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Films (Fiction):

A number of the works below cover multiple categories and are grouped according to their main setting.

In an era where the only major forms of mass entertainment were radio, theatre and cinema (British television went off for the duration), it is not surprising that a very large number of movies were made during the war itself. Most of them were propaganda of some form or another, but some of these films (including some flag-wavers) have stood the test of time, such as Casablanca, In Which We Serve and Went the Day Well?

    The Early War in Europe (1939-1940) 

The early part of the war, from the invasion of Poland in September 1939 to the fall of France in summer 1940. It ended with the victory and domination of continental Western Europe by Nazi Germany, and the occupation of the Eastern half of Poland and the Baltic states by USSR.


Poland:
  • The Heroes of Westerplatte (2013), about the fierce, one-week long defense of a military depot by its Polish garrison against invading Germans on the peninsula of Westerplatte in September 1939.
  • Katyń, a Polish film about the Katyń massacre in April-May 1940, a series of mass murders that claimed the lives of 22000 Polish men, mostly intelligentsia and military officers. It was carried out by the NKVD when the Eastern half of Poland was under Soviet occupation.
  • Siege is a documentary short from 1940 about the German siege of Warsaw, Poland in September 1939.

Scandinavia:

  • April 9th follows a group of Danish bicycle infantry sent to slow down the German advance into Denmark until reinforcements can arrive.
  • The King's Choice (2016), focusing on the German invasion of Norway in April 1940 and the choices King Haakon VII has to make over whether to fight the Germans or surrender.

France and the Low Countries:

  • The 7th Company, a French-Italian film trilogy about the comedic antics of three French soldiers getting lost somewhere on the front in May 1940 during the Battle of France.
  • Appeal of 18 June (2010). A TV film about the famous 18 June 1940 speech by Charles de Gaulle, who founded the Free French Forces and the Free French Government in Exile in London.
  • Bon Voyage (2003), about the exodus of the French populations fleeing the German advance on the roads and the French government relocating itself in the city of Bordeaux.
  • De Gaulle (2020), in which Charles De Gaulle desperately tries to stiffen the spines of the French government and high command, then escapes to England to deliver his "Appeal of 18 June" speech starting the Free France movement.
  • Films featuring "Operation Dynamo", the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force and French troops surrounded by Germans in the city of Dunkirk during the Battle of France in late May 1940:
    • Dunkirk (1958) is about the siege and evacuation from the British point of view.
    • Weekend at Dunkirk (Week-end à Zuydcoote, 1964) is about the siege and evacuation from the French point of view.
    • Atonement (2007) has a section covering the evacuation on the beaches. It's mostly known for a stunning five-minute single tracking shot along the whole beach.
    • Dunkirk (2017) also about the siege and evacuation, from three British points of view.
  • The Pied Piper (1942), about an elderly Englishman and a group of children, trying to make their way through the Germans and find a boat to escape back to England, during and immediately after the fall of France in June 1940.
  • Forbidden Games (1952), about a Parisian girl who bonds with a boy whose farm family takes her in after her parents are killed in in an air raid while fleeing the city.

Others:

  • The Lion Has Wings (1939) is a British propaganda film rushed into production and released in December 1939, a mixture of newsreel about the war effort and scripted drama about early RAF combat against the Luftwaffe, including a British raid on the Kiel Canal in September 1939.
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    The Finnish Front (1939-1944) 

The war between Finland and USSR, more specifically the Winter War of 1939-40 and the Continuation War of 1941-44 (which is included in the Eastern Front as Finland was co-belligerent with Germany). Has been depicted several times on film, but these films are little known outside Finland.


Winter War:

Continuation War:

  • Kukushka (The Cuckoo), a Russian film.
  • Tuntematon Sotilas (The Unknown Soldier), based on a novel of the same name written by war veteran Väinö Linna. Three versions exist, made in years 1955, 1985, and 2017.

    The Eastern Front (1941-1945) 

The biggest and bloodiest theatre of the war (the number of deaths there alone- over 25 million- would make the Eastern Front the worst war in history in its own right), and the one that embodied "total war", opposing Nazi Germany and its allies to USSR from the German invasion of the latter during Operation Barbarossa in June 1941 to Germany's final defeat in May 1945. Has been covered in film quite a bit in the German, Soviet and Russian film industry for obvious reasons, but most of the Soviet and Russian examples aren't that well known outside of Russia and Eastern Europe. In most of the former USSR the focus is not on World War II in general, but on that front, named "The Great Patriotic War" there. A few US-made 1943-45 propaganda movies made about the Eastern Front glossed over many of the Soviet Union's more questionable activities, which would come back to haunt their creators and actors just a few years later during the late-40s to early-50s Red Scare.

In German works, it is common to see soldiers threatened with being sent to the Eastern Front - a posting there was nothing but trouble, and became a near-certain-death-sentence from 1943 onwards.

Somewhat under-represented in (non-German) Western and Anglophone media, for the likely reason that the protagonists weren't Western Allies, save for a few cases involving volunteers such as the French Normandie-Niemen Fighter Regiment and the Lend-Lease shipments to USSR.


German Point of View:

  • 08/15 (1954-1955 West German film series): Covers the life of German conscripts during the war, mostly on the Eastern front. Based on the books by Hans Hellmut Kirst.
  • Cross of Iron (1977 British-German film): The conflict between German front-line and rear area soldiers after the defeat of Stalingrad. Relatively rare example of an English-language movie set here.
  • Downfall (2004 German film): German film depicting the battle of Berlin, Adolf Hitler's final moments and the downfall of Nazi Germany.
  • About the battle of Stalingrad:
    • Dogs, Do You Want to Live Forever? (1959 West German film), based on the eponymous novel by Fritz Wöss.
    • Stalingrad (1993 German film): The slow and cold agony of the now-encircled 6th German Army in Stalingrad.

Soviet Point of View:

    German Occupation of Europe (1939-1945) 

Life and historical events in the countries of Europe that were occupied by the military forces of Nazi Germany between 1939 and 1945. Often involves The Gestapo and Les Collaborateurs versus La Résistance. In many cases, it also overlaps with the Holocaust.


  • A sizeable number of films are based on Operation Anthropoid, the assassination of the Nazi posterboy, SS-Obergruppenführer and Reichsprotektor of Bohemia-Moravia Reinhard Heydrich, in German-occupied Prague in May 1942:
    • Hangmen Also Die! (1943 American film): The first film on the subject, filmed only a couple of months after the events, and very loosely based on them.
    • Hitler's Madman (1943 American film): A slightly more faithful version compared to Hangmen Also Die!.
    • Atentát (1964 Czech film)
    • Operation Daybreak (1975 Czech-American film)
    • Lidice (2011 Czech film): About the attack and its horrific aftermath, namely the massacre and destruction of the village of Lidice as reprisals.
    • Anthropoid (2016 British film): Focuses entirely on the operation from the point of view of the Czechoslovak resistance protagonists who carried out the attack.
    • The Man with the Iron Heart (2017 French film): Based on a novel. It focuses both on Heydrich and his life and on the Czechoslovak resistance protagonists who carried out the attack.
  • Atlantic Wall: French comedy in which a peaceful French restaurant owner finds himself in possession of German V1 flying bombs launching pads plans. He brings them to the Allies and reluctantly takes part in a secret assassination plot on the eve of D-Day.
  • Beyond the Border tells the story of a group of Swedish soldiers trying to save the younger brother of one of them who accidentally crossed the border into Norway and got captured by the Nazis.
  • Black Book: The Occupation and resistance in the Netherlands. Often seen as a polar opposite to Soliders of Orange due to its focus on betrayal within the Resistance and collaboration with the Germans, by the same director.
  • Closely Watched Trains: Coming-of-Age Story about a young man working at a train station in German-occupied Czechoslovakia during the war.
  • Commandos Strike at Dawn: A Norwegian fisherman escapes to England, and then guides a commando raid on a German base in his hometown.
  • Counterpoint: The Nazis capture an American orchestra and force them to perform.
  • A Curious Conjunction of Coincidences: Part of the film takes place during WWII, and involves a German soldier having a very bad day who accidentally drops a bomb on Amsterdam.
  • Divided We Fall: A Czech couple hide a young Jewish man in the storeroom of their apartment.
  • Edge of Darkness: The people of a Norwegian fishing village rise up against the German occupiers.
  • Effroyables Jardins: Two French villagers decide to blow up a railway station to make themselves a name in La Résistance. It backfires and Germans take hostages, including the two protagonists. One of the German soldiers, who was a clown before the war, takes pity on the hostages and starts entertaining them with his clown nose.
  • The Exception: A German agent in the Netherlands investigates former Kaiser Wilhelm II.
  • Fannys Journey: A band of Jewish war oprhans try to flee to Switzerland while being pursued by the French police and the Nazi. Based on Fanny Ben Ami's biography.
  • Five Branded Women: Yugoslavia
  • Flammen og Citronen (Danish film): Tells the story of two Danish resistance movement fighters, nicknamed Flammen and Citron, during the Nazi occupation of Denmark.
  • Forbidden Games: Rural France under German occupation.
  • General Della Rovere: The Germans send a con artist into a prison in German-occupied 1944 Genoa, impersonating a leader of La Résistance, in order to gain valuable intelligence.
  • La Grande Vadrouille: French comedy in which a British Lancaster bomber plane gets shot over German-occupied Paris. Its crew and the two Frenchmen who find themselves forced to help them do everything they can to reach the Free Zone to escape.
  • Head in the Clouds: The last third takes place in occupied Paris
  • Kanał: The Warsaw Uprising in which the Polish Home Army fought against the Germans in occupied Warsaw in 1944.
  • Lacombe, Lucien: A sullen teen in occupied France becomes a collaborator.
  • The Last Metro: A woman in Paris during the occupation struggles to hide her husband, who is Jewish.
  • Miracle at Midnight: About the German occupation of Denmark and their failure to capture most of its Jewish population due to the efforts of the local populace.
  • The Moon is Down: The occupation of Norway (as seen by Hollywood in 1943, the film served as propaganda, naturally).
  • The Night of the Generals: A murder mystery set in occupied Poland and later France.
  • None Shall Escape, a 1944 film about a trial against a Nazi officer following the end of the (then-ongoing) second world war, told via flashbacks from the points of view of the witnesses at the trial. The first flashback takes place the newly-formed Polish state in 1919 right after the end of WWI, the next one takes place in the Weimar Republic in 1923 right before and after the Beer Hall Putsch before skipping ahead to 1929 and then to Nazi Germany in 1934 after the Night of the Long Knives, and the third and last one takes place in Nazi-occupied Poland during WWII.
  • One of Our Aircraft Is Missing: In which a British bomber crew are forced to bail out over the occupied Netherlands, and attempt to escape with the assistance of the Dutch.
  • The Others (2001), a ghost movie set on the Channel Island of Jersey during the German occupation.
  • The Passage: An elderly shepherd (Anthony Quinn) attempts to help a scientist and his family escape across the mountains into Spain while pursued by evil Malcolm McDowell.
  • Les Passeurs: Two rival mountain men living in Vichy France/occupied France smuggle either people or goods to neutral Switzerland.
  • Pope John Paul II
  • The Resistance Banker
  • Riphagen: An (in)famous gangster from Amsterdam who turned collaborator.
  • The Scarlet and the Black: Italy
  • This Land Is Mine: France
  • Le Silence de la mer (2004): A young Frenchwoman and her grandfather are forced to house a German officer. They vow to never speak to him for as long as he's in their house. This is complicated by the fact that the officer is francophile, gentlemanly and not really into Nazi ideals.
  • Simon and the Oaks: Sweden
  • Suite Française: Adaptation of the eponymous book. A romance between a French woman and a German soldier.
  • To Be or Not to Be: A comedy about a Warsaw theater troupe of actors who use their acting skills to escape occupied Poland.
  • The Trip Across Paris: Two men involved in the Black Market in Paris in 1943.
  • Uncertain Glory: 100 Frenchmen are taken hostage and face execution after a bridge is blown up. A criminal facing a death sentence for ordinary crimes gets the idea to take the blame for himself and spare the hostages.
  • Under the Roman Sky is about the occupation of Rome by the Germans, the deportation of the Eternal City's Jews and Pope Pius XII's actions at the time.
  • Le Vieux Fusil
  • Volhynia, the first film about the Volhynian Slaughter, which the Germans (who had no hand in it) had let happen.
  • Zelary: A Czech woman has to assume a fake identity, marry a total stranger, and hide out in a rural village, all after the Resistance cell she belongs to is busted by the Gestapo.

