Recently, a friend recommended watching a documentary called Band of Brothers. It is brilliant. I enjoy watching war movies but never paid much attention to war documentaries. I always thought they were too slow for me. Boy, I was wrong. I immediately set to work and found 9 more that I will share with you below.
These war documentaries, currently available on Netflix, are masterpieces made by award-winning directors and artists featuring several interviews. A lot of archive footage and pictures were used to recreate the action, horrors, moral dilemma, and tensions of the war. Intrigued enough?
1. The Civil War
No list of war documentaries is complete without Ken Burns. An expert on war and history, Ken Burns delivers a masterpiece with The Civil War. This is the first time he will be using the Burns Effect, named after him, where zooming and panning are used in images to make it look like they are moving.
A miniseries with 9 episodes, The Civil War’s premiere was the most-watched episode on PBS at the time. The Civil War relies on over 16,000 images and paintings from the war era, interviews, quotes, and excerpts from the letters to recreate the story.
2. Five Came Back
Narrated in the voice of Academy Award winner Meryl Streep, Five Came Back tells the story of five legendary and acclaimed directors who enlisted in the armed forces to document WW2. These brave souls had a camera and films instead of guns and grenades and knew how to use them for a greater effect.
The miniseries revolves around John Ford, William Wyler, John Huston, Frank Capra, and George Stevens, and is retold by modern-day stalwarts like Paul Greengrass, Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Guillermo del Toro, and Lawrence Kasdan.
3. Auschwitz: The Nazis and ‘The Final Solution’
The miniseries retells the story of the Holocaust. Former inmates and guards from the Auschwitz concentration camp share the inside story of the terrifying experiments and acts of horror that Jewish inmates were subjected to, at the height of Germany’s power.
Laurence Rees, writer and director, claims that every spoken word and scene re-enacted was ‘double and triple sourced’ for accuracy.
4. The Vietnam War
Another Ken Burns classic, The Vietnam War takes a different approach. Instead of taking interviews of celebrities like Jane Fonda and other experts, Ken Burns went for interviews of ordinary people who survived it. A ground reality.
Hear the first-hand accounts of families who faced and survived the war, politicians who were for or against it, soldiers who fought in the war, and protesters who wanted this conflict to end.
5. Hitler’s Circle of Evil
As a young kid, I used to wonder how one man could be responsible for two world wars? Well, he was not alone. Hitler had an inner circle of ‘evil’ Nazi leaders who were hell-bent to serve their Führer.
This documentary takes a look at powerful men of the Third Reich, their motivations, personal relations, and how it all came together to create a disturbing future of Germany.
6. Medal of Honor
Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration that is awarded to a soldier or war hero in the US. A matter of great pride for man/woman in service and their family members. This anthology series tries to recreate the stories of these exceptional individuals, who by their acts, left a lasting impact.
The documentary beautifully depicts the personal sacrifices that they chose to make, their sheer acts of courage and bravery, and the presence of mind they had in the nick of time.
7. Age of Tanks
Technological breakthroughs have far-reaching impacts on war too. That’s the core topic of Age of Tanks. Tanks are powerful weapons of destruction. Their advancement made an impact on wars and world politics.
Age of Tanks covers the history of tanks and the role they played in shaping the world that we live in today. If you are fascinated by war machines, this documentary is a must-watch.
8. Inside the Mossad
Brave men and women fight wars with weapons of all kinds, but one thing that they all rely on is intelligence. Information is so crucial that it can change the direction of an entire war. That’s where spies and secret organizations come into the picture.
Mossad is Israel’s intelligence bureau, and they are known to be one of the best in the world, and only second to CIA in the number of agents employed. Like James Bond? Do not miss this one.
9. Terrorism Close Calls
Acts of terrorism is a different kind of war, and there are myriad facets to it. Some crucial questions always arise like where do they get all the money, workforce, and weapons to finance these seemingly random acts of terror?
Terrorism Close Calls is a series based on interviews of law enforcement officers who recall their close encounters with terrorism and terrorists alike. What’s even more unnerving is that these terrorist attacks never happened because of these very men and women.
The Art of War
Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese military strategist from 6 century BC, rightly named his collection of 13 chapters as The Art of War. It is still considered to be very relevant and effective. War may seem random, but a lot is going on behind the scenes that we never know, or even understand.
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Last updated on 03 February, 2022
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