13 best films and series about prisoners of war

Word of mouth soldier radio worked in all armies, so the soldiers knew what awaited them in captivity. Sometimes the rumors were so terrible that the prospect of becoming a prisoner of war was more frightening than death. And if the prisoners are away from home for a long time in unbearable conditions, then whatever the outcome, they will never be able to look at the world the way they used to. Impressive stories, whether told by themselves or inspired by writers’ memoirs, are the catalyst for truly dramatic POW films.

Devyataev (2021)

The film tells the real story of pilot Mikhail Devyatayev. Events are developing in the summer of 1944. Mikhail is captured and a difficult choice looms before him – to side with the enemy and fight for Germany or perish in a concentration camp. The brave soldier is not satisfied with both options, and he decides on a daring escape from the island of Usedom, where the Nazis are conducting secret tests. The hero plans to fly away using the latest military equipment of the enemy.

What do you think, is it worth filming a sequel, and what should be in it?

Genre:  
Biography, drama, history

Actors:  
Pavel Priluchny, Pavel Chinarev, Evgeny Serzin …

Country:  
Russia

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 6.2, IMDb – 4.8

Age restrictions:  
12+


Badaber Fortress (mini-series 2018)

The heroic series about captured soldiers is based on real events of the war in Afghanistan . In the center of the plot is the uprising in the Badaber camp in 1985. The protagonist, scout Nikitin, receives an assignment to infiltrate Pakistan in order to obtain information about the training of the Mujahideen here by American advisers. He needs to collect evidence, and then leave the fortress. Having almost completed the task, the hero sees Russian prisoners of war, and among them his friend. The man decides to take a desperate step – to help his compatriots escape.

Genre:  
Drama, military

Actors:  
Sergey Marin, Svetlana Ivanova, Sergey Kolesnikov …

Country:  
Russia

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 7.8, IMDb – 7.1

Age restrictions:  
16+


Sobibor (2018)

In 1943, the Sobibor concentration camp existed on the territory of Poland. The Nazis brought Jews there from all over the world. The main character of the film, Alexander Pechersky, a Soviet lieutenant with Jewish roots, also turned out to be here. Together with other prisoners, he organized an uprising in a short period of time and developed an escape plan. The escape from Sobibor was the only successful act of disobedience in the death camp in history.

Genre:  
Military, drama

Actors:  
Konstantin Khabensky, Christopher Lambert, Felice Jankell …

Country:  
Russia

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 6.4, IMDb – 6.3

Age restrictions:  
12+


Kunham: Frontier Island (2017)

This film about captivity is dedicated to another dark story from real life – the history of Hashima Island. During the Japanese military expansion, captive workers worked here for many years as a slave force for coal mining. Korean adults are sent to workshops, children to mines, and women to brothels . By chance, music worker Lee Gan-ok gets here with a child, and he needs to get out of the Battleship Island at all costs in order to save his daughter.

Original title:
Gunhamdo

Genre:
Military, drama, action

Actors:
Hwang Jong-min, So Ji-sop, Song Joong-gi …

Country:
South Korea

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.4, IMDb – 7.1

Age limit:
16+


My land (2015)

The film takes place in the post-war period . After the liberation from the occupation of Denmark , it is necessary to clear the west coast of mines. It was decided that young German prisoners of war would be thrown into dangerous work. Sergeant Rasmussen takes command of the future suicide bombers. A stern man will have to watch how yesterday ‘s schoolchildren , after a short training, will go to sandy beaches and many will end their lives there.

Original title:  
Under sandet

Genre:  
Drama, military, history

Actors:  
Roland Möller, Louis Hofmann, Joel Basman…

Country:  
Denmark, Germany

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 7.7, IMDb – 7.8

Age restrictions:  
18+


Unbroken (2014)

This film about the prisoners will tell about how the fate of the talented American athlete Louis Zamperini developed during the war. The purposeful guy did not manage to perform at the Olympic Games again, because the fighting began. The young man went to the front of the Second World War and during one of the operations Zamperini and his comrades were shot down over the ocean . The pilots were picked up by a Japanese ship, but did the rescued Americans think what tests await them in captivity?

Original title:  
Unbroken

Genre:  
Biography, military, drama

Actors:  
Jack O’Connell, Donal Gleason, Miyavi …

Country:  
USA

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 7.4, IMDb – 7.2

Age restrictions:  
18+


Prisoners of war (TV series, 2009 – 2012)

Israel, modern times. Two soldiers return home after 17 years of captivity. Now they have to adjust to new realities and reacquaint themselves with the world that has changed so much. Their children are already adults, their parents are no longer alive, their friends have changed, and the once beloved spouses have turned into completely strangers. Will Uri Zach and Nimrod Kline be able to feel safe and just live again? Will they be able to forget the horrors of war?

