Film and Warfare Summary

  • Last updated on November 11, 2022

Film and warfare have been linked ever since celluloid images were first projected onto a screen.

Overview

Film and warfare have been linked ever since celluloid images were first projected onto a screen. The practice of using cinema as a nationalistic propaganda tool is as old as the medium itself. Beginning in 1896, one-reelers consisting of “actuality” footage were part of traveling exhibits. In 1898, films of fabricated “events” of the Spanish-American War (using toy boats floated in a bathtub) were used to sway public opinion in the United States. In Great Britain, the drama Call to Arms, The (film) The Call to Arms (1902) rallied support for the Boer Wars (1880-1902) Boer War (1899-1902) in South Africa. The cinema has provided a mirror for the values of its parent societies. Though documentaries offer direct messages, narrative feature films are often a better barometer of prevalent societal values. A film depicting current events is later valuable as impressionistic historical evidence. Audiences often focus on World War II when thinking of war films, but the entire history of warfare has been represented on the screen.Film, warfare inWarfare;in film[film]Film, warfare inWarfare;in film[film]

Significance

During World War I, Western society experienced one of the first mass propaganda campaigns of the twentieth century. Leaders in Europe and the United States used the burgeoning mass media to rally support for the Allied war effort. The motion-picture industry, just beginning to develop the feature film and its simplistic conventions, became the ideal medium for this campaign. American film producers, who originally depicted warfare to increase ticket sales, were influenced by those presenting positive views of national preparedness.

Ancient World

Filmmakers have repeatedly been attracted to “historical” subjects. Audiences have been captivated by images of warfare, and films set in the ancient world have appealed to their spirit of adventure. While some war films set in ancient times are based on “historical fact,” motivating their makers to claims of “realism,” these productions frequently offer more information about their parent societies than about the civilizations depicted on the screen.

The Thermopylae, Battle of (480 b.c.e.)Battle of Thermopylae (480 b.c.e.) between the Greek city-states and Persia is the centerpiece of 300 Spartans, The (film)[three hundred spartans] The 300 Spartans (1962), an epic that inspired Miller, FrankMiller, Frank Frank Miller to create the graphic novel 300 (novel)[three hundred] 300, a fictionalized version of the battle that was then adapted for a successful computer-enhanced feature film, released in 2007, that favored digital effects over historical accuracy. Alexander the GreatAlexander the Great Alexander III of Macedonia (356-323 b.c.e. ) has been the subject of two major films: Alexander the Great (film) Alexander the Great (1956), a U.S.-British coproduction, and the Stone, OliverStone, Oliver Oliver Stone epic Alexander (film) Alexander (2004), which features several battles that flirt with historical facts. The Third Servile War, Third (73-71 b.c.e.) Servile War (73-71 b.c.e. ), waged by escaped slaves against Rome, is portrayed in Kubrick, StanleyKubrick, Stanley Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus (film) Spartacus (1960). Having lost the lead role in Ben-Hur (film)[ben hur] Ben-Hur (1959) to Charlton Heston, Spartacus star Kirk Douglas created his own ancient epic, giving an intense performance amid a flood of historical inaccuracies, including the crucifixion of Spartacus, who supposedly died in battle.

Roman and Egyptian warfare during the reign of Cleopatra VIICleopatra VII[Cleopatra 07]Cleopatra VII (69-30 b.c.e.) provides excitement in two films, both titled Cleopatra (film) Cleopatra, that contain references to Shakespeare, WilliamShakespeare, William William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (Shakespeare) Julius Caesar (c. 1599-1600): a 1934 Cecil B. DeMille effort and a historically indefensible 1963 disaster featuring Octavian’s victory over Marc Antony at Actium (31 b.c.e. ). Producer Bronston, SamuelBronston, Samuel Samuel Bronston and director Mann, AnthonyMann, Anthony Anthony Mann made Fall of the Roman Empire, The (film) The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964), a box-office bomb (set during 180-192 c.e. ) rife with historical falsehoods, including the Four Armies, Battle of the “Battle of the Four Armies” between renegade Roman legions and a force from Armenia and Persia (actually Parthia). Set during the same period, Scott, RidleyScott, Ridley Ridley Scott’s Gladiator (film) Gladiator (2000) opens with a Roman victory over an army of Germanic Barbarians. Responsible for reviving the “historical” epic (including Petersen, WolfgangPetersen, Wolfgang Wolfgang Petersen’s Troy (film) Troy, 2004, based on the works of the ancient epic poets Homer and Vergil), the film produced the “Gladiator effect,” increasing public interest in classical subjects.

