When it comes to war movies, there are many genres and eras that have been made. The first war movies to earn Oscars were Patton and Wings. In this biographical picture of a World War II general, Hawks evokes the brutality of the war from an unconventional perspective. In addition to its historical accuracy, Patton is an important film for the modern audience because of Gary Cooper’s Oscar-winning performance.
World War II dramas often have a similar aesthetic and message. For example, the world-renowned director Martin Scorsese created a film that explores the Nazi occupation of Belarus. The film opens with two boys digging for rifles. One boy is captured by partisans and fought against the Germans, and the second boy is adopted by a family to fight alongside the partisans. In the end, the two boys have an engrossing encounter with their ultimate persecutor. Although the movie contains shocking atrocities, it manages to create a film that is equally engrossing.
Good war screenplays also include a set piece where audiences are fearful for the characters’ lives. In Hacksaw Ridge, a Seventh-day Adventist (Desmond Doss) refuses to carry a gun on religious grounds, and nearly gets drummed out of the army. During this nighttime attack, his bunkmates turn on him. He survives. The war movie is a classic example of the genre’s ambiguities.