War Movies: Cinders in the Wake of Fire

7 Min Read

Eahsan Abedin

War movies always strike us as likely to include a lot of combat, harsh missions, soldiers sacrificing their lives for their countries, and so on. But how often do we think about movies which portray the suffering and distress of the common people rather than the gunfire? How often do we think solely about the gruesome situation that arises when a soldier dies after being shot by a bullet rather than the battlefield and its winner?

There are breathtaking movies which will give you an insightful perspective beyond the violent disasters which occur during a war, and into what takes place in the background, in the lives of the common mass, and also inspire you to dig deeper into this amazing sector of war-featuring films. 

The following discussion might contain spoilers.

The Jewish holocaust was the most atrocious catastrophe to occur during the Second World War. The Nazi army killed six million Jews, almost two-thirds of all the Jews in Europe. Put into concentration camps and made to do hard labour, their final destinations were either gas chambers or having Nazi soldiers aiming guns at their head. 

The portrayal of the Jewish holocaust in movies has always been diverse. From depicting the innocence of those children that had to die for nothing to illustrating how brutally they were killed, these movies can give their audience a good overview of the Jewish holocaust during the Second World War. 

While movies like Scindler’s List might show you how cruel the Nazi Army had been in torturing these people, they also have a silver lining where, among all the wild animals of the jungle, there’s one who actually cares about those people and tries to save them from tyranny through sheer intelligence and love for people. Sure, the plot of Schindler’s List might be a little hard to understand, but watching this Oscar-winning film is a must.

Another great movie regarding the Holocaust is the 1997 Oscar-winning film Life is Beautiful. Its plot is set around the life of a young Jew named Guido, his family, and his young son — Giorgio. The man who had come to a small town in Italy, got a job, and formed a  perfectly happy family was suddenly taken away during the war. The movie, being a heartwarming visualisation of the heavenly love only a father and a husband can purvey to his son and his wife during tough times, will leave you awe-stricken at the goosebump-inducing illustration of the lengths a person can go to just to protect their loved ones. Life is Beautiful is truly a wonderful and aspirational movie in every aspect.

Ever think about how combat medics save lives in a battlefield, amidst a full-fledged war all around them? Most of us probably haven’t. But the real-life story of Corporal Desmond Doss, which is portrayed in the 2016 film named Hacksaw Ridge, will undoubtedly provide the viewers with insight regarding that very topic. Filled with adventure, victory, and also, innumerable setbacks and tears, Hacksaw Ridge is about Corporal Desmond Doss, a medic in the US army in WWII and yes, a conscientious objector. Desmond had promised God that he would never pick up a weapon for self defense, even in the darkest stage of war, and that he would solely work for saving lives rather than taking them. After facing innumerable boundaries, running jail, and being presented to the court, Desmond Doss gets permission to enter the battlefield without a gun. When the United States army retreats — unable to tackle the attack from the Japanese — he stays behind and saves 75 men, that too while staying hidden in the battlefield.

This story is one of great gallantry and pride. A story where a soldier goes to war without a weapon and saves even enemy lives, with the belief that God will be by his side. One, where a conscientious objector proves that sometimes, a battle is not about taking lives, but saving those of fellow human beings and brethren. 

How would you feel if your father went to fight in the war and your dear mother died due to atrocious firebombing? Yes, do remember you are 14 and have to take care of your younger sister. Unimaginable, right? Based on a true story, the 1988 Studio Ghibli film Grave of the Fireflies is the heartbreaking saga of young Setsuko and Seita, living alone throughout the duration of WWII, separated from their parents. Surviving without any shelter, the siblings find it devastatingly hard to even find food. Living solely for each other, they try to find happiness and hope for themselves even in a war-ravaged world.

Grave of the Fireflies is a story of extreme sadness and bliss, an amazing movie that will definitely make your heart skip one too many beats. Enabling the viewers to fall in love with the beautiful animation and the hard-hitting storyline, this movie is a masterpiece that will undoubtedly give you a new perspective about life and make you appreciate it.

Throughout time, war movies have described a wide range of scenarios and plots, trying to present an array of viewpoints regarding the many aspects of war to their audiences. Though you’ve been introduced to only a small portion of these works in this article, a whole dimension of such great movies is still left to discover. Hopefully, the ones mentioned here will give you a jumpstart.


The writer is a part of the TDA Editorial Team.      

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