WW2 movies, the most/least accurate.


  • I was just watching “Allied” with Brad Pitt, and it is not a bad movie but the fact that they keep showing the Blitz in 1944 as D-day is about to start drives me nuts.  I had to turn my brain off in a major way to enjoy the movie.  But it got me thinking, and I figured I would post something to other WW2 geeks about it.

    What is the most/least accurate WW2 movie you have seen?  The least, and the worst for me was “Swing Kids”.  That is the only movie I paid money for at the theater and walked out on because I couldn’t stand it.  Apparently the Nazis hated dancing (and presumably kittens and rainbows too).

    The best movie would be “Saving Private Ryan”.  Once you get past the premise of the movie they were really spot on historically.  I didn’t care for the ending as much since it seemed like the Germans just loved running into gunfire, but no movie is perfect.

    What do you think?

  • '18 '17 '16

    Inglorious Basterds had to have been the most far fetched WW2 movie. I don’t remember the part about Hitler getting his head shot off in a Paris theatre in any history books.

    That being said I loved that movie. Christolph Waltz was brilliant as the Jew Hunter. Every time I hear that song “Putting out the fire with Gasoline” I think of Shosanna Dreyfus applying her lipstick on her way down to set the theatre on fire with all of the Nazi’s in it.

  • 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16

    Private Ryan

  • '17 '16

    I have no in depth historical cultures to make great comparison but Pearl Arbour tried to describe three situations for US pilot: pre-war in UK, Hawaii and Doolittle raid.

    Can it be in competition or should this crash in flame?

  • 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    In addition to WWII fiction films that lie somewhere on the most-accurate/least-accurate continuum, I’d say that there are some WWII fiction films to which that categorization doesn’t even apply: films that don’t even make a pretense of trying to depict WWII with any degree of accuracy.  One example that comes to mind is Where Eagles Dare, with Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood.  It’s a standard Alistair MacLean espionnage-adventure film (complete with the traitors and the double-crossing that are requisite in his stories) which happens to be set in WWII, but in which WWII functions almost as an arbitrary element of the film.  As a matter of fact, most of what happens in the film is arbitrary.  The film is strewn with gaping plot holes – for instance the scene in which the team parachutes into a snow-covered landscape, reassembles after landing, then discovers that one of its members apparently died by accident when he hit the ground.  Burton, the leader, examines the man’s neck, then later quietly tells Eastwood that he was murdered and that there’s obviously a traitor inside the group.  Okay…but how did the traitor manage to land, sneak up on the other guy, kill him, and then walk away again in just a minute or so…and without leaving any tracks in the snow around the body?  And then there’s the question (never addressed in the film) of how, centuries ago, a huge castle could have been built on top of a sheer cliff whose summit can only be reached by cable-car.  (The actual castle used in the shoot really does lie on top of a sheer cliff…but the cinematographer was careful to choose camera angles which concealed the fact that there’s a sloping road on the other side of the rock formation.)  To me, a film which requires that much suspension of disbelief just in terms of basic logic also requires complete suspension of the viewer’s historical-accuracy reflexes, or it’ll become unwatchable very quickly.

  • '17 '16

    @GeneralHandGrenade:

    Inglorious Basterds had to have been the most far fetched WW2 movie. I don’t remember the part about Hitler getting his head shot off in a Paris theatre in any history books.

    That being said I loved that movie. Christolph Waltz was brilliant as the Jew Hunter. Every time I hear that song “Putting out the fire with Gasoline” I think of Shosanna Dreyfus applying her lipstick on her way down to set the theatre on fire with all of the Nazi’s in it.

    I wouldn’t exactly call Inglorious Bastards a “WW2 movie” in regards to it trying to be a realistic portrayal of the war that failed miserably… if anything its more of a fantasy/dark humor movie set in an alternative WWII timeline, so I wouldn’t really put it in the category of movies that should be rated for realism/lack-there-of.  Kinda in the same category of what CWO was saying about “Where Eagles Dare”.

    WWII movies trying to portray the reality of war (even if some of the storyline is fictional) can lead you to things like Saving Private Ryan (a very realistic portrayal of the war) or something pretty ludicrous like Battle of the Bulge (don’t get me started on this turd of a movie).

  • '17 '16

    When I saw Stalingrad a german’s movie (1993, a long time ago), I was pretty horrified by this immersion in cold weather war.
    I realized how much the enemy was more winter than Russians themselves. And how desperate it was.

  • 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @Wolfshanze:

    I wouldn’t exactly call Inglorious Bastards a “WW2 movie” in regards to it trying to be a realistic portrayal of the war that failed miserably… if anything its more of a fantasy/dark humor movie set in an alternative WWII timeline, so I wouldn’t really put it in the category of movies that should be rated for realism/lack-there-of.  Kinda in the same category of what CWO was saying about “Where Eagles Dare”.

    I’ve heard that after WWII, some US Marine ex-POWs who’d served on Wake Island saw the 1942 movie “Wake Island”, which purports to depict “as accurately as possible” the USMC’s heroic stand there in December 1941, and sarcastically described it as “one of greatest fiction films ever made.”  The movie – among other fanciful things – implies that the Marines fought and died to the last man defending the island from the invading Japanese troops.

  • 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '12

    Most realistic?  Torra Torra Torra is pretty historical.  Also Das Boot was credited with realism.  I like Midway, but they packed in a lot of stupidity with a a totally irrelevant love story.

    Least?

    Inglorious Bastards was dumb, boring and kinds of silly. Any movie that shows Germans running stupidly into gunfire (which is most US WWII films).

  • 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16

    Fury

  • '17 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Least accurate: Pearl Harbor with ben affleck and that cook who sank the entire Japanese air force and navy with one 50 caliber. I wanted to throw tomatoes at the screen.

