The way many of us first learned about the World Wars was inherently cinematic. A black and white dichotomy of the good guys and bad guys laid before us with tales of heroic sacrifice, secrecy and an evil, inhumane villain at the root of it all.
For these reasons, the two World Wars have held tremendous relevance in cinema - both for their compelling narratives and the fodder for jingoistic propaganda.
However, our understanding of these wars, and the humanitarian crisis at their root, has greatly expanded. So have the films depicting it.
As we revisit early cinema's patriotic depictions of the World Wars, as well as modern cinema's more nuanced interpretations, it is vital that we bear witness to the realities of this era.
Here is The Business Standard's round-up of World War movies that address and preserve the memory of these major events of history.
Tarantino's absurdist take on propaganda films depicts the brutal death of Adolf Hitler. The film stars Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Michael Fassbender, Eli Roth, Diane Kruger, Daniel Brühl, Til Schweiger and Mélanie Laurent.
Inglorious Basterds tells an alternate history story of two plots to assassinate Nazi Germany's leadership, one planned by Shosanna Dreyfus (Mélanie Laurent), a young French Jewish cinema proprietor, and the other by the British but ultimately conducted solely by a team of Jewish American soldiers led by First Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt).
Testament of Youth
This is a 2014 British war- drama film based on the World War I memoir of the same name written by Vera Brittain. The film stars Alicia Vikander as Vera Brittain.
The plot revolves around an independent young woman who wants to escape her traditional family in Buxton by attending Oxford University with her younger brother Edward and his friend. As planned, She abandons her studies at Somerville College, Oxford, to become a war nurse.
In the face of her father's opposition, she passes the entrance examination for Somerville College, Oxford. Before enrolling at Oxford, Vera and her love interest, who shares her interest in writing and poetry, begin a romantic relationship, although she knows that there is another admirer for her.
Steven Spielberg's magnum opus is the definitive on-screen depiction of the Holocaust.
The film follows Oskar Schindler, a German industrialist who saved more than a thousand mostly Polish-Jewish refugees from the Holocaust by employing them in his factories during World War II.
The film stars Liam Neeson as Schindler, Ralph Fiennes as SS officer Amon Göth and Ben Kingsley as Schindler's Jewish accountant Itzhak Stern.
Grave of the Fireflies
Two Japanese children struggle to survive in the waning days of WWII in this highly celebrated Japanese animated war-tragedy film.
Set in the city of Kobe, Japan, the film tells the story of two siblings - Seita and Setsuko, and their desperate struggle to survive during the final months of World War II.
Grave of the Fireflies received critical acclaim and has been ranked as one of the greatest war films of all time and has been recognized as a major work of Japanese animation.
Partially inspired by stories told to director Sam Mendes by his paternal grandfather about his service during World War I, the film takes place after the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line during Operation Alberich, and follows two British soldiers, Will Schofield (George MacKay) and Tom Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman), in their mission to deliver an important message to call off a doomed offensive attack.
Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, Richard Madden, Claire Duburcq, Colin Firth, and Benedict Cumberbatch also star in supporting roles in this 2019 British war film.