergeant York" could not have been much better considering when it was made. It is definitely in the top rank of black and white war films. It is technically masterful. The sets are obviously painstakingly prepared. The no man's land set was constructed by 300 workers and entailed the use of five tons of dynamite and the defoliating of 400 trees. The indoor sets are particularly commendatory. Look around the rooms for the little details on the walls. The lighting is often mentioned by critics. The score by Max Steiner makes use of patriotic songs, folk tunes, and hymns. The acting is a strength. Cooper is at his best and said it was his favorite role (ironically, he was reluctant to play it). He is a master of underacting. The screenplay is a marvel of achieved themes. The film can be viewed as two parts. The first part takes York from disdain for religion to Bible-thumping . In general, the dynamic is between the religious people (exemplified by Mrs. York and the Pastor) and the hell-raisers (York and his compadres). The second half has him make the shift from fundamental belief in the Old Testament to love of country, duty, and honor.
        Does "Sergeant York" belong in the top fifty? It depends on how you define "greatest". If you read it as "most important", then you can make a case for it. It's effect went beyond simple entertainment. It is a very entertaining film, but it also tells an important tale of a warrior that deserved the coverage (similar to Audie Murphy's "To Hell and Back"). More significantly, it played a role in American intervention in WWII. The most popular film of 1941 encouraged Americans to see the positive aspects of involvement in the world conflict. The attack on Pearl Harbor seemed to confirm that theme.

        Comment


        • #79
          Wings_poster.jpg



          44. Wings (1927)

          SYNOPSIS: "Wings" is the granddaddy of all aerial combat movies. It is the tale of two Americans (Charles Rogers, Richard Arlen) who go off to the Western Front to become pilots. They start off enemies, but that changes. They are joined by the girl next door (Clara Bow) for a romantic subplot. There is plenty of aerial derring do.

          BACK-STORY: "Wings" was a movie that was loaded with firsts. First aerial combat movie. First male kiss. First Best Picture (and the only silent movie until "The Artist"). It set the template for future air combat movies. The director was William "Wild Bill" Wellman ("Beau Geste", "The Story of G.I. Joe", "Battleground") who had been a pilot with the Lafayette Escadrille in WWI. Sadly, he is one of the few directors who were not even nominated for his Best Picture efforts. The movie was filmed at Kelly Field in San Antonio with full cooperation of the U.S. military. The planes provided were mainly Thomas-Morse MB-3s and Curtiss PW-8s. The German fighters were played by Curtiss P-1 Hawks. One stunt flier broke his neck in a crash and another was a fatality.

          TRIVIA: wikipedia, imdb, TCM

          1. It was filmed at Kelly Field in San Antonio, Texas.

          2. Director William Wellman had been in the Lafayette Flying Corps in WWI. He flew Nieuport 24's and chalked up three confirmed kills and five probables. He was shot down and had a permanent limp from the incident. He was awarded the French Croix de Guerre. His wife and daughter played the mother and daughter of the farmhouse where the crash occurs. Wellman himself has a cameo as a doughboy and has the line: "Atta boy!Them buzzards are good after all!" Wellman was notoriously anti-infantry.

          3. The Battle of St. Mihiel took ten days of rehearsing. The Pentagon provided 3,500 soldiers and five tanks. It also cooperated with over 100 planes for the production.300 pilots were used. An Army Air Corps pilot was killed in a crash during the production.

          4. The entire score was written, composed, and recorded on a Wurlitzer Pipe Organ.

          5. It won the first Oscar for Best Picture (called Best Production back then) and was the only silent movie to win until "The Artist". It also won for Engineering Effects.

          6. The script was adjusted for Clara Bow. She did not like the movie. She complained that her uniform did not show off her curves enough. She does flash a bit of nudity, but you have to be very good at pausing. She had recently gotten engaged, but that did not stop her from having an affair with Gary Cooper during the production.

          7. Cooper was launched to stardom by his small role. He was distraught with his performance and went to Wyler to ask for a reshoot because he had picked his nose in the scene. Wyler told him to keep picking his nose because he was going to be a star.

          8. Main actors Buddy Rogers and Richard Arlen are actually flying their planes for closeups. Their kiss was one of the first male kisses in film history.

