Useful Reference & Background Videos

Battle of Britain

An excellent film focusing on the fighter planes and their pilots. One of the best flying films I've ever seen — and it's pre-special effects, so the action is real. [GSJessica]

The Blue Max

A World War I movie about the German fighter pilots. This is a good look at Klink's world. It's also a very good film on its own merit. [GSJessica]

The Counterfeit Traitor

This is one of my most recommended selections. This film, based on a true story and keeping quite true to the events, is the story of an American-raised Swedish businessman. He had been doing business with the Nazis (as Sweden was neutral), when he was enlisted to spy on the Germans. This is authentic espionage — real people, not 'James Bond' super-hero characters. There is a great deal done with the morality of the situations that is extremely well-done in a subtle yet clear manner. You'll also pick up fascinating little tidbits like how to throw tracking dogs off your trail. Filmed on location in Europe. Listen for a frightening audio-cameo by our Sgt. Schultz. [GSJessica]

Das Boot

The submarine war told from the perspective of a German crew. There are many versions of Das Boot available, this link is to the cheapest version. This film, though unrelated to either flying or POWs, is a valuable look at the mindset and struggles of the ordinary German soldiers and what they faced. You'll also get to enjoy much fine German cussing in the movie (much of which is not correctly or completely translated in the English subtitles!). The English dubbed version isn't bad, as they got most of the original actors back to do the dialog, but the German version is better. [GSJessica]

Europa, Europa

A young Jewish boy survives the war by hiding with and joining the Hitler Youth. Based on a true story. Languages: German and Russian, subtitled in English. [GSJessica]

The Great Escape

Of course this one has to be included in the list! It's the tale of the mass escape from Stalagluft III via tunnel. This movie has too many American characters, and too much emphasis on them, plus some condensation of events, but does keep the essence of historical truth to it. And it's a very good movie. [GSJessica]

Hell's Angels

Howard Huges' WWI aviation extravaganza (as focused upon in Leonardo DiCaprio's "The Aviator") about the aerial battles. The storyline of this movie is absolutely mind-numbingly dull, but stick it through (or fast forward) to the aerial scenes. Another look at Klink's world. B&W. [GSJessica]

The Memphis Belle

Skip that Hollywood movie version (which I did not like at all) and go straight for the original documentary. Seldom have I seen a film with more raw impact, much of which comes from the blunt fact that this is real and it's happening on the spot to real people. The B-17 bomber crew of the Memphis Belle is the focal point of the film, but isn't the most powerful part. The other crews and planes, and their struggles, reach right out and grab you. Even the parts that are overtly propaganda work in this documentary (the blood donor pitch) because this was real and they meant every word. This documentary is also in color, which heightens the effect over the usually-seen b&w WWII footage. Highly recommended. [GSJessica]

Triumph of the Will

Documentary of the 1934 Nazi rally. This masterfully done film is all the more important and powerful as it shows how such a rise of evil could have mesmerized an otherwise civilized people. The film is pure propaganda and all the more important to watch for it. [GSJessica]

The War Lover

Steve McQueen as a US bomber pilot who's beyond being 'on the edge'. B&W. [GSJessica]

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