We don’t often think of “war” as a film genre unto itself. So frequently, our favorite films set against the backdrop of war are filed under romance, drama, or even comedy. But considering its presence in the medium, it seems only fair we celebrate these poignant and pervasive films with a roundup of the best in class. We’ve done a Netflix deep dive to bring you the very best in World War I and World War II-themed movies for your binge-watching enjoyment.
In the WWI genre, I strongly recommend Atonement, a critically acclaimed (it earned a score of 83 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) English drama starring Keira Knightley, James McAvoy, Saoirse Ronan, and Benedict Cumberbatch. As if its cast weren’t enough of a sell, it’s directed by Joe Wright, the visionary behind Pan, Anna Karenina, and Pride & Prejudice, so you know you’re in for a treat.
Come the WWII-era films, Colin Firth and Jeremy Irvine give impressive performances in The Railway Man as the respective old and young versions of Eric Lomax, a veteran of the Pacific Theatre on whose biography the film was based. The award-winning, Jonathan Teplitzky-directed film boasts an all-star cast who include Nicole Kidman and Stellan Skarsgård, so this is definitely one to watch. In Julia, Jane Fonda plays Lillian, a hero who smuggled $50,000 into Berlin via her hat and a box of candy in support of the anti-Nazi movement. Twin Sisters, Phoenix, and The Diary of Anne Frank join the list of WWII flicks to watch during what’s lingering of this chilly spring.
So strap in, and prepare to relive some of the most tumultuous times in history.