          9. It has one of the earliest product placements - Hershey's Chocolate Bar.

          Belle and Blade = N/A
          Brassey's = 5.0
          Video Hound = 3.8
          War Movies = N/A
          Military History = #11
          Channel 4 = no
          Film Site = yes
          101 War Movies = yes
          Rotten Tomatoes = no

          OPINION: "Wings" probably deserved the Best Picture award. It is epic in scale and execution. Wellman had access to 60 planes and 3,500 extras. He also had a bevy of intrepid stunt men who were willing to risk life and limb to depict the thrills of air combat. The acrobatics of the doomed planes are particularly impressive. In this film even the planes ham it up. The acting is problematical. Clara Bow dominates when she is on screen. I know our perceptions of what is hot has changed greatly from the 1920s, but she has "it" even in today's climate. Rogers and Arlen give typical silent movie over-emoting performances. The movie is melodramatic and patriotic, especially in the title cards, but not overly propagandistic. It does not demonize the enemy. The movie is justifiably famous for its aerial sequences. They are among the best from that era. Better than most, but not superior to "Hell's Angels" (which was greatly influenced by it). Amazingly, the trench sequences are actually stronger than the air combat and they get much more coverage than in similar films. In conclusion, it is certainly a very important film, but it is not worthy of being in the top 50 war movies.

          Comment


          • #80
            Mohicansposter.jpg


            43. Last of the Mohicans (1992)

            SYNOPSIS: A modern interpretation of the James Fenimore Cooper classic. Hawkeye (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his two Mohican pals attempt to protect two English lasses from the villainous Magua (Wes Studi). Throw in the siege of Fort William Henry during the French and Indian War.

            BACKSTORY: "The Last of the Mohicans" was released in 1992. It was the first big budget feature from director Michael Mann. It was very loosely based on the John Fennimore Cooper novel, but actually is closer to the 1936 Randolph Scott film. The movie is set in 1757, three years into the French and Indian War. Although the action takes place in upstate New York, it was actually filmed mostly in North Carolina. The production used 1,000 Native American actors and extras. Mann had a 20 acre frontier farm, a Huron village, and a replica of a British fort built. The director's obsessive quest for authenticity was matched by his star Daniel Day-Lewis who completely immersed himself in his role. Part of his preparation involved a "colonial boot camp" experience in the backwoods. Mann used a respected authority named Mark Baker to vet the film. Baker is an expert on frontier life, Indians, and weaponry. Mann provided him with a copy of the script and in most cases made changes suggested by Baker. The movie was a box office success and critically acclaimed. It was awarded an Oscar for Sound.

            TRIVIA: wikipedia, imdb, TCM

            1. It relies more on the 1936 version than the book.Thank God!

            2. The Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina stood in for the Adirondacks.

            3. Daniel Day-Lewis lived in the wilderness for several weeks to prepare for his role. He got into the role so much that after the shoot he suffered from claustrophobia and mild hallucinations.

            4. Randy Edelman finished the score because Trevor Jones had another commitment and there may have been some artistic differences between Jones and director Michael Mann.

            5. Recreation of Fort William Henry cost $6 million.

            6. The film used hundreds of Native American extras, mostly Iroquois.

            7. Russell Means was making his film debut.He was famous for being a leader of the American Indian Movement and participated in the Wounded Knee occupation.

            Belle and Blade = N/A
            Brassey's = 3.0
            Video Hound = 3.8
            War Movies = N/A
            Military History = #95
            Channel 4 = #35
            Film Site = yes
            101 War Movies = yes
            Rotten Tomatoes = no

            OPINION: This is a magnificent movie. It combines an interesting plot with great acting and a real concern for historical accuracy. Kudos to Michael Mann for getting the little details right. Let's face it, even war movie nuts do not care if the moccasins are circa 1757. However, when a director insists on accuracy down to the ground and cares if anyone will notice, you get a better movie for purists. Also commendatory was the tampering with the plot of the novel. I admit I get upset when a nonfiction source is changed to Hollywoodize a movie, but I do not think it is hypocritical to endorse what Mann and the screenwriters have done. Especially since most literary critics are not big fans of the novel. As long as you get the historical facts mostly right, why not make the tale better? The movie also looks good. The scenery is breathtaking. Parts of North Carolina really do look like the frontier of colonial America. The score is perfect. So here we have a movie with great acting, a moving score, realistic sound, romance, action, suspense, violence, and historical accuracy. I would rank it higher, but I think #43 is fair.

