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The highly anticipated film Beasts Of No Nation was finally released on Netflix this weekend, and the movie looks like a smart move from Netflix, if it wants to be taken more seriously in the cinematic department.
And seriously taken it shall be, as it is hard to avoid the definitively tragic undertones of Beasts – set during the Ghanaian Civil War and focusing on the impact it had on civilians and child soldiers.
But it isn’t the only hard-hitting war movie you can catch on Netflix, to give a deeper understanding of these tragic conflicts. Here are nine other incredibly powerful war movies you can watch on Netflix right now.
Unlike most other movies set during the same era, Defiance tries to focus on the lesser-known elements of World War II, and chooses to tell the tale of the Bielski brothers; two Polish men who escaped the clutches of Nazi occupation by retreating to the wilderness.
They soon discover many more Jewish refugees hiding in the same forest where they have taken up refuge, and decide to join them, forming a kind of strange community separate from the brutality of the war – and standing in stoic opposition to the enemy.
Paul Verhoeven’s heart-wrenching story is about a once prolific Dutch entertainer whose career is torn apart by the eruption of World War Two, and the brutal regime the Nazis try to install. When a resistance arises and she falls for a German officer, just whose side is she on?
It’s a story of lies, betrayal and the harsh realities of war, with many plot twists and revelations that make the streets seem as dangerous as the battlefields.
Hitler’s final days are obviously a vital part of understanding the entire events of the war. Downfall chronicles this time period, covering the many insurrection attempts that the Nazi leader was subjected to, his determination to show that everything was going to plan, and, of course, that outburst when he realises all is probably lost.
Downfall is a fascinating look into the end of a despot and his tyrannical regime, told with unflinching humanity.
Beneath Hill 60
Once just an Australian miner providing copper to the allies, Oliver Woodward folds under pressure from friends to enlist into the British Army, and is honoured to lead a unit of Royal Engineers, despite being wary of his future.
Woodward’s tale is unconventional, and emphasises the unpredictability of war, while the imperative decisions that the soldiers have to make remains core to the story.
The Eternal Zero
Framed by a modern-day inquiry into the life of Japanese pilots in World War II by an aspiring lawyer, the plot follows Kyuzo Miyabe and his comrades, as they desperately try to navigate the ruthless world of Pacific war.
It is, by far, one of the most heart-wrenching stories out there at the minute, and well worth your time, whether you’re into war films or not.
Steven Spielberg’s War Horse deals with the horrors of the First World War, but does so using Joey, a horse, as its protagonist.
It’s an edge-of-your-seat tale, as the ultimate fate of Joey seems to matter a great deal more with every second that passes by, but the stories of the individual soldiers and civilians that meet him are definitely not forgotten.
Mulan: Legendary Warrior
With many distinct differences to the Disney version of the film, Mulan recounts the age-old Chinese tale about a girl who steals her father’s armour, and enlists herself into military service to prove her worth.
With less humour, but no-less heroism, the Mulan story has never seemed more real, as the tale we all know has brutal truths and harsh choices added to the backdrop of Chinese-Rouran war.
Based on a true story, Kajaki focuses on the incredible ordeal of Mark Wright and his unit in the British Military, who attempted to disable a Taliban roadblock in 2006.
The operation soon went awry however, and the soldiers found themselves trapped in a horrifying situation; one which ultimately brought out the very best in these brave men.
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
Despite constant inhumanity, true kindness and ultimate equality is portrayed excellently in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, which centres around the running of a concentration camp through the eyes of a young commandant’s son – and the Jewish child he befriends.
It features uplifting moments of childhood innocence, as well as the bleak reality of a Nazi state, resulting in a powerful mix of emotions.