Wake Island was one of (if not the only) war movie in history that was filmed when the events depicted were still going on - first scenes were shot in California while Japanese were still bombarding Wake Island.
In December 1944 Hitler put the fate of his nation in last bold operation - all the offensive units Wehrmacht had available were put together to push towards Antwerp in Belgium in order to break the flood of Allied forces to the continent. Since the German fuel supplies were really stretched the spearhead of the offensive through Ardennes could not waste time or effort on dealing with prisoners, which lead to SS-handled massacres in Malmedy and other Belgian villages.
After the success of Saving Private Ryan it seemed that it was the ultimate production that set the standards that canâ€™t be made beaten. And that was true, many directors later tried to make their war movies similar to Saving Private Ryan, f.e. Assembly, Enemy at the Gates or Fury, but none of them reached the same level of realism, the atmosphere and storytelling. At least until Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg did not come up with one better - Band of Brothers TV mini-series.
The problem with modern American war movies is that either they were made as adventure flicks that had very little to do with reality or they try too hard to be important, to be accurate, to be patriotic and tell the true story from war times. Flags of Our Fathers is unfortunately the shining example of trying too hard.
Premiere of Saving Private Ryan was a revolution in the genre - before 1998 there were several approaches to war movies, from adventure driven ones (like Operation Burma or Kelly’s Heroes) to documentary-like blockbuster productions (like Midway or Tora Tora Tora), but there was nothing like Saving Private Ryan, nothing so intense, so real, so jaw-dropping and at the same time so terrifying. Steven Spielberg and Janusz Kaminski came up with perfect recipe by decreasing the saturation, adding sharper image and more dynamic camerawork.
American war movies very rarely deal with the reasons behind why the nation fought against United States, in most cases because they would have to show the real reasons why USA joined some of the wars, but when it comes to World War 2 they make exception, especially for Japan. Such titles as Tora! Tora! Tora! or Midway were showing the both sides of the conflict, Clint Eastwood returned to that tradition with Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima.
The war takes place at the front lines, in the occupied cities, but also in secluded places, where the soldiers captured by enemy are kept away until the conflict will end. There were several approaches to the theme of prisoners-of-war camp, f.e. Bridge on the River Kwai, Stalg 17, Rescue Dawn, The Password Is Courage, but Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence is completely different from all of them.
In 1944 the war was in stalemate on the western front - the Allied offensive in Italy got stuck in the mountainous terrain, the strategic bombers were attacking the targets deep into enemy terrain, but for both sides it was obvious that the invasion on continental Europe is the next step. Germans built the Atlantic Wall from Norway to Spain, so there were plenty of spots where the attack could start. The most obviously was Calais, since it was the narrowest part of the English Channel, but British spent last year on different disinformation schemes.
American Major Pike is one of the Overlords, high rank Allied officers with detailed knowledge of the upcoming landing operation in Normandy. While he is visiting Lisbon in 1944 German intelligence tries to kidnap him, but what they have planned for him is not senseless beating in the dark cellar.
Since the success of Band of Brothers Americans were trying to find a true World War 2 story that could be equal to this amazing mini-series. First there was Pacific mini-series based on similar idea, but failed to gain much recognition, later there was Unbroken that was far from being even remotely interesting, British The Railway Man was similarly hard to be called a great success. Hacksaw Ridge was based on amazing World War 2 story and... failed even worse.
War movies blog - the best war movies in history (or sometimes the worst). We search the war movies from around the world - not only classic American war movies or British war movies, but also those less known or just less interesting films from other countries. Each of them presents the different face of the war - some concetrate on soldiers and most important battles in history, but others present the suffering of the civilians and the trauma of the men involved in the fighting.
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