Foreign War Movies Worth a Damn: The Eight Hundred (2020)

During the early days of the Second Sino-Japanese War, and on a greater scale World War II, the Imperial Japanese Army invaded Shanghai in what became known as the Battle of Shanghai. After holding back the Japanese for over 3 months, and suffering heavy losses, the Chinese army was forced to retreat due to the danger of being encircled. Lieutenant Colonel Xie Jinyuan of the 524th Regiment of the under-equipped 88th Division of the National Revolutionary Army, led 452 young officers and soldiers to defend Sihang Warehouse against the 3rd Imperial Japanese Division consisting of around 20,000 troops on a heroic suicidal last stand against the Japanese under an order by Generalissimo of Nationalist China, Chiang Kai-shek. The decision was made to provide a morale boost to the Chinese people after the losses of Beijing and Shanghai, and helped spur support from the Western powers, who were in full view of the battle from the International Settlement in Shanghai just across the Suzhou Creek.

This movie is based on an earlier film from 1975 called The Eight Hundred Heroes.

 

The Best War Films You Have Never Seen

THE BEST WAR FILMS YOU’VE NEVER SEEN

 

This is a good starter list.

If you want to dive a little deeper however, here are some realistic foreign war movies (w/english subtitles) definitely worth your time:

 

  1. Fortress of War (2010)

  2. Assembly (2007)

  3. Back to 1942 (2012)

  4. The East (2020)

  5. Onoda: 10,000 Nights in the Jungle (2021)

  6. Dara of Jasenovac (2020)

  7. 1944 (2015)

  8. Land of Mine (2015)

  9. Katyn (2007)

  10. As Far As My Feet Will Carry Me (2001)

 

Finland Winter/Continuation War Movie Recommendations

 

Since my post on The Winter War I got to thinking about a couple of movies that are definitely worth watching on the subject of Finland’s fight against Communism and true independence in the 20th Century.

FYI: As is the case with finding QUALITY movies lately, both of these are foreign productions made out of the sphere of Hollyweird and are subtitled in English.

 

Talvisota (The Winter War)

Set during the early days of World War 2. After Nazi Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, Russia attacked Finland in November 1939. Finnish reservists leave their homes and go to war. The film focuses on two farmers from the municipality of Kauhava in the province of Pohjanmaa/Ostrobothnia, brothers Martti and Paavo Hakala, serving in a Finnish platoon. Released in 1989.

 

 

Tuntematon Sotilas (Unknown Soldier)

Unknown Soldier tells the largely-ignored story of The Continuation War, a massive conflict between Finland and the Soviet Union that lasted from 1941-1944.

Probably the most realistic depiction of WW2-era infantry combat ever filmed.

A film adaptation of Väinö Linna’s best selling novel The Unknown Soldier (1954) and the novel’s unedited manuscript version, Sotaromaani.

June, 1941: Trapped between two repressive regimes, Finland has little choice but to ally itself with Nazi Germany against its traditional foe, although it manages to remain a democracy throughout. Virtually unknown in the WW ll arena, a brutal war against Soviet occupation takes place in the Far North. As the men of a Finnish infantry unit march through the forests of Karelia to regain territory lost to Russia in the Winter War of 1939, each of them soon realizes the horror and pointlessness of war. Except for their officers, more concerned about medals and personal glory than the lives of their men. A diverse group of men, all at odds with how they see themselves, each other, and the common cause–yet they are strengthened by a growing bond of camaraderie to each other and their loved ones. After huge personal sacrifice and a prolonged trench war, the outcome is inevitable, ending with a ceasefire in September 1944.

Joe Galloway – Ia Drang Valley

PROFILES IN COURAGE

Joe died last year at the age of 79.

Joseph Galloway was a civilian reporter at the Battle of Ia Drang. He co-authored the book We Were Soldiers Once… And Young with Hal Moore. The book was later adapted into the 2002 film We Were Soldiers. Although he was a civilian, Galloway was awarded the Bronze Star medal for helping to rescue wounded soldiers during the battle. He is most recently the co-author of the 2020 book They Were Soldiers: The Sacrifices and Contributions of Our Vietnam Veterans with Marvin J. Wolf.

This interview was recorded in November 2015.

Watch We Were Soldiers

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War Horse

War Horse

 

Great article on the history of the often forgotten War Horse.

Know Your History!