Original title:
Hatufim

Genre:
Thriller, drama, detective

Actors:
Yishai Golan, Yoram Toledano, Yael Abecassis …

Country:
Israel

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.1, IMDb – 8.4

Age restrictions:
16+


Captive (2008)

A war film about prisoners takes the viewer to Chechnya. Two soldiers – the silent Shirt and the lively Vovka are given the task of finding a local resident so that he can lead the detachment through a dangerous gorge. Young people catch the Chechen Jamal. The prisoner can be used as payment for the passage through the blocked road. Now you just need to deliver the conductor to your column. The three of them have to go a long way, fraught with mortal dangers from people and nature.

Genre:
Drama, military

Actors:  
Julia Peresild, Vyacheslav Krikunov, Petr Logachev …

Country:  
Russia, Bulgaria

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 6.3, IMDb – 6.1

Age restrictions:  
16+


Rescue Dawn (2006)

The filmmakers were inspired by the true story of an American lieutenant shot down over Laos. All his life, the German Dieter Dengler dreamed of the sky and finally left for the United States, where he became an Air Force pilot. During the Vietnam War in 1966, his attack aircraft was shot down and Dieter was taken prisoner. In unbearable conditions, the young guy did not lose heart, made an escape, but, making his way through the jungle , he saw too much, as the CIA considered …

Original title:  
Rescue Dawn

Genre:
Biography, military, drama

Actors:  
Christian Bale, Steve Zahn, Zach Grenier …

Country:  
USA, Luxembourg

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 7.0, IMDb – 7.3

Age restrictions:  
16+


Escape from Colditz Castle (2005)

The events of the film take the viewer to the beginning of World War II. For two of the three British who fled, the attempt to break free was unsuccessful. Now Jack Rose and Tom Willis are being transferred to a concentration camp at Colditz Castle, where only the most recalcitrant get to. Meanwhile, their third comrade still got to the ranks of the allies. He is sent to his homeland, where a man is looking for the bride of a captive friend. True, after arriving at the place, the hero falls head over heels in love with a new acquaintance and is now ready to do anything to win her heart, including lying that her fiancé is dead.

Original title:
Colditz

Genre:
Drama, military

Actors:
Damian Lewis, Sophia Miles, Tom Hardy…

Country:
United Kingdom

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.4, IMDb – 6.7

Age limit:
16+


Hart’s War (2002)

The war drama film is based on a novel by John Katzenbach. The film’s narrative introduces us to Tommy Hart, a law student. At the end of the war, the young man is captured by the Germans. There he begins to communicate with another prisoner. Together, the men become embroiled in a conspiracy of prisoners and attempt to arrange an escape. However, this is not so easy to do. After all, German Colonel Werner stands in their way – a convinced Nazi who is not easy to deceive.

Original title:  
Hart’s War

Genre:  
Drama, military

Actors:  
Bruce Willis, Colin Farrell, Terrence Howard …

Country:  
USA

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 6.4, IMDb – 6.3

Age restrictions:  
16+


Last War (2001)

During World War II, a group of Scottish soldiers under the command of Lieutenant Colonel McLean are captured by the Japanese. They are sent to the jungle to build a railway. Refusal to work means imminent execution. The prisoners are treated badly, because according to the Japanese code they are traitors and unworthy. Despite the fact that the thoughts of escape border on insanity, the characters of the film still do not give up trying to change their fate.

Original title:
To End All Wars

Genre:
Action, drama, military

Actors:
Ciaran McMenamin, Robert Carlyle, Kiefer Sutherland …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.1, IMDb – 7.0

Age restrictions:
16+


Prisoner of the Caucasus (1996)

The plot of the film is inspired by the short story of the same name by Leo Tolstoy. During the war in the Caucasus, two Soviet soldiers, ensign Sasha and a simple conscript Zhilin, are captured by a local resident. The old man from the remote village of Abdul-Murat pursues only one goal – to exchange the prisoners for his son, who is with the Russians. However, the exchange will never take place, and will lead to a series of tragic events.

Genre:
Drama, military

Actors:  
Oleg Menshikov, Sergey Bodrov Jr., Dzhemal Sikharulidze …

Country:  
Russia, Kazakhstan

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 7.6, IMDb – 7.6

Age restrictions:  
16+


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Jared Lambert/ author of the article

I’ve been writing about movies, TV shows and anime for over 3 years, and you may have seen my reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.

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