Skip to main content

Like the hit Netflix show All The Light We Cannot See? Then watch these 5 best WWII dramas

With its arrival on Netflix almost a decade after the book became a sensation, All the Light We Cannot See is set to reach an even bigger audience than it already had. If you’ve already caught the show, though, you might be looking for other meaty historical dramas that are worth your time.

The series, which tells the story of World War II from two distinct perspectives, is fairly unusual, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of movies and TV shows that are likely to give you the same feeling.

A Hidden Life (2019)

A HIDDEN LIFE | Official Trailer [HD] | FOX Searchlight

Telling the story of an Austrian farmer who faces an impossible moral quandary after he’s given the choice of either fighting for the Nazis or being executed, A Hidden Life takes the question at its center incredibly seriously. The movie, which runs nearly three hours, is also beautiful and lyrical and centered first and foremost on a marriage.

Few movies about World War II are likely to leave you more moved, and A Hidden Life is also an important reminder that, even among the Nazi rank and file, there were those who knew that what was happening was wrong.

Manhattan (2014)

Manhattan 2014 Season 1 Extended Trailer TV Series

If you found Oppenheimer as riveting as many across the country, then Manhattan is probably a logical follow-up. Set at the Los Alamos camp, the series follows a set of fictional scientists who interact with real ones from history as they build the atomic bomb.

Another show freighted with the weighty questions that building a new weapon of war brings with them, Manhattan was also a show about secrets, and the burden this work took on the many married men who joined the program. Although this was only one of many experiences people had during the war, Manhattan is as rich a show as any on TV.

Band of Brothers (2001)

‘It’s Been a Long War, It’s Been a Tough War’ Trailer | Band of Brothers | HBO Classics

The story of a single company as they travel through boot camp and the war itself, Band of Brothers takes a very different perspective on World War II than All the Light We Cannot See.

Even so, the show does an excellent job of both humanizing Easy Company and valorizing them, reminding us that the brave men who battled in World War II were mostly boys, barely of age, and dealing with harsh conditions to fight powerful enemies. All the Light We Cannot See may focus its attention on European characters, but Band of Brothers shares the same defining humanity.

The Book Thief (2013)

The Book Thief Official Trailer #1 (2013) - Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson Movie HD

Based on a best seller of the same name, The Book Thief shares a young protagonist living through World War II in Europe with All the Light We Cannot See. This story follows that young girl as she discovers the joys of reading and writing and grows accustomed to her new foster parents.

Although The Book Thief is ultimately a pretty tragic tale, it’s also a story about what it means to tell your own story in the most hostile circumstances imaginable. And, like A Hidden Life, it’s a reminder that not everyone living in Germany was down with the Nazis.

The Plot Against America (2020)

The Plot Against America: Official Trailer | HBO

An alternate history, The Plot Against America imagines a world where Charles Lindbergh, a famed Nazi sympathizer from the 1940s, ascends to the presidency and steers the nation toward fascism.

Telling this story through the eyes of a Jewish community in New Jersey, the show had eerie political resonance upon its initial release and is a crucial reminder that what happened in Germany could happen anywhere. Featuring riveting performances, a shocking level of realism, and, and wonderful scripts, The Plot Against America is as riveting as it is unsettling.

Editors' Recommendations

Joe Allen
Joe Allen is a freelance writer based in upstate New York focused on movies and TV.
5 underrated drama shows you should watch on Netflix
Two girls lean on each other in Echoes.

Netflix has so much content, it’s tough to filter through it all. How do you know what to watch? Thanks to news, trailers, and Netflix’s clever and personalized recommendations engine, the most high-profile shows are always on your radar. But how do you find those hidden gems, the shows you might not have heard of but are probably right up your alley, or fit your particular mood?

When it comes to dramas on Netflix, it isn’t all about hits like The Night Agent, Bridgerton, and Ozark. There are others that you might find worth adding to your watch list. These five shows below are worthy candidates for your time.
Imposters (2017-2018)

Read more
Where to watch A Christmas Story
Peter Billingsley in "A Christmas Story."

This year marks the 40th anniversary of A Christmas Story, one of the most beloved holiday movies of all time. But it wasn't always celebrated as a classic. With the passage of time, most have forgotten that A Christmas Story was only moderately successful in theaters (it made $19.2 million at the box office). It wasn't until TNT and TBS began regularly airing A Christmas Story during the holiday season that the film's popularity really took off.

The film was based on Jean Shepherd's novel In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash, which was inspired by his life. Shepherd even has a role in the film as the voice of an older Ralph Parker who narrates the story. But the bulk of the movie belongs to young Peter Billingsley as Ralphie, a 9-year-old kid who has a very specific request for Christmas: a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle. Of course, a child that age shouldn't be playing with guns, hence the film's running gag and iconic catchphrase: "You'll shoot your eye out, kid."

Read more
Where to watch Love Actually
Keira Knightley and Chiwetel Ejiofor in Love Actually.

Most romantic comedies tend to focus on one or two couples. However, Love Actually ups the ante with eight different couples throughout the film, and you might need a scorecard to keep up with them all. Director Richard Curtis assembled an all-star cast for his ultimate rom-com. And it's also a Christmas movie!

Love Actually plays well year-round, but it's become a holiday favorite over the last two decades. This year also marks the 20th anniversary for Love Actually, which makes it the perfect time to revisit this classic flick -- preferably with someone you love. But for the single folks, there's a lot to like here as well.
Where is Love Actually streaming?

Read more