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History Podcasts

Join a Marine Veteran, a film critic, and a theater director as they laugh, argue, and explore the history of humanity's triumphs and tragedies through war films old and new. War is Hell. People make films about it. And we love to talk about them. New episodes every other Friday!

Join a Marine Veteran, a film critic, and a theater director as they laugh, argue, and explore the history of humanity's triumphs and tragedies through war films old and new. War is Hell. People make films about it. And we love to talk about them. New episodes every other Friday!


United States


Join a Marine Veteran, a film critic, and a theater director as they laugh, argue, and explore the history of humanity's triumphs and tragedies through war films old and new. War is Hell. People make films about it. And we love to talk about them. New episodes every other Friday!




The Battle of Algiers

A rebellion film if there ever was one, Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo's magnum opus dramatizes the fight against French Colonialism in 1950s Algeria. A quintessential example of Italian neorealism, the documentary-style of the filming, the film stock itself, and the use of non-professional actors give this film a gritty, real-life feel. It has been an inspiration to terrorist organizations and governments alike, and is an important and thought-provoking part of cinema history. Next...



Are we doing it? We're doing it! We are diving into our very first musical! Depicting two pivotal battles in the American Revolutionary war (1775-1783), it certainly has some war in it. And it is a FILMed performance of the stage play. It has been a sensation since its debut on Broadway for good reason, and it really does bring some of America's founding fathers to life with that wonderful blend of jazz and hip-hop that only Lin-Manuel Miranda could pull off. Constitutional rap battles,...


The Wind that Shakes the Barley

From British director Ken Loach, this story is set in 1920 during the War for Irish Independence, depicting the conflict between Irish militants and occupying British forces, and the internal struggle between the newly formed Irish Free State Army and the IRA. One side supported a treaty with the British, while the other side would only accept an unconditional departure of all British troops from Ireland. Two brothers end up on opposing sides of that conflict in this intimate portrayal of...



Groom your beards and dust-off your Civil War uniforms and dresses, cause we are going back to 1863! This popular Ron Maxwell film has no shortage of stellar actors: Martin Sheen, Jeff Daniels, Tom Berenger, and even Sam Elliot and his mustache make an epic and most welcome return. But is this just a four and a half hour battle reenactment, or is there something more to it? Do we get a neutral and unbiased depiction of the events, or is there an agenda at work? Join us and find out! Next...


The Blue Max

If you are a Patron of the show, you will notice that this is our second film starring George Peppard and THIRD film scored by Jerry Goldsmith in a row! Is this just a coincidence, or some weird thing Liam has been doing with our film selection? Who knows! This week's episode brings us a very famous WWI aviation film from director John Guillermin. It has been simultaneously lauded as one of the most accurate depictions of combat flight in that era, and maligned by the author of the book the...


Seven Days in May

From director John Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate, Birdman of Alcatraz, THE Island of Dr. Moreau) and screenwriter Rod Serling (The Twighlight Zone, Planet of the Apes), comes what many consider one of the best political thrillers of all time! It asks questions of us that are just as relevant now as they were around the time of the JFK assassination: Is the President doing what's best for the country? Can our democracy survive a military coup? How did Kirk Douglas possibly shave...


BONUS EPISODE: Starship Troopers with Paul Sammon

BONUS EPISODE: Starship Troopers with Paul M. Sammon! Just a taste of our Patreon offerings, for anyone who is on the fence. Dan, Katie, and Liam talk with Hollywood legend and film historian Paul M. Sammon about all the bug-hunting details of this classic film from Dutch director Paul Verhoeven. Paul Sammon has been in the business for a long time and was kind enough to sit down with us and tell us stories about his experiences in the film industry, the history of the film, epic mustaches,...


We Were Soldiers

This film is...something. Depicting the first major battle between U.S. forces and the NVA, and the first coordinated use of helicopters in combat, there is no doubt that there is a story here that must be told. The common recollection seems to be that we all liked this film when it came out in 2002. But has it aged well? At first, we were sure Mel Gibson had to have directed and produced the thing...but on closer inspection, it turns out he is only the star of the film. And he's surrounded...


Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Based on Patrick O’Brien’s extensive series of novels set during the Napoleonic wars, and touted as one of the most accurate period pieces ever made, this film features Russell Crowe in his prime as Captain "Lucky" Jack Aubrey, several brave little midshipmen, lots of swashbuckling, and...well, what more do you need? Oh right, maybe a proto-Darwinian expedition to the Galapagos complete with giant tortoises and flightless cormorants, a daring and adventurous biologist...and a battle to the...


