Netflix chose to honor veterans in November 2016 by adding nine historical war films to its catalog. The majority of these films that Netflix has added were produced in the 1940s and are stark reminders of the difference between the experience of service members then and now. There’s a new movie about the American Civil War, a John Ford World War II documentary, Frank Capra’s propaganda films, and more. The sum is a sometimes moving historical lesson about American war.
Whereas war today is increasingly about artificial intelligence, the use of drones, cyber attacks, and trucks that utilize bullet-resistant armor and hydrogen fuel cells, that was certainly not the experience of the men and women serving during the World Wars or even Vietnam. The past was about tanks, trenches, and dying far too easily from an infected bullet wound to the leg.
Below, find a list of the war films going up on Netflix in November, so you can honor — and remember — those who served in your own way. Unfortunately, some are not available until a week after Veterans Day, and are noted as such in italics. Consider this your preview.
Men Go to Battle (2015)
In 1861, a farmer from Kentucky tries to maintain his family’s crumbling estate. He soon finds out that his missing brother is fighting for the Union army rather than helping hold their lives together. November 15.
The Battle of Midway (1942)
An American documentary film short directed by John Ford. If you’re looking for in-color war footage of a real battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II, this is the one for you. November 18.
Prelude to War (1942)
This was the first film in Frank Capra’s famous Why We Fight series of war propaganda films. Its soul purpose at the time was convince American troops of the importance of taking on Nazi Germany and the Axis Powers during World War II, but now it’s just equal parts sobering and entertaining. November 18.
San Pietro (1945)
San Pietro is a documentary film shot by Jules Buck and directed by John Huston. It focuses on the Battle of San Pietro Infine, which was sixty miles from Naples during World War II. It was released to the public in 1945 but shown to troops before that. November 18.
If you’re looking for high-flying WWII firefights, then this is the documentary you need to check out. It follows the events of “Operation Strangle,” and was shot in 16mm by members of the Army Air Forces with cameras mounted on some P-47s and a B-25 bomber. November 18.
Tunisian Victory (1944)
A propaganda film for the North Africa Campaign of WWII. Like any good propaganda film, it focuses on the victories. Ultimately, we get to see some of the liberation of Tunis and a rockin’ collaboration between the American and British forces. November 18.
Undercover: How to Operate Behind Enemy Lines (1943)
Spies, spies, and more spies. The title tells it all, really. This is a training film for OSS agents who get dropped behind enemy lines. Learn cover and concealment techniques, as well as the proper way to ambush the enemy. November 18.
Why We Fight: The Battle of Russia (1943)
Another film in Frank Capra’s line of Why We Fight propaganda films. This one’s the longest film in the series, coming in at 83 minutes. Also, here’s a reminder that we can’t account for the accuracy of any of these propaganda films. There’s a reason why these things worked, after all. November 18.
WWII: Report from the Aleutians (1943)
Created by the U.S. Army Signal Corp, this final film is a documentary about the Aleutian Islands Campaign during World War II, directed and narrated by John Huston. November 18.