Wake Island (1942), Director: John Farrow, Running time: 88 minutes. December, 1941. With no hope of relief or re-supply, a small band of United States Marines try to keep the Japanese Navy from capturing their island base. In November 1941, Major Caton takes command of the small Marine garrison on Wake Island. His tendency toward spit and polish upsets the men's tropical lassitude, but Pearl Harbor changes everything. Soon the island is attacked and the Marines pull together day by day.
The Walls of Hell (1965), Director: Eddie Romero, Running Time: 88 minutes Gateway to the bloodiest battle of the Philippines. The Japanese Imperial Navy plans their last stand of WWII in the thick walls and narrow streets of the walled city of Intramuros in the Philippines. American soldiers team with brave Filipino freedom fighters to fend them off and free the city.
Waterloo Bridge (1940), Director: Mervyn LeRoy, Running time: 108 minutes. Vivian Leigh stars as a ballerina in war-torn England who turns to prostitution when she believes her fiance has died in the war in this drama based on Robert E. Sherwood's acclaimed play.
The Way Ahead (1944), Director: Carol Reed, Running time: 91 minutes. World War II is impending, but most Britons don't believe it; while a few, including petrol-pumper Jim Perry, are busily training for the new British army. After Dunkirk, Lieut. Perry finds himself training others, mostly recruits who as yet don't take the war seriously. They soon learn that training under Perry and Sergeant Fletcher is serious business. Our platoon secretly embarks on an eventful voyage to North Africa, and contact with the enemy nears. (Written by Rod Crawford for IMDb)
Wheels of Terror (The Misfit Brigade) (1987), Director: Gordon Hessler, Running time: 105 minutes. A motley group of routine German prisoners (including David Patrick Kelly, Jay Sanders and Bruce Davison) are enlisted by a Nazi colonel (David Carradine). The government, desperate for fighting men, promises them freedom if they can destroy a targeted train on the Russian front.
When Lions Roared (1994), Director: Joseph Sargent, Running time: 184 minutes. Michael Caine, John Lithgow, Bob Hoskins and Ed Begley Jr. star in this award-winning mini-series. At the Tehran and Yalta Conferences, the strong personalities of three of the world’s most powerful leaders threaten their fragile alliance. This riveting historical drama portrays the precarious relationship between Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin at the pivotal moments when the final strategies of the war hung in the balance.
When Trumpets Fade (1998), Director: John Irvin, Running time: 92 minutes. First broadcast on HBO in June of 1998--shortly before the theatrical release of Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan--this World War II drama offers an equally intimate and devastating study of combat and its tragic aftermath. Set in Germany during the closing days of the war, the film uses a little-known episode of U.S. military history--the bloody battle of the Hurtigen Forest--as the backdrop for the story of a battle-weary private (Ron Eldard) who is the only surviving member of his platoon. Despite his request for dismissal on the grounds of mental disability and shell-shock, he is considered a promising soldier by his superiors, promoted to sergeant, and assigned to command a fresh platoon of young, inexperienced soldiers. The cycle of war continues, and the film ends as it began--with one soldier carrying a mortally wounded comrade from a scene of devastating loss. A veteran of several war films, director John Irvin emphasizes the gritty, physically exhausting realities of combat with keen attention to detail on location in Hungary. This film is decidedly downbeat (don't look for any Spielbergian uplift here), but its depiction of warfare is undeniably powerful, earning praise for Irvin and HBO for tackling such an uncompromising project. (Jeff Shannon for Amazon.com)
Where Eagles Dare (1969), Director: Brian G. Hutton, Running time: 155 minutes.
During WW2 a British aircraft is shot down and crashes in Nazi held territory. The Germans capture the only survivor, an American General, and take him to the nearest SS headquarters. Unknown to the Germans the General has full knowledge of the D-Day operation. The British decide that the General must not be allowed to divulge any details of the Normandy landing at all cost and order Major John Smith to lead a crack commando team to rescue him. Amongst the team is an American Ranger, Lieutenant Schaffer, who is puzzled by his inclusion in an all British operation. When one of the team dies after the parachute drop, Schaffer suspects that Smith's mission has a much more secret objective.