    They made it seem like it was an American victory.

    Longest Day is still my favorite and had tons of accurate subplots based on actual accounts

  • 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16

    Enemy of the Gates

  • '17 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Well that one should get a pass. That sniper is a real guy that the Soviets made a hero. The actor playing a German sniper was not at all interested in having any German mannerisms or accent ( forgot his name Ed Harris? or something)

  • Customizer

    @aequitas:

    Enemy of the Gates

    Jobs?

    Most obviously inaccurate was the Enigma film that replaced British with Americans.

    The Great Escape also added Americans to an all British POW camp.

    Watch out for the new Dunkirk film giving credit to anyone but Hitler for allowing the British army to escape.

    Worst of all, a new Dam Busters film intends to rename Guy Gisbourne’s dog Nigger as “Digger”.

  • 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16

    @Imperious:

    Well that one should get a pass. That sniper is a real guy that the Soviets made a hero. The actor playing a German sniper was not at all interested in having any German mannerisms or accent ( forgot his name Ed Harris? or something)

    It is the same like Pearl harbour.

    Love movie
    Lots of explosives going off for nothing
    Only one guy is the hero
    Roll credits

    True about the movie is:
    Name of the city Stalingrad
    The Name Saitzew
    Sniper shooting …

  • 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16

    @Flashman:

    @aequitas:

    Enemy of the Gates

    Jobs?

    Most obviously inaccurate was the Enigma film that replaced British with Americans.

    The Great Escape also added Americans to an all British POW camp.

    Watch out for the new Dunkirk film giving credit to anyone but Hitler for allowing the British army to escape.

    Worst of all, a new Dam Busters film intends to rename Guy Gisbourne’s dog ������ as “Digger”.

    U571 would have been the next movie i would have posted Flashman.
    The shot out of that depth was also fake.

  • 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16

    @aequitas:

    @Imperious:

    Well that one should get a pass. That sniper is a real guy that the Soviets made a hero. The actor playing a German sniper was not at all interested in having any German mannerisms or accent ( forgot his name Ed Harris? or something)

    It is the same like Pearl harbour.

    Love movie
    Lots of explosives going off for nothing
    Only one guy is the hero
    Roll credits

    True about the movie is:
    Name of the city Stalingrad
    The Name Saitzew
    Sniper shooting …

    Oh almost forgot.
    The Propaganda stuff was almost correct, but that was about it.


  • I remember seeing a WWII movie starting Cary Grant. Grant was portrayed as the captain of an American submarine.

    In one scene, the sub was attacked by two Japanese aircraft. This, even though there were no Japanese destroyers present.

    To make matters worse, the Americans on the sub responded to the attack by using an aa gun mounted on the sub to shoot down both Japanese aircraft. (The aa gun could be removed and stored inside the sub for when the sub wanted to travel underwater.) Such a scene was far-fetched at best, because subs cannot fire at aircraft.

    On a somewhat unrelated matter, I also read a book which claimed the Industrial Revolution began in England. This, clearly, could not have been the case. As everyone knows, it is impossible to construct an industrial complex on an island. Just can’t be done.

  • 2021 2020 '18 '17

    Are you trying to apply an AxA Rule to real life, because indeed, a submarine can shoot at aircraft, many had airborne interception radar and permanently mounted flak guns, it just doesn’t work really well because the submarine’s best protection is to submerge, not fight.

  • 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    I own a DVD of the movie in question, which is titled “Destination: Tokyo.”  The Japanese planes in question were “float Zeros”, meaning Zero fighters modified to function as seaplanes.  The weapons used by the sub crew to shoot them down were .50 caliber machine guns, which were in fact abundantly used on WWII American warships (including battleships) as short-range anti-aircraft weapons.  It’s quite credible that they’d be able to shoot down unarmoured, slow-and-low-flying planes like the ones shown in the film, particularly given that it took the sub crew a good couple of minutes to do so and that the plane got to make several passes before they were knocked out.  The sub in that particular scene in the movie, to answer taamvan’s point, was in shallow waters and in a constricted mountainous bay at the time of the attack, so it was unable to dive or to maneuver quickly.


  • @taamvan:

    Are you trying to apply an AxA Rule to real life, because indeed, a submarine can shoot at aircraft, many had airborne interception radar and permanently mounted flak guns, it just doesn’t work really well because the submarine’s best protection is to submerge, not fight.

    My post was intended to gently poke fun at some of Larry Harris’s rules.

    Obviously, the Industrial Revolution did start in England, hundreds of years before Larry made a rule against building industrial complexes on islands. And, equally clearly, subs sometimes did shoot down aircraft, as CWO Marc pointed out in his solid post.

  • '17 '16

    @KurtGodel7:

    To make matters worse, the Americans on the sub responded to the attack by using an aa gun mounted on the sub to shoot down both Japanese aircraft. (The aa gun could be removed and stored inside the sub for when the sub wanted to travel underwater.) Such a scene was far-fetched at best, because subs cannot fire at aircraft.

    Only in Axis and Allies are they not allowed.

    In reality, they can most certainly fire on enemy aircraft… many subs on both sides had AA guns… it just usually was a pretty dumb idea, and a much better idea to submerge as fast as possible.

    @KurtGodel7:

    My post was intended to gently poke fun at some of Larry Harris’s rules.

    EDIT:
    I ready your first post before your second post… pun is a pun… got it… carry on…

  • '17 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Kurt does not own or play AA FYI


  • @Imperious:

    Kurt does not own or play AA FYI

    As usual, you are just making stuff up.

  • '17 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Take a picture of your game and post?

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