5 Best World War One Movies

Tuesday, January 25 by Mason Kaho

The 5 best World War One movies include some of the famous films ever made, including some of the screen’s great actors as well. At the time it was fought, World War I was called “the war to end all wars,” as it was so grand in scale and horrific in nature that no one thought another major war would ever be fought. Much writing, poetry, and cinema came from this struggle, and many great films were made.

  1. “All Quiet on the Western Front.” This was an early film—made in 1930, when memories were still fresh—and is definitely one of the best World War One movies. It placed 54th on the American Film Institute’s (AFI) list of great movies of the century, and depicts the absurdity and violence of war. The film is told from the point of view of the Germans, and does not depict them positively, causing the film to be banned by Adolf Hitler in Germany.
  2. “African Queen.” This movie, one of the best World War One movies, includes two of the screens most endearing actors, Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn. Though not set in war zones, the issue of the war drives the action of the film, as Bogey and Kate escape the Germans in Africa and flee down the Ulanga River. Hepburn’s character is a slightly prudish missionary and Bogart is a rough-and-tumble sort, and their dynamic makes for many great scenes.
  3. “Paths of Glory.” The great director Stanley Kubrick had various anti-war themes in his films over the years, and this movie is out-and-out and anti-war movie. One of the best World War One movies, it stars Kirk Douglas, a colonel who stands up to a superior who is ordering his French soldiers to launch a suicide attack against a German stronghold. After many men refuse they are court martialed, tried unfairly, an executed.
  4. “Lawrence of Arabia.” This is an epic film, one of the best World War One movies ever, and stars Peter O’Toole as T.E. Lawrence, a real-life figure who fought for the British in Arabia during the war. Ranked as the fifth best film ever on the AFI greatest movies list, the movie focuses on Lawrence’s fights in Africa and the relationships he makes there, leading to moral qualms about fighting a people he has come to admire.
  5. “Doctor Zhivago.” This is also an epic film, massive in scope and scale and covering several decades. Ranked 39th on the AFI list and one of the highest grossing films of all time when adjusted for inflation, this movie is set in Russia and is one of the best World War One movies. Told in part in flashback, it follows the life of Yevgraf Zhivago, who starts off his life’s adventures as a medic in the war on the Eastern Front.
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