    North Africa (1940-1943) 

Initially, just between The Commonwealth, Italy, and other independent nations. Later, the Germans (famously led by Erwin Rommel) and the Americans also took part. An area of desert warfare where supplies are scarce, it also saw the creation of the SAS and the work of the Long Range Desert Group. Famous for the presence of two very quirky but effective Allied generals, George S. Patton and Bernard "Monty" Montgomery.


  • The Big Red One - the first part of the film is set during the Battle of North Africa.
  • The Desert Fox - starring James Mason as Rommel
  • The Desert Rats - Another telling of the siege of Tobruk, starring Richard Burton. Also stars Mason as Rommel.
  • El Alamein: The Line of Fire - the Italian point of view of the Battle of El Alamein.
  • Five Graves to Cairo, set in Egypt during Rommel's drive to El Alamein
  • Ice Cold in Alex
  • Patton - the first half of the film takes place here.
  • Play Dirty - A group of convicted criminals go on a mission behind the battle lines to destroy an Afrika Korps fuel depot.
  • The Rats Of Tobruk - focuses on ANZACs holed up in the besieged Libyan coastal town of Tobruk
  • Sahara - an impromptu multi-national force of stragglers gathers around a lost American tank to defend a strategic oasis.
  • Un Taxi Pour Tobrouk - after the siege of Tobruk, a Free French LRDG squad journeys through enemy lines to reach Allied territory with a German prisoner.
  • Tobruk - a fictionalized story of members of the British Army's Long Range Desert Group (LRDG) and the Special Identification Group (SIG) who endeavour to destroy the fuel bunkers of Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel's Panzer Army Africa in Tobruk.

    Southeastern Europe (1941-1945) 

Greece, Yugoslavia, and the Mediterranean Theatre. The Yugoslav film industry celebrated the achievements of the Partisans, naturally. Note: there is some overlap with the La Résistance/Special Forces category (see below).


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    The Italian Front (1943-1945) 

The invasion of Italy by the Allies, starting in 1943 after their victory in North Africa. Winston Churchill thought the country was the "Soft underbelly of the crocodile" for the Axis, given the pitiful state of the Italian forces by that point. Unfortunately, German defense lines proved to be much stronger than expected, and the country suffered from both war crimes (from both sides) and a civil war between the pro-Allies and Benito Mussolini's loyalists.


  • The Battle of San Pietro, a dramatic documentary about the bloody December 1943 battle for the eponymous town.
  • The Devil's Brigade - about the joint American/Canadian commando unit the First Special Service Force and its mission to capture Monte la Difensa in December 1943.
  • The Four Days of Naples - the people of Naples rise up in a spontaneous revolt against their German occupiers, in the days after the Italian surrender in September 1943.
  • Fortress tells a fictional (but inspired by real events) story of Lucky Lass, a B-17 Flying Fortress as it flies in the campaign against Italy.
  • The Green Devils of Monte Cassino - Follows German parachutists during the battle of Monte Cassino, in 1944.
  • Hornets' Nest - set in and around the fictional Italian town of Reanoto.
  • Miracle at St. Anna, a Spike Lee joint.
  • Paisan - six-episode anthology starting with the invasion of Sicily and going to the Po Valley fighting in December 1944.
  • Road47 takes place entirely in the winter of 1944 in Italy.
  • Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom - Torture porn at its most depraved, set in the city of the last fascist government. The fascist setting is really just an excuse for... icky stuff.
  • Two Women (La Ciociara). The story of an Italian woman trying to protect her young daughter from the horrors of war.
  • Von Ryan's Express - About a group of POWs in an Italian escaping from an Italian camp by hijacking a train to Switzerland.
  • A Walk in the Sun - From The Golden Age of Hollywood, comes a war drama set in Italy and made just as the war ended.
  • Parts of the 1982 film adaptation of The Wall, by Pink Floyd (carrying over from the album itself). Roger Waters' father died in combat in Anzio, the song "When the Tigers Broke Free" (later included on The Final Cut since 2004) is dedicated to him.
  • What Did You Do In The War, Daddy? - A comedy that follows an outfit of U.S. soldiers assigned to capture a small village in Sicily.

    The Western Front (1944-1945) 

The fighting in Western Europe, from the "D-Day" Normandy landings in June 1944note  to the invasion of Western and Southern Germany and its final surrender in spring 1945. Americans had a large role, and the British, Canadians and Free French (as well as a few others) were involved, but they tend to be left out of US films.


  • 36 Hours (1965) concerns a German attempt to find out the date and place of the D-Day landings by means of an elaborate deception.
  • The Americanization of Emily: A satire/black comedy about the high life as lived by high-ranking Navy brass in the month right before D-Day. Ends with the hero, a self-described coward, stumbling about Omaha Beach as one of the first people to land.
  • Battleground depicts a company of infantrymen enduring the Siege of Bastogne.
  • Battle of the Bulge: Exactly What It Says on the Tin
  • The Big Red One - the second half of the film follows the US First Infantry Division during their campaign through Western Europe.
  • Brass Target - In 1945, General Patton sends Germany's confiscated gold reserves to Frankfurt, but the Army train is robbed by plotters who also hire a Swiss hitman to kill the General.
  • The Bridge - A German film about seven teenaged soldiers defending a bridge against the Americans in the last days of the war
  • The Bridge at Remagen - A fictionalized version of the capture of the last standing bridge over the Rhine River in March 1945.
  • A Bridge Too Far looks at the failed Allied offensive in the Netherlands, Operation Market Garden.
  • The Bunker - horror film about a group of retreating German soldiers taking refuge in an abandoned bunker and find themselves haunted by dark figures as they try to retain order.
  • Days of Glory focuses on North Africans fighting for the Free French, first in Italy, then for the bulk of the film on the Western Front
  • Decision Before Dawn - American intellligence unit recruits German prisoners to turn spy and filter back into German lines to gather intelligence.
  • Diplomacy - in August 1944, a Swedish diplomat tries to persuade a German general not to destroy Paris.
  • Eye of the Needle - A Nazi spy discovers the Allies are pulling a king-sized fast one with Operation Fortitude on Germany to hide the true invasion destination for D-Day.
  • The Forgotten Battle - A Dutch film about the Battle of the Scheldt, when the Allies had to attack strong German defensive positions to gain control of the approaches to the port of Amsterdam.
  • Fury - follows the crew of the namesake M4A3 Sherman tank during the advance of the US forces into Germany in early 1945.
  • Hell Is for Heroes - a squad on the Siegfried Line bluffs a German pillbox into thinking they are a much larger force.
  • Is Paris Burning? - deals with the liberation of Paris in August 1944, focusing on the German commander resisting his orders to destroy the city while the 1st Free French Armored Division spearheads a desperate Allied drive to save their capital and the French resistance launches an insurgency.
  • Kelly's Heroes focuses on a hodgepodge unit put together by the title character for an attempt to steal Nazi Gold during the Lorraine campaign.
  • The Last Drop - focuses on a commando raid into Holland to recover Nazi Gold in the backdrop of Operation Market Garden.
  • The Longest Day - covers both the events leading up to and on the 6th of June, 1944, the longest day for both the Allied invaders and the Axis defenders.
  • A Midnight Clear - follows an American intelligence squad during the Battle of the Bulge, as they occupy a deserted chateau and encounter a German platoon that wishes to surrender.
  • The Monuments Men - Based on a True Story film about a unit of art experts in the army tasked with protecting and rescuing plundered art from the Nazis.
  • Overlord - follows a single British soldier, from the moment he's called up into the army at the age of 20, through his basic training, and up to June 6, 1944 when his platoon is part of the first wave of soldiers landing on Sword Beach.
  • Rommel - covers the last months of Erwin Rommel as he commands the defence of occupied France via the Atlantic Wall.
  • Patton - follows General Patton. The second half of the film takes place here.
  • Saving Private Ryan focuses on a squad of Rangers as they make their way through the semi-organised chaos of Operation Overlord in search of the titular Private Ryan.
  • Snow and Fire - Two childhood friends fight in the French Army of the Liberation from Paris (August 1944) to the bitter battles in Lorraine and Alsace in late 1944 / early 1945.
  • Storming Juno - A docudrama retelling the Canadian assault of Juno Beach on D-Day
  • The Victors follows one U.S. squadron through Britain, France, Italy, and Germany.
  • When Trumpets Fade, set in the Battle of the Hürtgen Forest.

    The Pacific Front (1941-1945) 

Most of the works here focus on the American and Japanese part in the Far East, although Commonwealth forces also played a major role (primarily the ANZAC forces, for obvious reasons). Films about the Australian and New Zealand war efforts started appearing with the rise of those country's film industries, the relative lack of British films on the subject is probably due to the European theater being much important in the minds of most people at the time.

Only recently have films dealing with the Second Sino-Japanese War started to appear, unsurprisingly given the delicate politics of the matter.

Think partisan warfare, big naval battles (most famously Midway and Guadalcanal), Jungle Warfare, beach landings, starving civilians, and the inconsistent (mis)treatment of non-combatants.


American Point of View:

