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The 50 best war movies of all time

Our critics pick out and rank the 50 best war movies ever, from patriotic classics to military epics

We slogged through our own basic training to arrive at the 50 best war movies—and not merely the best action movies with the wildest explosions and movie stunts (though expect plenty of ammo). Rather, here are the most profound statements, pointed and patriotic alike, on the distinctly human condition of fighting. We offer the list to you, our readers, along with our sharpest salute. Why not put on your war face and sound off, in the comments section below?

RECOMMENDED: Our list of the 100 best movies of all time

Best war movies: 50–41

50

Inglourious Basterds (2009)

A WWII film, yes, but utterly Tarantino in every sense, from its constant gabbing, shifting allegiances and sudden shocks of violence. At its heart isn’t some scrappy U.S. private, but Nazi colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz in an Oscar-winning, instantly iconic performance), whose slippery charm as the “Jew Hunter” made him a character we loved to hate.—Joshua Rothkopf

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49

Ride with the Devil (1999)

You wouldn't expect anything less complex from director Ang Lee (The Ice StormBrokeback Mountain), whose oblique take on the Civil War—specifically guerrilla fighting in Missouri—thrilled critics and mystified crowds. A pre-Spidey Tobey Maguire anchors the movie in sympathy, while Jeffrey Wright electrifies as a liberated slave.—Joshua Rothkopf

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48

Twelve O'Clock High (1949)

Gregory Peck had already arrived as a magnetic onscreen presence by the time this minutely detailed WWII Air Force drama gave him his most ambitious role to date, as a stern disciplinarian whose leadership transforms a bomber unit into a well-oiled machine. The ultimate praise: The movie was required viewing at military-service academies for decades—Joshua Rothkopf

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47

Hell in the Pacific (1968)

Two soldiers—one American, the other Japanese—are marooned on an uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean during the height of WWII and must work together to survive. Director John Boorman crafts a potent existential parable out of their plight (Jean-Paul Sartre would be proud) while also allowing the great Lee Marvin and Toshiro Mifune to rage with crowd-pleasing gusto.—Keith Uhlich

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46

American Sniper (2014)

A slow-building and unlikely blockbuster (the biggest film of 84-year-old director Clint Eastwood’s career), this electrifying PTSD war drama became a political football for its questionable handling of the real-life Chris Kyle. But between a nervy performance by Bradley Cooper and some daring ambiguities on the matter of valor, you have a movie that only Eastwood, no simple conservative, could make.—Joshua Rothkopf

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45

Sands of Iwo Jima (1949)

Was there another actor more comfortable in the role of a swaggering soldier than John Wayne? This is not a tortured, ethically conflicted fighter, but a heroic one, thrust into battle and—you know what, pilgrim?—kind of okay with that. The title alone clues you into the jingoism on display in this re-creation of the famous Allied victory, but the film is undeniably gripping as craft, and sincere in its patriotism.—Joshua Rothkopf

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44

Ballad of a Soldier (1959)

A delicate Russian-made tribute to that nation's staggering sacrifice during WWII, Grigori Chukhrai's drama concerns a teenage infantryman's journey back home for a six-day break, a reward for taking out two German tanks. He marvels at the rape of the land—and also connects with a beautiful girl. It's a film about the value of the fight.—Joshua Rothkopf

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43

The Red Badge of Courage (1951)

The verdict is still out what could have been the full edit of this Civil War picture, which was drastically cut to under 70 minutes after poor test screenings. Given the talent of the director—John Huston, whose next film was The African Queen—we're inclined to believe he was onto something special with Stephen Crane's classic. Enough of Huston's noirish vision remains.—Joshua Rothkopf

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42

The Great Escape (1963)

Made at the peak of Hollywood's studio system and a flawless example of robust mainstream entertainment, John Sturgess's protoblockbuster turned Steve McQueen into a marquee idol—he gobbles up the lens even before he jumps the barbed-wire fence of his WWII POW camp on a motorcycle. Amazingly, the story is a real-life one.—Joshua Rothkopf

