Who doesn’t like a war movie? A time travel into history that pumps up the adrenaline, a peek into the politics that pits nations against one another, and a tale of valour, sacrifice, and destruction that stirs up emotions.
With the world currently in the midst of a war-like situation, The Federal puts together a compilation of the top 15 war movies of all time to lift your spirits to take COVID-19 head on.
15) The Dirty Dozen (1967)
The 1967 war film shows a bitter-sweet journey of the charismatic Major Reismann of the British Army, played by war veteran Lee Marvin. The early half of the movie is quite enjoyable as it features Major Reismann gathering his squad of criminals, who are to be turned into commandos for a suicide mission in Germany.
The movie, which picks up a gripping pace in the second half, has floored audiences across ages with its perfect combination of drama and Marvin’s stylish mannerism and dialogue delivery as Major Reismann.
The 2016 movie Suicide Squad by David Ayer is an adaptation of The Dirty Dozen.
14) Black Hawk Down (2001)
The gripping adaptation of a non-fiction book of the same name, Black Hawk Down, is a movie that proves big names don’t make a good film, a good story does.
The brilliant Ridley Scott brought the best of the crew that made the film technically strong with a compelling plot and catchy screenplay.
The stunt scenes were so realistic that the film straightaway entered our watch list as a pioneering attempt to portray the reality of war and its effect on screen.
13) Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
Directed by Hurt Locker fame Katherin Bigelow, the film is a fictional take on the operation to eliminate dreaded terrorist Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan.
The film was acclaimed for its historical accuracy and reality of how Bin Laden’s killing was planned, making it a gripping and entertaining piece of cinema. It also shared the Best Sound Editing Award with Skyfall in 2013 Academy Awards.
12) Platoon (1986)
Platoon is one of the most famous Oliver Stone films in Hollywood that revolves around the Vietnam War and showcases the ugly side of war in a compelling manner. The movie is an example why Stone is named among the finest directors in Hollywood.
The period between the late 1980s and early 1990s undoubtedly was influenced by the best pieces of cinema from Stone. His friendship with the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is noteworthy to mention, considering his strong left oriented views, which took a peek into his films.
11) The Great Escape (1963)
The reigning superstar of America in the 1960s, Steve McQueen plays the lead role in this film alongside James Garner.
The movie is famous for its chase and war scenes due to the way they are shown with drama and thrill.
The film might not appeal or awe the millennial viewers but remember it was a trendsetter and a pioneer during those times when VFX facilities were negligible.
10) Patton (1970)
The recent generation might not know what a legendary director Franklin J Schaffner was.
The sheer technical acumen of the crew which is visible throughout the film, shows the amount of hard work it took, in terms of the happenings, to recreate a war.
The cast might not be famous, but the way the director has harnessed their skills is visible throughout the film. Watch it for the accuracy of how a war and its biographical references are portrayed.
9) Dunkirk (2017)
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably seen this movie and if you’re a Christopher Nolan fan, we don’t expect you to accept that the film fell short of the expectations that come hand in hand with his directorial ventures.
Nonetheless, the film is gifted in technicalities such as direction, cinematography, and most importantly background score.
Even as the story is a little dull in plot or while dramatising a war, Hans Zimmer’s background score did more than half of what brought the sense of war among the viewers.
8) The Hurt Locker (2008)
The film that brought Katherine Bigelow to limelight and won several awards is known for its technical precision, reality in portraying a war.
Watch it to know how the Iraq War was fought and why it was different from the previous wars fought on this planet. The action sequences were simply mind boggling due to the amount of resemblance they had with the real war.
7) Inglorious Basterds (2009)
Probably the best Quentin Tarantino movie or at least one among his top three, the film’s cast, screenplay, story, music, and suspense are to die for.
This film was a breakthrough that made the career of many actors such as Christopher Waltz and Michael Fassbender.
The movie swept most of the awards at the ceremonies including those for acting, technique, plot and Tarantino’s acumen.
The film truly depicts a classic textbook example of what Tarantino is capable of.
6) Apocalypse Now (1979)
A psychological portrayal of the ugly side of war, the film revolves around the Vietnam War, banking on Francis Ford Coppola’s disoriented way of storytelling.
The movie is a disturbing and intriguing piece of cinema that clearly states war is an ugly outcome of the dark side of human mind. If you ever romanticize war, this film is for you.
5) Ran (1985)
One of the final projects of Akira Kurosawa, the film created benchmarks for war movies. Kurosawa employed long shots more than ever, along with the prolific use of jump cuts and non-linear storytelling, to make it an interesting piece of cinema.
It is claimed that this film is an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s King Lear with an alternate ending. It was produced at a budget of $11 million making it the most expensive film at that time.
Do not miss this film at any cost, as it would elevate your taste, preferences, and experience in modern cinema.
4) Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Many would hold the Stanley Kubrick tag while watching this film. But the best way to cherish it is to receive its poetic depiction of the tragedy caused by war.
The film, which is based on the Vietnam War, holds numerous nominations for awards of the highest order including the Academy Awards, Golden Globes and BAFTA Awards. The performance by Lee Ermey as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman is one to look out for.
3) The Thin Red Line (1998)
The greatest work of Terrence Malick, a legendary director who is not known by the current generation, the film is a masterpiece showcasing hell on earth.
Watch out for the peculiar way of storytelling Terrence had implemented, which would leave you wondering about the movie even after you had finished watching it.
Not many know that the music for the film was composed by Hans Zimmer.
2) 1917 (2019)
1917 is a film that has received the most number of awards and nominations for its technical brilliance.
Even as there were rumours that entire movie was a single shot, director Sam Mendes clarified that there were numerous tricks involved to bring this effect. The intelligent use of VFX with live set models has made this film a brilliant piece of cinema.
The film’s plot and screenplay is so gripping that viewers would be on the edges of their sofas during the climax.
1) Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Probably the greatest war film of all time! It is famously claimed that Christopher Nolan teamed up with Hans Zimmer in Dunkirk to beat the benchmarks set by SPR but landed abysmally behind in meeting the expectations.
Minimal or no use of VFX, replicating real war scenes, and two weeks of boot camps for all actors to bring the ‘war face’ are some of the mention-worthy things Stephen Spielberg did for this film.
The difference of quality between SPR and its 1917 is huge. Many war veterans have expressed the precision of depicting the war in Normandy after watching this movie.
Despite making a good attempt in portraying a war scenario, 1917 fell flat far behind SPR.
Undoubtedly, Saving Private Ryan is till now the greatest war film ever to be filmed in Hollywood’s history.