  • Away All Boats: Jeff Chandler (not John Wayne) as a John Wayne/Vince Lombardi-type of Navy Captain, this time about one of the amphibious assault ships that the U.S. Navy invented out of whole cloth in order to prosecute the Pacific War.
  • Bataan
  • Battle Cry: Covers the Battles of Guadalcanal, Tarawa, and Saipan.
  • The Battle of Midway: John Ford's famous documentary short (18 minutes) about the battle, including live combat footage taken by Ford and an assistant cameraman on Midway atoll on June 4, 1942.
  • Crusade In The Pacific: America Goes to War, an early (1951) 24 episode documentary serial that is surprisingly Fair for Its Day with relatively little of the racism, jingoism and triumphalism that mar other works of the period and not, despite the title, focused entirely on the US war effort. Covers both the prewar era and the postwar occupation, but does not cover the fire raids or the Soviet Union's last-minute contribution, perhaps because the Korean War was going on at the time. Useful if you're looking for coverage of some of the less ballyhooed aspects of the Pacific war, like the ANZAC campaign to liberate Indonesia. It even contains surprisingly sympathetic views of the causes and rise of Japanese militarism and Indonesia's postwar anti-colonialism.
  • Cry 'Havoc': Army nurses on Bataan during the doomed defense of the peninsula in 1942.
  • Destination Tokyo: An American sub goes on a reconnaissance mission in Japanese home waters.
  • Empire of the Sun: The life of a boy living in the British concession in Shanghai, and then a POW camp.
  • Father Goose: 1960s romcom involving the adventures of Cary Grant as an unwilling coast watcher.
  • The Fighting Lady: A documentary filmed in color, and made During the War, featuring life aboard an Essex-class class carrier, the USS Yorktown (CV-10).
  • The Fighting Seabees: Another John Wayne propaganda film about some of the unsung heroes of World War II, the US Navy Construction Battalions ("CB" - get it?) who managed to build airfields, bases and port facilities across the Pacific much faster than anyone believed possible prior to the war.
  • The Five People You Meet in Heaven: Only partially takes place during WW2. The protagonist Eddie fights in the Philippines.
  • Flags of Our Fathers: The lives of the flag-raisers in the famous photo of raising the flag upon Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima. Received a P.O.V. Sequel, Letters from Iwo Jima.
  • Francis: Second Lieutenant Peter Sterling (Donald O'Connor) is caught behind Japanese lines in Burma during World War II. Francis, a talking Army mule (voiced by Chill Wills), carries him to safety. When Sterling insists that the animal rescued him, he is placed in a psychiatric ward. Each time Sterling is released, he accomplishes something noteworthy (at the instigation of Francis), and each time he is sent back to the psych ward when he insists on crediting the talking mule.
  • The Great Raid: about the raid at the Japanese POW camp near the Philippine city of Cabanatuan.
  • Guadalcanal Diary - made during the war, based on a 1943 memoir.
  • Hacksaw Ridge, the true story of conscientious objector Desmond T. Doss, who saved saving the lives of over 75 of his comrades during the Battle of Okinawa.
  • The Hasty Heart, a group of allied soldiers in hospital at the end of the war befriend a dying man so that he can spend his last days with friends.
  • Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison, about a U.S. Marine and an Irish nun who find themselves stranded on a Japanese-occupied island.
  • In Harm's Way: Following the exploits of a group of American naval officers in Hawaii during the early part of the war. The last John Wayne film produced in black and white.
  • Midway (1976) - about the turning point of the Pacific war, notable for lacking a special effects budget and using mostly Stock Footage, though still surprisingly good.
  • Midway (2019) - a more modern retelling of the battle by Roland Emmerich.
  • Mister Roberts: About one of the most essential but also most monotonous and least glamorous parts of the war, the men who served on the cargo ships far behind the fighting.
  • The Mission of the Shark, a TV movie, - tells the story of the U.S.S. Indianapolis, which after having delivered the atomic bomb to the island of Tinian, it was sunk by a Japanese submarine, and because of the top secret nature of its mission, the survivors were left floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean to be devowered by sharks until only a handful were left alive when rescue finally arrived.
  • Never So Few: An American OSS officer and a handful of American men lead a squad of Kachin natives, behind enemy lines in Burma, fighting the Japanese.
  • Objective, Burma! - controversial at the time as Australian Errol Flynn leads a group of US army soldiers on a raid in Burma, leading to some of the first British complaints about America Won World War II as Burma was a wholly British Commonwealth theater.
  • Operation Petticoat - 1958 comedy starring Cary Grant as a submarine captain trying to escape the Philippines at the beginning of the war with a broke-down sub loaded with Army nurses and Filipino civilians—and the sub is painted bright pink. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Pearl Harbor - A love triangle drama in addition to the battle as well as the Doolittle Raid, with a very brief foray into the the Battle of Britain. Notable for its many inaccuracies.
  • PT109 - about the wartime exploits of future US President John F Kennedy.
  • Report from the Aleutians: John Huston's propaganda documentary about a forgotten part of the Pacific war, namely, the Aleutian Islands campaign.
  • Run Silent, Run Deep: Submarine warfare off the Japanese home islands.
  • Sands of Iwo Jima - John Wayne propaganda film
  • So Proudly We Hail!: Much like Cry 'Havoc' above, this film is about Red Cross nurses in the Philippines.
  • South Pacific- Set mid-war, after the southern islands had become a backwater.
  • Submarine Command
  • They Were Expendable - John Ford directs John Wayne and Robert Montgomery in this movie about PT Boats of the Asiatic Fleet in the Philippines in 1941-42. It doesn’t end well, though it at least gets a Bittersweet Ending for the leads.
  • The Thin Red Line - about a squad of US Army soldiers during the Guadalcanal campaign, although the title is an allegorical reference to a small Scottish force in the Crimean War.
  • Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo - the story of the Doolittle Raid.
  • Tora! Tora! Tora! - An acclaimed joint US/Japanese production that depicts the Pearl Harbor attack from both sides.
  • USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage: Revolves around the infamous sinking of Heavy Cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA-35) by Japanese Submarine I-58, and the 5-day ordeal of her surviving crew members in shark-infested waters.
  • The Wackiest Ship in the Army: Two men man the USS Echo (a sailboat) alongside a fairly (at first) incompetent crew as they sail to Japan in hopes of studying enemy tactics.
  • Wake Island is about that island and the 400 doomed Marines defending it from the Japanese in December 1941.
  • Windtalkers - focuses on a group of Amerindians trained as signalmen because their language is entirely unknown outside the U.S.
  • The Wolverine: The movie starts with a flashback when Nagasaki was about to be bombed.

Australian Point of View

  • Australia - Features a fictionalised version of the Japanese bombing of Darwin in February 1942.
  • Kokoda - Australian soldiers in New Guinea.

British Point of View:

Chinese Point of View:

  • City of Life and Death - Aka 'Nanjing, Nanjing', focuses on the aftermath of the Battle of Shanghai and the pacification of the lower Yangtze.
  • Flowers of War - About the Rape of Nanking, as witnessed by an American.
  • Fort Graveyard - A rare example of a film focusing on Japan vs. Manchurian China.
  • Gun Brothers - One of the earlier Shaw examples.
  • Heroes of the Underground - Shaw Brothers biopic about Ding Yi-shan, legendary Icon of Rebellion during the Sino-Japanese war.
  • The Last Emperor - not purely a World War II movie, it focuses on Puyi, the eponymous "last emperor" of China and only emperor of Manchukuo, a puppet state the Japanese established in Manchuria from 1931 to 1945.
  • Lust, Caution - focuses on the Japanese occupation of China and local Chinese resistance.
  • The Naval Commandos - set in the Sino-Japanese war, a group of Chinese hooligans volunteers to infiltrate and destroy an otherwise impenetrable Japanese aircraft carrier.
  • Purple Sunset - an anti-war film released in 2001 that details about a Chinese farmer, a Soviet soldier, and Japanese schoolgirl together lost in the Manchurian forest during the Soviet Invasion of Manchuria.
  • 7 Man Army - The unofficial Shaw Brothers remake of Cross of Iron, on steroids. A platoon of seven Chinese soldiers defends their fort from an invading army of 20,000 Japanese soldiers and holds the invaders off for an entire week, before they're finally defeated. The movie ends with the Japanese forces retreating out of respect.
  • Sons of the Good Earth - a pair of Star-Crossed Lovers in 1937 China gets caught in the Japanese invasion. One of the higher-budgeted films made by Shaw Brothers during the mid-60s, with a lengthy Big Badass Battle Sequence (some 15 minutes long!) capping the end.
  • The Eight Hundred - During the Battle of Shangai, Eight Hundred Chinese soldiers valiantly defend a Warehouse near the Shanghai International Settlement, in face of overwhelming Japanese numerical superiority.

Japanese Point of View:

  • Battle of Okinawa: A Japanese film about the battle itself from Japanese POV.
  • Fires on the Plain: Disorganized remnants of the IJA undergo terrible suffering on Leyte in the Philippines, February 1945.
  • The Human Condition - A socialist-leaning Japanese contractor in Manchuria starts to realize his country may be the bad guys...it got worse. Also includes the Soviet invasion of Manchuria, a subject rarely dramatized.
  • Letters from Iwo Jima - P.O.V. Sequel to Flags of Our Fathers showing the Battle of Iwo Jima from the Japanese perspective.
  • Zero: a film focusing on the development, testing and ultimate failure of the Zero fighter plane in aerial combat.

Filipino Point of View:

  • A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino: Originally a theatre production but released in two film versions: a 1965 Deliberately Monochrome English version and the 2017 full-colour Tagalog Ang Larawan, both concerning an Impoverished Patrician family and their heirloom house and art, in Intramuros, the Philippine colonial capital, getting ready for war by scheduling rolling blackouts among other things.
  • Oro Plata Mata: Depicts oligarchic families from Negros, in the Visayas region in the central Philippines, whose lives and wealth are disrupted by the Japanese invasion.

Korean Point of View:

  • The Battleship Island: A group of 400 Koreans, Forced to work on the Mines of Hashima Island, attempt a daring escape from their Japanese captors.

    The Air War (1940-1945) 

In which the two sides of the war try to bomb each other into submission. A fair chunk of these are British and a number are based on true stories.

The Blitz, which followed the Battle of Britain, was a German attempt to bomb the UK into surrendering, which didn't really work. The Battle of Britain had been a close run thing, as the British had spent much of the 1930s not investing in their fighter force as they had believed "the bomber will always get through". It took Winston Churchill to persuade them otherwise- the Spitfire and the Hurricane arriving just in time. The Blitz was at its peak during 1940-1941 and 1944-1945, the latter mostly using V1 and V2 missiles. There were still attacks on the United Kingdom in-between, but Germany's resources were focused on the Eastern Front at the time.

While the actions of the Allied bombing missions in Germany have been subject to quite a bit of historical debate (although there were legitimate industrial targets in German cities, the bombing of German civilians did not have the planned effect of destroying German industry or morale- it simply made them more resolved, much like what had happened during the Blitz), it should be noted that these bombing raids were very dangerous for British airmen. They flew at night, unlike the USAAF (US Army Air Force) who did the day missions. Of every 100 airmen, 55 on average would end up dead. The issue of not awarding separate medals for the British Bomber Command crews (who got the Air Crew Europe star that everyone else who flew over Europe did) is raised from time to time.

This is not to say that the USAAF had it any better. Flying by day meant they had a monstrously high casualty rate, particularly before P-51s were available for long range escort. There was a policy of "25 and out". Once an airman had done 25 missions, his war was over. The ball turret gunner, despite not having a parachute close to hand and being exposed to ground fire, wasn't actually that dangerous, relatively speaking. Just unpleasant, as they ended up doing somersaults in a tiny, cold, plexiglass and metal ball looking at a really long drop. The 25 got upped to 30 and then 35. The average crew got shot down around the 20th mission.

The Air War in the Pacific has received comparatively less attention, even though the scope and nature of the Pacific theater meant that air power played an even larger role there than it did in Europe. The strategic bombing campaign against Japan in particular has not received much attention, perhaps because it's difficult to portray massive fire raids against civilians in a heroic light. Even those who participated rarely considered it to be anything more than a necessary evil.


  • 633 Squadron:
  • Alice By Heart: The framing scenes are set during the 1941 London Blitz.
  • Battle of Britain: the RAF during the desperate days at the height of The Blitz.
  • The Big One
  • Catch-22: a very dark Black Comedy set in the Mediterranean campaign.
  • Captains Of The Clouds: Canadian bush pilots attempt to join the Royal Canadian Air Force as fighter pilots after hearing Churchill's call to arms. Notable for being the first major Hollywood production filmed entirely in Canada.
  • The Dam Busters: based on a true story about an elite air unit attempting a dangerous bombing mission on a major German dam.
  • Desperate Journey: Well, sort of about the air war. The story involves an RAF bomber grew that gets shot down over Germany and then goes on a, yes, desperate journey across Germany.
  • The German
  • A Guy Named Joe: Deals with both the European and Pacific air wars.
  • Into The White: A German and a British plane are shot down during a dog fight and the crews cooperate to survive in the Norwegian mountains.
  • London Can Take It!: 1940 documentary short showing a real German bombing raid on London, with firefighting efforts as well as a look at damage the next day.
  • Memphis Belle
  • Mosquito Squadron
  • Passage to Marseille: An odd example since the Framing Device that begins and ends the film involves a Free French bomber squadron based in England, but the middle part of the film involves a bunch of prisoners in French Guiana trying to escape to join the war effort.
  • Reach for the Sky: Biopic of RAF pilot Douglas Bader, a double amputee who became flying ace.
  • Red Tails: Lucasfilm finally gives the Tuskeegee Airmen the patriotic war movie they deserve a half-century after the war.
  • Shadow in the Cloud
  • The Tuskeegee Airmen: An earlier and arguably less patriotic take on the same subject as Red Tails: Elite African American fighter pilots who are subjected to racism while fighting for their country.
  • Twelve O'Clock High: The US 8th Air Force's daylight bombing campaign.
  • Victory Through Air Power: Disney Wartime Cartoon (yes, Disney) that explains the vital role of airpower in modern warfare.
  • The War Lover: examines what it takes to be an Ace Pilot: is he a hero, or a psychopath?
  • The Way To The Stars surveys the entire western European air war as the protagonist progresses from New Meat RAF bomber pilot to a ground controller supporting both the British and American air forces.

Though less common, there are several movies about the Air War in the Pacific:

  • Air Force - one of the earliest examples, a 1942 film about a B-17 bomber crew travelling to the Philippines in December 1941, passing through Hawaii on the day after the Pearl Harbor attack.
  • Flying Tigers — 1942 propaganda film with John Wayne about the American mercenary air force defending China.
  • The Flying Leathernecks — John Wayne yet again!
  • God Is My Copilot - About the Flying Tigers
  • Pearl Harbor — Features the Doolittle Raid over Tokyo.
  • Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo — All about the Doolittle Raid. John Wayne somehow missed this one.

