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Film Genres

This guide highlights library resources for some of the more popular film genres.

An introduction to war films

An enduring, varied, international genre showing scenes of war. Home-front dramas, veteran films, service comedies, basic training films, documentaries, prisoner-of-war movies, and partisan films may all be regarded as war films. However, the war film is generally (if somewhat arbitrarily) regarded as featuring scenes of combat that are dramatically central and that determine the fate of the film’s principal characters—hence the other commonly used term, combat film. As a sub-set of the history film, filmmakers have shown the wars of ancient Greece and Rome, medieval crusades, the Napoleonic wars, and the US Civil War (the latter described as ‘war pictures’ in the early film trade press); and yet the genre is typically associated with 20th-century wars: for example, the Edison Company’s films of the Spanish-American War and British films of the Boer War are often claimed to be the earliest war films.  ...

Kuhn, A., & Westwell, G. (2020). war film. In A Dictionary of Film Studies. : Oxford University Press. Retrieved 17 May. 2021

Finding library resources for war films

To find film resources on wars in general or a specific war, you can use the subject headings like the ones below.

Introductory reading(s)

Selected book titles

Finding articles & journals

Articles and other writings about war movies can be found in many publications. We don't have any periodicals that look exclusively at war films in our collections.  You can use Film & Television Literature Index to find articles.

Selected list of war films

Find more war films in the library's online catalog.