Top Ten War Movies

Thursday, February 17 by Andrew Jett

The top ten war movies offer some of the most intense action and gritty realism ever captured on film. Celebrated for their uncompromising examination of daily life during battle, the war movies on this list can offer insight on the hardships every soldier must endure.

  1. “Saving Private Ryan” Stephen Spielberg’s epic 1998 war movie opened a lot of people’s eyes to the bloody realities of World War II. Most noted for its intense opening scenes depicting the assault on Omaha Beach, this war movie features yet another iconic performance from Tom Hanks.
  2. “All Quiet on the Western Front” Based on the celebrated novel by Erich Maria Remarque, this 1930 war movie’s intensity is unrivaled. With gritty depictions of trench warfare during World War I, this movie gave audiences an inside look at war never before seen on film.
  3. “Patton” George C. Scott gave the performance of his career in this 1970 war movie. A biographical look at General George S. Patton during World War II, this war movie contained an opening monologue that’s among the most famous in cinematic history.
  4. “Three Kings” Often overlooked on collections of the top ten war movies, this 1999 film was among the first to offer a realistic look at American soldiers during the Gulf War. George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube star in this gripping and sometimes comedic account of greed, confusion and loss.
  5. “Glory” The best film of 1989 was this epic war movie starring Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman. An up-close view of an African-American regiment during the Civil War, this war movie is as intense and emotionally draining as you’ll ever find.
  6. “Memphis Belle” Likely the most underrated of the top ten war movies, this 1990 film is most effective for its glossy nostalgia factor. With an ensemble cast made up of accomplished actors such as Matthew Modine, Sean Austin, Billy Zane and Harry Connick, Jr., this war movie offered the unique perspective of a B-17 bomber crew in World War II.
  7. “Apocalypse Now” In one of the best performances of a career filled with Oscar-caliber roles, Marlon Brando plays a rogue Army officer in this 1979 war movie. Directed by the great Francis Ford Coppola, this movie offers a haunting viewpoint on the grim realities of the Vietnam War.
  8. “Platoon” In 1986, Oliver Stone released this epic war movie to theaters. The result was a film experience the world had never seen before. In this Oscar-winning film, Charlie Sheen plays a young and naïve soldier on the front lines during the Vietnam War.
  9. “Full Metal Jacket” Director Stanley Kubrick described the Vietnam War from a unique perspective in this 1987 war movie. The first half of the film depicts the intensities of basic training in the Marine Corps, then culminates with an up-close look at urbanize fighting during the Tet Offensive.
  10. “M*A*S*H” Serving as the inspiration for the classic TV series “M*A*S*H,” this dark war movie seems to be a strange resource for a sitcom. Set during the Korean War, this 1970 film offers an unusual account of Army medical personnel near the front lines.
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