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.

 

World War II Documentaries Worth A Damn: Lancaster – Above and Beyond

Lancaster – Above and Beyond

 

The Avro Lancaster was a British Heavy Bomber used extensively during WW2 to take the war into Germany.

This documentary dives deep into both the history of the aircraft itself and the amazing crews that flew them into battle.

The Dambuster Operation of 1943, aka Squadron X led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson, is discussed in exacting detail.

The saddest part of this Doc is how Churchill and the British Government turned their back on RAF Bomber Command and the Lancaster Bomber Crews after the War and the only memorial that exist to RAF Bomber Command today was self-financed by the Bomber Crews themselves.

The interviews with the surviving pilots and crewmembers, most of them all well into their 90’s is a TREASURE in itself.

Don’t miss this one, it’s a good one.

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.

WW2 Movies Worth A Damn: Onoda – 10,000 Nights in the Jungle

‘Onoda – 10,000 Nights in the Jungle’: Cannes Review

 

The story of WW2 Japanese Army Second Lt. Hiroo Onoda is an amazing one to say the least.

For exactly 10,000 nights (29 years) Onoda survived alone in the jungles of the Philipine island of Lubang with only his wits, training and dedication to see him through.

For the military historian and martial citizen, the study of the “Secret War” in which the Japanese had trained Onoda in the Nakano School  is worthy of attention.

When Japan realized the War had been lost (around late 1943) The focus shifted on training soldiers (and some civilians) in the fundamental aspects of guerilla warfare and sabotage. The Japanese were planning to resist with a guerilla army both in the home islands and abroad.

Just a FYI: The Movie is rather long, coming in a just over two hours and forty-five minutes and is in French with English subtitles.

You can watch Onoda – 10,000 Nights in the Jungle HERE.