Peter Jackson's Top 6 WWI films

All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

"Made in 1930, only 12 years after the war, this is a terrific film.

"It is told from the point of view of a young German soldier, which is unusual for its day.

"I first saw it on television as a young boy and I remember my first reaction to the very primitive sound and picture quality was soon replaced by total involvement in the story.

"The camera angles and staged battle footage have been copied in almost every World War 1 film made since. Many of the extras were veterans of the real battles, and it has a very authentic feeling.

"The final image is unforgettable."

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

"Not much needs to be said about this masterpiece.

"It’s impossible to make a film like this today. The cost would be too prohibitive.

"Enjoy a wonderful film, and marvel at a form of epic location film-making that will never be repeated. The 'extended restored' version is actually worth seeing. It fills in some valuable gaps in the narrative, especially during Lawrence’s capture by the Turks."

Paths of Glory (1957)

"Another strong memory of childhood television watching.

"The film draws you in, and becomes also excruciating to watch as it reaches its climax. Its Stanley Kubrick in top form.

"His long tracking shot following the French soldiers as they cross No Man’s Land was another much-copied piece of cinematic brilliance.

"The camera leading Kirk Douglas as he strides down the narrow trench is the finest Steadicam shot ever done, a couple of decades before the Steadicam was actually invented."

Gallipoli (1981)

"There is a great movie waiting to be made about the Anzac’s experience at Gallipoli, and this is not it.

"However, as a story of Aussie 'mateship' with great performances and a powerful ending (I choke back the tears every time I watch it), it is without equal.

The film has some historic flaws – the climatic Lighthorse charge on the Nek at Gallipoli on August 1915 was not doomed because the 'British were drinking tea on the beach', as the film claims.

It was doomed because while the Australians charged the Nek from below, the New Zealanders, who were supposed to simultaneously attack from above, didn’t show up.

"But that’s another story, one i’d love to make as the 100th anniversary gets closer."

The Blue Max (1966)

"Not the finest film in the world and not really the fifth best World War I film, but for me, personally, it needs to be included.

"One of my hobbies is World War I aviation and it all started here. I didn't see the film when it was released in 1966, but my Dad took me to a tiny Paraparamu cinema to watch in the early 70s.

"I was instantly fascinated by the dogfight sequences (and bored by the 'talking bits' in between).

"I was even more captivated when Dad told me that pilots were killed during the film's production. (I later learnt that was untrue. It was in a film called Zeppelin, made a few years later, that there was a fatal crash).

"I started to study the aircraft and came to admire the replica planes the film company had built for the film. In some sequences, a dozen aircraft are dogfighting. There are a few dodgy model shots, but most of the flying is done for real, which still impresses, in this CGI age.

"The hero, played by George Peppard, flies a Pfalz D.III (the story is told from the German point of view), and I made a model of the Pfalz out of cardboard.

"Years later, I found the original Blue Max Pfalz rotting in an Alabama hanger. I bought it and have restored it to flying condition. We fly the Pfalz at our airshows, which features my World War I aircraft collection- all of which is inspired by The Blue Max.

"Much of what I do today is directly connected to the movies I saw as a kid."

Beneath Hill 60 (2010)

"I thought this was a terrific film. It's a movie that confronts and destroys its low budget limitations by having terrific heart. Watching the film gives you a strong sense that everyone involved really cared about what they were making.

"It's interesting how few films there have been about World War I, and this movie centres on the tunnelling which is a fascinating aspect of the trench warfare. I can't think of another film that features this subject.

"Birdsong (the novel by Sebastian Faulks) will, if it ever gets made into a film.

"At the end, I was choking back my Gallipoli tears all over again."

Beneath Hill 60 is released on DVD October 11 2010

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