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"Worst WWII Movies for Wargamers?" Topic

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19 Mar 2015 3:25 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian19 Aug 2014 8:14 p.m. PST

Which WWII movies really make you cringe? As a wargamer, which movies just drive you nuts?

Timotheous19 Aug 2014 8:23 p.m. PST

Battle of the Bulge.

'Nuff said

GGouveia19 Aug 2014 8:27 p.m. PST

Hands down Battle of the Bulge. No resemblance of anything thst happened in the campaign. Worst war movie ever.

Rich Bliss Supporting Member of TMP19 Aug 2014 8:30 p.m. PST

Battle of the Bulge here as well.

"turn off the Engine"


Bon Homme Richard19 Aug 2014 8:42 p.m. PST

Force Ten From Naverone is the worst WW2 movie.

Pictors Studio19 Aug 2014 8:53 p.m. PST

How can any of those compare in cinema induced misery to Pearl Harbor. That was a truly terrible movie. They didn't know when to quit, the love story was abominable and it was far, far too long.

Personal logo The Virtual Armchair General Sponsoring Member of TMP19 Aug 2014 9:10 p.m. PST

"Battle Of The Bulge," easy.

"They're walking back to Germany."

Saw it when it came out, and actually heard at least one man of Veteran age moan in disbelief at that line--as did the other four of us who knew something about the real campaign.

Pure Hollywood tripe that aimed at believers in Super Tanks, Super Nazi's, and bad lip-synching.

The film that's not just "inaccurate," but misleading, and probably made a lot adolescents of all ages think the Nazi's were cool.

Every frame of the master copy should have been cut up and issued as guitar picks.


Korvessa19 Aug 2014 9:30 p.m. PST

I saw one with Eddie Albert once (forget name) that showed German assault guns firing with the travel locks on

15mm and 28mm Fanatik19 Aug 2014 9:34 p.m. PST

The Thin Red Bore. I actually dozed off during the movie. Though 'Flags of our Fathers' wasn't far off.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP19 Aug 2014 9:42 p.m. PST

Kellys Heroes

Timotheous19 Aug 2014 9:48 p.m. PST

"Stop hittin' me with the negative waves, Extra Crispy!" grin

War In 15MM19 Aug 2014 9:52 p.m. PST

I would agree that Battle of the Bulge is terrible, but I must also say that Force 10 From Naverone was so bad that I could never bring myself to watch the whole thing so it might be worse. It's interesting that Eddie Albert is one of the few actors who played in movies about WWII who actually had real combat experience in the war.

Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP19 Aug 2014 10:05 p.m. PST

Kellys Heroes, I have nearly every war movie ever made on WWII and it is not in my collection.

I don't even consider it a war movie, it is an Anti-War movie.

Battle of the Bulge is at least a good movie, it has tanks in it. It is exciting to see tanks driving around in the forest. It does need an accurate remake.

I have never seen Inglorious Bastards, because the reviews tell me it is not worthy of my time.

Mike Bunkermeister Creek
Bunker Talk blog

Winston Smith19 Aug 2014 10:15 p.m. PST

Pearl Harbor. Horrible POS. They definitely knew better but Hey! It's Hollywood!

Sobieski19 Aug 2014 10:27 p.m. PST

Sympathetic, but have to remind you moderns enthusiasts of the agony that is "Cromwell". You are not alone in suffering at the hands of morons with cameras.
Come to think of it, how many thousands of new gamers have been left with the impression that Japanese warfare was always at a skirmish level as a result of "The Magnificent Samurai" or whatever it's called?

Cuchulainn19 Aug 2014 10:31 p.m. PST

After the first twenty minutes, Saving Private Ryan. Pearl Harbour pushes it hard but I think SPR just fights it off for first place.

Battle of the Bulge is totally inaccurate, but it's an enjoyable enough piece of fiction IMHO.

Personal logo Unlucky General Supporting Member of TMP19 Aug 2014 11:08 p.m. PST

What is truly sad is how I loved them as a child.

Completely out of left field … I offer Ghettysburg. Thisw movie has much to recommend it and was one of my favourites for years. I tied watching it the other day and I just couldn't swallow the speechy platitudes, the moralism, the waxing lyrical – I never really noticed it before. I think I must be getting more cynical.

