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You're reading: Brian Bonner: Top World War II movies

Within them, however, are timeless classics. One of my all-time favorites is Ballad of A Soldier, the 1959 Soviet classic by director Grigori Chukrai and starring Vladimir Ivashov and Zhanna Prokhorenko.

Another Soviet classic, which brings me to tears every time I see it, is the 1962 classic “Among Kind People.” It is the story of a mother who becomes separated from her daughter during World War II. The daughter is raised by another family, while the mother never gives up her search for reunion. It has been kind of hard to find for me, but well worth watching, especially the heart-melting climax.

From a Ukrainian perspective, which gets overshadowed time and again, I turn to “Between Hitler and Stalin: Ukraine in World War II, An Untold Story.” The 2003 documentary by the Ukrainian Canadian Research & Documentation Centre is made to be seen again and again, as a vivid reminder that Ukrainians suffered more than any others during World War II. The aftermath of the suffering continues today and probably will for generations to come.

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Darian Diachok

I'd like to add five of my favorites to the list:


Страчені Світанки

Далекий Постріл

Білий Птах з Чорною Ознакою

Залiзна сотня

The Finnish telemovie Talvisota has a great scene of a Soviet regimental attack - T-26 tanks, budyenny caps, and supporting artillery hitting their own troops.

For Soviet films: The Cranes are Flying stands as a must see for me.
The series "Liberation," even if some of the liberties it took, is also a well done film series (and one which takes less liberties than some of the great "Hollywood" films.

The most accurate films are usually lower-budget, non-Hollywood films, such as BBC and PBS releases. The big blockbusters that make an attempt at accuracy (The Longest Day, A Bridge Too Far, Tora Tora Tora!), are usually joint productions and long--and sometimes tedious to watch).

Not many Canadian (as I am a Canadian) war films, and most are low-budget productions. Dieppe (1993) and Storming Juno (2010) deserve some attention. There is also a hard to find film about the Battle of the Atlantic (again, made for TV). They may lack in theatrical refinement, but are generally faithful and worth watching, just for an alternative to Hollywood's fiction.

However, Canada may be best known for its large collection of real-war footage and documentaries. All film and most photographs of the D-Day landings are Canadian, as is much of the film and photography of fighting action in Europe. These are what are truly worth watching--war, as it happens. No special effects, just real people, sometimes really dying.


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