Classic War Movies Come Into Focus on Satellite TV

While the seemingly endless resources of satellite TV networks like Turner Classic Movies can dominate the scene at times, other film networks have certainly made a name for themselves. HBO and Showtime have figured out the way to combine the latest blockbusters with quality movies from previous decades. One of the indicators is with war films. From modern mega-productions to classics from the 1980’s mixed in, the roster of war films playing now on satellite TV will please any movie fan.

1. Apocalypse Now. A legend in cinema history for so many reasons, Apocalypse Now has not lost any of its power in the preceding three decades. Marlon Brando delivered one of his most notorious performances, Martin Sheen nearly lost his life and director Coppola nearly had a nervous breakdown during shooting, but the show went on. With scorched-earth effects that have yet to be topped by filmmakers, Coppola made a masterpiece. However, it all comes down to the ancient struggle at the film’s end. See this war classic on HBO HD networks in its director’s cut.

2. The Great Escape. Is there any scene more famous than Steve McQueen flying on a motorcycle away from German soldiers? In the annals of cool, probably not, but there countless other terrific moments in The Great Escape. Relive one of the war blockbusters of old by checking out this epic on Turner Classic Movies in high definition. World War II gets a very different look in this picture.

3. Stalag 17. Billy Wilder was the cynical hit maker for decades in Hollywood, mixing in brilliant dialogue with the right amount of tension and flair in every production. In Stalag 17, Wilder also created the Hogan’s Heroes franchise by adding a nice comedic element to a POW war camp crisis. Infiltrators are not who they seem as William Holden is the sarcastic commander who takes his lumps and makes his fellow prisoners see the light later. Check out this unconventional picture in high definition on TCM.

4. The Desert Fox. It’s hard to imagine a picture being respectful toward a Nazi general, but it was not out of the ordinary when this film starring James Mason was made. ‘Desert Fox’ General Rommel had a reputation for being not only of war’s most brilliant tacticians but also a gentleman of sorts. While that reputation has been questioned over the subsequent decades, this film is a fascinating look at the developments over the course of Rommel’s career and his fall from grace.

5. Tropic Thunder. If Stalag 17 looked at the lighter side of war, Tropic Thunder is one of the ultimate parodies. Prima donna Hollywood stars go to make a war picture only to become engulfed in a real life war game. Ben Stiller directs and acts in this picture, famous for Robert Downey, Jr. and Tom Cruise’s absurd performances. It is hard to have more fun during a movie. See this film on the HBO network.