David Manley19 Aug 2014 11:10 p.m. PST


Martin Rapier19 Aug 2014 11:17 p.m. PST

All of the films mentioned above have at least some redeeming qualities (tanks, Kate Beckinsale, the rather excellent bunker assault in ttrl etc). One war film with absolutely nothing going for it is Breakout, aka cross of iron 2, despite starring Richard Burton and Robert Mitchum. It really is one of the worst films I have ever seen, just awful on every level.

Mikasa19 Aug 2014 11:47 p.m. PST

What's that horrible movie where a company of Americans and Company of Canadians start out as camp rivals and end up holding hands in some ridiculous assault on a cliff top?

vaughan20 Aug 2014 2:40 a.m. PST

Sounds like Devil's brigade which is actually true.

Texas Jack20 Aug 2014 3:15 a.m. PST

Some very worthy choices here. I would especially agree with Pearl Harbor and Battle of the Bulge.

There are two from my childhood I really hated:

Anzio, which despite having Robert Mitchum and Peter Falk, was full of M-47s and wrong equipment. It was kind of a Son of Bulge.

Battle Cry- this was not a proper war movie, there was just way too much kissing in it!

Winston Smith20 Aug 2014 3:20 a.m. PST

It took us this long to fall to Wrong Tank Syndrome?

Winston Smith20 Aug 2014 3:22 a.m. PST

What's the one where Peter Falk drops out of the war to move in with a peasant woman and become a baker ?

Captain Clegg20 Aug 2014 3:41 a.m. PST

Surely Escape to victory must be on this list?

skippy000120 Aug 2014 3:50 a.m. PST

Castle Keep-surrealism and T34-85's don't mix. I did like the GI's justification for keeping the Volkswagen, though.

It should be redone as a WWII unit defending a castle against Orcs.

Texas Jack20 Aug 2014 3:54 a.m. PST

Sorry Winston, I admit it, I suffer from WTS. There should be a telethon for it. grin

langobard Supporting Member of TMP20 Aug 2014 4:15 a.m. PST

Another vote for Battle of the Bulge as the worst, with Pearl Harbor runner up.

Jeigheff20 Aug 2014 4:20 a.m. PST

Winston Smith,

You're thinking of "Castle Keep", which I hope I never see again.

I also nominate "Cross of Iron" and "Breakout."

plutarch 6420 Aug 2014 4:49 a.m. PST


epturner Supporting Member of TMP20 Aug 2014 5:02 a.m. PST

There's an Italian WW2 movie I saw which had M113 APCs as British carriers.

It was bad, very bad.


frostydog20 Aug 2014 5:07 a.m. PST

Battle of the Bulge
Saving Private Ryan
Thin Red zzzzzzzzz

Dynaman878920 Aug 2014 5:09 a.m. PST

Another vote for Thin Red Line, best movie about Vietnam set in WWII I've ever seen. Bad WWII movie.

Bulge is bad too, at least it had some decent tank vs tank fighting – which is so rare that it deserves a little bit of a break.

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP20 Aug 2014 5:31 a.m. PST

Pearl Harbor get my vote.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP20 Aug 2014 5:49 a.m. PST

I love Bulge. Its a really good movie. As opposed to, say, SPR. The fact that Bulge is more comic book than history bothers me not at all. A movie's purpose is to entertain.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP20 Aug 2014 6:05 a.m. PST

Thin Red Line

Pearl Harbor

Kelly's Heroes

Castle Keep

I think Battle of the Bulge was entertaining as was Cross of Iron – and Tobruk (and, for that matter, Sahara) are period pieces

whitejamest20 Aug 2014 6:12 a.m. PST

I tried watching Wind Talkers once, but couldn't make it through. It was just awful.

Lee Brilleaux Fezian20 Aug 2014 6:15 a.m. PST

The Sound of Music. I always root for the Nazis to catch those damn Von Trapps.

Matsuru Sami Kaze20 Aug 2014 6:17 a.m. PST

I thought Hunt of the Red October had some execrable inserted footage of what was purposed to be F-14 crash landings on a carrier. The footage shown was a flight deck crash of an F-9F Panther, probably from the Korean conflict era. The F-9F was probably off the Navy aviation inventory by 1960, lovely aircraft that it was. You see that and you realize the folking filming the story have no clue what they are doing.

The Beast Rampant20 Aug 2014 6:46 a.m. PST

All rivet-counting aside, Battle of the Bulge was an insult to my intelligence at twelve. Probably one of the dumbest war movies ever.

