The Top 5 War Movies Of All Time

Over the past few decades, a number of amazing war movies have hit the theaters. Although there are many war movies that have done an excellent job of portraying the conflict and the reality of the situation at hand, there are five that rank at the top of the list.


Released in 1986 and directed by Oliver Stone, Platoon is still considered by many to be the best war movie ever made. Starring Charlie Sheen and the then-little-known actor Johnny Depp, Platoon reached a depth of realism that many could not fully understand unless they had actually been in the military or experienced the Vietnam War the movie depicted.

Apocalypse Now

Also taking place during the Vietnam War, Apocalypse Now presents a unique and magnificent story with finely crafted characters. Released in 1979 and directed by Francis Ford Coppolla, the film is not only a great war story but is also considered by many to represent the dark side of the human psyche. Starring Martin Sheen, Harrison Ford, Marlon Brando, and Robert Duvall, the movie certainly enjoys a cast that is to be admired.

Saving Private Ryan

Taking place during WWII, Saving Private Ryan presents a unique story during one of the country’s most trying times. The special effects and graphic ealism of the movie are truly amazing. In addition, it offers an excellent cast of actors, including Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, and even Vin Diesel. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the film achieved critical acclaim by receiving Academy Awards for Best Sound, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Director. It was also nominated for six other Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

We Were Soldiers

Based on a novel written by a Lieutenant General and a reporter that were at the Battle of Ia Drang in Vietnam, We Were Soldiers takes a personal look into the lives of real soldiers and events that took place at the time. Directed by Randall Wallace and starring Mel Gibson, it is one of only a few war movies to depict the feelings, actions, and thoughts of soldiers on both sides of the war.


Glory, which takes place during the American Civil War, stars Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, and Morgan Freeman. The movie, which was released in 1989, tells the riveting and heart wrenching story of coming of age of African American soldiers as they are placed on the battlefield for the first time.

Each of these movies stirs the emotions and puts the viewer on the battlefield, showing the emotional, mental, and physical toll the soldiers undergo during wartime and when on the battlefield. They also delve into the politics behind these wars, including depicting the roles of commanders and politicians that are no where near the actual battlefield.

Submarines In Movies For The Sub Lover

Many of the submarines in movies are found in war type movies. Some films the entire basis of the movie is filmed in the submarine and many people have a strong curiosity for submarines and a great submarine movie allows them to see a sub up close and personal. If you like war movies, then chances are you have viewed a movie about this awesome vessel.

The close quarters of a submarine is often played in movies that contain a submarine and this often leads to disputes amongst the members of the crew. This is one story line that you will often find in movies where submarines are the major plot. In many movies the daily life on a submarine is also depicted and this is fascinating to many people.

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Mare Nostrum was amongst the first movies made about a submarine. This film was released in 1926 and the director was Rex Ingram. Most of the movies that feature subs are made during specific time frames such as pre World War II, World War II, the Cold War, and after the Cold War. There have also been fictional movies made about submarines that are quite futuristic. Most of the movies made represent an actual event that happened in the past.

Crimson Tide, the Hunt for Red October and Das Boots are some of the most popular submarines in movies. These are movies that are based around a submarine experience and many people that are fond of submarines enjoy these movies. There is an assortment of submarine movies out there to choose from and if you love submarines you will be able to find a perfect movie.

From true stories, to fictional events, there are many movies out there that will entertain anyone that is fond of submarines and war. Submarines are fascinating and one of the only ways to learn more about the actual operations and life on a sub is with a great movie.

Clint Eastwood Goes To War

Clint Eastwood does a darn fine job when he plays a mysterious Western gunslinger, a tough American cop, or a bare-knuckled fighter whose best buddy is an orang-utan. He also does an equally darn fine job whenever he plays a war hero.

Although he has acted in only three modern warfare films in his long and illustrious career – Where Eagles Dare (1968), Kelly’s Heroes (1970) and Heartbreak Ridge (1986) – Clint’s military trilogy remains just as popular with his huge fan base as his Dirty Harry Movies and Spaghetti Westerns. Moreover, the three war movies have been shown on TV many, many times over the years, which attests to just how popular they still are.

Clint’s first modern war movie was Where Eagles Dare (1968) in which he co-starred with Richard Burton and Ingrid Pitt (who is well known for her vampire roles with Hammer films). Based on an Alastair McClean story, Where Eagles Dare is a typical “Boys’ Own” adventure story, Eastwood and Burton going on a mission disguised as German officers with a view to penetrating a seemingly impregnable fortress high on an Austrian mountain top to rescue a captured Allied general who holds confidential secrets about the planned Allied invasion of Normandy. However, all is not quite what it seems, and there are plenty of edge-of-seat twists and turns as Eastwood and Burton kill many, many German soldiers along the way. Where Eagles Dare is a real action-packed war film that merits as being right up there with such other epic military classics as A Bridge Too Far and The Guns of Navarone.

Eastwood’s second foray into the world of modern war was Kelly’s Heroes (1970). In this he plays an American GI who is part of a unit of military misfits who go AWOL behind enemy lines to steal 16 million dollar gold bullion from the Nazis. The movie was shot in Yugoslavia, and also starred Telly Savalas (of Kojak fame) and Donald Sutherland. However, despite its star-studded line up and a promising story line, Kelly’s Heroes was regarded by some critics as a movie that never really delivered. Nevertheless, many Eastwood fans still regard the movie as a thoroughly enjoyable, action-packed and funny war adventure, and one of Clint’s best. They also love the catchy musical theme of the movie: “Burning Bridges,” sung by The Mike Curb Congregation, which actually got into the pop charts.

