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.

War Movies Worth a Damn: The East

‘The East’ Shows Why Indonesia’s War of Independence Is a Bridge Between WWII and Vietnam

 

Before you watch the movie it would do you good to familarize yourself with the History of this little known War, often called “The Dutch Vietnam”:

As an amateur military historian and writer, I really enjoyed the authentic “feel” of this movie.

Was it over the top in parts? Sure, but all great war movies are in one way or another.

Early Cold War Conflicts like this that show the basic tenets of Asymmetrical Warfare are really important for the armed citizen to study.

 

War Movies Worth A Damn: The Siege of Jadotville

jadotville

Netflix just came out with a really well made Historical Cold War Drama titled The Siege of Jadotville.  Now this time period will not be familiar to most folks, but For those of you familiar with the Cold War History of Africa, you will definitely remember the Congo Crisis and the 1961 CIA sponsored Assassination of  Patrice Lumumba (which the movie begins with).

One of the reasons why the superpowers were interested in the Congo, particularly the province of Katanga, is that this region had one of the largest seams of Uranium (which can be weaponized to make nuclear weapons) in the world and in addition provided half or more of the worlds supply of Copper and Cobalt, which interestingly enough, was needed to build the guidance systems for ICBM’s, which both the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R were building at a break neck rate in 1961. The Geo-Political aspect of this conflict is extremely in-depth, which gives the movie a whole different feel than just “another war movie.”

Side note: For you Weapons junkies like me, this movie has some really nice period correct hardware in it as well, to include:

  • FN FAL
  • Swedish Carl Gustav M/45 SMG
  • SMLE Lee-Enfield No.4 MK1 Rifle
  • SMLE Lee- Enfield No.4 MK1 Sniper Rifle
  • Vickers Machine Gun
  • Bren Machine Gun

Interesting tidbit: The Swedish Garl Gustav M-45 was used by US Army SOG Forces in Vietnam throughout the sixties and into the early seventies. John L Plaster in his excellent book Secret Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines with the Elite Warriors of SOG discusses their use in detail.

 

Stay Alert, Stay Armed and Stay Dangerous!