Bon Mot #56

(January 2018)

My friend Scott and I had just seen the movie "Darkest Hour" with an astounding good performance by Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill. The movie is about the ascension of Churchill to Prime Minister of Great Britain at the beginning of World War II.

We started talking about World War II movies and how you could follow the course of the war with a series of feature films. For example, the "Darkest Hour " would naturally lead to "Dunkirk" 2017 (also in 1958). "Dunkirk" could lead to the "Battle of Britain" in 1969. You get the idea. So we came up with a list of World War II movies and you can roughly follow the progress of the war. My friend Scott did the heavy lifting in the preparation of this page.

This is the European theatre:

Battle of BritainThe Tin Drum (1979) & Foreign Correspondent (1940)
 - The rise of Nazism and the start of the war.

Closely Watched Trains (1966)
 - The invasion of Czechoslovakia.

Darkest Hour (2017) & Dunkirk (2017 and 1958)
 - England being drawn deeper into the war.

The Counterfeiters (2007)
 - The beginnings of the Nazi concentration camps.

Forbidden Games (1952) & Le silence de la mer (1949)
 - The invasion and occupation of France.

Casablanca (1942) & Le silence de la mer (1949)
 - Refugees escaping Europe fleeing Nazism and attempting to get
   visas to elsewhere.

Battle of Britain (1969), Their Finest Hour (2016) & Mrs. Miniver (1942)
 - The Battle of Britain.

The Desert Rats (1953)
 - The Siege of Tobruk in Eygpt and it's loss by the Allies to Rommelís Afrika Korps.

Das Boot (1981) & Lifeboat (1944)
 - The Atlantic sea war.

The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel (1951)
 - The German defeat at EL Alamein in 1942 and Rommel's role in countering the Allied invasion in

The Imitation Game (2014), The Longest Day (1962) & Saving Private Ryan (1998)
 - The D-Day invasion of Fortress Europe.

Army of Shadows (1969)
 - The French Resistance.

Enemy at the Gates (2001) & Stalingrad (1993)
 - The Battle of Stalingrad.

Catch-22 (1970) & Command Decision (1948)
 - The Allied bombing of Europe.

Paisan (1948), The Big Red One (1980) & A Walk in the Sun (1945)
 - The drive to take Italy.

To Hell and Back (1955)
 - The true story of Audie Murphy, the most decorated soldier in the US Military during WWII.

A Bridge Too Far (1977) & Soldier of Orange (1977)
 - The invasion and battle of the Netherlands.

Schindler's List (1993) & The Diary of Anne Frank" (1959)
 - The escalation of extermination in the concentration camps as Hitler starts losing the war.

Rome, Open City (1945)
 - The fall of Italy.

Patton (1970)
 - Beginning the drive towards Berlin.

The Pianist (2002)
 - The Soviets push to control Poland.

Son of Saul (2015)
 - The last ditch efforts of the Nazis to kill as many Jews as possible in Eastern Europe as they are being
   driven back to Germany.

The Bridge (1959)
 - The invasion of Germany.

Downfall (2004), A Woman in Berlin (2008) & Germany Year Zero (1948)
 - The fall of Berlin.

Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
 - The end of the war in Europe and Nazi war-crime trials.


This is the Pacific theatre:

The Human Condition (1959-1961)
 - The Japanese invasion and occupation of Manchuria and their eventual defeat to the Red Army during
   the Sino-Japanese War and WWII.

Empire of the Sun (1987)
 - English civilians and American POWs are imprisoned after the invasion of Shanghai and the defeat of
   Japanese forces at the end of WWII.

Lust, Caution (2007)
 - The resistance to Japanese occupation by the Chinese.

Pearl Harbor (2001)
 - A romance set during the battle at Pearl Harbor that depicts the sneak attack on American forces by
   the Empire of Japan.

Tora, Tora, Tora (1970)
 - Both political and military operations that lead to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

From Here to Eternity (1953)
 - The lives of the civilians and service personnel in Pearl Harbor prior to and after the Japanese attack.


Battle of Midway1941 (1979)

 - A light-hearted look at Californians who prepare for a Japanese
   invasion of the West Coast in the days after Pearl Harbor.

Swing Shift (1984)
 - About women and their lives working at an aircraft plant during the

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (1983)
 - The story of British POWs captured in the Battle of Java.

The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
 - British POWs captured by the Japanese in the Burma Campaign are
   forced to build a railroad bridge over River Kwai.

Battle of the Coral Sea (1959) & Run Silent / Run Deep (1956)
 - Submarine warfare in the Pacific and during the Battle of the Coral

Midway (1976)
 - With the aid of cryptography, the Japanese are defeated by
   American forces at the Battle of Midway.


The Thin Red Line (1998)
 - The landing on and battle of Guadalcanal. 

Sands of Iwo Jima (1949)
 - After Guadalcanal US Marines prepare to attack Tarawa and Iwo Jima.

Flags of our Fathers (2006)
 - The story of the bloody Battle of Iwo Jima and the raising of the American flag on Mount Suribachi.

Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)
 - The story of the Battle of Iwo Jima told from the perspective of the Japanese forces.

The Fighting Seabees (1944)
 - A morale-boosting tribute to the US Navy's Construction Battalions (CBs, Seabees) who followed
   behind the troops invading Pacific islands.

Back to Bataan (1945)
 - Americans and Filipinos resist the Japanese during the occupation of the Philippines.

They Were Expendable (1945)
 - A small PT squadron defends the Philippines from the Japanese invasion.

Fires on the Plain (1959)
 - In the closing days of WWII the Japanese army in Leyte fights on to sure death.

Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
 - The human cost of war after the American firebombing of Japanese cities.

Fat Man and Little Boy (1989)
 - The story of the top-secret Manhattan Project and the creation of the first atomic bomb.

Hiroshima (1995)
 - After the death of FDR, the decisions and the details of dropping bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Above and Beyond (1952)
 - The story of Col. Paul Tibbetts who piloted the plane that dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima
   in WWII.

MacArthur (1977)
 - A biopic of General Douglas MacArthur covering his war exploits during WWII and afterwards.

Since the start of CinemaToast the Toastmaster had written a bit about movies each month under the button "Bon Mots" (defined by Merriam-Webster as a clever remark) but somehow the "monthly" bon mots got left behind. So now instead of a dated monthly bon mot, we will be giving each one a number starting here with "Bon Mot #56". Naturally the next Bon Mot will be number 57.

UPDATE MARCH 2018- Gary Oldman, mentioned at the top of this page, won the Academy Award for Best Actor at the Oscars 90th Edition for his terrific performance as Winston Churchhill in "Darkest Hour".


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