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41

The Sun (2005)

In a metaphorical sense, that sun is setting: Japan’s Emperor Hirohito (Issei Ogata, bearing a cosmic weight of shame) sees his country ravaged by atomic bombs at the end of WWII. Alone in his thoughts, he is approached by General Douglas MacArthur to negotiate a surrender. Alexander Sokurov’s fascinating drama approaches war from the top down, with an emphasis on power in decline.—Joshua Rothkopf

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Best war movies: 40–31

40
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)

To audience members in love with the sea, this movie, taken from three of Patrick O'Brian's popular Napoleonic War novels, will rank much higher. At its heart is the Kirk-Spock relationship between Russell Crowe's fearless captain and Paul Bettany's thoughtful doctor. The naval battles are an action fan's wet dream.—Joshua Rothkopf

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39
Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

Taking Tom Cruise seriously has always been a dicey proposition. But you can't fault him for this open-throated effort, portraying real-life Vietnam vet Ron Kovic, who returned home to Long Island paralyzed from the chest down yet unencumbered mentally and ready to rage. Only three years after Top Gun, here was a real actor.—Joshua Rothkopf

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38
Forbidden Games (1952)

Forbidden Games (1952)

This French heartbreaker popularized a storyline that would appear forever in war films: the strength of children to find a way through the muck. An orphaned five-year-old girl is befriended by a boy who helps her bury her dog. They tend to other dead animals in their small, makeshift cemetery, a poetic image that still wrecks.—Joshua Rothkopf

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37
Air Force (1943)

Air Force (1943)

A master of all genres, Howard Hawks tried his hand at everything from screwball zaniness (Bringing Up Baby) to alien terror (ghost-directing The Thing from Another World). When he made his war picture, he embraced the patriotism of the moment, but brought along William Faulkner to pen a killer deathbed speech.—Joshua Rothkopf

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36
Ivan's Childhood (1962)

Ivan's Childhood (1962)

Fighting would become an insistent (if subtle) theme in the work of Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky, the Soviet-era giant who opened the world to his nation’s more ambitious cinema in the ’60s and ’70s. But even though his other movies have become more popular (e.g., Solaris), it’s this one, his breakthrough, that remains his most emotional. It’s about a boy who becomes an army spy and loses his soul.—Joshua Rothkopf

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35
Battleground (1949)

Battleground (1949)

If war movies have become sophisticated, critical responses to the illusion of the gung-ho supersoldier, we have this Hollywood drama to thank. Taking WWII's pivotal Battle of the Bulge as its subject, director William Wellman's chronicle found room for then-bold notes of uncertainty and fear—even a hint of desertion.—Joshua Rothkopf

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34
Platoon (1986)

Platoon (1986)

Much of the cult of Oliver Stone rests upon this film, an impassioned and corrective countermyth to the official version of the Vietnam War. Released at a moment when America was finally ready to reexamine its involvement, Stone's grimy drama—marked by complex motivations among the troops—wrung an emotional catharsis from Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings."—Joshua Rothkopf

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33
Kanal (1957)

Kanal (1957)

No proper war-movie list would be complete without an entry from the revered Polish filmmaker Andrzej Wajda, who produced a masterful trilogy that included A Generation (1955) and Ashes and Diamonds (1958), along with this Cannes prize-winner. It's the first film to (brutally) portray the sewer-based Warsaw Uprising against the the Nazis.—Joshua Rothkopf

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32
Patton (1970)

Patton (1970)

Famously, this was Richard Nixon's favorite film, a potent counterbalance to the voices of the protesters and a manly peptalk of righteousness. (It wasn't enough to help the President with his problems.) George C. Scott is magnificent in the title role, railing iconically against "Hun bastards" in his opening monologue before a huge American flag.—Joshua Rothkopf

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31
Attack (1956)

Attack (1956)