            Comment


            • #81
              Battle_of_Britain_%28movie_poster%29.jpg


              42. Battle of Britain (1969)

              SYNOPSIS: This all-star epic is a dramatization of the Battle of Britain from WWII. It concentrates on the RAF pilots (Robert Shaw, Michael Caine, Christopher Plummer), but gives some coverage to the Luftwaffe. There are some soap operaish elements to it. The movie has excellent aerial combat.

              BACK-STORY: "Battle of Britain" was released in 1969 and was specifically meant to be a tribute to "the few". The movie fits into the sub-genre of old-school all-star epics with vignettes supporting the main story line. It's sisters are "The Longest Day" (1962) and "The Battle of the Bulge" (1965). In some ways it can be viewed as England's response to those earlier films. It was directed by Guy Hamilton of "Goldfinger" fame. The screenplay is based on the book The Narrow Margin by Derek Wood and Derek Dempster. The book gives a traditional retelling of the Battle of Britain and thus the movie stands as the definitive film treatment of the battle. It is not a revisionist film. The film was big budget and it shows. Not only did the producers round up most of the great British actors of the time, but they went to a lot of trouble and expense to round up military hardware appropriate for a 1940 air battle. During the filming, more bullets (in the form of blanks) were fired than in the actual Battle of Britain. The movie has a very impressive list of technical advisers which included famous aces Adolf Galland and Robert Stanford Tuck. Several airfields that were part of the battle were used in the film. The scenes at RAF Fighter Command were filmed at the headquarters of Fighter Command. Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding's original office was used.


              TRIVIA: wikipedia, imdb,TCM

              1. Technical advisers included three of the greatest aces of WWII:Robert Stanford Tuck, Ginger Lacey, and Adolf Galland. Lacey was the main adviser. He shot down the second most German planes in the battle and finished with a total of 28 for the war. Tuck shot down 29 and was captured and imprisoned for much of the war. Galland became head of Luftwaffe fighters and was famous for speaking his mind to authority. He is portrayed in the film as Major Falke who gets to say Galland's famous line about Goring giving his squadron some Spitfires. Galland wondered why they did not use his name for the character. So do I! Tuck and Galland became close friends because of the experience and Tuck became Galland's son's godfather.

              2. The movie had the use of over 100 aircraft including 12 flyable Spitfires and 3 Hurricanes. The Germans were played by 32 Spanish versions of the He-111 and 27 versions of the Me-109. This "air force" was the 35th largest in the world at the time. The Ju-87 Stukas were models. Models that dropped their bombs AFTER they dropped their bombs.

              3. The main filming platform was a B-25 Mitchell.

              4. Queen Elizabeth II attended the premiere at Leicester Square in London.

              5. Two samples were used in Pink Floyd's "The Wall".The noise of the Stukas diving and the phrase "Where the hell are you, Simon?"

              6. The aerial footage was reused in "Midway", "Dark Blue World", "Baa Baa Black Sheep", "Piece of Cake", and in the video for "Skeet Surfing" in the movie "Top Secret!".

              Belle and Blade = 2.5
              Brassey's = 3.0
              Video Hound = 3.8
              War Movies = 3.1
              Military History = #90
              Channel 4 = #29
              Film Site = yes
              101 War Movies = yes
              Rotten Tomatoes = no


              OPINION: "Battle of Britain" is a good movie, but probably does not deserve the fondness many war movie buffs have for it. As a tutorial, it does a fine job in informing about this important event in history. It is fair-minded and does not treat the Germans as evil and the British as saints. In fact, it is not even very patriotic, which is surprising considering it was made in England in the 30th anniversary of the beginning of WWII. It covers both strategy and tactics so you get the pilots perspective as well as what the commanders were thinking. Unlike "Midway", BOB makes better use of its cast. The heavy-weights (with the exception of Olivier) are put in officer rather than high command roles. This allows Shaw, Plummer, and Micheal Caine (Squadron Leader Canfield) to put their stamps on their roles. They are all effective. The dogfights are spectacular, but tend to be repetitive as the movie goes along. The stand-out is the "silent" scene which is almost surreal. Interestingly, the score for this scene is from the original composer and differs from the more bombastic, patriotic music that backs the rest of the movie.

              In conclusion, "Battle of Britain" is the best movie on its subject. It could have been better, but it could also have been much worse. The producers tried hard and deserve to be credited with a game effort. You can learn a lot from this movie and if you hate to read it's the best tutorial you will get.

