In this thread (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=544502) both “Where Eagles Dare” and “Kelly’s Heroes” get mentioned and as “Inglourious Basterds” is out on DVD it seems to be a good time to watch great WWII action movies. Not docudramas, like “The Longest Day” or “A Bridge Too Far,” but stoopid action flicks set in WWII. I’ll start the suggesting with “Von Ryan’s Express” and “The Guns of Navarone.”
I have somewhat fond memories of The Bridge at Remagen because it was one of the first movies I saw with female ta-tas in it. I think there was a war going on also.
Obviously The Dirty Dozen belongs in here. I’m not as big a booster of it as some, but it’s one of those big cultural icon movies that deserve to be called “Great” regardless.
By way of some more obscure titles, how about:
Castle Keep – loaded with '60s self-importance and head-trip weirdness, and frequently slow-going, but has a few good set pieces and lots of highly striking visuals. Fans of the scenery in Where Eagles Dare will at least enjoy looking at it, along with…
The Heroes of Telemark – Based on the actual events surrounding the effort to halt German nuclear research at facilities in Norway, it takes enough historical liberties to belong here, and has a number of pretty good, tense action scenes. And speaking of historical liberties…
The Battle of the Bulge – Don’t ask questions about the climactic tank battle on the desert scrub plains of… Belgium. It’s still a good, action-packed yarn, with lots of enjoyable scenery chewing by the likes of Robert Shaw and Telly Savalas.
That remined me of anyother piece of wierdness: The Keep. Strange “mystical” horror movie set in Romania during WWII with amazing visuals, a haunting soundtrack by Tangerine Dream and a story that seems to make sense about half the time.
It also has “Die Panzerlied”.
There’s also the companion movie to “633 Squadron” listed above “Mosquito Squadron”.
“The Secret Invasion”, a Roger Corman movie in the “Dirty Dozen” mold.
“The Cruel Sea”, a British movie about escort duty in the Battle of the Atlantic.
“The Enemy Below” and “Run Silent, Run Deep” two classic submarine movies.
Does The Final Countdown count?
One I forgot : Sam Peckinpah’s “Cross of Iron”.
I always liked Force Ten From Navarone
Lots of silliness and predictability, but entertaining.
Bogart’s Sahara is pretty unhistorical and a great movie.
The Train, with Burt Lancaster and Paul Scofield. Drama concerning efforts to prevent the Germans from looting French art treasures late in the war. Supposedly based on real events, but so loosely as to meet the OP’s crtieria, IMO. Some of the most spectacular action setpieces in film history, staged full-scale with period railway equipment, and some great performances by the leads and an array of French actors.
Oh yeah, and how about The Eagle has Landed, with a group of German paratroops led by Michael Caine, and assisted by Donald Sutherland as an Irish nationalist, landing in England to carry out a plot to kidnap Churchill? Maybe more of a thriller than pure action, but entertaining nontheless.
In the “stupid but fun” category:
The Secret of Santa Vittoria
In the “cheap action” category:
**Sands of Iwo Jima
Hellcats of the Navy**
Bridge On The River Kwai.
Another WWII Bogie film is Across the Pacific. The Japanese are using American water cooled machines.
So Proudly We hail–about military nurses in the Pacific
Not sure if this is too highbrow, but go see the Director’s Cut of Das Boot. Yes, I know it’s 4.5 hours, go see it anyway. True story, I dragged my ex-wife to the theater to see it several years ago. She’s not a big war movie fan, but was going to be a good sport. We get in, start watching, and she claimed she got so engrossed that she looked down at her watch and was surprised that 4 hours had already gone by.
The Eye of the Needle was a nice dumb WWII spy movie. Not sure if there was enough action for the OP. Haven’t seen it, but I heard U-571 is a good, dumb, WWII action movie.
And for yet another type of WWII “action” movie, you could always try Salo or the 120 Days of Sodom.
Lots of great scenery chewing in Kelly’s Heroes.
And Bogie’s driving an M3 Lee! Great movie if only because one wearies of the ubiquitous Sherman.
Jackmannii, “Bridge” and “Stalag 17” are quite a bit more intellectual than I am looking for here.
Try the original miniseries. It’s almost two hours longer. And all in German. I never tried. Got the director’s cut for my German-student daughter but we haven’t watched it yet.
I’m a Follett fan and this is a fun one.