"Not every gun is pointed at the enemy!" read a title card in the trailer, and there was truth in advertising: Robert Aldrich's WWII psychodrama concerns the breakdown of order between a captain losing his nerve (Eddie Albert) and a mouthy lieutenant (Jack Palance) rising to the occasion. The military refused to cooperate with the production, yet the low-budget filmmakers prevailed.—Joshua Rothkopf

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Best war movies: 30–21

30
Black Book (2006)

Black Book (2006)

Pervy Dutch director Paul Verhoeven is better known for Basic Instinct and Showgirls, but war movies are his true métier. In this deliciously plotted WWII survival tale (a comeback of sorts for the Hollywood exile), a hotcha Jewish singer becomes a spy, a freedom fighter and a bed partner of Nazis. Talented Carice van Houten commits fully.—Joshua Rothkopf

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29
The Dirty Dozen (1967)

The Dirty Dozen (1967)

It's become one of the most beloved "dad movies" of all time—but maybe Father knows best. The murderous "dozen," conscripted for a suicide mission on the eve of D-Day, includes a shifty-eyed psychopath (John Cassavetes), a religious fanatic and woman-beater (Telly Savalas), and a slow-witted "General" (Donald Sutherland). They get the job done.—Joshua Rothkopf

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28
Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983)

Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983)

The dearly departed David Bowie plays a WWII prisoner of war in a Japanese army camp in this intriguing, homoerotic drama. (His costar is Ryuichi Sakamoto, who composed the film’s atmospheric score.) Of all of Bowie’s distinctive performances, this one is his most mythical—almost Christlike in its serenity and hope. There was a great actor here, one who could have gone further if he chose to.—Joshua Rothkopf

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27
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

People know it better these days from the gang’s demoralized whistling in The Breakfast Club—that’s the “Colonel Bogey March,” originally used as WWII soldiers trudged their way into their POW camp. The movie has a bit of stuffiness to it: It’s a big prestige picture that won a lot of Oscars. But there’s no denying that when that bridge finally goes kaboom, we’ve seen one of cinema’s greatest action scenes.—Joshua Rothkopf

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26
Germany Year Zero (1948)

Germany Year Zero (1948)

In the spirit of war photography itself, Roberto Rossellini focused on the ravaged aftermath of a city's destruction (here, actual locations in Berlin). Thus we have one of the purest records of the violence of World War II, an invaluable time capsule as well as a neorealist landmark.—Joshua Rothkopf

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25
Gallipoli (1981)

Gallipoli (1981)

Peter Weir's tragic, superbly mounted tale of two professional sprinters who join the Australian army circa WWI sheds some light on the casualty-heavy Turkish campaign. Weir's facility with action scenes is fully evident, especially during the gut-wrenching climactic battle. The film also helped to put a young actor named Mel Gibson on the international stage.—Keith Uhlich

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24
The Deer Hunter (1978)

The Deer Hunter (1978)

Based on its most notorious scenes—games of Russian roulette, one of them with vicious Vietcong captors—this actorcentric POW movie (featuring an unhinged Christopher Walken) earns its place on our list. The metaphor is a provocative one: Many saw holding a loaded gun to one's head as an obvious parallel to the United States' entrance into the war itself.—Joshua Rothkopf

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23
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

A pacifistic masterpiece that showed the horrors of WWI trench warfare to a curious if unprepared audience, this epic (based on Erich Maria Remarque's popular novel) also positioned the genre of the combat film as a Hollywood mark of pride: It was one of the first movies to earn a Best Picture Oscar.—Joshua Rothkopf

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22
Three Kings (1999)

Three Kings (1999)

Production was reportedly hellish, with director David O. Russell and star George Clooney coming to physical blows. (Guys, it's a war movie.) But the ultimate payoff was rare: a combat film that achieved political profundity via off-the-wall comedy. Call it the lure of Saddam's gold.—Joshua Rothkopf

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21
Paisan (1946)

Paisan (1946)