The Death of Stalin

From writer/director Armando Iannucci of Veep fame, this dark comedy sheds some light on the inner turmoils of the Soviet government during and after Stalin's death in 1953. Backstabbings and frontstabbings abound, and while it plays it a little loose with the facts, it doesn't have a dull moment. So toss off your cape, lock your doors, and join us before you get reported to the authorities! Available on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other streaming platforms. Next Episode: Master and...


Throne of Blood

Our first foray into acclaimed Japanese director Akira Kurosawa's work, his adaptation of Macbeth has it all! A story of murder, betrayal, ghosts, and samurai, 1957's Throne of Blood (The Castle of the Spider's Web) is as epic as it is intense, especially thanks to Toshiro Mifune's over-the-top performance and an unforgettable end scene. Join us as we get in way over our heads on Shakespeare, Noh theatre, katanas, and witches. Available to stream on Criterion channel or Amazon Prime. Note:...



There are few Hollywood movies more unbelievable than this true story of the mission to rescue six Americans during the Iran Hostage Crisis of 1979, but are the liberties this films takes with the facts justified? Is it pro-CIA propaganda? And is it - in hindsight - deserving of the accolades it received upon its release? Please allow the flight attendant to collect all alcoholic beverages, as we are entering Iranian airspace in the 2012 Ben Affleck-directed Best Picture winner, Argo. Next...


Beau Travail

Inspired by the Herman Melville novella Billy Budd, and shot on a small budget and in defiance of the French Military, the production of this movie saw more combat than actually ended up on the screen. But this tale of bitter obsession in a unit of the French Foreign Legion is as beautiful as it is confounding. Directed by Claire Denis with Cinematographer Agnes Goddard behind the camera, next week we try our hand at our first bona fide Art Film. Available as a Criterion disk or on their...


Kingdom of Heaven

In our second audience choice episode, Kingdom of Heaven just barely beat out The Dam Busters! But this may have been to our detriment, as us hosts collectively had to watch...something like fifteen hours' worth of this movie. And then we had the meta-struggle of deciding whether to cut our own short and long versions of this very episode! In the end, we pulled together what we thought was the best of both worlds: a deep dive into Ridley Scott's phenomenal set design, swords and armor and...


Hot Shots!

Can we still enjoy early, pre-winning Charlie Sheen? How well does a comedy so firmly rooted in the early 90s hold up? Tune in for our possibly ill-advised break from the serious as we venture into the absurdity of this Gulf War/Top Gun spoof from 1991: HOT SHOTS! Next Episode: Kingdom of Heaven (2005)



A story told through the eyes of a British woman as a child, young nurse, and old writer, Atonement is an epic romance spanning from the pre-war years to Britain's strategic retreat at Dunkirk. Joe Wright directs a formidable cast, but with...debatable success. Let's see whether Dan and Katie can defend this war film from the onslaught of Liam's cynicism and David Lean's widow's less than flowery appraisal. And somehow Joel Schumacher makes an appearance too. Go figure. Next Episode: Hot...


Empire of the Sun

The Japanese invasion of China had been ongoing since the early 1930s, but in coordination with the December 7th attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Japanese forces moved into allied colonies on the mainland. This included the international section of Shanghai, where Jamie, the spoiled son of a British manufacturer, becomes separated from his parents in the chaos of war and has to fend for himself in a Japanese internment camp. With powerful performances from Christian Bale, John Malkovich, and...


Jojo Rabbit

In this daring comedy, Taika Waititi tries his hand at historical satire. The story follows a young boy named Jojo in a small German town at the end of WWII; through his interactions with his mother, his imaginary friend Adolf, and a mysterious girl hiding in his attic, Jojo has to come to grips with the reality of Nazi propaganda, and deal with his shifting understanding of the world. Next Episode: Empire of the Sun (1987)


Grave of the Fireflies

Seita and his little sister Setsuko navigate through the aftermath of the firebombings of Kobe in early 1945. Within months of the attack that shattered their lives, the U.S. would drop the only atomic bombs ever used in warfare and bring the Japanese Empire to an unconditional surrender. But before those weapons of mass destruction, there were others. This is a sad film - even Liam couldn't dick-joke his way out of this one - yet in the depths of its tragedy, it is a masterful depiction of...


The Caine Mutiny

A star-studded cast brings the USS Caine to life, a fictional WWII minesweeping-ship commanded by a paranoid and arguably incompetent Captain Queeg (Humphrey Bogart). Training incidents, accusations of icebox theft by the sailors, and finally a dangerous storm that threatens to sink the ship, bring the officers to mutiny, resulting in a third-act court martial for the culprits. Will the Navy side with the Captain, or the crew? Is Queeg a madman? And where the hell are those damn...