    The Battle of the Atlantic (1939-1945) 

In which the German submarines (U-Boote) try to starve Britain into submission and stop equipment from getting to the Allies. The subs (on both sides) are hot, cramped and nasty. In fact, calling them submarines is slightly inaccurate, considering that most of their time was spent on the surface.

This campaign started pretty much on day one of the war, making it the longest battle in human history. A German U-boat mistook a passenger liner running without lights for an armed merchant ship... You get the idea.

Three-quarters of those who went out in the U-Boote did not return. This was a result of a combination of the Allies' refining their convoy system and its defences, as well as simply producing more ships, both cargo and fighting types, than the U-Boats could sink and thus were overwhelmed.


  • Action In The North Atlantic — a tribute to the Merchant Marine, the civilian crews who had to sail the ships that carried the supplies that sustained the allied effort in WWII. Starring Humphrey Bogart and Raymond Massey.
  • Crash Dive
  • Below — A psychological horror film set aboard an American sub on patrol in the Atlantic.
  • Das Boot— A German movie from the U-boat crews' perspective: "hunters" who are actually the hunted and not likely to survive in any case.
  • The Cruel Sea — film version of the novel by Nicholas Monserrat, about the crew of a British corvette escorting convoys during the Battle of the Atlantic.
  • The Enemy Below — An American destroyer escort and a German U-boat duel on the high seas. Inspired the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Balance of Terror".
  • Enigma
  • Greyhound — A feature film about an American captain's (Tom Hanks) first convoy command in 1942 and being targeted by German U-Boats.
  • The Incredible Mr. Limpet — A half-live action/half-animated comedy starring Don Knotts as a wimpy accountant who transforms into a talking fish with a Make Me Wanna Shout power, which he uses to help the US Navy locate and destroy U-boats. Yes, really.
  • Lifeboat — An Alfred Hitchcock movie made in 1943 about the survivors of a sunken merchant ship who are trapped in the titular lifeboat with the U-Boat captain who sank them.
  • The Long Voyage Home — Merchant sailors taking military supplies to England while German U-boats prowled the Atlantic. Made prior to the American entry into the war.
  • U571—an American movie that caused outrage in Britain due to showing the first captured Enigma machine to be recovered by an American submarine crew.
  • We Dive at Dawn — A British movie made in 1942, set on a British submarine.

The early years of the war in the Atlantic also saw some combat between surface ships, in particular the raids of the German battleships Admiral Graf Spee and the (in)famous Bismarck.

    Resistance Movements (1939-1945) 

The most famous is arguably the French Resistance (Trope Namer of La Résistance), but the other movements throughout Europe, most notably Greeks, Yugoslavs, Soviets and Poles, were very effective in their respective countries too. The German Resistance is also portrayed for their valiant, though eventually futile due to their small numbers and lack of support, attempt to save Germany from Hitler's rule.


  • Army of Shadows: Dramatic film showing the work of a French Resistance unit. Directed by an actual veteran of the Resistance, Jean-Pierre Melville.
  • Black Book
  • Canaris: A drama about Wilhelm Canaris opposing the Nazis from his position as chief of the Abwehr and executed for hispart in the 20 July plot to kill Hitler.
  • Casablanca
  • Charlotte Gray
  • Come and See: Belarusian partisans fight SS Einsatzgruppen.
  • Defiance: About the Bielski Partisans, a group of Jews who hid in the Belorussian forests and fought the Nazis and local peasant collaborators
  • Escape to Athena: Greek resistance and POWs conspire against Nazis.
  • Flame & Citron: About the Danish Resistance.
  • A Generation: About a cell of young Communist guerillas in occupied Warsaw, 1942-1943.
  • A Man Escaped: About a French Resistance officer who has to escape from a Gestapo prison before he's executed.
  • Max Manus: Norway's answer to Flame and Citron.
  • Men Without Wings: A Czech resistance group, operating out of an aircraft factory, in the immediate aftermath of the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich and the Lidice massacre.
  • "Pimpernel" Smith
  • The Red Meadows: The Danish resistance blows up a German factory, but two of their guys get arrested.
  • Rescuers: Stories of Courage
  • Resistance: The resistant life of Marcel Mangel (later known as mime Marcel Marceau). Overlaps with Holocaust as Marcel was Jewish and witnessed deportations.
  • Rome, Open City: An Italian resistance cell in Rome during the Aug. 1943-June 1944 German occupation.
  • Soldier of Orange: Paul Verhoeven's first film about the Netherlands during WWII.
  • Sophie Scholl - Die letzten Tage, about several members of the German resistance (against the Nazi regime, that is).
  • The Sorrow and the Pity is an excellent documentary about both the French Resistance and the Vichy regime that they opposed.
  • To Have and Have Not
  • The Train: About a group of French resistance fighters trying to stop a train filled with art treasures from leaving the country as the Germans retreat.
  • Valkyrie: About a group of German officers trying to assassinate Hitler.
  • Le Vieux Fusil
  • We Leave for England follows Norwegian resistance fighters in their flight from the Gestapo.
  • Where Eagles Dare
  • Wild Wind
  • Winter in Wartime (Oorlogswinter)
  • Many local Yugoslav movies, some of the more famous being: The Battle of Sutjeska, The Battle of Neretva, Raid on Drvar and Walter Defends Sarajevo. All involve the Yugoslav (communist-led resistance) fighting versus various Axis forces. Most were rather akin to Italian Spaghetti Westerns recycled in the WW2-era Balkans. Movies made in the last 10-15 years of Yugoslavia sometimes had a much darker tone, focusing on topics like atrocities, betrayal and trying to survive what was effectively a civil war. A good example of this kind of movie is Occupation in 26 pictures.

    Special Forces and Spies (1939-1945) 

Films about various small forces carrying out special missions involving sabotage, spying or assassinations, most prominently coming from the Allied side. Outside of Alternate History, Ghostapo and Stupid Jetpack Hitler, this is the genre where historical events tends to take a backseat the most to focus on flashy and sometimes glamorous action.


Historical Operations:
  • The Catcher Was a Spy: About Major League Baseball catcher Moe Berg, who went to work for the OSS monitoring the Germans' efforts to develop an atomic bomb.
  • Counterfeit Traitor: An American-born Swedish oilman agrees to spy for the Allies.
  • Female Agents: Women who were recruited by the British Special Operations Executive (SOE).
  • Five Fingers: Loosely based on the real exploits of Agent Cicero spying for the Germans in neutral Turkey.
  • The Heroes of Telemark: About the Norwegian heavy water sabotage.
  • The Man Who Never Was: Slightly fictionalized account of the operation "Mincemeat", succesful attempt of the British intelligence to deceive Wehrmacht into thinking that planned invasion of Sicily would actually take place elsewhere.
  • Operation Crossbow: Offers a fictionalized account of the titular Allied espionage operation to hinder the German development and use of long-range weapons.

Fictional Operations:

    Prisoners of War (1940-1945) 

Germans generally respected the Geneva Conventions with regards to US, UK and French POWs, although by the end of the war when almost everyone was on the verge of starvation they were seriously considering throwing the Conventions out of the window with the Allied bombing raids as the excuse.

Geneva had never so much as been in the building when it came to the treatment of Slavic peoples by Germans - captured Red Army soldiers usually ended up as slaves or starved in death camps at best. And assuming they actually survived to be liberated their treatment upon returning home was frequently nearly as bad since Stalin's Soviet Union practiced You Have Failed Me on a massive scale and shuttled them directly from German prison camps to Siberian labor camps where they served, ironically enough, alongside the German prisoners of war the Soviets belatedly (and sometimes never) got around to releasing. The last German and Volkdeutsche prisoners to be released came back in the 1950s.

Conversely, the Allied POW camps, especially American and Canadian ones, kept to the Geneva Conventions so well that they became famous for being often more comfortable to Axis prisoners than their own side's barracks. This proved surprisingly beneficial for the Allies: the prisoners generally refrained from causing trouble, were more inclined to cooperate with interrogators and work details outside like on local farms, encouraged surrenders of the enemy and was excellent propaganda to the civilians of Allied nations that they were on the side of the good guys in that war. A number of repatriated Italian (and even some German) ex POW later emigrated back to the US and Canada, a testament both to the treatment they received and the relative lack of opportunity at home.

You did not want to be prisoner of the Japanese, as they considered surrendering as a shameful and degrading thing. Slave work, executions, torture and starvation were widespread, with also some infamous cases of experimentations on humans.


    The Holocaust (1939-1945) 

The Holocaust is the genocide Nazi Germany carried out on its territory and throughout occupied Europe primarily against Jewish people, but also against a couple other sorts of people their ideology deemed worthy of being exterminated, such as political opponents, Slavs, homosexuals and Gypsies.


    Home Fronts (1939-1945) 

The impact of the war on civilian life in the various unoccupied countries or areas that took part in the conflict.


Germany:

  • Aimée & Jaguar, the true story of the lesbian affair between German housewife Lilly Wust and Jewish woman Felice Schragenheim.
  • Before the Fall, about the Nazi National Political Academy.
  • The Devil Strikes at Night: The hunt for a Serial Killer in 1944 Berlin, and how the conscientious inspector on the case is confronted with interference from the party hierarchy.
  • A Hidden Life, the story of Austrian conscientious objector Franz Jägerstätter, who refused to enlist in the German army.
  • Lili Marleen, a fictional story around the famous hit song.
  • The Marriage of Maria Braun deals with a woman's journey from the earliest stages of Germany's surrender to the mid-1950s in West Germany.
  • My Führer, a comedy in which Adolf Hitler is so depressed that he hires a Jewish acting coach to help him prepare a New Year speech.
  • The Night fell on Gotenhafen, about the tragedy of the Wilhelm Gustloff, which was torpedoed by a Soviet submarine in January 1945. It is the largest loss of life in a single ship sinking in history, up to 9400 German civilians and soldiers died trying to evacuate East Prussia to flee the Soviet advance.
  • Rosenstrasse, a film about the 1943 protest in the eponymous street. Many "pure German blood" wives and relatives of Jewish men took to the street in protest against their deportation.
  • The Tin Drum — Set in the city of Danzig, which was part of Germany until 1919, when the League of Nations made it a Free City and allowed Poland access to the Baltic sea there, thus cutting East Prussia off from the rest of Germany. The city was still mostly German ethnically, and was the first to be invaded by the German armies on September 1st 1939.
  • Wunschkonzert, a 1940 German propaganda film that shows the Luftwaffe bombing Poland and a combat scene in what appears to be the 1940 Western Front, but is mostly about the star-crossed romance between a German woman and her fighter pilot boyfriend. They're eventually reunited through the popular Wunschkonzert weekly radio show.

Hungary

  • Bizalom: A young woman in late 1944 Budapest is shocked to find out that her husband is part of La Résistance and has fled to avoid arrest. To avoid arrest herself she has to get fake papers and pretend to be the wife of another man who is also hiding under a false identity. They fall in love.

Italy:

  • Malèna: A pubescent boy is entranced by the beauty of the most gorgeous woman in his village—who has been left in desperate straits after her husband is killed in battle.
  • Shoeshine: Two street urchins struggle to survive in the grim poverty of the Roman underclass immediately following liberation in 1944.

Japan:

  • Army, a Japanese film made during the war, 1944 to be exact, about the duty of the Japanese to support the war and the duty of Japanese parents to give their sons to the Emperor. Contains a very subtle anti-war message.
  • Bridge to the Sun: Unusual in that it's an American film in English. The protagonist is a white woman who goes to Japan with her Japanese diplomat husband, when he and everyone else in the Washington embassy are sent home in December 1941.
  • Doctor Akagi, set in a Japanese town during the last days of the war.
  • Grave of the Firefliesnote  - a slice of Japanese civilian life in 1945. Based on the same novel as the animated film.
  • Memoirs of a Geisha - a stylised account of the life of a Japanese entertainer-courtesan
  • Morning for the Osone Family, 1946 Japanese film about the suffering an upper-middle class family undergoes due to the conflict.
  • The Most Beautiful: 1944 Akira Kurosawa propaganda movie showing young Japanese women laboring away at a factory making precision lenses for the war effort.