Italy’s Neorealist genius Roberto Rossellini made a trio of essential WWII movies—this one falls in between Rome, Open City (1945) and Germany Year Zero (1948) and is undoubtedly the best of the bunch. It’s made up of six vignettes featuring soldiers, street urchins, prostitutes and priests. The total takeaway is aching humanity, even in the face of massive destruction and chaos.—Joshua Rothkopf

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Best war movies: 20–11

20
Duck, You Sucker! (1971)

Duck, You Sucker! (1971)

Also known as A Fistful of Dynamite, this lesser-seen Sergio Leone action film uses the gory Mexican Revolution as its setting. But frankly speaking, it really takes place in “Leone-land”—that mythical place where Rod Steiger can play a swarthy bandito, Spanish deserts can stand in for anywhere, and composer Ennio Morricone can transport viewers to Irish meadows with his loveliest of scores.—Joshua Rothkopf

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19
The Big Red One (1980)

The Big Red One (1980)

Director Sam Fuller's earthy WWII picture, starring Lee Marvin at the end of his likable career, might have lost the battle at the box office, but it's won the war of reputation: A 2004 reconstruction added nearly 50 minutes of excised material, including many off-kilter yet vivid scenes from veteran Fuller's own recollections of the battlefield.—Joshua Rothkopf

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18
Men in War (1957)

Men in War (1957)

The director, Anthony Mann, was best known for his Westerns that pinned heroes in uncomfortable, craggy environments. When he tried his hand at a combat film (this was his first), he set the action in a Korean no-man's land where an American platoon led by Robert Ryan finds itself stranded. The result was an uncommonly tough movie for the Ike era.—Joshua Rothkopf

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17
Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Steven Spielberg's WWII drama weds an intimate story to the sweep of history—and even if you didn't care for the fortunes of one lucky soldier, you couldn't avoid being floored by the movie's epic mounting of the 1944 Omaha Beach landing. Spattered with gore and mud (and running a harrowing 27 minutes), the sequence has no equal on this list, or anywhere else—Joshua Rothkopf

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16
Casualties of War (1989)

Casualties of War (1989)

Brian De Palma has always struggled with his reputation. Sometimes he’s willfully made things worse by being extra salacious in movies like Body Double, Femme Fatale and Scarface. But with this horrific Vietnam War drama—about an American squad gone rogue and dipping into sex slavery—he was really swinging for the fences. Michael J. Fox does superb work, grappling with situational ethics.—Joshua Rothkopf

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15
Das Boot (1981)

Das Boot (1981)

If, as many have said, warfare is a state of mind (as well as a geostrategic one), no film captures that interiority with such pressure-filled flair as this one. Set hundreds of feet below the ocean in a seeping, clanking U-boat, Wolfgang Peterson's international smash almost made you forget its heroes were German.—Joshua Rothkopf

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14
The Thin Red Line (1998)

The Thin Red Line (1998)

Terrence Malick’s return to filmmaking after 20 years of reclusive silence was met with a rapturous response—and the movie truly deserves it. You don’t get the brilliant action sequences of most war pictures. Rather, here are soldiers in WWII’s Pacific theater, touched by their own brutality, pondering in voiceover on the natural world, and wondering when they’ll be back home.—Joshua Rothkopf

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13
The Steel Helmet (1951)

The Steel Helmet (1951)

To make a war movie at the same time when the real-life war is still in progress—and not just a propaganda piece—takes enormous courage. Fortunately for viewers of this Korea War drama (about a group of bickering soldiers holed up in a Buddhist temple), its writer-director was Samuel Fuller, himself a combat veteran. Hollywood must have seemed like a cakewalk after getting shot at.—Joshua Rothkopf

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12
The Hurt Locker (2008)

The Hurt Locker (2008)

Between this film and director Kathryn Bigelow’s follow-up, Zero Dark Thirty, we have the two finest modern-day studies of what it means to fight in today’s confusing war against terrorism. The slightest edge goes to The Hurt Locker, which dives deeply into the process of Iraq-based bomb defusing and the personal detachment that can result from putting oneself in harm’s way on an hourly basis.—Joshua Rothkopf

