Hollywood has done its very best to correct this mistake since, but there was a time when the world kicked the crap out of each other without any help from the US.
Anyway, to acknowledge the fact, Hecklerspray has rummaged through the annals of history to come up with the 20 best non-American war films.
Now, that’s not to say there are no Americans featured at all – that would be impossible.
But what we have tried to do is come up with either films about wars which did not involve the US at all or war stories told from a different country’s point of view.
It was difficult, we really struggled to cram it down into just 20, so we added a few honourable mentions.
Now, we are sure you have your own suggestions, and we are sure you miserable lot will have no hesitation in telling us which films we missed.
20. The Eagle Has Landed (1976)
We love this film about German paratroopers landing in England and trying to kidnap Winston Churchill so much we even forgot Michael Caine was playing a German. Well, almost.
19. Hotel Rwanda (2004)
Ok, so the subject matter is hardly fun family viewing. But it’s a movie you are not likely to forget in a hurry.
18. Taegukgi hwinalrimyeo (2004)
M.A.S.H was never like this.
17. Waterloo (1971)
Some of the best battle scenes ever filmed. Simply stunning.
16. Devils on the Doorstep (2000)
Jiang Wen’s masterpiece about the Japanese invasion of China has the least Hollywood ending of all time. Not your average war film.
15. The Battle of Algiers (1966)
Some of the scenes from Gillo Pontecorvo’s movie about the Algerian War of Independence is so real it feels like a documentary.
It was banned in France, which can only be a good thing.
14. Cromwell (1970)
Richard Harris is simply superb as the Protestant leader who ruled England during the 17th century.
Just don’t rely on the film for your history homework.
13. Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
Alec Guinness maintains a stiff upper lip, despite being in a Japanese POW camp.
12. The Counterfeiters (2007)
A brilliant film about how the Germans tried to win the Second World War by crippling US and British currency. Of course, politicians these days are doing a very job of doing that without the need of counterfeiters.
11. Ran (1985)
Want to get schoolchildren interested in Shakespeare? Just show them Akira Kurosawa’s brilliant adaptation of King Lear.
10. The Dam Busters (1954)
Whether it’s the clipped British accents, the ridiculous facial hair or the unforgettable soundtrack, leaving out this 50s classic about the incredible success of the bouncing bomb during the Second World War out would be a dash bad show.
Note the Star Wars references in the clip.
9. Dr Zhivago (1965)
Ok, this is probably just an excuse to use a video of Julie Christie back in her heyday.
8. Das Boot (1981)
This film, set in the claustrophobic world of a German U-Boat during the Second World War, is so good you almost feel like rooting for the Germans.
Actually, maybe not.
7. El Cid (1961)
OK, so Charlton Heston is very much American.
But the fact he’s playing an 11th Century Spanish warrior who helps drive the Moors out of his country and spends most of the final scenes as a corpse strapped to a horse means the film gets a pass.
6. Lawrence Of Arabia (1962)
Someone once told us there is are no women in David Lean’s masterpiece about the legendary T. E. Lawrence. Can someone tell us if that’s true.
5. Stalingrad (1993)
Vilsmaier’s vision of the battle of Stalingrad from the point of view of a disillusioned German platoon is so brutal and realistic it makes Saving Private Ryan look like a teddy bear’s picnic.
Sorry, the clip above has no subtitles.
4. Downfall (2004)
A gripping account of Hitler’s last days. Happy ending too!
3. Vita è bella, La (1997)
Worth its place purely for doing the impossible: making the Holocaust funny.
2. Come and See (1985)
A movie about the Nazi occupation of Belarus, Come and See is disturbing as it is powerful. Next time you are in the video shop with your girlfriend, recommend it. She’ll love it, honest.
1. Zulu (1964)
What is it about war films and football that makes men blub like babies?
We’ll sit through movies about puppies being tortured without barely a flicker of emotion. But show us a film in which a group of soldiers overcome overwhelming odds and it’s pass the tissues.
If ever there is a film that captures that spirit it’s Zulu. The 1964 movie about a small regiment trying to keep the British end up in Southern Africa in 1879 against all the odds is simply a masterpiece.
The immortal words “Zulus, sir. Thousands of them…” will live long in the memory.
The Cruel Sea
Land and Freedom
The Battle of Britain