Great War Films

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
I'd like to find out what great war films are out there. These are some of my choices, anyone know of any I've missed? And I don't mean films necessarily about a specific war, but stories involving war.

Apocalypse Now
The Deer Hunter
Full Metal Jacket
Born on the Fourth of July
Grave of the Fireflies
Paths of Glory
Saving Private Ryan
The Thin Red Line
Bridge on the River Kwai
Das Boot
Schindler's List
Open City
Three Kings
Stalag 17
Black Hawk Down

Anthony (Anthony F), Wednesday, 11 June 2003 01:02 (nineteen years ago) link

The Great Escape

miloauckerman (miloauckerman), Wednesday, 11 June 2003 01:06 (nineteen years ago) link

There are also two films I have heard about but never seen: Castle Keep and The Big Red One. Anyone know anything about them?

Anthony (Anthony F), Wednesday, 11 June 2003 01:07 (nineteen years ago) link

red angel
army (kinoshita)
objective, burma!
the thin red line
a walk in the sun
they were expendable
l'armée des ombres
grand illusion
all quiet on the western front
the big parade
the steel helmet


amateurist (amateurist), Wednesday, 11 June 2003 01:26 (nineteen years ago) link

born on the fourth of july is craptastic.

amateurist (amateurist), Wednesday, 11 June 2003 01:27 (nineteen years ago) link

Great war films not already mentioned (not all these films are exactly about fighting, but they're very much about war and it's effects):

Dr. Strangelove
Paths of Glory
Bure baruta (aka Cabaret Balkan)
The Pianist
The Atomic Cafe
Nuit et brouillard (aka Night and Fog)

Tuomas (Tuomas), Wednesday, 11 June 2003 07:46 (nineteen years ago) link


Sommermute (Wintermute), Wednesday, 11 June 2003 12:16 (nineteen years ago) link

mini-thread tangent: what's the best battle sequence in a film? I'm partial to the one in Chimes at Midnight, though a number of Kurosawa films should be in there as well.

Justyn Dillingham (Justyn Dillingham), Wednesday, 11 June 2003 21:25 (nineteen years ago) link

alexander nevsky is my fav battle scene. mainly for the mega cool helmets!

ryan (ryan), Thursday, 12 June 2003 00:17 (nineteen years ago) link

i am watching Ran tonight for the first time and there better be some battling in there. the battle in seven samurai is beautiful.

ryan (ryan), Thursday, 12 June 2003 00:18 (nineteen years ago) link

Of course any of the battle scenes in Seven Samurai or Ran are fantastic, but I still think the best yet is the storming of the beach at the beginning of Saving Private Ryan. Absolutely unbelievable.

Anthony (Anthony F), Thursday, 12 June 2003 00:59 (nineteen years ago) link

Many great classics have been mentioned already, here's a few that I enjoy that haven't been mentioned.

Glory, the best Civil War film ever.

Hell in the Pacific, with Lee Marvin and Toshiro Mifune is a cool movie.

The Dogs of War, starring Christopher Walken and Tom Berenger is a great mercenary film.

Bat 21 is an good Vietnam movie with Gene Hackman and Danny Glover. It's based on a true story.

A war movie that I really want to see is Closely Watched Trains. Anyone seen it?

Cub, Thursday, 12 June 2003 03:54 (nineteen years ago) link

Y'know, when anyone asks me what my least favorite genre is, I used to say war films. Now looking at these answers... I really need to stop saying that. The Thin Red Line, Night & Fog, Ivan the Terrible, Attack!, and Full Metal Jacket are all great. I'd really love to see The Big Red One someday.

Eric H. (Eric H.), Thursday, 12 June 2003 04:43 (nineteen years ago) link

Damn you all -- TEARS OF THE SUN suckas!

Leee (Leee), Thursday, 12 June 2003 05:12 (nineteen years ago) link

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, dammit.

Sommermute (Wintermute), Thursday, 12 June 2003 12:18 (nineteen years ago) link

I'm not a big war film buff either, or at least I have no particular interest in films with big battle scenes. What I find interesting, being a big pacifist, are films that depict what war does tho ordinary people. Bure baruta (Cabaret Balkan/Powder Keg) is a good example: it takes place right after the Yugoslavian conflict, showing what war has done to people's morals and behaviour, even if it's officially over. Do you any other war films that don't show the actual war?

Tuomas (Tuomas), Thursday, 12 June 2003 14:57 (nineteen years ago) link

Well, The Pianist is a good example of that.

s1utsky (slutsky), Thursday, 12 June 2003 15:07 (nineteen years ago) link

Hiroshima mon amour.

Sommermute (Wintermute), Thursday, 12 June 2003 15:37 (nineteen years ago) link

As for battle scenes, judged purely on visceral effect, Saving Private Ryan is up there. The rest of the movie was pretty bad, but that first fifteen minutes or so was incredible.

miloauckerman (miloauckerman), Friday, 13 June 2003 03:24 (nineteen years ago) link

I wrote a terrible half-assed paper for an art history class comparing the use of sound in Three Kings and SPR. Specifically the first shooting scene in the Iraqi village compared to the first minutes of SPR. I think I even gave it a cheesy title like "Subverting the Genre - War Films and Sound Editing."

