From Dunkirk to Normandy
With war films themed on the Evacuation of Dunkirk and Normandy Landings, moviegoers are queued up to see these cinematic classics.
Dunkirk (2017), directed by Christopher Nolan, hit the big screen in July 2017, retelling an iconic legends of World War II— the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940. The movie has so far gained box office profits worldwide.
Many campaigns and battles of World War II have been adapted into films, etching the devastating war in people's memory and inspiring peace.
In May 1940, nearly 400,000 Allied troops of the UK and France were encircled by the Nazis at Dunkirk, France, and confronted with death or fear of being captured. At this crucial juncture, British Prime Minister Churchill ordered an evacuation, code-named Operation Dynamo, in which over 300,000 successfully escaped.
This evacuation has become a popular motif in many films. For example, the 1958 film Dunkirk reproduced Operation Dynamo in the style of a documentary; the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) also retold the Dunkirk evacuation in a semi-documentary way in 2004; and the film Atonement (2007) became famous for its lengthy cinematic take showing a panoramic view of Dunkirk's abandoned beaches. Those films varied in their storytelling techniques. The cinematic genius Christopher Nolan is a British-american director and screenwriter and one of the most successfully acclaimed filmmakers of the 21st century. With more sophisticated filmmaking techniques in this year's Dunkirk (2017), Nolan has recreated the war epic genre.
Battle of Britain
In July 1940, Nazi Germany launched Operation Sea Lion to attack convoy fleets in the English Channel and ports of Britain's
southern beaches, leading to a furious air battle. During this three-month period, Germany suffered from pilot and fighter casualties but didn't take control of air supremacy over the United Kingdom, let alone destroyed British military forces on ground and sea. In October 1940, Germany ceased its plan of invading the United Kingdom.
Battle of Britain was directed by British director Guy Hamilton, who directed four James Bond films. During production, the team employed hundreds of aircraft from several countries and professional aircrews, and established a maintenance team to refit and repair them. It took more than three years to shoot the movie, bringing to life an epic air battle.
Tora! Tora! Tora!
On the morning of December 7, 1941, the Japanese Navy launched a surprise military strike against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, triggering the Pacific War and embroiling the United States in World War II. After the attack, a Japanese telegrapher sent a secret code—tora! Tora! Tora!—to the headquarters of Japan to inform of the successful attack. This code became the 1970 film's title.
The film, jointly directed by Richard Fleischer, Toshio Masuda and Kinji Fukasaku and starring Joseph Cotton, So Yamamura and Martin Balsam, retells the story of the attack on Pearl Harbor, focusing on diplomatic and military manoeuvres of the United States and Japan before the attack. Co-produced by directors from the US and Japan, it features exchanges and impacts from both American and Japanese culture.
The Battle of Stalingrad, a major battle of WWII, lasted 199 days, from July 17, 1942 to February 2, 1943, and successfully prevented the German advance into the Soviet Union, which marked the turning tide of the war in favour of the Allies. It is considered as one of the bloodiest battles of WWII and in the history of warfare.
The film Stalingrad (2013), directed by Russian director Fedor Bondarchuk, tells a love story during the Battle of Stalingrad from the view of the Soviet Army. It was the first Russian movie produced with IMAX 3D technology, and the first Russian language feature film produced using the IMAX format. Other films take on the Battle of Stalingrad as its subject, such as Stalingrad (1993) directed by German director Joseph Vilsmaier and Enemy at the Gates (2001) directed by French director Jean-jacques Annaud and starring Jude Law and Ed Harris.
The Longest Day
On June 6, 1944, nearly 3 million Allied troops crossed the English Channel and landed on the beaches of Normandy, France, creating a second front in the European theatre. The landings were the largest seaborne invasion in history and played a significant role in World War II.
The Longest Day (1962) describes events that happened on the first day of the landings from perspectives of both Allied troops and the German army. It highlights military tactics in warfare and remains an outstanding black-and-white film with panoramic cinematography.