World War II on Film
by David Luhrssen
November 2020, 187pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-7158-0
$63, £47, 53€, A90
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-7159-7
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Films about WWII have always been one of the primary ways people remember the war, and with passing of the last WWII veterans, the factuality or distortions of those films is more important than ever.

World War II on Film examines the war through the lens of 12 films. The movies selected include productions made during World War II and in each succeeding decade, providing a sense of how different generations perceive the war.

World War II on Film provides a succinct yet well-grounded appraisal of that war as seen through 12 representative films. The book separates fact from fiction, showing where the movies were accurate and where they departed from reality, and places them in the larger context of historical and social events. Each movie chosen represents a particular aspect of the conflict, including the air war over Europe, the condition of prisoners of war, Nazi atrocities, and the British evacuation at Dunkirk.

Unlike most histories of Hollywood during World War II or the genre of war movies, World War II on Film examines in depth the relation between the depictions of events, beliefs, attitudes, and ways of life as seen on film with reality as documented by historians or recorded by journalists or eye-witnesses to the war. The volume will appeal to high school and college readers, as well as general interest readers and film buffs.


  • Provides readers with the perspectives of non-American combatants
  • Gives readers an understanding of American perspectives on the war
  • Looks at the importance of the decisions made by individuals as well as the social forces that shaped the war
  • Arms readers with an understanding of how ideology helped determine the decisions of wartime leaders
David Luhrssen, MA, is film critic for the Shepherd Express, Milwaukee's weekly newspaper, and cofounder of the Milwaukee International Film Festival. He is author of The Vietnam War on Film, Secret Societies and Clubs in American History, and Encyclopedia of Classic Rock; a contributor to 100 People Who Changed 20th-Century America, Ideas and Movements That Shaped America, and Women and War: A Historical Encyclopedia from Antiquity to the Present; and coauthor of War on the Silver Screen.

Hollywood History

Just exactly how accurate are Hollywood's film and television portrayals of U.S. history? What do these portrayals tell us, not only about the events they depict, but also the time in which they were made? Each volume in this unique reference series is devoted to a single topic or key theme in U.S. history, examining approximately 10 major motion pictures or television productions. Substantial essays summarize each film, provide a historical background of the event or period it depicts, and explain how accurate the film’s depiction is, while also analyzing the cultural context in which the film was made.
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