But it got me an A so fuckit.

miloauckerman (miloauckerman), Friday, 13 June 2003 03:27 (nineteen years ago) link

that sounds like a real interesting subject. the scene on the hillside in "the thin red line" is beautifully paced/staged. but i find it hard to extricate aesthetic value, sometimes, from war films because their politics seems to U&K to me. this even tho i took a whole class in the hollywood combat film (we started with "what price glory?" and ended up with "aliens" IIRC.)

amateurist (amateurist), Friday, 13 June 2003 05:00 (nineteen years ago) link

milo: the subtitle kicks the title's ass though, as far as promising research projects go.

amateurist (amateurist), Friday, 13 June 2003 05:01 (nineteen years ago) link


PVC (peeveecee), Friday, 13 June 2003 21:39 (nineteen years ago) link

The Dirty Dozen rules, what a cast!

Jim Brown
Donald Sutherland
Charles Bronson
Lee Marvin
Trini Fuckin Lopez
Clint Walker

Chris V. (Chris V), Wednesday, 18 June 2003 10:33 (nineteen years ago) link

I forgot the talented Benito Carruthers

Chris V. (Chris V), Wednesday, 18 June 2003 10:36 (nineteen years ago) link

Oooh, one I loved as a kid:

Kelly's Heroes.

I think it was a combination of my dad's interest in military history and my burgeoning distaste for the military/authority-in-general.

miloauckerman (miloauckerman), Sunday, 22 June 2003 05:53 (nineteen years ago) link

Why has no one mentioned Duck Soup??

Justyn Dillingham (Justyn Dillingham), Sunday, 22 June 2003 06:31 (nineteen years ago) link

Unmentioned so far, and G*R*A*T*E:

the German "Stalingrad" film: German soldiers go to Stalingrad. and die. unlike that Enemy At The Gates shite there is no lame-ass love affair angle in this one.

"Gettysburg": big set-piece battle film. great beards.

"Michael Collins": war as the continuation of politics by other means

"The Human Condition" (at least I think that's what it's called): Japanese soldiers against the Sovs in Manchuria. Things do not go well for the Japanese.

"Aliens": US Marines turned into mincemeat by alien communists. oh wait, someone did mention this.

"Land & Freedom": pretty good Ken Loach Spanish civil war film. interesting as an example of how you can make war films on the cheap, but sadly preoccupied with now irrelevant political issues.

"Last Of The Mohicans" (the Michael Mann version): very convincing evocation of early modern Europe styles of warfare in the colonial arena. It has some of the best battle scenes ever committed to celluloid.

"Zulu Dawn": Brits get BUTCHERED by plucky Zulus at Isandlwaha. Possibly my favourite battle ever.

"Zulu": Brits fail to get butchered by plucky Zulus. most disappointing battle ever.

Both "A Bridge Too Far" and "The Longest Day" are good tell-it-like-it-is-only-without-too-much-gore war films.

I gather there is also a good film about Leonidas and the 300 Spartans fight at Thermopylae, but I have never seen it.

does anyone know if there is a good film version of the Battle of Aduwa (plucky Ethiopians butcher Italians)? or if there are any Vietnamese made films of their victorious wars with the French and Americans?

DV (dirtyvicar), Sunday, 22 June 2003 18:44 (nineteen years ago) link

there are some great battle scenes in Barry Lyndon, but there is no sense in which it is a war film.

DV (dirtyvicar), Sunday, 22 June 2003 18:47 (nineteen years ago) link

I gather there is also a good film about Leonidas and the 300 Spartans fight at Thermopylae, but I have never seen it.

That'd be Frank Miller's 300 -- errr, this isn't I Love Comics, huh?

Leee (Leee), Monday, 23 June 2003 16:39 (nineteen years ago) link

ten years pass...

anyone ever seen The Bridge at Remagen? (1969) George Segal, Ben Gazzara, only screenplay by Richard (Revolutionary Road) Yates, die by John Guillermin. Showing at Lincoln Ctr tnite.

Miss Arlington twirls for the Coal Heavers (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 3 September 2013 19:55 (nine years ago) link

also great in this genre:

Fires on the Plain
Bitter Victory

Miss Arlington twirls for the Coal Heavers (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 3 September 2013 19:56 (nine years ago) link

speaking of bridges, my personal favorite is Die Brucke or 'The Bridge' - 1959 directed by Bernhard Wicki. It's pretty devastating but great. I saw it once 10 years ago but I think about it a lot.

set the controls for the heart of the sun (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 3 September 2013 20:02 (nine years ago) link

eleven months pass...

WWI films getting a workout at MoMA in NYC for the centennial of the Great War's start:

son of a lewd monk (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 5 August 2014 14:03 (eight years ago) link

three years pass...

anyone ever seen 1987's Vietnam-set Hamburger Hill? screening tomw in NYC

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Friday, 20 October 2017 15:44 (five years ago) link

five years pass...

watching Dambusters and his dog is now called Trigger...

koogs, Saturday, 13 May 2023 19:19 (four weeks ago) link

I mean I'm not usually in favour of rewriting old stuff (cf. the recent roald dahl controversy) but maybe it's not always bad...

ledge, Saturday, 13 May 2023 20:03 (four weeks ago) link

it's not exactly a war movie that stands up with any of Rossilini's war trilogy, it's fucking shite!

calzino, Saturday, 13 May 2023 20:07 (four weeks ago) link

Any recommendations re Spanish Civil War?

sarahell, Saturday, 13 May 2023 20:31 (four weeks ago) link

You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.