              Comment


              • #82
                Downside (which isn't much, and my opinion only) - a few of these are not war movies IMO; even if some "authority" thinks they are.

                Upsides - Excellent research and some good analysis on your part. I wouldn't agree with the relative positions of all of the rankings (as if anyone would agree with them ALL ) but I'm in accord with the great majority of your comments. Keep up the good work!


                I eagerly await the remaining 41 - assuming they are coming?
                "England expects that every man will do his duty!" (English crew members had better get ready for a tough fight against the combined French and Spanish fleets because that's what England expects! However, Scotland, Wales and Ireland appear to expect nothing so the Scottish, Welsh and Irish crew members can relax below decks if they like!)

                Comment


                • #83
                  I also appreciate your time and effort. I always learn something.

                  Comment


                  • #84
                    Originally posted by warmoviebuff View Post
                    Battle_of_Britain_%28movie_poster%29.jpg


                    42. Battle of Britain (1969)

                    SYNOPSIS: This all-star epic is a dramatization of the Battle of Britain from WWII. It concentrates on the RAF pilots (Robert Shaw, Michael Caine, Christopher Plummer), but gives some coverage to the Luftwaffe. There are some soap operaish elements to it. The movie has excellent aerial combat.

                    BACK-STORY: "Battle of Britain" was released in 1969 and was specifically meant to be a tribute to "the few". The movie fits into the sub-genre of old-school all-star epics with vignettes supporting the main story line. It's sisters are "The Longest Day" (1962) and "The Battle of the Bulge" (1965). In some ways it can be viewed as England's response to those earlier films. It was directed by Guy Hamilton of "Goldfinger" fame. The screenplay is based on the book The Narrow Margin by Derek Wood and Derek Dempster. The book gives a traditional retelling of the Battle of Britain and thus the movie stands as the definitive film treatment of the battle. It is not a revisionist film. The film was big budget and it shows. Not only did the producers round up most of the great British actors of the time, but they went to a lot of trouble and expense to round up military hardware appropriate for a 1940 air battle. During the filming, more bullets (in the form of blanks) were fired than in the actual Battle of Britain. The movie has a very impressive list of technical advisers which included famous aces Adolf Galland and Robert Stanford Tuck. Several airfields that were part of the battle were used in the film. The scenes at RAF Fighter Command were filmed at the headquarters of Fighter Command. Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding's original office was used.


                    TRIVIA: wikipedia, imdb,TCM

                    1. Technical advisers included three of the greatest aces of WWII:Robert Stanford Tuck, Ginger Lacey, and Adolf Galland. Lacey was the main adviser. He shot down the second most German planes in the battle and finished with a total of 28 for the war. Tuck shot down 29 and was captured and imprisoned for much of the war. Galland became head of Luftwaffe fighters and was famous for speaking his mind to authority. He is portrayed in the film as Major Falke who gets to say Galland's famous line about Goring giving his squadron some Spitfires. Galland wondered why they did not use his name for the character. So do I! Tuck and Galland became close friends because of the experience and Tuck became Galland's son's godfather.

                    2. The movie had the use of over 100 aircraft including 12 flyable Spitfires and 3 Hurricanes. The Germans were played by 32 Spanish versions of the He-111 and 27 versions of the Me-109. This "air force" was the 35th largest in the world at the time. The Ju-87 Stukas were models. Models that dropped their bombs AFTER they dropped their bombs.

                    3. The main filming platform was a B-25 Mitchell.

                    4. Queen Elizabeth II attended the premiere at Leicester Square in London.

                    5. Two samples were used in Pink Floyd's "The Wall".The noise of the Stukas diving and the phrase "Where the hell are you, Simon?"

                    6. The aerial footage was reused in "Midway", "Dark Blue World", "Baa Baa Black Sheep", "Piece of Cake", and in the video for "Skeet Surfing" in the movie "Top Secret!".

