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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Water Diviner trailer

Russell Crowe directs The Water Diviner, and stars in the film as a man who travels from Australia to Turkey to recover the bodies of his three sons, all killed in one day during the Battle of Gallipoli. But one of his sons may actually still be alive, and Crowe’s journey takes an unexpected turn. Check out The Water Diviner trailer below. Read More »

Water Diviner trailer

With The Water Diviner, Russell Crowe steps behind the camera to direct his first feature. He also stars in the film, which is set in the dats after World War I, as a man whose sons are missing after the battle of Gallipoli. He goes to Istanbul in search of the young men. Olga Kurylenko, Jai Courtney, Cem Yilmaz and Yilmaz Erdogan all co-star in the film written by Andrew Anastasios and Andrew Knight. The Weinstein Company will release the film in the US at some point; you can see The Water Diviner trailer below. Read More »

Russell Crowe

Russell Crowe is on a hot streak of high-profile roles right now, between last year’s Les Misérables, this month’s Man of Steel, and next year’s Winter’s Tale and Noah. So the fact that he’s booked yet another splashy turn isn’t much of a surprise, but this gig’s a little different. For the first time in his career, Crowe will lead the charge both in front of and behind the camera.

The Oscar-winning actor has just entered negotiations to helm and star in The Water Diviner. The historical drama was scripted by Andrew Knight and Andrew Anastasios, both of whom come from Australian TV. Hit the jump for plot and schedule details.

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