The 5 best new war movies include films that became “instant classics.” Though the memories of past wars grow cloudy, filmmakers can still capture their horror, tone, and drama, bringing them to life for modern audiences. As technology gets better, new movies can transport audiences into the thick of battle unlike ever before.

  1. “Saving Private Ryan.”  Steven Spielberg directed this drama about the invasion of Normandy on D-Day. Using advanced cinematography techniques, Spielberg drops the audience right into the action, as though they are storming the beaches themselves, with a graphic depiction of the battle. The film grossed nearly half a billion dollars worldwide and was nominated for 11 Academy Awards. Tom Hanks and Matt Damon are among the members of the all-star cast.

  2. “Flags of Our Fathers.” This film, one of the best new war movies, was directed by screen legend Clint Eastwood. The film depicts the battle for Iwo Jima between the Americans and the Japanese, ending with the American marines raising a flag on the island, captured in an iconic image. The movie then follows the lives of the men in the picture, depicting the fame and stresses they receive after returning home.

  3. “The Thin Red Line.” This film was nominated for seven Academy Awards and is clearly one of the best new war movies. With gritty realism and intense acting, the film shows the famous Battle of Guadalcanal between the Americans and Japanese, a real-life struggle that lasted for months. The incredible cast includes  Sean Penn, Adrien Brody, George Clooney, John Cusack, and John Travolta.

  4. “Black Hawk Down.” This gripping and frightening movie depicts the real-life events of the Battle of Mogadishu, occurring in Somalia in 1995. The events of that day include two American Black Hawk helicopters being shot down and soldiers being placed in a very hostile territory and forced to participate in urban warfare. After being bogged down overnight and suffering casualties, an international force invaded the city to rescue them. The film attempts to capture the fog of war, with a confusing series of events. In this film, one of the best new war movies, the cast of famous actors often aren’t even distinguishable, adding to the confusion.

  5. “Gods and Generals.”  This Civil War flick is one of the best new war movies and is based on a book by Jeffrey Shaara, whose father wrote a famous book about the battle of Gettysburg; his book is considered a prequel to his father’s. The movie follows the lives and careers of Stonewall Jackson and Joshua Chamberlain, two of the most important personalities of the war. Make a big bowl of popcorn before watching this one, nearly 3.5 hours long.