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11
Empire of the Sun (1987)

Empire of the Sun (1987)

These days, Christian Bale is as huge as it gets: multiple Oscar nominations (and a win for The Fighter), the Batsuit, etc. But when he debuted as a 12-year-old in Steven Spielberg’s surreal WWII Shanghai drama—beating out 4,000 other kids for the role—all the talent was there. His character, Jim, is obsessed with war planes and sees his internment camp as a playground. Still he’s not above fear, and, by film’s end, he’s lost his innocence.—Joshua Rothkopf

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Best war movies: 10–1

10
They Were Expendable (1945)

They Were Expendable (1945)

The kind of film that can force you to revise your idea of whole careers—even decades of work—this assiduous, unshowy portrait of the fighting men of the Philippines builds a quiet impact out of small, keenly observed moments. Our heroes, mainly John Wayne's junior-grade lieutenant, wind away the small hours in Manila, waiting for an assignment to the fight. They don't realize, of course, that these are the good times; when news comes of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the tone shifts to one of a stoic ode to workmanlike sacrifice. Director John Ford, normally a sentimentalist behind the camera, reigns in his impulses, while Wayne (still closer to dewy at this point) shows depths that hadn't been tapped.—Joshua Rothkopf

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9
MASH (1970)

MASH (1970)

Robert Altman’s classic comedy comes sugarcoated in associations: with the TV show, with that especially cloying laugh track, with Alan Alda. But to consider how truly provocative the movie was, you only have to compare it with the elephantine war drama playing across town during those same winter weeks in 1970: Patton is about a misunderstood genius of carnage—and the vindication of the asshole-in-charge (i.e., then-President Nixon). MASH has no battle scenes whatsoever. It does end in a climactic, zany football game. Amazingly, both movies came from the same studio, 20th Century Fox. But by throwing out Ring Lardner Jr.’s conventional script and inspiring his ensemble to play, Altman devised an entirely new on-set process that would change American satire forever. It’s the first real film of the 1970s.—Joshua Rothkopf

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8
Sergeant York (1941)

Sergeant York (1941)

No truly great war film will ever strike a tone of total conviction; that's the realm of imperialist propaganda. Howard Hawks's massively popular drama (released only months before America's entrance into WWII) takes the exact opposite tack: It's the story of real-life First World War soldier Alvin York, a Tennessee simpleton who hoped to avoid enlistment on the sincere grounds of his religiosity and pacifism. His request denied, York proves himself on the battlefield as a singularly talented sharpshooter and wrestles with the killing gift God has given him. Gary Cooper's tortured performance won him an Oscar and continues to inspire a conversation about situational ethics.—Joshua Rothkopf

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7
Come and See (1985)

Come and See (1985)

It's likely you'll want to avert your eyes during Russian director Elem Klimov's terrifying WWII epic about the Nazi occupation of Belarus. Yet it weaves a mesmerizing spell, from the opening image of two children digging in a field for abandoned rifles. One of those boys is taken from his home by partisans to fight the Germans. It's the start of a nine-circles-of-hell odyssey that culminates with a dreamlike encounter with the ultimate persecutor. But before that finale, we're subjected to a staggering succession of atrocities (ear-shattering explosions, corpses piled high, a village systematically destroyed) that would be unbearable were it not for the film's entrancing, near-surreal aesthetic.—Joshua Rothkopf

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6
Army of Shadows (1969)

Army of Shadows (1969)

Rediscovered in 2006 with the fanfare usually reserved for unearthing a lost classic (which was pretty much the case), Jean-Pierre Melville's cool-blue portrait of French Resistance fighters makes a beautiful case for honor among wanted men. Back-room beatings and drive-by shootings spark a mostly conversational film about the sacrifice of spies. Melville's reputation had previously rested on chilly, remote gangster pictures like Le Samoura (1967), but to see his canvas widened to national politics was a revelation. And the reason the movie had been ignored in the first place? Fashionable French critics had dismissed it as too pro-De Gaulle. What comes around...—Joshua Rothkopf

