The best British war movies presents film fans with depictions of battles carried out by British military forces, from major wars down to historical battles. These movies have survived the test of time and remain some of the best movies about war, British or otherwise, in the history of cinema.

“Lawrence of Arabia”

David Lean created this British war movie about the life of T.E. Lawrence, specifically the time Lawrence spent in Arabia during World War I. Peter O’Toole starred as Lawrence, a man struggling with his patriotism towards Britain and his new allies in Arabia.

“Battle of Britain”

“Battle of Britain” is a British war movie starring Laurence Olivier based on the novel, “The Narrow Margin.” The movie is a faithful account of the historical Battle of Britain in 1940 that saved the country from a German invasion.

“The Bridge on the River Kwai”

The second David Lean British war movie on this list is based on the French novel by the same name. The movie is a fictional account of the construction of the Burma Railway, taking place during World War II and its subsequent destruction.

“The Guns of Navarone”

This British war movie stars Gregory Peck as part of an Allied team is sent in to destroy a German base that has 2,000 British soldiers stranded on an island during World War II. The movie was nominated for an Oscar and won the Golden Globe for Best Film.

“The Dam Busters”

Another British war movie taking place during World War II, this film tells the story of Operation Chastise. The operation saw Britain’s Royal Air Force destroy German dams with the so-called “bouncing bomb.” The movie is split into developing the bomb and the actual attacks.

“The English Patient”

This British war movie won nine Oscars in 1997, telling the story of a mysterious English burn patient and his efforts in World War II. Ralph Fiennes stars as the patient while Juliette Binoche stars as the nurse caring for him.

“Doctor Zhivago”

Another David Lean British war movie, this takes place during World War I and stars Alec Guinness, Omar Sharif and Julie Christie. The movie follows a man named Zhivago searching for the illegitimate child of his half brother, while telling his family’s history through the various wars of their lifetimes.

“The Four Feathers”

There have been many versions of this story, a British war movie following a young British soldier accused of cowardice when he resigns his position instead of going on a rescue mission. When his friends come under attack, he sets out to save them and reclaim the honor he lost.


This British war movie depicts the battles between the British and Zulu armies at the Battle of Rorke’s Drift. The movie was directed by an American blacklisted screenwriter and was a breakthrough role for actor Michael Caine.

The Killing Fields”

This British war movie is based on the Khmer Rouge regime, surrounding the stories of journalists Dith Pran and Sydney Schanberg. Directed by Roland Joffe, the role of Dith Pran was played by an actual survivor of the Khamer Rouge instead of an actual actor.

-Shawn Lealos