THE GREAT DICTATOR (1940)

Charlie Chaplin’s skewering of Adolf Hitler was ahead of its time, then stood the test of time.

FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953)

A big romantic melodrama among army guys and ladies on Hawaii, with the impending doom of Pearl Harbor hanging over everything.

DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (1965)

An epic of Russian history that’s more interested in its central love dodecahedron than it is in Russian history, a fact that leaves me wondering what the point of it all is.

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP (1943)

A truly amazing movie that takes a negative stereotype and helps us understand him, in beautiful technicolor, with some of the most interesting performances I’ve seen, all made in England during the Blitz.

GOING MY WAY (1944)

Bing Crosby plays a laid-back, musical priest in this very laid-back musical that was a huge hit in the middle of World War II but mostly forgotten today.

ROMA CITTÁ APERTA (1945)

Perhaps the definitive “neorealist” film, shot in the rubble of Occupied Rome just after the Nazis had left.

CASABLANCA (1942)

Maybe the classic Old Hollywood movie, made at the height of World War II and maybe one big metaphor for the war itself.

SOPHIE’S CHOICE (1982)

Meryl Streep’s all-timer of a performance can’t make me ever want to watch this movie again.