                    Belle and Blade = 2.5
                    Brassey's = 3.0
                    Video Hound = 3.8
                    War Movies = 3.1
                    Military History = #90
                    Channel 4 = #29
                    Film Site = yes
                    101 War Movies = yes
                    Rotten Tomatoes = no


                    OPINION: "Battle of Britain" is a good movie, but probably does not deserve the fondness many war movie buffs have for it. As a tutorial, it does a fine job in informing about this important event in history. It is fair-minded and does not treat the Germans as evil and the British as saints. In fact, it is not even very patriotic, which is surprising considering it was made in England in the 30th anniversary of the beginning of WWII. It covers both strategy and tactics so you get the pilots perspective as well as what the commanders were thinking. Unlike "Midway", BOB makes better use of its cast. The heavy-weights (with the exception of Olivier) are put in officer rather than high command roles. This allows Shaw, Plummer, and Micheal Caine (Squadron Leader Canfield) to put their stamps on their roles. They are all effective. The dogfights are spectacular, but tend to be repetitive as the movie goes along. The stand-out is the "silent" scene which is almost surreal. Interestingly, the score for this scene is from the original composer and differs from the more bombastic, patriotic music that backs the rest of the movie.

                    In conclusion, "Battle of Britain" is the best movie on its subject. It could have been better, but it could also have been much worse. The producers tried hard and deserve to be credited with a game effort. You can learn a lot from this movie and if you hate to read it's the best tutorial you will get.
                    The use of Sir William Walton's original Music, " The Spitfire Prelude and " THe Spitfire Fugue" was used most effectively.
                    It was reported that Adolf Galland was sceptical about the whole project until he heard that the Luftwaffe characters were to speak in German.
                    "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
                    Samuel Johnson.

                    Comment


                    • #85
                      Originally posted by panther3485 View Post
                      Downside (which isn't much, and my opinion only) - a few of these are not war movies IMO; even if some "authority" thinks they are.

                      Upsides - Excellent research and some good analysis on your part. I wouldn't agree with the relative positions of all of the rankings (as if anyone would agree with them ALL ) but I'm in accord with the great majority of your comments. Keep up the good work!


                      I eagerly await the remaining 41 - assuming they are coming?
                      I agree that some are not war movies, but all appear in at least one of my war movie reviews books.

                      Thanks for the compliments.

                      I will complete the list. Provided the site still exists.

                      Comment


                      • #86
                        GunsofNavarone.jpg


                        41. Guns of Navarone (1961)

                        SYNOPSIS: "The Guns of Navarone" is a WWII action/adventure based on the novel by Alistair MacLean. A commando team of various talents is sent to a German controlled island to destroy two enormous artillery pieces that control the nearby sea and would prevent a British fleet from passing by. They have to overcome obstacles like climbing a cliff in a rainstorm, a traitor in their midst, and getting into the well-defended emplacement. The cast is led by Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn, David Niven, and Anthony Quayle.

                        BACKSTORY: "The Guns of Navarone" was released in 1961 and was the top box office attraction of that year. It is based on the popular novel (1957) by Alistair MacLean, although the characters underwent major changes by screenwriter Carl Foreman ( for instance, there are no major female characters in the book ). At $6 million, the film was one of the most expensive up to that time. It paid off as the movie was a smash hit and critically acclaimed. It served as a template for the James Bond series with its mixture of action, characters, and exotic locale. It is often linked with similar movies from that time period, specifically with "Bridge on the River Kwai", "The Longest Day", and "The Great Escape". It was nominated for 7 Academy Awards and won for Best Special Effects. It was awarded the Golden Globe for Drama. One of the Oscar nods went to Foreman for his first credited screenplay since being blacklisted as a Communist. The movie was filmed mostly on the island of Rhodes which hosted an all-star cast. One of whom, David Niven, almost died during filming because of immersion in a pool of water for the explosives on the elevator shaft scene.

                        TRIVIA: Wikipedia, imdb, TCM, Cinema Retro

                        1. The original director was Alexander MacKendrick. He was fired (officially he was ill) by producer Carl Foreman for creative differences. Foreman had set himself up as second unit director and was very protective of his script. He also felt MacKendrick was not up to his standards. Foreman also found fault with the script written by thriller writer Eric Ambler and decided to write it himself. Foreman, a communist sympathizer, had been blacklisted in the U.S. during the Korean War. Although he had dropped out of the Communist Party ten years earlier, he refused to name names before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee. After finishing "High Noon", he had relocated to England.

                        2. Director J. Lee Thompson had had a great success with "Ice Cold in Alex". He later went on to direct "John Goldfarb, Please Come Home". He was known for frequent rehearsing. The movie uses a lot of painted mattes for effects and rear projection. Most of the shots of the boat are models. The cliff scene was done on the floor of the studio with the actors lying down for the scaling.

