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World War I: What to see and read

A scene from DreamWorks Pictures'

A scene from DreamWorks Pictures' "War Horse," director Steven Spielberg's epic adventure set against a sweeping canvas of rural England and Europe during the First World War. Credit: Dreamworks / Andrew Cooper

Essential World War I movies, books and plays:

Wings The first Oscar winner for best picture, this 1927 silent film features spectacular aerial sequences.

A Farewell to Arms Ernest Hemingway's classic novel, about the love affair between an American ambulance driver and an English nurse, has been filmed twice, in 1932 (Gary Cooper, Helen Hayes) and 1957 (Rock Hudson, Jennifer Jones).

All Quiet on the Western Front Erich Maria Remarque's shattering 1929 novel, about a German soldier's experiences during World War I, was brilliantly filmed in 1930, with Lew Ayres in the lead, and super-realistic battle scenes. Oscar winner for director and picture.

Grand Illusion This 1937 masterpiece is about class relationships between French officers held in a German prison.

Paths of Glory Stanley Kubrick's 1957 film, based on a Humphrey Cobb novel, is the story of three French soldiers unjustly executed for cowardice. Kirk Douglas gives one of his finest performances.

Many Wars Ago A 1970 film detailing the stupidity, arrogance and sadism of Italian officers in their campaign against the Austrian Army. Very grim.

Gallipoli Mel Gibson stars in this 1981 film, about the disastrous campaign fought by Australian troops against the Ottoman Empire in Turkey.

A Very Long Engagement Based on the 1991 Sébastien Japrisot novel, this 2005 French film stars Audrey Tatou as a woman searching for her fiancé, who might have been killed in the battle of the Somme.

Joyeux Noel The Oscar-nominated 2005 French film is about the 1914 Christmas truce, when the opposing sides laid down their arms to celebrate the holiday.

Journey's End R.C. Sherriff's 1928 drama, set entirely in a 1918 British Army dugout, was filmed in 1930 by "Frankenstein" director James Whale, and given a top-notch, Tony Award-winning Broadway revival in 2007.

War Horse The 2011 Tony Award-winning play about a U.K. farm horse sold to the British cavalry was notable for its innovative staging and later made into a feature film directed by Steven Spielberg.

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