Every time a doity kraut was shot, he threw his arms up in the air in a completely silly manner. Passively watching it with a friend once, we started shouting "FAME" every time. We laughed our asses off at that and many other things. that movie is ripe for a drinking game.

Kelly's Heroes is one of many of a generation of movies stinking with anti-Vietnam sentiment. Whiny, unwatchable crap.

Old Slow Trot20 Aug 2014 6:50 a.m. PST

Korvessa,would you be thinking of "Attack!"?

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP20 Aug 2014 6:53 a.m. PST

Kellys Heroes… just crap
Castle Keep
Pearl Harbor.. shots of Missle cruisers in Pearl
Thin Red Line… yuk

Pan Marek20 Aug 2014 7:21 a.m. PST

I tend to agree with most choices here, except- SPR.
Can anyone please explain what they find "wrong" about that film?

Personal logo Murphy Sponsoring Member of TMP20 Aug 2014 7:26 a.m. PST

What? No angst for "SS Doomtrooper"????…..

JARROVIAN Supporting Member of TMP20 Aug 2014 7:44 a.m. PST

I offer up 'Von Ryans Express', Frankie Tomata sucks.

Legion 420 Aug 2014 7:50 a.m. PST

I don't know what some of you guys are watching !? But from a former Grunt's POV, Kelly's Heroes is much more "realistic" then many films mentioned … They even had 3 "vis-mods' of Tiger 1s based on the T-34 chassis !

Big Joe: [shouting in the radio] Look, Mulligan! I don't think I'm getting through to you! You're dropping your damn barrage on our position! The reason you can't hear me is because you're firing your mortars at your end, and they're dropping here, on our end! No, the Krauts are not here! We're here! Mulligan, your bombs are coming down on our head! I don't know where the Krauts are! Just lift your Bleeped text barrage! Over!
evil grin

Personal logo Mserafin Supporting Member of TMP20 Aug 2014 8:17 a.m. PST

I tried watching Wind Talkers once, but couldn't make it through. It was just awful.

Exactly my experience. Had a very similar one with "Miracle at San Anna."

I have to admit to having a soft spot for Thin Red Line. If you take out all the philosophical elements, it's a pretty good film about how not to attack a hill. And Nick Nolte did a pretty good job as a long-time professional who's just been passed over for promotion. There's about half an hour of good film in TRL, pity it goes on for two.

boy wundyr x20 Aug 2014 8:26 a.m. PST

@epturner – I think that was The Battle of El Alamein (1960s version). I have a DVD box set of bad Italian (and/or set in Italy) WWII movies I once picked up for $5 USD in Walmart, but I can only average watching one of those every 2-3 years, so I still have lots to go (and will never get $5 USD worth of entertainment. About half of them star Lee Van Cleef.

I agree with a lot of the above, I couldn't finish Thin Red Line or Battle of the Bulge.

I'll defend SPR a bit though, even though nowadays I only skip through to the battle scenes, as the middle does sag badly. But I think people forget what it was like to watch that movie in a theatre with other people, and some (not specific to anyone here) never saw it in a theatre and are basing their opinions on watching it on video/TV, which is a different experience.

I saw SPR shortly after it was released in a theatre that was 90% full, say 200+ people. Through the movie there were people sobbing (I heard women, can't speak for the guys), yelling out at the screen, leaving for a breather, and getting twitchy in their seats(including me) from the tension and the way the sound of the tanks would rumble through your chest. When it was over, people wouldn't make eye contact with each other as they were leaving the theatre. There were three of us in the car on the 45-minute drive home, and no one talked, we were still absorbing the experience. We didn't really talk about it for another full day.

So yeah, SPR sagged in the middle and got sentimental, but it was one hell of a visceral movie-going experience. No war movie I'd seen before, not even the Vietnam renaissance flicks of the 80s, made battle as terrifying and real as I expect it is, as that.

John the OFM20 Aug 2014 8:40 a.m. PST

There should be a law against making movies whose sole purpose is to feature the actor who "financed" it, but only from his good side.
Pearl Harbor and Ben Afleck. 'Nuff said.
Did that movie do ANYTHING right?

nochules20 Aug 2014 8:54 a.m. PST

"Fall of Berlin" didn't bother me so much as a wargamer, but Stalin giving out romance advice certainly made me cringe a bit. :-)

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