Medieval World

Actor Kirk Douglas as Spartacus in the 1960 film of the same name, depicting the gladiator who rebelled against Rome.

(Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Films depicting medieval warfare have frequently been popular with audiences, whose knowledge of “history” often is gained from what they see on the screen. Since the silent era, the legendary King Arthur has been featured in many war-oriented Anglo-American films. Bronston and Mann also made the romanticized El Cid (film) El Cid (1961), starring Heston, CharltonHeston, Charlton Charlton Heston as the Castilian “master of military arts” who conquered Valencia with a combined Christian and Moorish army (1094-1102). The film vividly depicts an early form of psychological warfare–terrorizing the enemy before attacking suddenly–and the fictionalized ending, with the corpse of the Cid charging into battle, is unforgettable.

The Crusades;in film[film]Crusades (1095-1272) have been represented in epics about Robin Hood as well as in Cecil B. DeMille’s Crusades, The (film) The Crusades (1935) and Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven (film) Kingdom of Heaven (2005), which prove that “historical accuracy” in films set in the medieval world did not increase much over seven decades. The 1242 Ice, Battle of the Battle of the Ice at Novgorod between Russian peasants and the Teutonic Knights Teutonic Knights of the Holy Roman Empire is energized by the montage of Eisenstein, SergeiEisenstein, Sergei Sergei Eisenstein and the music of Sergei Prokofiev in the Soviet masterpiece Alexander Nevsky (film) Alexander Nevsky (1938).

The story of Joan of ArcJoan of ArcJoan of Arc has spanned the history of film, from wartime variations during World War I to French epics such as Dreyer, Carl TheodorDreyer, Carl TheodorCarl Theodor Dreyer’s Passion of Joan of Arc, The (film) The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) and Besson, LucBesson, Luc Luc Besson’s Messenger, The (film) The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999), which focuses on the teenage Joan’s military leadership during scenes featuring anachronistic weaponry. The English perspective during the Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453);in film[film] Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453) has been visualized in two adaptations of Shakespeare’s Henry V (film) Henry V (c. 1598-1599): Olivier, LaurenceOlivier, Laurence Laurence Olivier’s 1944 “wartime version” and a 1989 retooling byBranagh, KennethBranagh, KennethKenneth Branagh featuring a brutal re-creation of the Agincourt, Battle of (1415) Battle of Agincourt (1415).

For Braveheart (film) Braveheart (1995), the epic about Wallace, WilliamWallace, William William Wallace’s role in the Wars of Scottish Independence, director and star Mel Gibson sought optimum historical realism for the battles of Stirling and Falkirk. Members of Clan Wallace appeared as extras, and armorer Simon Atherton provided accurate weaponry. Gibson used rapid editing and thunderous sound to depict the calamity of medieval warfare, creating scenes so shocking in their brutality that they prompted some patrons to flee theaters in 1995. Like most “historical” epics, Braveheart was criticized by traditionalist scholars for its revisionism (a tendency less forgivable in the depiction of modern history but unavoidable in a visualization of the thirteenth century).

Modern World

The Civil wars;EnglandEnglish Civil Wars (1642-1651)English Civil War of the 1640’s provided a backdrop for the “historical horror” film Witchfinder General (film) Witchfinder General (1968) and the epic Cromwell (film) Cromwell (1970), featuring technically impressive though historically inaccurate depictions of the battles of Edgehill and Naseby. In 1939, Hollywood depicted British and Native American attacks in Allegheny Uprising (film) Allegheny Uprising (colonial period) and Drums Along the Mohawk (film) Drums Along the Mohawk (revolutionary period). The American Revolution (1775-1783);in film[film] American Revolution took center stage in 1776 (film)[seventeen seventy six] 1776 (1972) and Patriot, The (film) The Patriot (2000), an ultraviolent and historically inaccurate portrayal in which Mel Gibson plays a variation on Braveheart, trading his medieval war hammer for a tomahawk.

