1 May 2011

The Best On-Screen Resistance Fighters

Real world resistance fighters have not only made an impact on the world politically, they’ve also been the inspiration for some cracking films. May sees another excellent title released to add to that list – OUTSIDE THE LAW, a tense tale of the Algerian resistance to the French occupancy in the years following the Second World War. We mark the occasion by looking down the best on-screen resistance fighters, from the painfully researched biopics to the wilfully inaccurate action romps...

1. Defiance
After the brutal death of their parents under Nazi orders, four brothers, under the leadership of Daniel Craig, escape and lead a group of Jews through Nazi occupied Poland during World War II. Based on a true story, the Bielski partisans join resistance fighters and attempt to build a village to protect themselves from the occupying forces, saving hundreds of lives in the process.

2. Charlotte Grey 
Based on the novel by Sebastian Faulks and starring Cate Blanchett, Charlotte Gray, a young Scottish woman, joins the French resistance during World War II, hoping to discover the fate of her lover who has been lost in occupied France.  The film is anchored by typically stirring performance from the always-brilliant Blanchet.

3. Inglourious Basterds 
Directed by Quentin Tarantino and starring Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger and Eli Roth, a group of Jewish-American soldiers, known as ‘The Basterds’, rampage through Nazi-occupied France during World War II, tasked with spreading fear throughout the Third Reich.  Not the most realistic portrayal of the war, admittedly, but a cracking adventure none the less.

4. Braveheart
After losing both his father and wife at the hands of the English, legendary Scottish rebel William Wallace leads an uprising against the oppressive English in a quest to make Scotland free once and for all. An iconic role for Mel Gibson and a film that has stood the test of time, despite Gibson’s subsequent misgivings.

5. Last of the Mohicans 
Michael Mann’s period epic tells the tale of a budding romance between a British officer's daughter and an independent man, played by Daniel Day Lewis, who was reared as a Mohican complicates things, as he pursues his own agenda despite the wrath of different people on both sides of the conflict. Based on James Fenimore Cooper’s classic novel.

6. Joan Of Arc
French action auteur cast his then wife Milla Jovovich as French national heroine and Catholic Saint Joan of Arc, who took on the English invaders after hearing the word of god. Some have questioned the film’s historical accuracy; it’s a blistering, breathtaking period romp none the less.

7. Outside The Law
An epic, explosive historical thriller, acclaimed director Rachid Bouchareb new film is set amongst the Algerian resistance fighting against French occupancy in the aftermath of the Second World War. The film caused controversy in France, opening raw wounds, but Bouchareb’s intelligent portrayal doesn’t trivialise the issue at all and it eventually nominated for the Best Foreign Language Oscar.

Outside The Law is in cinemas 6 May 2011

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