It makes sense that master filmmakers keep returning to old wars to tell new stories because war and cinema go hand-in-hand in many ways. War has everything you want to make a good story: Scope and spectacle, high stakes, dramatic tension, and emotional distress both at home and on the battlefield. It’s all right there, just waiting to be woven into an epic on the big screen.

What sets the best war movies apart, though, is their ability to never lose sight of the real human cost of war. The true masterpieces of the genre can deliver spectacle, yes, but they also tell us something more essential at the heart of every epic struggle in human history, something that unites us all no matter which side of the battle we may be on. With that in mind, we prepared three movies about WWII.

Fury

David Ayer’s Fury, set in April 1945 and following the battle-hardened crew of a Sherman tank as the Allies make their final push to defeat the Nazis, owes a very obvious debt to Fuller. Like Fuller’s The Big Red One (1980), it is an epic with a warped and delirious feel.

Brad Pitt is Don “Wardaddy” Collier, battle-scarred commander of a 2nd Armoured Division tank crew who has fought tooth and nail from North Africa to Normandy and now find themselves in endgame Germany facing the total chaos of Hitler’s last stand. His men include the religious-minded gunner Bible (Shia LaBeouf), the Hispanic lead driver Gordo (Michael Peña) and the borderline scumbag mechanic Coon-Ass (Jon Berenthal).

As the story opens, they have just lost their second driver in battle, and at their next stop, they take on a new man in Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman), a wet-behind-the-ears type who has only been in the war for a few weeks as a typist and who has never fired a gun before, let alone served in combat.

Norman’s horror and disgust are a cracked mirror for the crew until Norman hardens just like his band of brothers. Ayer captures the buried feelings of men in combat with piercing immediacy. Pitt is tremendous in the role, a conscience detectable even in Wardaddy’s blinkered gaze. But it’s Lerman who anchors the film with a shattering, unforgettable portrayal of corrupted innocence. Fury means to grab us hard from the first scene and never let go. Mission accomplished.

Dunkirk

The subject of Christopher Nolan’s 2017 movie is the story of the World War II evacuation at Dunkirk. It starts on May 10, 1940, with a surprise German blitzkrieg bombarding Holland and the French-Belgian border with air raids, parachute drops, and ground attacks. Thousands of Allied soldiers comprising of British and French troops are stranded on Dunkirk beach and surrounded by Nazi Germans on land, sea, and air. They await evacuation while being picked off on all sides.

Nolan’s three stories take place on land, on the sea, and in the air, and although they are intercut with surgical precision, they take place over three separate but overlapping spans of time. Over the course of a week, a young British soldier Tommy (Fionn Whitehead) tries to find a spot to relieve himself when he sees a young soldier, Gibson (Aneurin Barnard), burying another soldier in the sand. Tommy goes over to help him. Later they save a soldier named Alex (Harry Styles).

Over the course of a day, a British civilian (Mark Rylance) and two teenagers pilot his small wooden yacht across the Channel to save whomever they can.Not long after, their little boat comes across a sunken British vessel with a shell-shocked soldier (Cillian Murphy) and take him aboard.

And over the course of an hour, an RAF Spitfire Pilots Farrier (Tom Hardy), Collins (Jack Lowden) and their squadron leader engage German fighter planes. One of the Germans shoots down the squadron leader, leaving Farrier and Collins to fend for themselves. 

Pearl Harbor

Ben Affleck stars as Rafe McCawley, a military pilot stationed under Jimmy Doolittle (Alec Baldwin) in New Jersey, along with his best friend from childhood, Danny Walker (Josh Hartnett). Rafe is chomping at the bit to get involved in World War II, but America has not entered the conflict, so he is forced to fight on loan to the Royal Air Force in Britain, leaving behind his beautiful girlfriend Evelyn (Kate Beckinsale). After Rafe goes overseas, both Danny and Evelyn are transferred to the naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where word arrives that Rafe has been killed in action.

A grief-stricken Evelyn and Danny become romantically attached, a situation that becomes a lit powder keg when Rafe suddenly reappears, having survived his ordeal in the European war. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor puts the romantic triangle on hold, as the best friends are ordered to undertake a top-secret and highly dangerous retaliatory mission to bomb Tokyo, once again under the command of Doolittle.

Packed with sensational special effects and riveting performances, this epic blockbuster from the makers of ‘Armageddon’ is a moving tribute to the American heroes who were a part of this shocking attack on U.S. soil.

You definitely should use your social-distancing time to watch these three movies, that tell different stories of one horrifying war. After that, what can be better, than reading some biographies of main actors? Visit prabook.com, where you can find some interesting facts about these amazing people.

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