In 1927, Gance, AbelGance, AbelAbel Gance directed the French silent Napoleon (film) Napoleon, which was groundbreaking in its use of wide-screen battle sequences. France also produced a sound Napoleon (film) Napoleon (1955) that re-created the battles of Austerlitz and Waterloo. A film adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace (film) Voyna i mir (1865-1869; War and Peace, 1886) was released in 1956 (an Italian-U.S. coproduction), and in 1963-1966 Soviet director Bondarchuk, SergeiBondarchuk, Sergei Sergei Bondarchuk adapted the work into a four-part series that stands as the most expensive film ever made. In 2003, Master and Commander (film) Russell Crowe starred in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, a historically detailed adaptation of three Patrick O’Brian novels about Napoleonic maritime warfare.

The Texas War of Independence (1835-1836)Texas War of Independence (1835-1836) has been depicted in many films, including John Wayne’s cinematically impressive, historically dubious Alamo, The (film) The Alamo (1960) and a 2004 revisionist remake showing the viewpoints of both armies. The Crimean War (1853-1856) Crimean War (1853-1856) inspired Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s "Charge of the Light Brigade, The" (Tennyson)[Charge of the Light Brigade] “The Charge of the Light Brigade” (1854), a poem that has been adapted for two films, a 1936 Warner Bros. adventure starring Errol Flynn and a 1968 British remake. The Indian Rebellion of 1857 Indian Rebellion of 1857 provided pro-British colonial warfare for the Hollywood adventure films Lives of a Bengal Lancer, The (film) The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1936) and Gunga Din (film) Gunga Din (1939).

The American Civil War (1861-1865);in film[film]American Civil War was initially represented by Hollywood blockbusters based on pro-Confederate novels. The silent era was revolutionized technically by Griffith, D. W.Griffith, D. W.D. W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation, The (film) The Birth of a Nation (1915), featuring political and racial stereotypes solidified decades later by Selznick, David O.Selznick, David O. David O. Selznick’s nostalgic Gone with the Wind (film) Gone with the Wind (1939), which includes some brief scenes of wartime devastation, such as its towering crane shot showing a sea of wounded Confederate soldiers on the streets of Atlanta.

JohnHuston, JohnHuston, JohnHuston’s 1951 adaptation of Crane, StephenCrane, StephenStephen Crane’s 1895 novel Red Badge of Courage, The (film) The Red Badge of Courage includes some anachronistic weaponry, but its focus on a young soldier (World War II hero Audie Murphy) horrified by the reality of war was one of the first realistic portrayals of the conflict on film. The Civil War has energized countless Westerns, including Leone, SergioLeone, Sergio Sergio Leone’s “spaghetti” epic Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, The (film) The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966), with Clint Eastwood braving battles while searching for buried Confederate gold. Glory (film) Glory (1989), Zwick, EdwardZwick, Edward Edward Zwick’s powerful, semifactual film about the African American Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, has been praised for providing an antidote to the falsehoods of Gone with the Wind.

Western Western filmswar films often feature (highly stylized) battles between whites and Native Americans. Walsh, RaoulWalsh, RaoulRaoul Walsh’s fictionalized film about the life of Custer, George ArmstrongCuster, George ArmstrongGeorge A. Custer, They Died with Their Boots On (film) They Died with Their Boots On (1941), became a heroic vehicle for Errol Flynn, while Ford, JohnFord, John John Ford depicted several battles in his “cavalry trilogy”: Fort Apache (1948), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949), and Rio Grande (1950).

Prior to the U.S. government’s establishment of propaganda policy during World War I[World War 01];in film[film]World War I, feature films created support for the military. Brand of Cowardice, The (film) The Brand of Cowardice (1916) and Deserter, The (film) The Deserter (1916) both depicted American men who became like treacherous “foreigners” when they refused to fight. After President Woodrow Wilson declared war in April, 1917, the Committee on Public Information exerted a control over fiction films that was more important than that directed toward the Censorship Documentaries “documentaries” being produced. The most extensive federal involvement in Hollywood films came from the Department of Publicity for the Fourth Liberty Loan Drive. Criticized for his pacifism, actor, writer, and director Chaplin, CharlesChaplin, Charles Charles Chaplin “did his part” by supporting the Third and Fourth Loans, then combined propaganda with comedy in Shoulder Arms (film) Shoulder Arms (1918).

