10 Old War Movies

Thursday, January 6 by Travis Petersen

The films on this list of 10 old war movies are classics of the genre, and helped set the stage for more modern war films. From romance and adventure to gritty realism and satire, this list of old war movies runs the gamut, commenting on the horrors of war in different ways while remaining gripping, exciting viewing. Here they are: 10 old war movies that make for classic viewing for film fans of any generation.

  1. "From Here to Eternity" – This classic story of the lead-up to the bombing of Pearl Harbor features one iconic romantic image (that of Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr kissing on the beach) and an Oscar-winning performance from singer Frank Sinatra. It is a classic epic that says a lot about the mundane nature of military life and the sudden horror of attack.
  2. "All Quiet on the Western Front" – The second entry on our list of old war movies is the original great war movie. Released in 1930, this World War I tale was influential on all war movies to follow.
  3. "Bridge on the River Kwai" – This story of madness in a Japanese POW camp during World War II is centered by Alec Guinness' fine work as a British commander trying to keep his troops' morale up, only to end up losing his own sanity in the end. David Lean's beautiful filmmaking illustrates this iconic tale.
  4. "Stalag 17" – Billy Wilder's story of treachery amongst American POWs in a German camp is a witty, gritty essential for any list of old war movies. William Holden's anti-heroic performance is blistering.
  5. "MASH" – The anti-war satire to end all anti-war satires, Robert Altman's entry on our list of old war movies spawned a hit television show. It also has another legacy, that of the first mainstream film to feature the "f-word."
  6. "Where Eagles Dare" – A World War II adventure film featuring Clint Eastwood, "Where Eagles Dare" is classic escapism with a hint of realism. It's almost like a Bond film set in World War II.
  7. "They Were Expendable" – John Wayne starred in this epic from John Ford, usually known for his westerns. This film proved both star and director were equally adept at old war movies.
  8. "The Guns of Navarone" – Another adventurous old war movie, "Navarone" has an all-star cast. Gregory Peck, David Niven, and Anthony Quinn all team up in this film's mission to destroy the gun placement at Navarone in occupie Greek territory.
  9. "The Eagle Has Landed" – This old war movie is a tale of espionage, with German paratroopers, helped by a member of the iRA, sneaking into Britain to undertake a devious plot. Michael Caine is wonderful in the lead role.
  10. "The Dirty Dozen" – The seminal all-star action-adventure film is the last on our list of old war movies. Lee Marvin leads a group of misfit convicts on a mission to eliminate German officials. Entertainment ensues.

References:

Where Eagles Dare on IMDB

They Were Expendable on IMDB

The Guns of Navarone on IMDB

The Eagle Has Landed on IMDB

The Dirty Dozen on IMDB

COMMENTS

  1. January 6, 2011 5:47 pm

    eh

    What’s not on the list? The two very best war movies ever made: Kubrick’s “Paths of Glory” and Renoir’s “Grand Illusion.” Who’s in charge here?!


  2. January 6, 2011 5:47 pm

    eh

    What’s not on the list? The two very best war movies ever made: Kubrick’s “Paths of Glory” and Renoir’s “Grand Illusion.” Who’s in charge here?!