United Kingdom:

USA:

USSR:

  • AK-47: A Russian Biopic that starts off with Mikhail Kalashnikov's service on the Eastern Front in 1941, then shifts to his engineering work on the Russian Home Front in Moscow throughout the rest of the war and then some of his post-war work involving the creation of his infamous AK-47 assault rifle.

    Fantasy / Horror / Science-Fiction 

Where there's much outlandish genre fun to be had and where history definitely leaves the building.


  • Bedknobs and Broomsticks: A spinster who trains as a witch wants to use her powers to help the British war effort. She also must serve as Parental Substitute to three Blitz Evacuees.
  • Captain America: The First Avenger: Takes place in the United States and Europe during World War II. Leading an international Allied unit, Captain America fights Hydra, a Nazi science division led by Red Skull that uses technology way beyond anything imaginable in the 1940s, thanks to the Cosmic Cube (the Tesseract).
  • Frankenstein's Army
  • King of the Zombies: A German agent in the Caribbean kidnaps an American admiral and tortures him in an attempt to learn the defences of the Panama Canal. Plus, you know, zombies.
  • Overlord: Follows a group of paratroopers who encounter Nazis and horrifying experiments underneath a radio tower.
  • Reign of the Gargoyles: A horror slash science fiction set during the Battle of the Bulge, where the Nazis unleash a horde of gargoyles in Northern France, and the Allies end up having to find a way to both prevent the Germans from finding a way to control the monsters as well as find a way to stop the latter for good.

    Others 
Films that don't really fit elsewhere.

  • The Dig: Set in Sutton Hoo, Suffolk. It is about an archeological excavation of a Viking ship in the months leading up to the War.
  • 49th Parallel : A group of Nazi submariners are trapped in Canada when their sub is sunk, and attempt to escape to the neutral US.
  • Biloxi Blues: Depicts a young draftee's experiences in basic training during the war.
  • The Brylcreem Boys: Depicting combatants from both sides in a POW camp in neutral Ireland.
  • Fighter in the Wind: The main character is a Korean who joined the Japanese air force in the first part of the movie.
  • Hell in the Pacific: Two WW2 servicemen — one American, one Japanese — form an unexpected bond while stranded on an uninhabited island in the Pacific.
  • Homecoming: Follows a doctor and his nurse in a U.S. Army surgical unit in both Italy and France.
  • Hotel Berlin (1945), basically Grand Hotel if Grand Hotel was about Nazis and Nazi collaborators and German resistance inside a hotel in Berlin in the final months of the European theater (it was in fact written by the same author whose book Grand Hotel was based on).
  • How I Unleashed World War II
  • It Happened Here: Alternate History about the Nazi occupation of Britain.
  • Jojo Rabbit: A young German boy in the Hitler Youth has an Imaginary Friend who looks like a friendly Adolf Hitler with the war as backdrop.
  • The Man in Grey: While the bulk of the film is a Whole Episode Flashback set in Regency England, a framing story involves an RAF pilot and a Wren in 1943.
  • A Matter of Life and Death: A supernatural love story about an RAF pilot who bailed out of a plane without a parachute and lived, much to heaven's chagrin. Set mainly in a British military convalescent hospital, and in the afterlife.
  • Men Behind the Sun: Inspired by surviving records of the human experiments that were conducted within the Unit-731 facility in occupied China, the film shows numerous gruesome experiments conducted by scientists led by Shiro Ishii. An accidental Exploitation Film that is not for the faint of heart.
  • Mission to Moscow: About the U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union in the years leading up to the war; now infamous for its pro-Stalinist message.
  • Morituri: A German living in India is blackmailed into sabotaging a Nazi merchant ship carrying rubber from Japan.
  • My Way: Follows two men who fight in the Imperial Japanese Army, then the Red Army, then the Wehrmacht before being captured by Americans after D-Day. Inspired by the story of Yang Kyoungjong.
  • Nowhere in Africa: Deals with a German Jewish family who flees to Kenya to avoid the Holocaust who try to run a ranch (in between being occasionally rounded up as enemy aliens, due to being German)
  • One Night in Lisbon: An American pilot, transporting a bomber to London prior to America's entry into the war, gets involved with an aristocratic Englishwoman and a German spy ring.
  • Return to Never Land: The story begins in World War II London, during the Luftwaffe's bombing campaign in preparation for Operation: Sea Lion.
  • Saboteur: Essentially The 39 Steps set in wartime America.
  • Sailor of the King
  • Seventeen Moments of Spring: A famous Soviet series about a spy in the Gestapo.
  • Shield And Sword: Another series about Soviet spies.
  • Went the Day Well?: Depicts the infiltration and takeover of a fictional English village by Nazi soldiers in advance of a planned invasion of Britain.

Other media:

    Anime & Manga 
  • Adolf
  • Barefoot Gen: A 1973-1974 manga that was adapted by Madhouse into two anime films in 1983 and 1986. The story mainly concerns the bombing of Hiroshima, and is well known for its very graphic and horrifying depictions of the dead and dying as a result of the bombing.
  • The Cockpit
  • El Alamein no Shinden
  • First Squad
  • Grave of the Fireflies - The downward spiral a Japanese boy and his younger sister dying from starvation towards the end of the war. (No, that doesn't need a spoiler tag: you are told this at the start of the movie.) Based on the novel of the same name authored by Akiyuki Nosaka.
  • Hellsing: The Big Bad and his Mooks are SS troops who have since been turned into vampires. A prequel manga titled Hellsing: The Dawn, covers two major characters dropping into Poland to make sure their vampires don't see the frontlines.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers, obviously, although it spans from the Roman Empire to the present day.
  • In This Corner of the World: A 2007-2009 manga that later received a 2011 Live-Action Adaptation and a 2016 anime film. Set mainly in Kure in 1944 and 1945, it starts out as a historical Slice of Life story but the war steadily intrudes further and further into the characters' everyday lives, the clock ticking down all the while to Little Boy.
  • Izetta: The Last Witch is an Alternate History version of WWII involving witches, magic, and Europe being terrorized by an alternate German Empire rather than one run by the Nazis.
  • Kurogane Pukapuka Tai, a yuri manga about an IJN cruiser crewed entirely by women (except for the captain).
  • Kutsuzure Sensen: The adventures of a pagan witch and her friend, a young NKVD officer, on Eastern war front.
  • Momotaro's Sea Eagles: 37-minute 1943 film, one of the oldest surviving examples of Japanese anime. Cute cuddly animals who are also Imperial Japanese Navy pilots blow the hell out of Pearl Harbor.
  • Momotaro's Divine Sea Warriors: 1945 film, sequel to the above, oldest anime feature film. Cute cuddly animals become fearless paratroopers, and wind up invading a British-held island.
  • Rail of the Star: an Anime about Japanese civilians desperate to escape North Korea after the war that notably glosses over why Japanese civilians would be desperate to escape Korea after the war.
  • Space Battleship Yamato uses a famous World War 2 battleship as the protagonist ship, while enemy small craft are torpedo and dive bombers,and the whole "Quest for Iscandar" is basically a sci-fi, cathartic fantasy of Yamato's sucidal last mission actually succeeding.
    • Completely unrelated to the anime is the 2005 live action film "Otoko-tachi no Yamato", literally "The Men's Yamato" - depicting Operation Ten-Go and the IJN Yamato's final mission, the last major Japanese naval operation in the Pacific.
  • Strike Witches is an Alternate History version of WWII with aliens and girls who don't wear pants.
  • Zipang

    Comic Books 
  • Ace of Space fought Nazis a few times.
  • Assassin's Creed: Conspiracies is set during World War II, featuring the race for the atomic bomb and following the British Assassin Eddie Gorm, who influences the course of history.
  • Biggles appeared in a number of comics set in World War II.
  • Blake and Mortimer is mostly set in The '50s, but occasionally uses the conflict in its backstory. Its first story's plot, The Secret of the Swordfish, is basically World War II set 20 Minutes into the Future, when the villain is a thinly veiled Expy of Imperial Japan. The 2014 book Plutarch's Staff plot is set in 1944.
  • Block 109, an Alternate History comic book.
  • Captain America punched Hitler in his very first issue. Most Golden Age superheroes, since they were published during the war, fought Nazis at some point.
  • A time-travel story in Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! had the team's speedster Fastback forcibly sent back in time to Earth-C's D-Day, where he winds up briefly helping the Allies fight the Ratzis alongside Golden Age DC funny-animal hero, the Terrific Whatzit (who turns out to be Fastback's uncle).
  • Code Name: Gravedigger about the exploits of a black soldier deployed as a One-Man Army throughout the European theatre.
  • Combat Kelly and his Deadly Dozen: A Spin-Off of Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos about a squad of Boxed Crookss undertaking suicide missions.
  • DC Comics has a long history of war comics, mostly written and drawn by Bob Kanigher, Joe Kubert and Russ Heath. Probably the most famous is Sgt. Rock, but there was also the Unknown Soldier, the Haunted Tank, The Losers, Hunter's Hellcats, and Code Name: Gravedigger.
  • A recent example is DC Comics Bombshells
  • The Desert Peach is a well-researched comic based in Africa, about the Desert Fox's fictional gay younger brother.
  • Duster (2015) is set on a farm in Texas near the end of World War II.
  • Fiends of the Eastern Front: A group of Rumanian soldiers participate during World War II, first fighting alongside the Germans, then with the Russians when Rumania switches sides in 1944.
  • Northern Irish writer Garth Ennis, through his series War Stories and Battlefields, along with DC books like Enemy Ace: War In Heaven and revivals of British titles like Battler Britton and Johnny Red.
  • The Heap first rose from the the swamp in 1942 and the Muck Monster soon found itself battling the Axis forces.
  • Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos was Marvel's WW2-set comic, and introduced Nick Fury.
  • Hunter's Hellcats is about a black ops team of Boxed Crooks deployed behind enemy lines in the closing days of WWII.
  • Il était une fois en France is a thriller centered around the life of Real Life historical figure Joseph Joanovici.
  • Kismet: Man of Fate chronicled the adventures of a Muslim combatant on the European resistance.
  • Franco-Belgian series The Children Of The Resistance is set in France in the fictional rural town of Pontain-Lécluse. The main characters are three children (François, Eusèbe and Lisa) who fight the Nazi by posting flyers, spying on them, commiting acts of sabotage, saving refugees while remaining anonymous in a game of cat and mouse. While the series is aimed at children, it doesn't shy away from death and atrocities inflicted by the Third Reich.
  • The Lone Warrior is a Superhero thwarting Nazi plots on a military base.
  • Maus: The portions narrated by Art's father take place mostly in Poland during the Holocaust, while the framing story takes place in the modern day.
  • Pat Patriot: America's Joan of Arc was about a super heroine who acted as an inspirational figure among the Americans.
  • Snoopy from Peanuts showed up a few times; Charles Schulz (himself having been in the military in this time) had these show up around 06 June during the later years.
  • Spirou and Fantasio has a handful of work in WWII:
    • The Diary of a Naive Young Man and its sequel Hope Despite Everything is a one-shot about Spirou in his younger teens months before the outbreak of the war and during the occupation of Belgium.
    • Another one-shot is Le Groom vert-de-gris. This time Spirou is an adult and works at the hotel Moustique as a groom (and a spy) which been used by the Nazis as their headquarters.
    • The Count of Champignac gets his own series in his younger years, titled Champignac. The Count is tasked of breaking the secret code of the Enigma machine used by the Nazis to encrypt their messages.
  • Commander Steel. The original 5-issue series has the eponymous Super Soldier fighting in World War II.
  • Sturmtruppen is an Italian satiric comic focused on the life and misadventures of an anonymous German battalion in France (hinted in an early strip), though some late strips are set with the Afrika Korps.
  • Super-American had a patriot from the future time traveling to fight the Nazis.
  • Clark Kent was rated 4F (unfit for military service) due to poor vision because he accidentally used his X-Ray vision to read the eye chart in the next room. And since everyone knew Clark really, really needed his glasses he couldn't talk the military brass into letting it slide. Of course, all that meant was Superman kept showing up everywhere Clark Kent traveled as a war correspondent. Hmmm... nothing suspicious about that.
  • Terry and the Pirates.
  • Tif et Tondu has a three-part series about Monsieur Choc's life before the beginning of series, title Choc: The Ghosts of Knightgrave. The last part relate his time during WWII.
  • Über: An Alternate History with Alien Space Bats. Days before defeat comes to the Axis Powers, the Nazis successfully create Super Soldiers (the titular Ubers) that turn the tide of the war back in their favor. The Allies have to create their own super soldiers in the process, and things rapidly go From Bad to Worse for both sides. Author Kieron Gillen wrote this as a deconstruction of more traditional "super soldiers in WWII" stories.
  • Watchmen. In an Easter Egg during the course of the novel we learn that The Comedian saw action in his masked identity against the Japanese in the South Pacific in 1942. This was later elaborated on in Before Watchmen.
  • Willie And Joe: One panel comics by Bill Mauldin, about two US infrantrymen in the European Theater, originally published in The Stars and Stripes.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • In the original tales in Sensation Comics and Wonder Woman (1942) Diana leaves Paradise Island to aid the Allies during the war and return a the downed USAAF pilot Steve Trevor to the states.
    • In The Legend of Wonder Woman (2016) Diana leaves the island and gets mixed up with the supernatural elements trying to take advantage of the ongoing war, similar to her original debut.
    • Wonder Woman: Black and Gold:
      • Most of "I'm Ageless" is set during the war in 1944 France. The other sections have her reminicing about that time while paying her respects at the grave of one of the soldiers she met there.
      • "Wing Woman" has Diana, in her Invisible Jet, helping a Women Airforce Service Pilot (WASP) fend off a German Messerschmitt Me 262.
  • In Yoko Tsuno, the titular character travels back in time during the occupation of the Dutch East Indies by the Japanese Empire. Yoko hopes to find her great uncle, colonel Toshio, and answers to the discovery of Antimatter by the Japanese.