Hollywood’s first World War I[World War 01];in film[film]World War I epic, Big Parade, The (film) The Big Parade (1925), opens in stereotypical fashion with men anxious for the “fun” of warfare but later features an Allied march through an empty forest that explodes with German machine-gun fire. Another scene captures the appalling stench of no-man’s-land when James Apperson (played by John Gilbert) lands in a shell hole with the corpse of an enemy he has just killed. Aerial warfare was staged on a grand scale for Wellman, WilliamWellman, William William Wellman’s Wings (film) Wings (1927) and Hughes, HowardHughes, Howard Howard Hughes’s Hell’s Angels (film) Hell’s Angels (1930), both featuring heroic flyboys in aerial sequences that were remarkably realistic for the period.

Perhaps the most memorable World War I film, Milestone, LewisMilestone, LewisLewis Milestone’s All Quiet on the Western Front (film) All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), based on Erich Maria Remarque’s antiwar novel Im Westen nichts Neues (1929; English translation, 1929), was groundbreaking in its use of the German perspective. The film’s horrific images of soldiers being ripped to pieces during combat is surpassed only by the final scene: Amid the mud and blood of the trenches, the protagonist, Paul Bäumer (played by Lew Ayres), is shot to death as he reaches out to grasp a butterfly.

Realizing that Depression filmgoers might be ill served by realistic images of the war’s western front, Hollywood filmmakers produced paeans to the heroes of World War I who “made the world safe for democracy,” including Warner Bros.’ Sergeant York (film) Sergeant York (1941). Previously, Warner Bros. had taken risks depicting the challenges faced by veterans, in Public Enemy, The (film) The Public Enemy (1931) and I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (film) I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932).

John Ford’s Lost Patrol, The (film) The Lost Patrol (1934) depicts British cavalrymen battling a deadly, unseen enemy in the sands of Mesopotamia (now Iraq). Aerial warfare energizes Goulding, EdmundGoulding, Edmund Edmund Goulding’s Dawn Patrol, The (film) The Dawn Patrol (1938), which–in the hands of Errol Flynn–reinforces cinematic clichés involving World War I fighter pilots: white scarves flowing in the wind, chivalrous behavior during dogfights, and fatalistic attitudes wrought by impending death. Warner Bros.’ Fighting 69th, The (film) The Fighting 69th (1940) chronicles the service of the “Irish” Sixty-ninth Infantry. Amid combat footage involving “Wild Bill” Donovan and poet Joyce Kilmer, James Cagney plays the classic conscript without a cause who is despised by his comrades. After his recklessness leads to several deaths, he redeems himself by waging a mortar assault on the enemy.

Though films set during World War I were prevalent in the years before U.S. entry into World War II[World War 02];in film[film]World War II, they gave way in 1941 before making a comeback with Blue Max, The (film) The Blue Max (1966), a British film about German flyers on the western front; the Australian antiwar film Gallipoli (film) Gallipoli (1981); and Flyboys (film) Flyboys (2006), a look at American flyers who joined France’s Lafayette Escadrille during 1916-1917.

The 1917 Russian Revolution (1917-1921);in film[film]Russian Revolution was praised by montage filmmakers Eisenstein, SergeiEisenstein, SergeiSergei Eisenstein and Pudovkin, VsevolodPudovkin, VsevolodVsevolod Pudovkin in October (film) October: Ten Days That Shook the World (1927) and End of St. Petersburg, The (film) The End of St. Petersburg (1927), respectively. Two years earlier, Eisenstein had directed Battleship Potemkin, The (film) Battleship Potemkin (1925), a depiction of a 1905 mutiny by sailors against their czarist officers. The combination of montage technique and political propaganda made this semifictional military epic one of the most influential films of all time.