Windtalkers (2002), Director: John Woo, Running time: 134 minutes. It's 1943, and the U.S. has developed an indecipherable secret military code based on the Navajo language. Yahzee and Whitehorse are to be trained as code talkers. Then John Woo's Pacific war film erupts into violence, with a savage battle that has one survivor, Joe Enders (Nicolas Cage). Badly wounded and feeling guilty at the loss of his companions, Joe recuperates in Hawaii where he is helped by a sympathetic nurse (Frances O'Connor). Joe disguises his hearing loss and he is promoted as Yahzee's battlefield bodyguard. Ordered to "protect the code at all times," Joe must prevent Yahzee from being captured. At first, Yahzee and Whitehorse, whose bodyguard is Ox Henderson (Christian Slater), are subjected to prejudice--particularly from Rogers (Noah Emmerich). But when the unit is shipped to Saipan, the Marines begin to appreciate the code talkers. Director Woo has created a powerful drama.
Wing and a Prayer (1944), Director: Henry Hathaway, Running time: 98 minutes. Don Ameche and Dana Andrews head an all-star cast in this acclaimed film about life aboard a U.S. aircraft carrier after the attack on Pearl Harbor. A group of young, eager Navy pilots become frustrated when their higher-ups enact a non-combat strategy against the Japanese. To make matters worse, the pilots must answer to a rigid, unyielding commander (AMECHE). Against all odds, the men fly into action in the decisive Battle of Midway. Nominated for a 1944 Best Original Screenplay Oscar, this stunning war drama uses actual combat footage to tell its engrossing story.
The Winter War (Talvisota) (1989), Director: Pekka Parikka, Running time:125 minutes. Russia attacked Finland in late November 1939. This film tells the story of a Finnish platoon of reservists from the municipality of Kauhava in the province of Pohjanmaa/Osttrobottnia who leave their homes and go to war. The film focuses on the farmer brothers Martti and Paavo Hakala. (IMBd)
Wish Me Luck (2004), Directors: Gordon Fleming and Bill Hays, Series made for television. A wonderful British Drama about Liz Grainger, a young middle-class English woman, who undergoes brutal interrogations as part of her training for World War II intelligence work in occupied France. Liz wants to work directly against the German enemy because of her anger at the recent death in action of her brother. She meets another woman recruit, Matty, who is also in training as a resistance agent. The organization that recruits for the United Kingdom intelligence work is lead by the flamboyant and cosmopolitan Colonel James Cadogan, "Cad." The primary aim of his organization is sabotage and subversion, leading ultimately to France’s liberation from Germany. The first wave of agents sent into occupied France are volunteers from the Armed Forces; however, since their numbers have been reduced by German counter-intelligence, replacements now are being recruited from among civilians.
Women in War (1940), Director: John H. Auer, Running time: 71 minutes. A "good-time girl", raised by her somewhat lax divorced father, finds herself involved in an accidental death, and the only way she's able to get out of it is to volunteer--albeit reluctantly--to be a nurse in the war effort. She travels to England and is assigned to a hospital under a very strict matron. What the girl doesn't know is that the matron is the mother she has never seen. (Written by IMDb)
The World at War (1973, 2003), Director: Hugh Raggett, Running time: 1375 minutes. The World at War is the definitive television work on the Second World War. It set out to tell the story of the war through the testimony of key participants - from civilians to ordinary soldiers, from statesmen to generals. First broadcast in 1973, the result was a unique and irreplaceable record since many of the eyewitnesses captured on film did not have long to live. The programme's producers committed hundreds of interview-hours to tape in its creation, but only a fraction of that recorded material made it to the final cut. For more than 30 years the interviews have never been allowed to be published - until now.The well-known names interviewed for the series include Albert Speer, Karl Wolff (Himmler's adjutant), Traudl Junge (Hitler's secretary), James Stewart (USAAF bomber pilot and Hollywood star), Anthony Eden, John Colville (Parliamentary Private Secretary to Winston Churchill), Averell Harriman (US Ambassador to Russia) and Arthur 'Bomber' Harris (Head of RAF Bomber Command). Highly respected historian and bestselling author Richard Holmes has skilfully woven this valuable original material into a compelling narrative, creating a truly phenomenal oral history of the Second World War.
World War II: The Home Front (2006), Director: David Wheatley, Running time: 288 minutes. This BBC production contains two separate stories: Monsignor Renard and Total War. The documentary Total War traces the sacrifices and suffering of civilians on the home front where millions more civilians died than soldiers as they became fair game. Monsignor Renard tells the story of the German occupation of France during the war through the eyes and experiences of a humble and extraordinary priest—a man of profound faith whose beliefs are tested to the breaking point as he is forced to choose between the peaceful teachings of the Christian doctrine and the violent necessities of the emergent Resistance.