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World War II Movies & TV

Why We Fight (1942-1945)

Commissioned by the United States Office of War Information, Frank Capra used clips from Nazi films to create seven American propaganda newsreels, including "The Nazis Strike" and "War Comes to America." Capra followed orders to compile "a series of documented, factual-information films—the first in our history—that will explain to our boys in the Army why we are fighting, and the principles for which we are fighting."

Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)

Starring Spencer Tracy and Judy Garland (of The Wizard of Oz fame), this Oscar-winning film is a fictional account of real events surrounding the post-World War II Nuremberg Trials. With a fascinating screenplay and exquisite acting, Judgment explores the debate over culpability in the Nazi Holocaust.

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

This Academy-Award winning film is a fictionalized account of several historical events that occurred during World War II, including the D-Day invasion in Normandy. The story is based loosely on the real-life experiences of Sergeant Frederick Niland, a young man who lost each of his brothers in the war. It has been praised as one of the few fictional films to portray the World War II battlefront with such accuracy.

At the time of its original release, this historical action film about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was a flop. American reviewers panned it for being poorly cast and generally boring. However, in recent years, the film has developed a more favorable reputation in both the U.S. and in Japan.

This historical drama charts the life of Dr. Robert Oppenheimer, the head of the secret World War II program known as the Manhattan Project. Actor Dwight Schultz plays Mr. Oppenheimer, who grapples with the heavy scientific and moral implications of developing nuclear weapons.

A Steven Spielberg masterpiece, this historical drama tells the story of Oskar Schindler, a ruthless German businessman who chose to defy the Hitler regime by providing a refuge for hundreds of Jews during the Nazi Holocaust. The central plot, based on a true story, serves to help illustrate the horrific crimes committed against millions of people just half a century ago.

White Light, Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (2007)

This HBO documentary film, which first aired in 2007, tells the story of the "hibakusha, " the people who survived the two atomic bombs dropped over Japan in the final days of the war. Oscar-winning filmmaker Steven Okazaki revisits the sites of these nuclear attacks and interviews survivors who offer unnerving accounts of the destruction, death, and devastation in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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