                        3. The Greek government provided a thousand troops, dozens of vehicles, and a number of ships. Foreman was given access to all historical sites. The cooperation soured after Thompson accidentally sank the ship in the scene where their boat is stopped by a German patrol ship. Members of the royal family appear in the wedding banquet scene.

                        4. The shipwreck scene was done in the studio tank using airplane engines that had water from fire hoses sprayed into them. It took 10 days. The tidal wave was an effect. Peck suffered a deep gash on his head and was nearly crushed by the hydraulics. Quinn injured his back. Niven reopened an old war wound. Darren nearly drowned.

                        5. Peck was chosen after William Holden asked for too much and did not want to star because he felt the movie was too much like "Bridge on the River Kwai". Peck liked the anti-war theme because he was a confirmed pacifist who had not supported U.S. intervention in WWII until Operation Barbarossa. He refused to do an English accent so the character was changed to American. He later admitted he was miscast. His German was dubbed. He was hoping to revive a career that was beginning to skid.

                        6. Anthony Quinn loved the Rhodes location shoot so much he bought land in the area that is still called Anthony Quin Bay. He and Peck did not get along at first, but bonded over chess (which Quinn was very good at). He angered the cast by wearing the vibrant red t-shirt under his uniform and then using its uncovering to steal eyeballs in the climactic scenes.

                        7. David Niven felt his role was underwritten and pouted a bit about it. This movie was the only one that the anti-smoking Brit smoked in. Niven returned to the British Army at the start of the war. He was the only British actor to return to serve in the war. He was assigned to a commando unit, but did not like to talk about his experiences. He suffered a serious viral infection shooting the rigging the rigging the elevator scene because the water was polluted. He came close to dying and was hospitalized for several weeks. The movie was in jeopardy until he returned.

                        8. Anthony Quayle was a Major organizing guerrilla forces in Albania during WWII.

                        9. Bobby Darren was hoping to change his teen idol image, but his next movie was the sequel to "Gidget" in which he played Moondoggie. He had only ten lines of dialogue.

                        10. Stanley Baker was a big star in England, but was not high on the movie's totem pole. He was bitter throughout the filming.

                        11. Gia Scala (Anna) was a head-case and difficult to work with (she later committed suicide). She was upset with director Thompson for having her character with short hair. When given the opportunity to cut Foreman's hair, she gouged the back of it.

                        12. Dimitri Tiomkin got a record $50,000 and a percent of the profits. The score was the longest ever at 147 minutes.

                        13. The guns were built by an armaments company and were functional. The guns were based on Big Bertha. The guns set was the largest ever built. It took five months. It was three stories high and had and working elevator.

                        14. The number of times Barnsby (Richard Harris) says "bloody" in his rant about aerial bombing of the guns - 9. The British censor insisted it be redubbed "ruddy" for British prints.

                        15. *** Spoiler Alert: Foreman made substantial changes to the novel. He added the Pappadimos character. He added the leadership dysfunction between Mallory and Miller. He added the revenge issue for Stavros with regard to Mallory. He added Stavros saving Mallory on the cliff. He built up the scopolamine angle. Mallory kills the traitor. He added the wedding scene. There was no well of water at the bottom of the elevator in the book. (I bet Niven wished he had not added that!) He made the story more anti-war.

                        Belle and Blade = 2.0
                        Brassey's = 4.0
                        Video Hound = 4.4
                        War Movies = 5.0
                        Military History = #93
                        Channel 4 = #14
                        Film Site = no
                        101 War Movies = yes
                        Rotten Tomatoes = no


                        OPINION: Although considered one of the great manly films, "Guns" is probably a bit overrated. It has some ridiculous moments like the escape from the German arresters and Pappidamos' machine gun duel. Not to mention squeezing a song into a war movie! It also has several standard movie clichés like Stavros finding a woman in the end to restart his life. The Germans are depicted as not so much evil as stupid. The movie is also a little slow and talkie at times. When compared to a similar MacLean inspired movie, "Where Eagles Dare" (which did not make the list), it comes up short in almost every way. However, as an example of an old school action movie set in war, it is pretty good. It has the old-fashioned soundtrack, stellar acting, and the twist of who the traitor is. It is rousing entertainment, but a bit staid.

