• Their Finest, All Quiet on the Western Front, The Counterfeiters and Testament of Youth (SBS)Source: SBS
Spanning two World Wars this collection of war movies explores the sacrifices, courage and the brutality of war from the front line to the home front and the impacts of war long after the conflict has ended.
By
SBS Guide

21 Apr 2020 - 3:59 PM  UPDATED 21 Apr 2020 - 3:59 PM

Films on The Front Line

 

All Quiet on the Western Front

The acclaimed version of the WWI anti-war classic and the devastating story of a generation destroyed. A room full of German schoolboys are goaded by their schoolmaster to troop off to the 'glorious' war in 1914 and set off to become soldiers. Their disenchantment begins with brutal basic training and then, as they board the train to the Front, they see the crippled being rushed to hospital. It is their first glimpse of the grim-visaged reality of war.

Watch All Quiet on the Western Front at SBS On Demand now.

Downfall

Nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2005, Downfall gives the definitive depiction of Hitler's last days in Berlin - as viewed from the perspective of his personal secretary, Traudl Junge. It reveals the claustrophobic atmosphere in the bunker as well as the chaos reigning outside on the streets as Russian troops close in on the city. In a lauded performance (much-memed) Bruno Ganz portrays Hitler as a half-crazed man trying to delude himself that victory is nigh. 

Watch Downfall at SBS On Demand now.

Female Agents

In 1944, a group of French female resistance fighters are recruited by the British Secret Service to rescue a geologist who holds secrets to the impending Normandy landing. They soon find their mission must continue to Paris for the dangerous task of assassinating an SS Colonel. Female Agents celebrates the lesser-told role of the female fighters in the famous Normandy landing.

Watch Female Agents at SBS On Demand now.

Fog in August

Southern Germany, early 1940s. Ernst is a bright but maladjusted boy, deemed "uneducable" by the majority of institutions in which he has lived, in his short life. Eventually confined in a psychiatric unit because of his rebellious nature, he notices that other internees are being killed. Ernst has become part of the the Nazi euthanasia program, and once aware of what is happening, he does his best to sabotage it. He plots to help the other patients and plans an escape with Nandl, his first love. 

Watch Fog in August at SBS On Demand now.

Into the White

Norway, WWII: A group of British and German soldiers are stranded in the wilderness after an aircraft battle. Finding shelter in the same cabin, they realise the only way to survive the winter is to set aside the rules of war.  It is inspired by and loosely based on real-life events that occurred in Norway during the war.

Watch Into the White at SBS On Demand now.

The Eagle Has Landed

During World War II, Nazi officer Max Radl (Robert Duvall) devises a plan to kidnap or kill the British Prime Minister. Approved by German Cmdr. Heinrich Himmler (Donald Pleasence), the scheme moves forward with Col. Kurt Steiner (Michael Caine) leading the mission, aided by Liam Devlin (Donald Sutherland), an Irishman with a deep hatred of England. As the plan unfolds, it seems to be going well -- until certain events threaten the group's shot at success. 

Watch The Eagle Has Landed at SBS On Demand now.

The Counterfeiters

Winner of the 2008 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film, The Counterfeiters is the true story of the largest counterfeiting operation in history, set up by the Nazis in 1936. Salomon 'Sally' Sorowitsch (Karl Markovics) is an expert counterfeiter enjoying the good life until he’s sent to a concentration camp. Sally manages to survive for five years before being transferred to Sachsenhausen, where he is assigned to produce perfect forgeries of British and US banknotes for the Third Reich. 

Watch The Counterfeiters at SBS On Demand now.

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence

During WWII, British soldier Jack Celliers (David Bowie) is captured by Japanese forces and held in a prison camp by the honour-bound Captain Yanoi (Ryuichi Sakamoto). Yanoi becomes intrigued with Celliers' open defiance in the face of their staunchly old-world ideas about cowardice and shame. Meanwhile, a translator, Lieutenant colonel John Lawrence (Tom Conti), attempts to find common ground between British and Japanese beliefs.

Watch Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence at SBS On Demand now.


 

Films on The Home Front

Denial

In 1993 acclaimed writer and historian Deborah E. Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz) and Penguin Books published `Denying the Holocaust'. Two years later the English author David Irving (Timothy Spall) sued her for libel on the grounds that her book had ruined his once well-regarded career as an historian by accusing him of deliberately distorting historical facts and claiming he was a Holocaust denier. Lipstadt must battle for historical truth to prove in court that the Holocaust actually happened. Based on the acclaimed book "History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier". 

