The war movie genre seems to strike a chord with audiences, with plenty finding enormous success. Here are the best war films ever made!
War. It's ruthless and gritty. A battle between nations, individuals, the mind and humanity. It is a subject that the film and television industry has explored in great depth and presented in various different genres and cinematic mediums. There is no shortage of war films.
Schindler's List (1993), The Pianist (2002), Good Morning Vietnam (1987), Life Is Beautiful (1997), Saving Private Ryan (1998), The Boy In The Striped Pajamas (2008) and Ivan's Chilhood (1962) are just some of the copious titles that make up the war film genre. According to Rotten Tomatoes, none of those films make it onto the list of the best war movies of all time. Interested to see what movies did? Read on.
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10 Apocalypse Now (1979) - 98%
Apocalypse Now directed by Francis Ford Coppola, the same director of the highly renowned movie The Godfather, celebrated its 40th Anniversary in 2019 and was remastered for the occasion. The film features Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper, Laurence Fishburne, and Harrison Ford. And of course, with an amazing cast, there must come a story for the ages.
Based on the novella Heart of Darkness (1899) by Joseph Conrad, it follows the story of crazed Colonel Kurtz and the lengths the U.S Army will go to stop him. Along the way, the audience experiences the psychological damages of war and depths of its destruction.
9 Lawrence Of Arabia (1962) - 98%
What can be said about Lawrence Of Arabia? It is a masterpiece. And it's easy to throw the word around without meaning, but true to the definition, this film is a historical epic. Winning seven out of ten Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Cinematography, and Best Original Music Score, Lawrence Of Arabia takes viewers into a life lived with little known to be remembered and one man's efforts to learn of the service rendered by Lawrence in World War I at his memorial.
Audiences will experience the Middle East as they have never before. Be prepared to settle down and get comfortable, with a run time of over three and a half hours, this is a movie for the dedicated viewer.
8 The Hurt Locker (2008) - 97%
Starring Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Guy Pearce, Evangeline Lilly, and Ralph Fiennes, The Hurt Locker is an exhilarating action-packed thriller. Nominated for nine Academy Awards and winning six, including the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, Best Picture, and Best Director, it isn't a film that can be switched on with a switched off audience.
Taking place during the Iraq War it follows a squadron and their relationship with their new "wild man" Sergeant, a bomb diffusion expert with a dangerous addiction to adrenaline. Together they go on life-endangering missions, knowing that every time they suit up, it's life and death, a roll of the dice and that if they want to live, trust is everything.
7 Dr. Strangelove (1964) - 98%
Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb is a Stanley Kubrick black comedy film adaption of Peter George's novel Red Alert. The film addresses the what-if scenario of an individual taking initiative and launching a nuclear strike.
It hardly seems the basis of a comedy, but Kubrick has taken this serious and horrific circumstance and layered in satirical caricatures with humorous comparisons inside the mind of the perpetrator and the officials in their attempt to handle the terror that has ensued. Criticism and compliment alike follow this film and its ridiculously light-heavy subject matter.
6 Army Of Shadows (1969) - 97%
Army Of Shadows (Larmee De Ombres) is a French war drama directed by Jean-Pierre Melville. A film brimming from minute one to the rolling credits with deception, heroes, traitors, loyalty, honor, betrayal, collaboration, and resistance. Trapped in a Nazi camp, a man must find his escape and afterward, find the traitor who was the cause of his imprisonment.
If audiences love this film, they will also love A Man Escaped (1956), a true film based on the memoirs of Andre Divigny about the only man to escape Nazi prison Montluc with his life.
5 All Quiet On The Western Front (1930) - 98%
Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus describes All Quiet On The Western Front as a film where "Director Lewis Milestone's brilliant anti-war polemic, headlined by an unforgettable performance from Lew Ayres, lays bare the tragic foolishness at the heart of war."
The film explores how much bloodshed and tragedy can be experienced before psychological damage to the individual becomes irreparable. It asks whether there will be a moment where human morality becomes numb to the jabs of opposition. The 1930 war action is being remade with Daniel Brühl set to produce and star in the film, but do yourself a favor and watch the original first.
4 Dunkirk (2017) - 93%
From the director who gave audiences The Prestige (2006), Interstellar (2014), and The Dark Knight Trilogy (2005-2012), Christopher Nolan captures viewers once more with the suspenseful war drama Dunkirk. Winner of Academy Awards for Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Film Editing the film stars Harry Styles, Fionn Whitehead, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, and Kenneth Branagh.
It is a powerful history film surrounding the Battle of Dunkirk and the bravery and solidarity of its soldiers. Each face with a story screaming to be heard, a beach whose blood-soaked sand muffles the harsh cry of war and the silence that echoes with the crashing of its waves. This is one of the rawest depictions of war to hit the screen in recent years.
3 The Battle Of Algiers (1966) - 99%
The Battle of Algiers is a political war drama about the historical struggle of the Algerian rebels to overthrow the French Government and gain independence. Described by Rotten Tomatoes as "A powerful, documentary-like examination of the response to an occupying force, The Battle of Algiers hasn't aged a bit since its release in 1966."
It is not a war drama that takes on the battlefield but goes to the streets and back-alleys. The confrontations that are faced are of a different kind of warfare but one where violence and fear are still prominent.
2 La Grande Illusion (1937) - 97%
Yet another prisoner of war, World War I film made in the aftermath of history, creating truth on-screen and reaching those who did not experience it first hand. La Grande Illusion is a French war drama about prisoners of war and their plot to escape their captors. In the words of Rotten Tomatoes, "Jean Renoir's Grand Illusion is a masterful anti-war statement, bringing humane insight and an undercurrent of ironic humor to an unusual relationship between captor and captive."
After all, what could make a film more poignant than to watch history only to know that war will come again in their future, but knowing it is too late because it is already the audience's past?
1 Casablanca (1942) - 98%
1944 Academy Award winner for Best Picture, Casablanca is considered one of the best romantic classics of all time. It is a World War II movie produced and released during World War II. A romance war film. Be prepared to be awed and despaired by the sacrifice of the characters as they fight to do what is right and true.
Get lost in the acting of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman as they prove that love is stronger than war. Many television shows and movies have referenced the classic such as When Harry Met Sally (1989), The Simpsons and Men In Black (1997). As the trailer suggests, if you are looking adventure you will find it in Casablanca.
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