During U.S. involvement in World War II, the conventions of the war-film genre were further established, and the influence of these wartime productions can still be seen in films made in the early twenty-first century. The idea for the preparedness comedy Buck Privates (film) Buck Privates (1941) began when Lou Costello suggested that moviegoers would be captured by a “soldier picture” capitalizing on the Selective Service and Training Act signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in September, 1940. The success of the film led to two more pro-service pictures featuring the comedy team of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello–In the Navy and Keep ’Em Flying–released prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Roosevelt’s establishment of the Office of War InformationWar Information OfficeOffice of War Information in June, 1942, called for Hollywood propaganda, a mandate affecting every film genre. Eventually, even Tarzan, Sherlock Holmes, and the Invisible Man were battling the Axis Powers. By August, 1945, nearly every battleground figured into a script. The European theater of operations is portrayed in Commandos Strike at Dawn (1942) and The Story of G.I. Joe (1945), and the Pacific theater is the focus of Bataan (1943) and Destination Tokyo (1943). Celluloid war heroes were invented for top stars who stayed home: Errol Flynn (Desperate Journey, 1942; Northern Pursuit, 1943; Uncertain Glory, 1944; Objective: Burma!, 1945), Humphrey Bogart (Sahara, 1943; Action in the North Atlantic, 1943; Passage to Marseille, 1944), and John Wayne (Flying Tigers, 1942; The Fighting Seabees, 1944; They Were Expendable, 1945; Back to Bataan, 1945).

A scene from the 1918 film The Kaiser, the Beast of Berlin, which promulgated anti-German sentiment and American support for post-World War I antisedition laws.

(Universal Film Co., courtesy National Archives)

World War II continued to dominate postwar cinema. Battleground (film) Battleground (1949), William Wellman’s depiction of the Battle of the Bulge, was followed by the fictional Sands of Iwo Jima (film) Sands of Iwo Jima (1950), starring Wayne, and Naked and the Dead, The (film) The Naked and the Dead (1958), based on Norman Mailer’s 1948 novel about his wartime experiences in the Pacific. Submarine warfare was revisited in Run Silent, Run Deep (film) Run Silent, Run Deep (1956), prisoners of war were featured in Stalag 17 (film) Stalag 17 (1950) and Von Ryan’s Express (film) Von Ryan’s Express (1965), and D day was “re-created” on a massive scale in Longest Day, The (film) The Longest Day (1962), the producer of which, Zanuck, Darryl F.Zanuck, Darryl F. Darryl F. Zanuck, summing up the pseudohistorical content of war films, admitted, “There is nothing duller on the screen than being accurate but not dramatic.”

Both theaters of war are represented in the 1970 epics Tora! Tora! Tora! (film) Tora! Tora! Tora!, a U.S.-Japanese coproduction about the attack on Pearl Harbor told from both perspectives, and Patton (film) Patton, a biography of the general whose military brilliance was undermined by his cavalier treatment of soldiers. D day;in film[film] D day also is depicted in Big Red One, The (film) The Big Red One (1980), which is based on director Fuller, SamuelFuller, Samuel Samuel Fuller’s service in the U.S. First Infantry. The German perspective is offered in Petersen, WolfgangPetersen, Wolfgang Wolfgang Petersen’s Boot, Das (film) Das Boot (1981), an accurate view of U-boat warfare set primarily within the confines of a submarine.

The first twenty-four minutes of Spielberg, StevenSpielberg, StevenSteven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan (film) Saving Private Ryan (1998) have been hailed as the most realistic combat scene in film history. This meticulous re-creation of the landings at Omaha Beach on D day features actual World War II landing craft and weaponry. Spielberg also coproduced the television miniseries Band of Brothers (book, miniseries) Band of Brothers (2001), a look at “Easy Company,” a parachute regiment attached to the 101st Airborne, based on the 1992 book of the same title by historian Stephen Ambrose and interviews with veterans.

The Korean War (1950-1953);in film[film]Korean War and the Cold War (1945-1991);in film[film]Cold War are represented in films made over four decades, including films that depict combat (The Bridges at Toko-Ri, 1954; Pork Chop Hill, 1959), espionage (The Manchurian Candidate, 1962), nuclear war (The Day After, 1983), and military training (Top Gun, 1986). John Wayne attempted to repeat his Alamo tribute for soldiers in Vietnam War (1961-1975);in film[film] Vietnam with Green Berets, The (film) The Green Berets (1968), a counter to the antiwar movement and supported by the presidential administration of Lyndon B. Johnson. Following the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam, filmmakers created a new, graphically violent subgenre of films depicting the Vietnam War, including Apocalypse Now (film) Apocalypse Now (1979), Coppola, Francis FordCoppola, Francis Ford Francis Ford Coppola’s updating of Joseph Conrad’s 1902 novel Heart of Darkness; Platoon (film) Platoon (1986), a response to The Green Berets based on Stone, OliverStone, Oliver Oliver Stone’s own experiences; and Full Metal Jacket (film) Full Metal Jacket (1987), Kubrick, StanleyKubrick, Stanley Stanley Kubrick’s tale of U.S. Marines at the Tet Offensive.