                        Comment


                        • #87
                          You do realize you're mostly talking to yourself, right?
                          Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

                          Comment


                          • #88
                            Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
                            You do realize you're mostly talking to yourself, right?
                            No he's not, he's talking to me, and others like me who appreciate his efforts, so screw off.
                            "I am Groot"
                            - Groot

                            Comment


                            • #89
                              Originally posted by Marmat View Post

                              No he's not, he's talking to me, and others like me who appreciate his efforts, so screw off.
                              Second that. I check in every couple of days to see the latest updates.

                              Warmoviebuff keep it coming!

                              I think most of us have limited our comments to keep Warmoviebuff's flow going.

                              One concern Warmoviebuff, in post # 85 you say "I will complete the list. Provided the site still exists."



                              Is there talk of the site going down?
                              "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
                              Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

                              Comment


                              • #90
                                Originally posted by warmoviebuff View Post
                                Gallipoli_original_Australian_poster.jpg





                                47. Gallipoli (1981)

                                SYNOPSIS: Two Aussie buddies join the army in WWI. Archy (Mark Lee) and Frank (Mel Gibson) are shipped to Egypt for the bonding with comrades scenes and then it's off to Turkey for the Gallipoli campaign. They and their mates are stuck in the trenches facing the strong Turkish lines. The movie builds to a suicidal charge across no man’s land.

                                BACK-STORY: "Gallipoli" is a war movie by Peter Weir ("Master and Commander"). It was part of the wave of Australian classics of the 1980s that included "Breaker Morant" and "The Lighthorsemen". Weir was inspired by the story of the ANZAC (Australian - New Zealand Army Corps) contribution to the British effort in the Gallipoli campaign of WWI. Early on the project evolved from a study of the entire campaign to a more personal study set in a brief period of the campaign. It stars Mel Gibson (coming off of "Mad Max" and "Attack Force Z") and a debuting Mark Lee. . It won the Australian equivalent of the Academy Awards for Best Film, Director, Actor (Mel Gibson), Supporting Actor (Bill Hunter), Screenplay, and Cinematography. Mark Lee was nominated for Best Actor.

                                TRIVIA: wikipedia, imdb, TCM

                                1. Peter Weir (the director) got the idea from a visit to Gallipoli in 1976.

                                2. The movie was controversial for making the British command the villain for the suicidal final attack. Weir later said he regretted giving this impression, which was inaccurate. Not only did the British not order the attack, it was actually a diversion for a New Zealand attack, not a British attack.

                                3. Due to lack of male riders, 200 of the 400 horsemen were female.

                                4. At $2.8 million, the movie was the most expensive Australian movie up until then.

                                5. The final image was based on a very famous photo by Robert Capa of a soldier dying in the Spanish Civil War.

                                Belle and Blade = 3.5
                                Brassey's = 4.0
                                Video Hound = 4.4
                                War Movies = 4.4
                                Military History = no
                                Channel 4 = #48
                                Film Site = yes
                                101 War Movies = yes
                                Rotten Tomatoes = no

                                OPINION: "Gallipoli" is well done and was influential on war movies of the eighties. It is fairly accurate, but piles on the British to elicit nods from its core audience which still resents Britain's misuse of the ANZAC. The acting is okay, if a bit over the top. Gibson is a young Mel Gibson, 'nuff said. Lee is a little e bland, but so is his character. It's themes of the loss of innocence and the futility of war are commendable. It is definitely anti-war. It is a buddy picture with some hints of a bromance between Archy and Frank which I feel it's safe to say escaped Gibson's notice when he read the script. I do think some critics have overemphasized the homosexual angle. Although the unrealistic way the cynical Frank runs off to a war because of his friendship with Archy gives ammunition to their argument. Not a bad movie, but not as good as "Breaker Morant" and not worthy of this high on the list.
                                There's no doubt whatever that the attack on The Nek was an all-Australian, in-house, stuff -up, in fact ,the film does the British an injustice, as rather than standing-aside "making tea", elements of the Royal Welch Fusiliers attempted a diversion to try to relieve the Light Horse Regiment's predicament.

                                A good film ,apart from that, effectively recreating the atmosphere of the time. THe musical score is particularly note-worthy combining modern electronic effects with the music of Bizet,Pachelbel and Johann Strauss II.
                                "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
                                Samuel Johnson.

                                Comment

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