11 Best War & Politics Movies to Watch
This historical fantasy show is based on the best-selling novel The Saxon Stories, a story set during the Viking / Dane invasion of Britain.
Uhtred was a small boy when he was kidnapped and then raised by the Danes. When he unexpectedly gets caught up in the conflict, his half-Saxon half-Dane mix makes at the same time valuable and untrustworthy for both sides.
There has never been a better alternative to Game of Thrones. The great writing and great performances from a cast of newcomers inevitably induce the same sense of addiction.
Netflix's resurrection of the hit Danish drama Borgen comes in the form of Borgen: Power & Glory, a miniseries that sees Birgitte Nyborg (played by powerhouse Sidse Babett Knudsen) step down as prime minister and take over the foreign minister position while wrangling over power, principle, and family. In this particular revival, Birgitte butts head with the new prime minister, who is all for drilling oil in the autonomous region of Greenland despite Birgitte’s firm stance against climate change. The event turns into a geopolitical crisis that tests Birgitte’s values.
The series is as whipsmart, relevant, and funny as ever, although if you haven't seen previous seasons of the show yet, don't fret. Borgen: Power & Glory efficiently catches you up on all you need to know in the first few minutes. It’s a standalone, engaging drama that’s a breeze to go through at just eight episodes.
What if the 1960s space race never ended? For All Mankind imagines such a world; here, Russia's cosmonauts arrive on the moon first, the galaxy holds resources beyond belief, and global wars have expanded in stakes and scale. More than just the final frontier, outer space is now the focal point of warring nations hungry to capitalize and claim new assets.
For All Mankind's out-of-this-world premise alone make it a thrilling watch, but you'll be glad to know that the show also feels intimate and affecting thanks to its fully fleshed-out characters. If you're looking for an epic but grounded story to lose yourself in, this is it.
Produced by National Geographic, A Small Light is a ten-part miniseries that tells the incredible true story of Miep Gies (Bel Powley), the Dutch woman who bravely hid her Jewish friends from the Nazis during World War II. Among these friends is her kindly mentor Otto Frank (Liev Schreiber) and his daughter Anne (Billie Boullet), both of whom form a tight bond with Miep.
More than just re-adapting Anne Frank's story to the screen, A Small Light further fleshes it out by introducing other characters in depth and giving surrounding heroes their due. In fact, it's as much about courage as it is about survival as it highlights what it takes to lend a hand (and possibly lose it) when you don't need to. It also helps that this noble message comes with a massive budget and excellent performers, elements that tie everything together in this high-quality series.
Based on true events, A Spy Among Friends tells the story of Kim Philby (Guy Pearce) and Nicholas Elliot (Damian Lewis), best friends who worked for MI6, that is until Philby defected to the Soviet Union. Subject to inquisition and intense scrutiny, Philby and Elliot test the strength of their friendship against growing political turmoil.
The series starts slow and the dialogue, while smart, can get heavy-handed. But if you give it some time, the payoffs are rewarding. The sets are immersive as it spans different eras and countries; the actors are charismatic as they present enigmatic layers for us to unfold; and the particulars of espionage manage to feel freshly shocking in a story told many times before.
Artful, well-performed, and gripping, A Spy Among Friends is a great watch for fans of voluble but intelligent thrillers.
By imagining a plausible world in which World War II is avoided when an American populist president cozies up to Hitler, The Plot Against America becomes an effective allegory for all the ways well-meaning citizens gradually allow fascists to take power. Every perspective espoused by the Levins—a Jewish family grappling with the new president's endorsement of anti-Semitism—is treated as just one partially correct response that's ultimately just too little, too late. These ideological discussions that make up the heart of the miniseries are nevertheless filmed on a grand scale, and played with real fervor by an ensemble cast that includes Morgan Spector, Zoe Kazan, Winona Ryder, and John Turturro.
Revenge stories are always fun, especially if you have someone like Jella Haase (who plays the titular spy Kleo) to helm them. Haase switches from scorned to spritely with such ease, making the otherwise formulaic plot of the show a breeze to watch. The disguises, the getaways, the killings, and the chase are all expected but nonetheless enjoyable in this show.
If you’re looking for the next Killing Eve, this just might be it. Aside from the leads’ cheerfully deadly ways, the two shows also share the similarity of having enemies obsessing with each other, resulting in a cat-and-mouse chase that’s hard to peel your eyes off from.
In 2013, following the Ukrainian government’s termination of an EU agreement (in blatant disregard of what its citizens have been calling for), a wave of peaceful protests start to crop up at the country’s capital. Things escalate when the police violently disperse the protestors, but the people of Ukraine are not so easily held down. They fight back, growing in number and conviction each time they do, until an all-out war finally breaks out.
Winter on Fire documents this series of events, staying close to the ground and allowing bits of humanity to shine through its subjects. In between chilling clips of the clashes, we're shown intimate interviews with people of all walks of life. They're doctors, actors, students, bankers, lawyers, and clergymen, from various classes, races, religions, and genders. Despite their many differences, all of them share one hope: to secure a better future for the people of Ukraine.
This six-episode whodunit isn’t breaking any new ground, but it’s entertaining and engaging, especially with the rebellious Lidia Poët (Matilda De Angelis) as the lead. She’s smart and determined but not wholly immune to weaknesses—a sort of Enola Holmes for the more mature crowd. Her story is also a timeless reminder of the uphill battle women have fought (and are continuing to fight) for visibility and equality.
The familiar setup might also work for classic mystery fans. It’s a treat to dive into each episode knowing a new case is to be solved and a new lesson to be learned. The ending might be predictable at times, but this is one of those shows where the journey matters more than the destination. Italy in the early 20th century was a surprisingly restrictive and patriarchal society, making Lidia's successes all the more noteworthy and resonant.