We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
Hollywood still knows how to make them big, and long, and expensive, but a lot of today’s cinematic epics look puny next to their predecessors. Perhaps that’s why AFI’s July series of wide-screen spectacles was such a hit, encouraging this, well, sequel. Unsurprisingly, war is the recurrent theme. In Robert Rossen’s 1956 Alexander the Great, the hero conquers the known world (Sept. 3 at 6:30 p.m., Sept. 4 at 9 p.m.) and in Franklin J. Schaffner’s 1970 Patton, the hero liberates Western Europe (Sept. 3 at 9 p.m., Sept. 7 at 8:30 p.m.). The three other entries take a somewhat wider view: In Cy Enfield’s 1964 Zulu, badly outnumbered British troops face Zulu warriors in 19th-century South Africa (Sept. 4 at 6:30 p.m., Sept. 6 at 2 p.m.), in Gillo Pontecorvo’s 1966 Battle of Algiers, the French battle to retain their North African empire (Sept. 5 at 6:30 p.m., Sept. 6 at 4:30 p.m.), and in David Lean’s 1957 The Bridge on the River Kwai, Allied POWs stand up to their Japanese captors (pictured, Sept. 5 at 8:45 p.m., Sept. 6 at 8:45 p.m., Sept. 10 at 8:30 p.m.). At the Kennedy Center’s American Film Institute Theater. $6.50. (202) 828-4090. (Mark Jenkins)