Clint’s third and final war movie was Heartbreak Ridge (1986). In this one, he plays tough, no-nonsense Gunnery Sergeant Tom Highway, who is assigned the task of beating into shape a rowdy, stroppy reconnaissance platoon. Running parallel to the main story is the interesting sub plot involving Highway’s attempted reconciliation with his estranged wife. There are many funny scenes in Heartbreak Ridge, especially the ones where Highway directs his cutting, often obscene tirades at his group of wayward subordinates, and his successful fight with the unit’s Incredible Hulk-like hard man. Shades of Dirty Harry here too in Highway’s tough persona, as he does things unconventionally and rebels against a softly-softly institutional authority. As the movie progresses, Highway’s cruel-to-be-kind supervision begins to pay off, as the platoon shapes up and forges a sense of identity as a formidable, battle-ready unit. And into battle they certainly do go, as they embark on a tin-pot invasion of Grenada. The movie ends of a rather cheerful and optimistic note, as Highway’s men return home to a grand, flag-waving welcome.

World War II Movies – Propaganda and Patriotism

During the early part of the 1940’s, Hollywood made a number of World War II movies that not only sought to entertain, but also to heighten the spirit of “patriotism” in the American people. These films would influence the entry of the United States into the war and support our military effort when finally involved.

War was raging in Great Britain and throughout Europe while America was still in its isolationist period. Director Alfred Hitchcock released Foreign Correspondent in 1940 allowing American audiences an insightful look into the war without actually providing the identity of the enemy.

Charlie Chaplin chose to be more direct. In the Great Dictator (1940), directed by Chaplin, he gave us a scorching spoof of fascism and the Nazi party. Individuals were easily identified behind the thinly veiled character names used, and portrayed as the dictatorial, power hungry, tyrants that they were. The production was brilliantly written and executed by Chaplin and is still regarded as one of the most classic films of the century.

After the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, America entered into the war. Hollywood would now begin the release of some of the most popular War movies in history. Republic Pictures film Flying Tigers (1942) showcased American combat pilots fighting for China against Japanese invaders just before the invasion of Pearl Harbor. The film stared John Wayne, who throughout his career would prove to be one of the most patriotic celebrities of all time.

1942 honored the tragic, but courageous story about the battle of Wake Island. While the events were grimly real, the Hollywood portrayal was inaccurate. The film gave audiences the impression that the island’s defenders fought to the last man, when in truth, the overwhelming odds and repeated assaults by Japanese troops led to the surrender of the island. However, Hollywood had not failed in their telling of the story as the film Wake Island served its primary purpose regarding war time propaganda and fueled feelings of patriotism.

In 1943 the film classic Casablanca, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, clearly positioned the Nazi’s as the villains in the war and depicted the conquered people of Europe as glorified, courageous resisters of Nazi Germany.

Casablanca’s success, including the Academy Award for Best Picture, helped to establish both Bogart and Bergman as superstars. In the history of motion pictures, Casablanca will always be considered a World W II classic and honored as one of the best films of the twentieth century.

Many other films were produced that served the needs of propaganda and patriotism, but the hallmark of this effort would be the seven-part series created by filmmaker Frank Capra entitled Why We Fight. The basic principle of all propaganda films was to create a patriotic mentality that recognized great sacrifices were necessary in order to defeat the enemy.

It wouldn’t be until after the war that true victories would be documented and a more realistic perspective of the casualties and cruelties of war would be understood.

Movies during this period in time helped to keep the American peoples patriotic spirits up and provided them the justification necessary to support the defeat of the “axis of evil.” As they had done with film during the time of the depression, Hollywood’s World War II movies again gave audiences a full-length mirror that reflected their society, values, beliefs, and place in history.

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.

Some of the Most Memorable War Movies of All Time

Hollywood has always seemed to love films about war. War movies usually reflect true events in some point in time, and usually are serious in nature due to the subject matter. For any great war in history, there seems to have been a movie created about it.

But which films regarding the topic of war are the best of all time? The following are some of my favorites.

Say what you want about Mel Gibson. Yes, he is crazy and clearly has some issues based on the recent phone recordings that have leaked of his. But that does not take away from the masterpiece that is Braveheart. Based on the legend of William Wallace, this film remains one of my favorites.

A film taking place during the age of the Roman empire that certainly makes my list is Gladiator. Russell Crowe stars as Maximus, a fugitive general who is on a crusade for vengeance as he attempts to bring down an evil emperor, played by Joaquin Phoenix.

Tackling the subject matter of World War II is one of the greatest films ever made, Schindler’s List. People think of movies like Jaws, Jurassic Park and E.T. when they think of Steven Spielberg, but in my opinion, this is the most important movie he has ever made.

How to pick from the myriad great movies regarding subject matter from the Vietnam War? My personal favorite movie regarding Vietnam is Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. I love everything about this movie, as it gives a terrifying look to the shock and trauma that Vietnam had on many of its soldiers.

When it comes to films about the Civil War, it does not get better than Glory. This film stars Denzel Washington in one of his greatest roles of all time. This is a character building film.

It is amazing to look at this list and realize how many other great films could have made it. I just may have to make another list.