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Key World War I movies to watch after ‘1917'

Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif in “Lawrence of Arabia”
Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif in “Lawrence of Arabia,” a David Lean film set during World War I.
(Columbia TriStar / Getty Images)

World War I has been the subject of numerous movies going all the way back to the silent era, when the first Oscar winner for best picture was the 1927 aerial drama “Wings.” The war also has been a favorite subject for a slew of classic directors. Here are a few key entries in the field.

“All Quiet on the Western Front” (1930): This best picture Oscar winner, based on the Erich Maria Remarque novel, follows a group of German schoolboys throughout the war and features hyper-realistic battle scenes.

“Westfront 1918" (1930): Another lifelike view of trench warfare, from German director G.W. Pabst.

Pierre Fresnay and Erich von Stroheim in “Grand Illusion.”
Pierre Fresnay, left, and Erich von Stroheim in “Grand Illusion.”
(The Criterion Collection)

“Grand Illusion” (1937): Director Jean Renoir’s film tells of class relationships among French POWs during the war. Widely regarded as one of world cinema’s greatest films.

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“Sergeant York” (1941): Gary Cooper won an Oscar for his portrayal of one of America’s most decorated soldiers in director Howard Hawks’ classic.

Kirk Douglas, left, and director Stanley Kubrick, on the set of “Paths of Glory” in 1957.
Kirk Douglas, left, and director Stanley Kubrick, on the set of “Paths of Glory” in 1957.
(AMPAS )

“Paths of Glory” (1957): Stanley Kubrick’s sobering film stars Kirk Douglas as a French officer defending three soldiers unjustly accused of cowardice.

“Lawrence of Arabia” (1962): This masterpiece from David Lean follows the title character, played by Peter O’Toole, as he tries to rally Arab tribesmen against the Turks during the war.

“Many Wars Ago” (1970): Extremely downbeat antiwar movie from director Francesco Rosi about Italian soldiers, led by some callously insensitive and incompetent higher-ups, fighting the Austro-Hungarian military.

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“Black and White in Color” (1976): Winner of the foreign-language film Oscar, this antiwar comedy is set in West Africa, and features a laughably terrible French military campaign against a German trading post.

“Gallipoli” (1981): Based on the true story of the disastrous Anzac invasion of Turkey. Directed by Peter Weir, starring Mel Gibson.

“Joyeux Noël” (2005): A dramatization of a real event, the unofficial ceasefire along the Western Front around Christmas 1914. A foreign-language film Oscar nominee.


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