    Fanfiction 
  • The Children of Time episode "The Manhattan Conspiracy" takes place in New Mexico just before and during the first testing of the atomic bomb. The Cult of Skaro is looking to utilize the radiation of the bomb, and the Tenth Doctor & Co. arrive just in time to interfere.

    Literature 
  • Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall is Spike Milligan's account of serving in the Royal Artillery in North Africa during the war.
  • Alistair MacLean wrote several novels based on his experiences in WWII, among them South by Java Head and HMS Ulysses.* All The Light We Cannot See takes place mostly in occupied France, specifically the walled city of Saint-Malo
  • The Animorphs book Elfangor's Secret has the heroes chasing a time-traveling Controller. By the time they get to World War II, things have been changed enough that Hitler is now a lowly jeep driver, though the war still happens, including the D-Day invasion happening on the same day.
  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay: Joe Kavalier, one of the main characters, escapes from Prague in 1939 after Nazi Germany occupied Czechoslovakia and takes refuge in New York City. He enlists in the US Navy and is shipped to Antarctica after the ship with refugees destined for New York City, in which his younger brother Thomas was travelling in, was destroyed by a German U-boat.
  • In Margery Benery-Isbert's The Ark, the actual events of World War II are in flashback, but only months earlier for the refugee characters; one son managed to return from the front, but the father has not.
  • Armored units in the Yugoslav battlefield 1941-1945 (Oklopne jedinice na jugoslovenskom ratištu 1941-45) by Bojan Dimitrijević and Dragan Savić describes in great detail the armored units of all warring factions in Yugoslavia (Wehrmacht, Waffen SS, Italians, Red Army, Partisans, Chetniks, Croatian Ustaše etc.).
  • Asiunia is based on the authors childhood in occupied Poland.
  • Atonement, or about two-thirds of the story - set in Dunkirk and the English homefront.
  • Auntie Mame and its sequel Around the World with Auntie Mame are partially set during the war.
  • Some of the novels in the Bernie Gunther series, the whole set of which follows German detective Bernie Gunther from 1928 to 1957.
    • Prague Fatale finds Bernie investigating a murder for Reinhard Heydrich in Prague in 1941, after having returned from the horrors of the Eastern Front.
    • A Man Without Breath is set in the spring of 1943, soon after the defeat at Stalingrad. Bernie is investigating the discovery of the corpses of thousands of Polish officers in the Katyn forest.
    • The Lady From Zagreb has two parts; the first is set in the summer of 1942 shortly after the events of Prague Fatale, and the second part is set soon after A Man Without Breath, in summer 1943 when Bernie gets back from Katyn and winds up getting involved in some espionage activities.
    • Field Grey—about half the novel is set in 1954 but there are extensive flashbacks to Bernie's experiences in 1940 in occupied France, 1941 in the Ukraine as Bernie witnesses the Holocaust, and 1945 as Bernie is conscripted into the doomed defense of Konigsberg.
  • Biggles appears in a number of books set in WW2.
  • The war heavily figures in the ''Aunt Dimity'' series, although the books themselves are set in the present. Dimity Westwood and Lori's mother met and became friends in wartime London; following her mother's wishes expressed in a letter, Lori researches people in Dimity's past in the first book. Several of the residents of Finch were child evacuees who returned to live there as adults, and one Italian POW settled in the area, later fathering several children who appear in later books. In Aunt Dimity and the Lost Prince, Gracie Thames notes that she and her husband named three of their children for family members who were killed by the Nazis when Germany invaded the Soviet Union.
  • Connie Willis wrote a series of novels (Blackout/All Clear) and short stories ('Firewatch' 'Jack') about the experiences of British citizens during the war (and especially London during the Blitz.)
  • The Blindness of the Heart (Die Mittagsfrau) takes place in Germany and starts out in the World War I era, and then things get worse for the characters when the war begins: at least one character dies in the camps, and the main character is forced to deny her Jewish heritage and carry falsified Aryan papers.
  • The Book Thief is about Liesel Meminger growing up in a foster home in WWII Nazi Germany. And with a foster family that ends up hiding a Jew in their basement, too.
  • La Brèche is a science-fiction novel about a history-themed Reality TV show from 2060 (it uses Time Travel) sending a war correspondent and a WWII historian to cover the Omaha Beach landing.
  • The fairytale adaptation Briar Rose by Jane Yolen is one of these. Definitely falls under True Art Is Angsty, even if it doesn't COMPLETELY manage a Downer Ending.
  • The Caine Mutiny. Set on the Pacific front, but hardly features any combat.
  • Camp X. Set in Canada, and based on Camp X.
  • Catch-22, a very dark Black Comedy set in the Mediterranean campaign.
  • The Guernsey / Armishire books in the Chalet School series are set during the Second World War, and the effects of the war on the school are a major part of the plots of The Chalet School in Exile, The Chalet School Goes To It and The Highland Twins at the Chalet School.
  • Charlotte Gray is about an Englishwoman who goes to France to join La Résistance and find her boyfriend, an airmen who went MIA there. Thought to be Very Loosely Based on the True Stories of Agents Nancy Wake and Pearl Cornioley.
  • In Chrono Hustle World War 2 is occasionally mentioned as one of the time periods the time doors can go to. Characters finally actually go there at the end of #10.
  • Soviet lieutenant general Vasily Chuikov commanded the famous 62nd Army during and after the Battle of Stalingrad. He wrote several books of memoirs, most notably The Beginning of the Road about the succesful defense of Stalingrad, The Guards of Stalingrad go West about the liberation of Soviet Union and Fall of the Third Reich about the Soviet thrust into Germany.
  • Code Name Verity revolves around a British spy in occupied France who's been captured by the Nazis and tortured into giving up the codes to the radios she was trying to smuggle to La Résistance. The second half revolves around her best friend, the pilot who flew her to France, who ends up working with La Résistance to accomplish the spy's true objective—the destruction of the prison she's being held in.
  • Constantine's crossing (Konstantinovo raskršće) by Dejan Stojiljković is a novel about Partisans, Chetniks and Ghostapo in search of the Spear of Destiny.
  • Courier From Warsaw
  • Cryptonomicon
  • The D Agency novel series follows a covert Japanese intelligence agency across the years 1939-1941.
  • The Barrett Tillman novel Dauntless set during Midway. One character killed during the story is the father of Bud Callaway, President in his earlier novel The Sixth Battle.
  • Death Is My Trade, fictionalized biography about Rudolf Höß, the Nazi commandant of the Auschwitz death camp.
  • Taylor Anderson's Destroyermen series is set from early 1942 onwards, based around two Asiatic destroyers and the Japanese Battlecruiser Amagi and her crew sent to an alternate reality.
  • The Diary of Anne Frank is a diary written by a Jewish girl who went into hiding during the war. She was eventually captured and killed, and her family had parts of her diary published posthumously.
  • Douglas Reeman has written at least twenty novels of the Royal Navy in WWII, including several set on the Pacific front (both The Pride and the Anguish and Strike from the Sea focus on the fall of Singapore).
  • Catherynne M. Valente's children's novel The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making takes place during and is affected by the war. The protagonist September is dealing with big changes in her home life while her father is away fighting and her mother works long hours in a factory.
  • The Emmy Lake Chronicles, starting with Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce centres on the lives of women in World War II London.
  • The English Patient, set mostly in Italy and North Africa, with a bit of the 1941-45 Soviet-German war. A few US-made 1943-45 propaganda movies made about the Eastern Front glossed over many of the Soviet Union's more questionable activities, which would come back to haunt their creators and actors just a few years later during the late 40s to early 50s Red Scare.
  • The End of the Affair is about a writer pursuing an affair with the wife of a civil servant in London during the war.
  • The Final Solution: During the war, an elderly Sherlock Holmes meets a Jewish boy who's a refugee from Germany.
  • Future Times Three is a Time Travel novel set (and written) in Nazi-occupied France. Despite its Science Fiction nature, it takes great care in describing the day-to-day realities of civilian life during war, such as rationing.
  • Gerfaut war novels mostly take place during the war. Specifically, most are set on the Eastern Front and the War Is Hell trope is central to them.
  • Part of Gravity's Rainbow is set in the last months of the war.
  • The Hiding Place is the telling of survivor Corrie ten Boom's experiences in occupied Europe.
  • Illegal Alien, a 1997 Doctor Who novel set in 1940, both in London and on Nazi-occupied Jersey.
  • Primo Levi's If This Is a Man details the author's survival in Auschwitz.
  • Jack Higgins has written quite a few.
  • Jedenje bogova (Eating the Gods) by Goran Čučković is a short novella about the atrocities committed by Croatian fascists in German-occupied Yugoslavia. It is not an easy read, by any means.
  • The Just William stories by Richmal Crompton began long before the war (and were still coming out long after it ended) but several collections were written during the war and see William and his family and friends cope with life on the Home Front, dealing with rationing and hunting for imagined German spies.
  • Jonathan Littell's The Kindly Ones. Maximilian Aue is an SS officer of French and German ancestry. He helps carry out massacres during the Holocaust and finally flees from Germany to start a new life in northern France. Aue is present during several of the major events of the war.
  • The Land Mine: The book is about a 13-year-old boy in 1943, having to move to his parents' home after the roof of his house is blown off by a land mine.
  • The League of Secret Heroes books are set during World War II, following the adventures of three girls who gain superpowers and join a secret organization dedicated to aiding the war effort from American soil by foiling plots by spies of both the Nazis and the Japanese Army.
  • Lelejska gora by Mihailo Lalić is an introspective novel about a Yugoslav Partisan named Lado Tajović.
  • Len Deighton's loose "war trilogy": City of Gold, set in North Africa; Bomber, all about a single bombing raid and its effects on a town in England and a town in Germany; and Goodbye Mickey Mouse about a bomber escort group. There's also SS-GB which is Alternate History where England is under Nazi occupation.
  • Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman is an epic novel which tells the struggle of Russian people against the German invasion. Since Grossman himself was a news reporter at the frontlines, his book is widely considered to be historically accurate. It portrays soldiers of the Red Army as heroes fighting against all odds, at the same time heavily criticizing Soviet bureaucracy. It was therefore banned in the Soviet Union for some time.
  • Dean Koontz's Lightning at least, that's Stefan's time period of origin and where various pivotal events take place. Other events range from 1955 to 1988.
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: The Film of the Book turns a single sentence mentioning the Pevensie kids being sent to live in the country "because of the air raids" into a dangerous scene that takes place right in the middle of the London Blitz.
    • Something of a reality to that- there was a second evacuation of vulnerable Londoners during the Blitz as many had returned after the initial feared raids hadn't materialised.
  • Living Alone by Stella Benson.
  • Field marshall Erich von Manstein wrote Lost Victories as memoirs of his command over Wehrmacht in the Eastern front.
  • Mailed Fist deals with a troop of British Churchill tanks between D-Day and the war's end.
  • Elizabeth Enright's Melendy Quartet
  • Memoirs of a Geisha mainly took place during the Great Depression, though it was the start of the war that changed many things for the main character Sayuri.
  • Mister Roberts takes place in the Pacific but features no action, to the great dissatisfaction of the title character.
  • The Naked and the Dead, set on a fictional island at the Pacific.
  • Night by Elie Wiesel, an autobiography about his time in the concentration camps and on the way there.
  • The Night Garden is set on a farm in Vancouver in 1945, and the third act deals with the protagonists trying to cover up their involvement in crashing an experimental army plane.
  • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is about two sisters in occupied France.
  • Also, Number the Stars takes place in Denmark, World War II.
  • Poul Anderson's alternate history Operation Chaos. In fact, one of the first things the narrator says is, better too much information than too little, and if you already know who won World War II, let me say it anyhow. Turns out you don't even know who fought World War II or where. (The timelines diverged early in the twentieth century.)
  • Otto: Autobiography of a Teddy Bear: A children's picture book about the odyssey of a teddy bear that belonged to a young Jewish boy before, during and after World War II.
  • Los Pájaros de Fuego, which centres on a elite, Hispanophone Filipino family shocked by the Japanese invasion and occupation (the title, in fact, refers to Japanese Zero fighters).
  • Perilous Passage by Bruce Nicolaysen, which is about fleeing from the Nazis through the icy Spanish mountains.
  • Peyton Place begins in the late 1930s and continues into the war years.
  • Robert Ludlum has a few too.
  • Robert Westall set several of his books and short stories during World War II, most famously The Machine Gunners but also, Blitzcat, The Blitz, and Blackham's Wimpey from the anthology Break of Dark.
  • Rose Under Fire is set in Ravensbrück, a concentration camp, during the last year of the war.
  • The Secret of Crickley Hall, while set mainly in 2006, is driven by a 1943 atrocity, in whose wake linger the spirits of several Blitz Evacuees. Some scenes directly narrate the wartime events.
  • The Secret of Santa Vittoria
  • Shanghai Girls starts out in China in 1937, around the time Japanese soldiers invade.
  • Vercors' Le Silence de la mer, which was written in 1942 and secretly published in Occupied Paris.
  • Silent Gunpowder by Branko Ćopić tells the story of a WW2 Serbian village located in central Yugoslavia (now Bosnia) whose inhabitants are forced to choose between alligning with royalist Chetniks or communist Partisans.
  • Silent Ship, Silent Sea: A coming of age story aboard a damaged destroyer at Guadelcanal.
  • Skärvor av kristall by Solveig Olsson-Hultgren takes place in 1938 and 1939. The new great war hasn't started quite yet, but many people know that it's just around the corner. Louise's boyfriend is a Jewish refugee from Germany.
  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, in part based on his experiences during the bombing of Dresden.
  • Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan is based on a true story about a bunch of Norwegian kids that snuck their country's gold past Nazis in the winter of 1939-1940 and adults who got it to America.
  • Soldier Dogs: Each book takes place somewhere during World War II.
  • Special Operations follows three Norwegian teenagers involved in La Résistance. They end up fleeing to England after their actions are exposed and go on to take part in covert operations in France and Holland.
  • Stepping on the Cracks
  • Stuka Pilot, the memoir of Hans-Ulrich Rudel, the top scoring pilot in Germany and, single-handedly, the deadliest man in an airplane: the Ju 87 Stuka dive-bomber.
  • The French novel Suite Française by the Ukrainian-French writer Irène Némirovsky, set in the German occupied France. The author was planning 5 volumes of which she managed to complete only 2 before being deported and killed in Auschwitz as a Jew.
  • Summer of My German Soldier, a YA novel about a Jewish-American girl who befriends a German POW in wartime Arkansas.
  • The novels by Sven Hassel on the 27th Penal Panzer Regiment.
  • The protagonist of A Tale of Time City is a Blitz Evacuee who gets pulled outside of time on her way out of London.
  • Tales of the South Pacific is a short story collection by James Michener meant to give an idea of what it was like to experience the war from one of the many dinky islands used as remote, isolated bases in the South Pacific. Two of the stories contained within were adapted into the famous musical South Pacific.
  • Third Reich Victorious: an anthology edited by Peter G. Tsouras, containing ten self-contained scenarios in which Germany ends up winning the war.
  • A Thread of Grace takes place in the year and a half between Italy's surrender and V-E day.
  • To Know Oneself in Combat (Poznat sebya v boyu), memoirs of Alexander Pokryshkin, Soviet Air Force Marshall and official Hero of the Soviet Union, who fought against the German Luftwaffe.
  • Harry Turtledove:
  • The Unwomanly Face Of War is a collection of memories of hundreds of Soviet women who enlisted in the Red Army.
  • War Eagles, Just before World War II, An Air Force test pilot is court-marshalled and publicly humiliated after a stunt endangers Present Roosevelt but manages to get a job flying a plane from the north to South Pole, however his plane is attacked by a giant white eagle and he crash lands on an undiscovered island populated with Living Dinosaurs and Vikings and learns that the nazis have built a new super-weapon.
  • Where Eagles Dare by Alistair MacLean
  • The Winds Of War and War And Remembrance is practically a grand tour of World War II.
  • The Wing Commander novelizations are explicitly intended as sci-fi remakes of certain key points in WW2.
  • Ken Follett's Winter of the World begins in 1933 and ends in 1949, more than half of the action describes the Second World War from the perspective of several protagonists from several origins (American, British, Russian, and German).
  • Without Seeing The Dawn – depicts a Filipino (specifically, Visayan/Ilonggo) farming community that's quickly, and savagely, drawn into the war with the Japanese occupation bursting in midway through the novel. The protagonist joins the U.S. colonial Armed Forces to fight the Japanese, and upon returning to his hometown becomes a guerrilla.
  • Caging Skies is the book Taika Watiti's Jojo Rabbit is based on