Hollywood continues to “chronicle” U.S. involvement in foreign conflicts, increasingly focusing on how warfare psychologically affects soldiers. The Persian Gulf War (1990-1991);in film[film]Gulf War of 1990-1991 is addressed in Courage Under Fire (film) Courage Under Fire (1996), Three Kings (film) Three Kings (1999), and Jarhead (film) Jarhead (2005), while the Iraq War (beg. 2003);in film[film] Iraq War begun in 2003 and the “War on Terror” are explored in Home of the Brave (film) Home of the Brave (2006), In the Valley of Elah (film) In the Valley of Elah (2007), and Body of Lies (film) Body of Lies (2008).

In 1965, Sinatra, FrankSinatra, FrankFrank Sinatra directed the first U.S.-Japanese film coproduction, None but the Brave (film) None but the Brave, a war film depicting the viewpoints of combatants on both sides. Four decades later, Clint Eastwood expanded on this idea by directing two innovative companion films, both of which were released in 2006: Flags of Our Fathers (film) Flags of Our Fathers, the fact-based story of the troops who raised the U.S. flag on Mount Suribachi; and Letters from Iwo Jima (film) Letters from Iwo Jima, based on two nonfiction books, one by General Tadamichi Kuribayashi, who commanded the Japanese garrison during the battle. Flags of Our Fathers incorporates vivid battle flashbacks while focusing on the fates of seven U.S. Marines and their Navy corpsman, while Letters from Iwo Jima portrays the battle from the perspective of Kuribayashi and his men. Both films were critically acclaimed for their realism and evenhanded historical accounts, with Letters from Iwo Jima receiving the lion’s share of praise for its empathetic view of the Japanese soldiers.Film, warfare inWarfare;in film[film]

Books and Articles
  • Basinger, Jeanine. The World War II Combat Film: Anatomy of a Genre. 1986. Reprint. Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 2003. Addresses motion pictures depicting the fighting of World War II as a separate genre of war films. Discusses the evolution of war films in general and provides in-depth discussion of several individual films.
  • Carnes, Mark C., ed. Past Imperfect: History According to the Movies. New York: Henry Holt, 1995. Collection of essays focuses on the historical inaccuracies depicted in motion pictures. Includes several examinations of films in which the action takes place during World War II.
  • Chadwick, Bruce. The Reel Civil War: Mythmaking in American Film. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2001. Examines how the revisionist version of Civil War history perpetrated in the late nineteenth century by many writers for magazines and newspapers, as well as novelists and even historians, later came to be depicted in motion pictures as well.
  • Davenport, Robert. The Encyclopedia of War Movies: The Authoritative Guide to Movies About Wars of the Twentieth Century. New York: Facts On File, 2004. Presents brief articles on more than eight hundred films, including cast lists, synopses, and other details.
  • Eberwein, Robert. The Hollywood War Film. Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. Provides an informative, readable introduction to the history of war films as made by American filmmakers. Includes an overview of the genre as well as in-depth discussion of individual films depicting wartime action from World War I through the Iraq War of the twenty-first century.
  • _______, ed. The War Film. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2005. Collection of essays by film scholars presents discussion of aesthetic and narrative elements of specific war films. Topics addressed include the conventions of the genre as well as the films’ depictions of race and gender issues.
  • Harty, Kevin J. The Reel Middle Ages: American, Western and Eastern European, Middle Eastern, and Asian Films About Medieval Europe. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 1999. Presents synopses and brief analyses of some six hundred films, including silent films and animated works, that depict life in the Middle Ages, including medieval warfare. Supplemented with photographs and bibliographies.
  • Nollen, Scott Allen. Abbott and Costello on the Home Front: A Critical Study of the Wartime Films. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2009. Focuses on the popular American World War II-era films starring the comedy team of Abbott and Costello. Provides information on each film’s story line, production history, and reception.

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