Masterpieces in wartime

Spoils, treasures and our artistic heritage.

Many war movies are about the personal dramas of a handful of soldiers, who often stand in for the wartime experiences of armies and people at large. Films about the more strategic or abstract aspects of war are few and far between – a famous, Oscarwinning example being the biopic Patton, directed by Franklin J. Schaffner and cowritten by a young Francis Ford Coppola – because viewers like to be able to relate to the characters. A tiny subset of war films has looked at the complex fate of art during armed conflicts, a rich subject matter only a few features have explored, including John Frankenheimer’s 1964 classic The Train, with Burt Lancaster.

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