Watch Denial at SBS On Demand now.

Churchill

Churchill follows Britain’s iconic Prime Minister Winston Churchill (Broan Cox) in the days before the D-Day landings in June 1944. As allied forces stand on the south coast of Britain, poised to invade Nazi-occupied Europe, they await Churchill’s decision on whether the invasion will actually move ahead. Fearful of repeating his mistakes from World War I on the beaches of Gallipoli, exhausted by years of war, plagued by depression and obsessed with fulfilling historical greatness, Churchill is also faced with constant criticism from his political opponents; General Eisenhower and Field Marshal Montgomery. Only the unflinching support of Churchill’s brilliant, unflappable wife Clementine (Miranda Richardson) can halt the Prime Minister’s physical and mental collapse and help lead him to greatness. 

Watch Churchill at SBS On Demand now.

Frantz

Just after the Great War, in a small German town, Anna (Paula Beer) returns each day to the cemetery to the grave of her fiancé, Frantz, who died on the frontlines in France. But this particular day, Adrien (Pierre Niney), a young Frenchman, has come to lay flowers on the grave of his German friend. The presence of a Frenchman after the German defeat gives rise to passionate reactions in the town, yet Anna gradually becomes closer to the handsome and melancholy young man, as she learns of his deep friendship with Frantz. Directed and co-written by François Ozon, Frantz is a film about love, grief and forgiveness.

Watch Frantz at SBS On Demand now.

Their Finest

1940, London, the Blitz; with the country’s morale at stake, Catrin (Gemma Arterton), an untried screenwriter, and a makeshift cast and crew, work under fire to make a film to lift the nation’s spirits - and inspire America to join the war. A witty, romantic and moving portrayal of a young woman finding her way, and her voice, in the mayhem of war… and the movies!

Watch Their Finest at SBS On Demand now.

Testament of Youth

Starring Alicia Vikander and Kit Harington, Testament of Youth is a powerful story of love, war and remembrance, based on the First World War memoir by Vera Brittain, which has become the classic testimony of that war from a woman’s point of view. A searing journey from youthful hopes and dreams to the edge of despair and back again, it’s a film about young love, the futility of war and how to make sense of the darkest times.

Watch Testament of Youth at SBS On Demand now.

Labyrinth of Lies

Germany, 1958. Nobody wants to look back to the time of the Nazi regime, so when young prosecuting attorney Johann Radmann (Johann Radmann) comes across sensitive documents that would bring members of the SS who served in Auschwitz to trial, he is told to bury the past. However, against the will of his superiors, he begins to examine the case and lands in a web of repression and denial. He is sucked deeper and deeper into a labyrinth of lies and guilt in his search for the truth, but what he ultimately brings to light will change the country forever.

Watch Labyrinth of Lies at SBS On Demand now.

Land of Mine

As World War Two comes to an end, a group of German POWs, boys rather than men, are captured by the Danish army and forced to engage in a deadly task – to defuse and clear land mines from the Danish coastline. With little or no training, the boys soon discover that the war is far from over. Inspired by real events, Land of Mine exposes the untold story of one tragic moment in Denmark’s history. Nominated for Best Foreign language film at the 2017 Academy Awards. 

Watch Land of Mine at SBS On Demand now.

A Promise

Germany, 1912. Friedrich Zeitz (Richard Madden), a freshly graduated engineer with modest origins, becomes the right hand of aging tycoon Karl Hoffmeister (Alan Rickman). Friedrich makes the acquaintance of Hoffmeister's younger wife Charlotte (Rebecca Hall), a beautiful and reserved woman. He immediately becomes enamoured with her and struggles with his growing unrequited feelings for her. Just as they disclose their mutual attraction towards one another, Friedrich has to leave the country to oversee Hoffmeister’s mines in Mexico. Separated by an ocean, they exchange passionate letters while awaiting the day that will reunite them. Then, on the verge of his return to Germany, World War 1 erupts. All maritime travel between South America and Europe is suspended. Eight years later, with millions dead and Europe in ruins, the exile returns, to his homeland and to the woman he hopes has been waiting for him. But has their love survived the brutal passage of time?

Watch A Promise at SBS On Demand now.

 

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