The Best World War I Movies You’ve Never Seen

(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. This week we go back in time with some movies set during the war to end all wars.)

World War I doesn’t get as much love in theaters as its younger brother World War II, and while there’s no good reason for that I assume it’s simply because WWII offers a greater variety of locales and military hardware to explore. There have been some acclaimed ones over the years, though, from All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) to Paths of Glory (1957) and from A Very Long Engagement (2004) to Mata Hari (1985). Fine, one of those wasn’t quite as acclaimed as the others, but I’m just making sure you’re paying attention.

While the death toll ranges depending on your Google source — seriously, I found numbers from nine to twenty-five million — there’s a reason it was called “the war to end war.” Sure, that was a bit presumptuous, but the point remains that it was an epic conflict involving tens of millions of lives. You’d think we’d have more stories up on the big screen, but in lieu of quantity we at least have quality starting with Sam Mendes’ beautiful and brilliantly structured 1917 which is currently in limited release and absolutely worth your time. While you wait for that one to expand into your area, though, might I recommend a few older titles? I might, and I will if you keep reading.

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Peter Jackson Still Pondering a New Take on Gallipoli

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He’s hardly got a plate as full as that of Guillermo del Toro, but now that The Lovely Bones is in theatres, Peter Jackson still has a few things to work on. There’s Tintin and a couple of Hobbit movies to finish, just for starters. But he’s still talking about a project that is dear to him: a new take on the Battle of Gallipoli, an attempt made during World War I to take the Turkish Peninsula. It was the first major engagement for the then-new Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC); scores of ANZAC troops fought and were killed in the battle.

This may not be as much of a personal dream project as King Kong was, but Jackson has talked about this off and on for years. His grandfather fought in the battle, which lasted eight months, and Jackson was even involved in the restoration of a 20-minute film from 1916 featuring newsreel footage of the war. Read More »