    Live-Action TV 

    Music 
  • About half to two-thirds of Sabaton's output is based on events and figures from World War II. The band's Horrible History Metal theme, in fact, came about when frontman Joakim Brodén wrote a song but couldn't figure out what to use for lyrics, then he watched Saving Private Ryan and decided to write about D-Day, which became the song "Primo Victoria".
  • Songs about longing for an absent lover's return have always been popular, but those from the Forties – "Till Then", "I'll Be Seeing You", "Waiting For The Train To Come In", etc. – take on greater significance when you think about what was going on when they were recorded.
  • Iron Maiden has made "Aces High" (about the Battle of Britain), "The Longest Day" (about the Normandy landings), and "Brighter than a Thoudand Suns" (about the Manhattan Project).

    Podcasts 
  • Dan Carlin's Hardcore History has had a few episodes centered around, or related to, the conflict such as the Eastern European Front, the Pacific Theater, and morality of the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

    Radio 
  • X Minus One: "Project Trojan" is set during the war, and is about a team of counter-intelligence operatives trying to trick the Germans into chasing a fake scientific development.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the 1960s through the 1980s, Avalon Hill and SPI thrived on tabletop games about WWII: Third Reich, Afrika Korps, Patton's War, Midway, Battle of the Bulge, and a zillion others.

    Theatre 
  • The most notable theatre adaptation of Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl was written by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett.
  • The best known play by Germain Muller, Enfin...Redde m'r nimm devon (At last... let's not talk about it anymore), takes place during the de facto annexation of Alsace by Nazi Germany and deals with the war as experienced by the locals, including the conscription of (French-born) people in the German armies.
  • Imagine This- a musical set in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942.
  • The Long And The Short And The Tall is a play about a section of Britsh infantrymen trapped behind enemy lines in Burma.
  • Mister Roberts takes place in the Pacific but far from combat. V-E Day happens during the course of the play's action.
  • A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino: A borderline case. Set in October 1941, the war in Europe has been ongoing for two years, but it's yet to formally begin in the Philippines, then a U.S. colonial territory (of course, the Pacific theatre begins with Pearl Harbour in December 1941—Hawaii itself being an out-and-out U.S. colony—and reaches Manila itself a few weeks later). The spectre of war hangs over the entire city, however, with practice blackouts, air-raid sirens, and news of Americans being evacuated in advance.
  • South Pacific is likewise set far from the action in a backwater Pacific island.
  • There Shall Be No Night is a play set in Finland as the Finns battle to save themselves during the 1939-40 Winter War.
  • Luis Valdez's Valley of the Heart, which revolves around two Star-Crossed Lovers, the daughter of a wealthy Japanese American land owner and a Mexican American farm hand. After she and her family are rounded up and locked up in an internment camp, his father reluctantly agrees to take care of the farm until they return.
  • Lost in Yonkers is a Coming-of-Age Story set on the home front.