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5
Starship Troopers (1997)

Starship Troopers (1997)

Stop snickering: There's a real reason why this sci-fi actioner is so high on our list. Never before (and probably never again) had the monied apparatus of Hollywood been so co-opted to make a subversive comment about its own fascist impulses. Director Paul Verhoeven cackled all the way to the box office as giant bugs were exterminated by gorgeous, empty-headed bimbos; when Neil Patrick Harris showed up near the end of the movie in a full-length Nazi trench coat, the in-joke was practically outed. Source novelist Robert Heinlein meant his militaristic tale sincerely; meanwhile, the blithe destruction of humankind on display here could only be intended as a sharp critique, both of soldiering and of popular tastes. Return to it with fresh eyes.—Joshua Rothkopf

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4
Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Stanley Kubrick's unnerving contribution to Vietnam war movies will gouge out your eyes and skull-fuck you (to quote a line). The first half of this opus, set at the Marines' Parris Island training facility, is widely lauded: Drill instructor R. Lee Ermey spouts every imaginable expletive (plus some new ones) while putting a group of new recruits through their paces. Yet the less-discussed second half—which follows Matthew Modine's Pvt. "Joker" and his fellow soldiers through the Tet Offensive—is a necessary complement. This is where we see the end result of turning men into killing machines, and it's like gazing into the abyss.—Keith Uhlich

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3
Grand Illusion (1937)

Grand Illusion (1937)

Jean Renoir, the great humanist of cinema, cowrote and directed this superlative WWI story about two French aviators who are captured by a German captain (Erich von Stroheim, perfectly cast as a mannerly despot) and shuttled between prisons. The duo plans a great escape, but this isn't a simple tale of heroes and villains. Class conflict is prevalent: One of our heroes is an aristocrat and easily befriends his warden. The other, meanwhile, is a rough-hewn everyguy—a charismatic ranter against the system. Yet Renoir places no one character above another. Indeed, the film is sympathetic to all perspectives, even as it sagely questions how these combative circumstances came about. For its pointed generousness, the movie was awarded numerous prizes and earned the ire of Joseph Goebbels who declared it "Cinematic Public Enemy No. 1."—Keith Uhlich

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2
Apocalypse Now (1979)

Apocalypse Now (1979)

The battles behind Francis Ford Coppola's surreal war movie are well-documented: the nightmarish, multiyear shoot; star Martin Sheen's heart attack and recovery; a cackling press corps that sharpened its knives for a turkey of epic proportions. Coppola would have the last laugh. So much of the vocabulary of the modern-day war picture comes from this movie, an operatic Vietnam-set tragedy shaped out of whirring helicopter blades, Wagnerian explosions, purple haze and Joseph Conrad's colonialist fantasia Heart of Darkness. Fans of the Godfather director, so pivotal to the 1970s, know this to be his last fully realized work; connoisseurs of the war movie see it (correctly) as his second all-out masterpiece.—Joshua Rothkopf

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1
Paths of Glory (1957)

Paths of Glory (1957)

And so we've reached the top of the top, the ultimate statement on man's inhumanity to man. Is it any surprise that it comes from Stanley Kubrick? So much of the director's filmography was devoted to depicting military folly (and believe us, we toyed with including Barry Lyndon, too). Elevating Paths of Glory above the fray—and above every other title—was not its brutal scenes of WWI trench warfare but its scalpel-scarp indictment of the pride that comes with battle. Kirk Douglas's lawyer-colonel is tasked with mounting a courtroom defense of three innocent soldiers who just happened to be part of a losing skirmish. Based on a real-life episode of French soldiers executed for "cowardice," Kubrick's movie so angered France's government that it couldn't be screened publicly there until 1975. The film's lesson is universal and timeless, though: If warfare turns us into monsters even off the battlefield, then we have no purpose waging it.—Joshua Rothkopf

