10 Awesome, Forgotten World War II Films

10. The Battle of Midway

The legendary John Ford, director of the classic western Stagecoach (1939), found himself and his camera crew filming in the middle of one of World War II’s biggest naval battles. The result was a stunning, 18-minute technicolor film. The riveting live-action combat scenes earned the film a share of the 1942 Oscar for best documentary.

  • Drunk_by_Noon

    I always felt that the story of Torpedo Squadron 8 would make a block buster of a film, if done even half-way competently.
    For those non-Americans unfamiliar with the story, it is much more than the re-telling of how an ENTIRE torpedo squadron was wiped-out (to a plane with only one miracle survivor) by Japanese fighters. Torpedo Squadron 8 (VT-8), and without fighter cover, and without enough fuel to return, pressed home an attack that would result in the sinking of three Japanese carriers.
    Due to faulty planning, VT-8 was the first squadron to encounter the Japanese carrier task force. Their covering fighters and dive bombers would not arrive until after Torpedo Squadron 8 was destroyed.
    This had the unintended effect of putting the Japanese fighter cover well out of position to counter the late-arriving dive bombers and escorting fighters.
    Due to the necessities of war at the time, many of the radiomen and tail gunners in VT-8 were 17 and 18-year-old kids on their very first combat mission.
    Their sacrifice likely saved the lives of tens of thousands of US and allied military and Australian civilian personnel.

    • It is a remarkable story and should be the stuff of legend.

      • BillyHW

        Hollywood is busy turning cowboys into faggots.

        • Raymond Hietapakka

          You got a way with words.

  • minuteman

    Along the same lines as this film is one called “the battle of san pietro”, by John Huston. It is a documentary made about the battle, at the time of the battle. Well worth a look-see. I haven’t checked but its probably available somewhere on the interwebz.

    • It’s on Youtube listed in the article in fact.


      • Raymond Hietapakka

        Italy had some advanced military technology, for the time. Their Fiat light tanks, for example, had 5-speed transmissions. 1 speed forward, 4 speeds in reverse. They were easily identified on the battle field, during the fog of war. They were the only ones with back-up lights….

  • Xavier

    Many of these films are available at higher quality for viewing or (legal) downloading at https://archive.org/search.php?query=collection%3Acinemocracy&sort=-publicdate

    • Drunk_by_Noon


  • Clausewitz

    This is one of my favourite war movies that you hardly ever see these days.


    • Raymond Hietapakka

      I liked James Rockford in “The Americanization of Emily” and “36 Hours”, with it’s pre-Sgt.Schultz appearance of John Banner…

  • eMan14

    It was certainly a different era for making movies. Many a great director started out making documentaries. it requires discipline, vision, cost effectiveness, and knowing how to tell a story.
    Unfortunately not all filmmakers learn those lessons.

  • Raymond Hietapakka

    They make a big deal at the start, about digitizing the 16mm. film, but the lousy maroons didn’t even bother to take out the black spots(dirt on the projection print) nor the white spots(scratches on the print).