Fans of Band of Brothers and The Pacific will love Masters of the Air, the new Apple TV+ series set during World War II. Masters of the Air follows the actions of the 100th Bomb Group, which gained the nickname the Bloody Hundredth. Key figures in the 100th include Major Gale “Buck” Cleven (Austin Butler), Major John “Bucky” Egan (Callum Turner), Lt. Harry Crosby (Anthony Boyle), and Lt. Curtis Biddick (Barry Keoghan).
While Masters of the Air is a television show, there are plenty of WWII movies available to watch right now. Here are five movies to watch if you like Masters of the Air. Our picks include a war movie from Christopher Nolan, a Steven Spielberg classic, and an alternate history revenge film.
The greatest film set in the Pacific Theater during World War II is arguably 1998’s The Thin Red Line, which marked Terrence Malick’s first feature film since 1978. The war epic follows the men of C Company in 1942 as they prepare to advance on Japanese troops in Guadalcanal.
Featured soldiers include Private Witt (Jim Caviezel), Sgt. Welsh (Sean Penn), Capt. James Staros (Elias Koteas), and Lt. Col. Gordon Tall (Nick Nolte). C Company goes through hell and back as they witness the horrors of war and its subsequent atrocities. As the men face numerous life-or-death situations, staying alive becomes more important than winning the war.
Stream The Thin Red Line on Starz.
While Masters of the Air follows the U.S. Air Force, Dunkirk depicts the actions of Allied soldiers from European nations during the Dunkirk evacuation. Over 300,000 British and French soldiers are stranded in Dunkirk. The Germans rule the air and land, so the only way back to England is by sea. In a desperate attempt to save soldiers, Britain sends civilian boats to Dunkirk to rescue soldiers.
Before Oppenheimer, Dunirk could have easily been considered Nolan’s best film. Dunkirk uses a nonlinear narrative to portray the evacuation through three storylines: a young soldier (Fionn Whitehead) on the ground at Dunkirk, a group of civilians led by Mr. Dawson (Mark Rylance) at sea, and two Royal Air Force fighter pilots (Tom Hardy and Jack Lowden) in the air. It’s a master class in suspense and spectacle from Nolan.
Because Greyhound went directly to streaming during the heart of the pandemic, the film came and went without impacting pop culture. Upon revisiting the film, Greyhound is a solid thriller with exciting battle sequences and fast-paced action. Based on C.S. Forester’s novel The Good Shepherd, Greyhound stars Tom Hanks as Commander Ernest Krause, the captain of the destroyer USS Keeling (known by the radio call Greyhound) during The Battle of the Atlantic in 1942.
Despite Krause’s age and rank, this is his first wartime mission. Greyhound must cross dangerous waters to bring soldiers and supplies to Great Britain. However, the ship becomes the target of German U-boats. Forced to survive four days without air protection, Krause and Greyhound must outsmart and outlast the German attack long enough to reach their destination.
After just the opening sequence on the beaches in Normandy, Saving Private Ryan was well on its way to becoming one of the greatest war films of all time. Following D-Day, Captain John H. Miller is tasked with locating and retrieving James Francis Ryan (Matt Damon). Private Ryan’s three brothers have been killed in action, so the U.S. Army is sending Ryan home to save his family from losing all four boys.
With Ryan missing in France, Captain Miller sets off to find him with a team of seven soldiers, including Mike Horvath (Tom Sizemore), Richard Reiben (Edward Burns), and Timothy Upham (Jeremy Davies). Facing an uphill battle, Captain Miller and his men must survive tough odds against German forces while coming to grips with risking eight lives to save one.
Stream Saving Private Ryan on Paramount+.
Quentin Tarantino plays by his own rules. The genius filmmaker decided to rewrite World War II history and inject his signature style into his revenge thriller Inglourious Basterds. In 1941, a young Jewish refugee, Shosanna Dreyfus (Mélanie Laurent), watches her family get slaughtered by Nazi Colonel Hans Landa (Hans Landa) before narrowly escaping.
Three years later, Shosanna plans to exact revenge on the Nazis by luring them all to a theater she owns to air a Nazi propaganda movie. Unbeknownst to Shosanna, Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) and his group of Jewish-American soldiers – “The Basterds” – are planning an attack on Landa and the Nazis. It all culminates in one fateful night at the theater. It’s a Tarantino movie, so you know how this ends.
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