    Video Games 
  • Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War starts out as a metaphor for World War II, until things take a twist for the weird toward the end.
  • Sierra's Aces line, consisting of Aces of the Pacific (Pacific air war), Aces Over Europe (European air war), and Aces of the Deep (Battle of the Atlantic, from a U-boat viewpoint).
  • Afrika Korps vs. Desert Rats. Three other games followed with the same engine:
    • D-Day
    • 1944 Battle of the Bulge
    • Moscow to Berlin: Red Siege
  • Assassin's Creed: Unity is set in the late 18th century, but it has Animus glitch segments that send Arno Dorian to other eras. In one instance, he finds himself in occupied Paris during World War II and has to climb the Eiffel Tower while being shot at by German Messerschmitts.
  • Axis & Allies, based on the board game, features a campaign in which the Axis Powers win the war.
  • Azur Lane is largely set in an Alternate Universe of World War II, but with shipgirls and otherworldly invaders; the tutorial starts with the Battle of the Denmark Strait, and the introductory story maps cover the war in the Pacific from Pearl Harbor to Midway, with various limited-time events covering other fronts and battles in Anachronic Order (barring some silly seasonal modern events). That said, the main plot does eventually start to diverge from the path of actual history.
  • B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Several Battlefield games:
  • Battlestations Midway and its sequel Battlestations: Pacific both cover aerial and naval warfare in the Pacific Theatre. Pacific features a new What If? scenario for the Japanese; what if they'd won the Battle of Midway and proceeded on to attack the United States?
  • Blitzkrieg
  • Blazing Angels
  • Bomber Crew is a management game about controlling the crew of a bomber based off the Avro Lancaster as it flies missions against Nazi Germany.
  • Brothers in Arms has paratroopers of the U.S. 101st Airborne fighting on the Western Front in France for two games and later being deployed in Operation Market Garden in the series' third game.
  • Call of Duty - except for the Modern Warfare games, which take place 20 Minutes into the Future. Black Ops mostly takes place during the Cold War, but has a flashback to a Soviet special operation shortly after the Germans surrendered. Black Ops III has a sort of Dying Dream sequence set during a surreal version of the Battle of the Bulge with period-accurate soldiers using weapons from more than a hundred years in the future from said battle, dire wolves in a shape-changing forest, and then a round of Nazi Zombies.
    • Call of Duty focuses on the Allied airborne landings in Normandy for the Americans and British, with several missions taking place behind enemy lines complementing both, while the Soviet campaign focuses on the Battle of Stalingrad, the Vistula-Oder Offensive, and finally the Battle of Berlin. The United Offensive Expansion Pack expands the Battle of the Bulge from the ending of the first game's American campaign, while the British campaign features British bombing missions over Europe, and later, commando raids in the Netherlands and Sicily. Finally, the expansion's Soviet campaign covers the Battle of Kursk, as well as the Battle of Kharkov.
    • Call of Duty: Finest Hour is a console-exclusive entry that focuses on the Battle of Stalingrad for the Soviets, the North African campaign for the British, and the Battle for Germany for the Americans.
    • Call of Duty 2 focuses on the Battles of Moscow and Stalingrad for the Soviets, the North African campaign and the Battles around Caen for the British, and the Battle of Pointe Du Hoc and the Battle of Germany for the Americans.
    • Call of Duty: World at War was an immediate return to World War II following the release of the acclaimed Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. What makes this entry unique is that it's the first in the series to focus on the Pacific Theater of World War II, specifically the battles of Peleliu and Okinawa.
    • Call of Duty: WWII is a return to the roots of the series.
    • Call of Duty: Vanguard has several WWII soldiers band together as a precursor to modern special forces units.
  • Captain America: Super Soldier: Video game adaptation of Captain America: The First Avenger.
  • Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin has WWII as its backdrop: the game is set in 1944, the prologue mentions all the loss of life from the war as the reason the castle has reappeared, it includes a grenade sub-weapon that looks like a US WWII-era grenade, and the cutscene preceeding the boss battle with Medusa shows a petrified GI (don't ask how they got in Dracula's castle, let alone in one of Brauner's portraits).
  • Clock Tower 3's first stage features the protagonist evading a serial killer during the London bombings.
  • The Commandos series, a stealth-RTS combination about a team of British Commandos operators.
  • Company of Heroes starts off with Americans and Germans on the Western Front, later adding British forces to the Opposing Fronts stand-alone expansion. Canadians' appear in the original game's final mission as The Cavalry and serve as units for the British's Royal Canadian Artillery Support doctrine. The sequel Company of Heroes 2 was set on the Eastern Front and is notably Darker and Edgier than its preceding game - the plot is a Russian veteran recounting his experiences in the brutal conflict under interrogation. The main fare of it involves the Russian Soviet Union and Germans, though Polish irregulars appear in a campaign mission and in some commanders for Soviet players.
    • Later expansions of 2 added the Western Armies (first USA and OKW, then later the British forces), as well as a campaign focused on the Battle of the Bulge.
  • Day of Defeat
  • Day of Infamy
  • Death To Spies
  • Dino D-Day, albeit a WWII with Nazi dinosaurs.
  • The last three missions of the German campaign of Empire Earth. Not to mention the Pacific campaign of Art of Conquest, two of the missions of the American campaign, a "Turning Point" D-Day scenario in the second game, and another "Turning Point" scenario taking place at the Battle of Kursk in Art of Supremacy.
  • Graviteam Tactics: Operation Star is set during the Third Battle of Kharkov; the WWII DLC campaigns cover other battles near Kharkov. Mius Front will cover battles along the Mius River in summer 1943.
  • The Great Escape
  • Hearts of Iron
  • Hell Let Loose is a multiplayer Tactical First-Person Shooter set during the War in Europe and Africa. Currently, maps are set in France, Belgium, and Germany, with the current belligerents being the US Army and the German Wehrmacht. Future updates plan on implementing the Soviet Union and adding maps set in Russia and Ukraine.
  • Heroes & Generals is set during the closing months of the war on the Western Front.
  • Heroes of the Pacific revolves around a U.S. Navy fighter squadron as they fight in the skies over Pearl Harbor to above Iwo Jima.
  • Heroes over Europe has an American pilot posing as a Canadian and fights in the Battle of Britain and later joins the U.S. Army Air Corps as the U.S. gets involved in the war.
  • Hidden & Dangerous and its sequel.
  • IL-2 Sturmovik, a series of hardcore combat flight sims set during WWII.
  • Man of Medan - the prologue of the game is set shortly after the end of World War II in the Pacific, onboard a troop transport converted into a freighter.
  • Medal of Honor - except for the 2010 reboot and its sequel Warfighter.
  • A bunch of MicroProse games covered various aspects of World War II, from the submarine and air campaigns in both oceans, to the land war in Europe and northern Africa.
  • Men of War
  • The 1942 series of Shoot Em Ups—at least most of the series anyway—is very loosely based on WWII.
  • Operation Darkness (World War II WITH WEREWOLVES AND VAMPIRE NAZIS!)
  • Panzer Front
  • Panzer General
  • RAID World War II
  • Red Orchestra is a First-Person Shooter set on the Eastern Front with combat Russian and Germans.
    • Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad is a 2011 sequel, focusing on the famous Battle of Stalingrad, as well as a number of other battles taking place around the same time period. Notably, it is one of the very few World War II FPS to have a single-player campaign for the Germans. However, it's a short campaign with an Excuse Plot.
    • Rising Storm is a standalone Expansion Pack for Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad, set on the Pacific Front between Americans and Japanese forces. In contrast to the base game, this one features an Asymmetric Multiplayer, with the Americans and Japanese each having exclusive weapons, and encouraging differing tactics.
  • Rescue Raiders has present-day forces joining both sides of the war in a Terminator Twosome scenario.
  • Ring of Red
  • The Saboteur - one of the few games focused on the French Resistance.
  • Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe
  • Silent Hunter Series (I through IV)
  • Silent Storm
  • Sniper Elite - a Historical Fiction takes place during the Battle of Berlin, where you play as a Cold Sniper named Karl Fairburne, who is also a member OSS taking part in Operation Paperclip.
    • Sniper Elite V2 - a reboot of the first game that again takes place during the Battle of Berlin.
    • Sniper Elite III - a prequel to the second game showing Karl Fairburne's experiences during the North African campaign.
    • Sniper Elite 4 - an interquel set during the Italian campaign in 1943, detailing how Fairburne became part of the OSS.
    • Sniper Elite 5 - an upcoming interquel set during the Allied Invasion of Normandy in 1944, detailing Fairburne's first encounter with the V2 rocket program.
  • Steel Division: Normandy 44, a Real-Time Strategy that bases its maps on aerial reconnaissance photographs from the Western Front.
  • Strikers 1945 is set in the summer of 1945, after the end of WWII when an extraterrestrial force called C.A.N.Y. starts a coup in an attempts to restart the war. Its sequel 1945 II is set in the winter of 1945, where a new organization called F.G.R. picks up where C.A.N.Y. left off by threatening the world with more wars, thus disrupting the post-war peace.
  • Titanic: Adventure Out of Time - the opening of the game has the protagonist being killed during The Blitz, and is promptly sent back in time through this. The game's bad endings can also result in a different outcome for the war: Nazi Germany defeating the United Kingdom by either forcing them to surrender or simply bombing them with a nuclear device, the Soviets conquering the UK, or Commie Nazis declaring war on Europe.
  • TripleA, based off of Axis & Allies.
  • Unity Of Command
  • Valkyria Chronicles is blatantly based off of WWII, complete with the attempted genocide of an ethnic minority.
  • Velvet Assassin
  • Victory Belles is set in a version of WWII where a massive otherwordly fleet known as the Morgana has suddenly invaded all of the Earth's seas right when the invasion of Poland begins, with only warships that have manifested an onboard female personification (the eponymous "Belles") being able to effectively fight back. As such, the international community has agreed to organize all of the Belles and their crews into a single joint force under the command of the League of Nations. However, the Belles' parent nations remain at war with each other despite their tenuous cooperation against the Morgana.
  • War Front: Turning Point puts the whole of World War 2 into a What If? scenario, complete with Humongous Mecha and other advanced tech.
  • War Thunder is a Allegedly Free multiplayer game focused on aerial combat during this war.
  • Warsaw is a turn-based tactical strategy Roguelike set during the 1944 Warsaw Uprising (the player controls Polish resistants).
  • The Wolfenstein series:
  • World of Tanks — the heart of the game is here, although available tanks stretch from 1917 to 1966.
  • World of Warplanes
  • World of Warships—much like World of Tanks, the heart of the game is focused here, although the available ships stretch from as early as 1902 all the way up to 1953.
  • World War II Online - a massively multiplayer first person shooter set during the Battle of France. Notable for featuring the French Armed Forces.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • One episode of Bedtime Stories (YouTube Channel) has the first half set late in the European War, where American soldiers discover an abandoned town hall just outside Hanover during the push into Germany. And it's heavily implied that the Nazis were doing research into the occult in the building's basement.
    • Another episode, "The Curse of the Ourang Medan", while not set in World War II proper, makes mention of activities during and after the war, such as Operation Paperclip, the Allied effort to recruit German scientists to the West, as well as a German chemical weapon called Tabun, which is considered to be the most likely suspect in making the titular cargo ship sink.
    • Season 4 has the Flight 19 incident, which takes place just months after the Japanese surrender, involving five TBM Avenger torpedo bombers going missing. The lead pilot of the flight, Lt. Charles Carroll Taylor, is even mentioned to have fought in the Pacific Theater during the war, as well as the fact that the narrator mentioned the Avenger's greatest World War II achievement of sinking both Yamato-class battleships.
    • "The Skies over Kecksburg" makes mention of the Nazi wonder weapon programs, specifically one called "Die Glocke", a mysterious bell-shaped device said to be able to travel through time and space. "For Whom The Bell Tolls" further expands on the device, specifically its background and possible purposes.
    • "Evil Under the Ice" is set in the immediate aftermath of the war, detailing Operation Highjump and Nazi forces allegedly making bases in the Antarctic long after the German surrender.
    • "The New York Nuke" brings up the possibility of the existence of the German nuclear weapons program, as well as the Junkers Ju 390 and it's ability to reach the East Coast of the United States.
    • "The Peculiar Death of Peter Gibbs" mentions the titular ex-RAF pilot's career during World War II, flying Supermarine Spitfires from 1944 until the end of the war in Europe.
    • "The Disappearance of the Nanjing Battalion" features the China-Burma-India campaign, specifically the disappearance of some 500 or so Japanese Army soldiers during the landings at Ramree Island.
    • "Ghosts of Kadena Airbase" discusses the Battle of Okinawa, and how the massive losses of life led to several areas on the island becoming haunted, including the titular airbase.
  • Emperor Tigerstar has videos depicting the changing front lines in World War II for both theatres separately or altogether in a single video every single day.
  • Reds!: Part 3 of the timeline, "The Great Crusade" is set in an alternate World War II.
  • Wartime Stories, being a series about horrifying events taking place During the War, inevitably covers World War II. Among the cases they've covered thus far are a mysterious disappearance off the West Coast in 1942, as well as The Holocaust and the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Nazi doctors.
  • Unclassified Encounter is a series set during World War II...with supernatural and paranormal creatures attacking both Allied and Axis Forces and threatening the world in the process.
  • World War II covers the events of the war summarized on a weekly basis in real time seventy-nine years after they occurred.

    Western Animation 

Wartime Animation

Many theatrical cartoons made during World War II had popular characters like Donald Duck, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Popeye doing their part in the war effort.


  • Any Bonds Today?: Propaganda short starring Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig and Elmer Fudd promoting war bonds.
  • Blitz Wolf: A Tex Avery short in which The Three Little Pigs is spoofed with the wolf representing Hitler.
  • Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips: Bugs defeats an entire Japanese regiment.
  • Daffy the Commando: Daffy tries to get behind Nazi enemy lines and beats Hitler over the head with a mallet near the end.
  • The Ducktators: A satire on the rise of the Axis set in a barnyard with caricatures of Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo.
  • Education for Death: A Disney cartoon showing how Nazis are brainwashed.
  • Der Fuehrer's Face: Donald dreams he is a Nazi working in a Nazi factory.
  • Herr Meets Hare: Bugs Bunny battles Nazi leader Hermann Göring. Hitler makes a cameo near the end.
  • The New Spirit: Donald is motivated by his radio to pay his income taxes and support the war effort.
  • Plane Daffy: Daffy fights off a female Nazy spy. Cameos by Hitler, Göring and Goebbels.
  • Russian Rhapsody: Hitler decides to bomb Moscow himself and gets beaten up by Gremlins.
  • Scrap Happy Daffy: Daffy collects scrap iron for the Allied war effort. Hitler tries to destroy it by sending an Extreme Omni-Goat.
  • The Spirit of '43: Donald's conscience is put to the test by a thrifty Scot and a spentworthy man who want him to spent his money to their causes. Donald eventually pays to support the war effort.
  • Tokio Jokio: A horribly racist anti-Japanese cartoon.

Post-War Animation


Alternative Title(s): Works Set In Worldwar 2

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