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7 Great Foreign Language War Films You Should See: Days of Glory

Like many history buffs, I love it when films bring military history to life. Of course, I prefer they do it in a believable way and with the support of an intriguing story such as Saving Private Ryan or Platoon.



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Good war films can help supply the dramatics and realism of war to those of us who are already submersed in military history, but they also bring in a new generation of history lovers. In my case, films convinced me to read about events after viewing films like The Longest Day, A Bridge Too Far, and Stalag 17.

World War II films are perhaps the most popular and lauded of all war films and for good reason. Many non-English speaking countries have contributed significantly to the genre, but often get overlooked by even the stoutest of military history geeks.

Here are seven World War II films from various countries in no particular order that are worth your time to see if you haven’t already. I have narrowed the field to include only films with regular units; therefore, no partisan, resistance, or commando style films. Also, all these films are available with English subtitles.

1. Stalingrad (German – 1993)

2. Brest Fortress (Belorussian/Russian – 2010)

3. Unknown Soldier (Finland – 2017)

4. Days of Glory (Morocco – 2006)

5. Battle for Sevastopol (2015 – Russian)

6. Das Boot (German – 1981)

7. 1944 (Estonian – 2015)

Days of Glory

(Morocco – 2006)

Nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Film, Days of Glory takes us a journey with African soldiers fighting for the Free French and centers on a half dozen lead characters with various backgrounds within France’s colonies.

The unit participates in actions in Italy, including their use as “cannon fodder” by the Allied leadership. It shows the bonding that combat creates amongst the group and the adversity they faced outside of combat, such as racism.

The men go on to participate in Operation Dragoon – the second invasion of France by the Allies – and participate in the liberation of several cities and towns in southern France.

The characters are likable and their development and tragedies are striking, making the movie a necessary addition to the list despite some of the combat sequences that are flawed.

Topics of religion, racism, pay, promotion, and pensions are central to the film. Often forgotten is the miniscule size of the Free French Army at 50,000 men until the enlistment of Africans. Afterwards, the numbers surged to half a million.

The film helped bring pension issues for colonial soldiers to light and public uproar helped in motivating the government to address the issue.