I have always been fascinated by History but I must admit that sometimes I get extremely upset because there is no way to directly confront it. Indeed, once History has happened it is gone, you can remember it, you can write about it but you can never experience it again in the very same way (except when some generals refuse to learn from their former mistakes and reproduce them years later).
Therefore I love all the movies dealing with History. But another problem exists with those movies: they have to be commercial successes. Therefore they soemtimes pay more attention to the romance between the main character and a wonderful woman (there is often one even in some so called historical movies) than to the filming of battle scenes or to the realism of the plot/costumes/expressions/way of thinking, etc..
I don’t know why I am that fascinated by battles because I sometimes play paintball or have been unwillingly involved in some fights and there is nothing really fun about it, it is scary and frightening although totally thrilling.
Nevertheless, when I watch a movie about a certain war I want to see some battle scenes and I want it to be realistic. For instance, in a movie about the Middle Age you cannot have armies of thousands of soldiers because the armies by that time were much smaller.
Hence, many movies are usually enjoyable but they lack historical realism and will not increase your knowledge. That is why the documentaries that try to re-create some historical moments by re-acting them are sometimes better. Indeed, the documentaries generally try to be more accurate.The directors of those documentaries do not care about the acting performance (they just want it to be realistic) and neither do I. When they have money to re-act some scenes the result might be astonishing.
The Franco-German TV channel ARTE is now a specialist in this area. They create living documentaries that are easier to focus on than the black and white collage of pictures with a dreary narrator behind.
Here is a link to their website: http://www.arte.tv/fr
I also found, on Youtube, a compilation of many short documentaries produced by Discovery Channel on the D-Day. This illustrates smoothly my point: it brings knowledge but also re-create the atmosphere of the D-Day and provides you a rich envisionning experience.