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Comments

228 comments
John H
John H

Glory, Paths of Glory, Wings,  Zulu (not necessarily in that order)

Chandradeep D
Chandradeep D

Larisa Shepitko's 'The Ascent' , Mario Monicelli's 'La Grande Guerra' and Mikhail Kalatozov's 'The Cranes are flying' are shocking omissions. Also Come and See should be no. 1 for me. Many other Non-US films are missing though that's obvious. 

Peyton K
Peyton K

What about Pearl Harbor? So much went into that movie and it had a great plot, drama, action, music, and the acting was phenomenal. Even the short lines by people in the big action scene made you feel how they wanted you to. Like one sailor trapped in the ship saying "I dont wanna die, I dont wanna die" over and over, or the cries from the sailors were just amazing. Definitely deserves to be on this list for sure.

Nikhil J
Nikhil J

There are a few blunders like Starship troopers which everyone seems to agree is a shocking inclusion but overall it is a good compilation.  For lots of folks who do not see their favorites on here, this list consciously seems to avoid propaganda movies.  Kirk Douglas' Paths of Glory is an absolute gem.  Also happy to see Gallipoli on the list.

Paul C
Paul C

Nice list, but where is Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of War?

art b
art b

I agree about  We Were Soldiers (Once and Young)........or  what about the Lost Battalion (Ricky Schroeder)? Agree Hamburger Hill and also what about In Harm's Way (John Wayne) and even Thin Red LIne? Or even the Iron Cross?

William M
William M

Do not Forget  We Are Soliders Once and Young 

Tony D
Tony D

Hamburger Hill, Das Boot, Full Metal Jacket, Fury,

John F
John F

Where are "Glory" and "We We're Soldiers"?  Come to think of it....where is "The Enemy Below".   But "Duck, you sucker" and "Starship Troopers" are on the list?  Really?   Whatever.

Martin F
Martin F

What about The Human Condition trilogy.

Is Forbidden games really a war movie?

RockerWasRight .
RockerWasRight .

Caine Mutiny SHOULD be on there, as well as 30 Seconds Over Tokyo.

Kids shouldn't post.... Starship Troopers and Glory???? Why did the kids miss Ice Station Zebra if they want garbage?

Mr Smith
Mr Smith

What! No 'Stalingrad'!? Easily in the "Top 50 War Movies", Top 10 even.

Mr Smith
Mr Smith

'The Brest Fortress' is also a war movie which clearly should be ranked somewhere in the "Top 50". It isn't (IMO) as good as the film 'Stalingrad', but it is a top war film and easily better then quite a number of the films listed in this "Top 50 War Movies".

Jonathan D
Jonathan D

Das Boot (Directors cut, in German with English Subtitles)

There is this film - and then there is daylight to all others.

As author Quintus Curtius noted:

..."It is without doubt the greatest film of naval combat ever made, and belongs on that very short list of the greatest war films ever made. The heroism and fortitude displayed made me ponder what I had seen for days afterwards, as I am wont to do after any emotionally engaging experience."

David M
David M

@Jonathan D   You are right.  I am 75 yrs old, lived in the UK as a kid, and can remember the air raids.  My bed was a bunk salvaged from a German submarine in Stockton on Tees.  Das Boot is the best war film I ever saw, by a long shot.  I have a copy and watch it periodically,

Ryan L
Ryan L

Modern Soldiers (I can't speak for Marines) should recognize Starship Troopers' place on this list to be highly accurate--and by modern I mean the same are sufficiently self-aware to view Catch-22 and the Thin Red Line as odes to our lives (as opposed to any recent war-commentary bull).  


The funny thing is that I would rate it in the top 10 of most authentic/accurate/telling/prescient military books, but for almost entirely different reasons than the movie.  I'd recommend some re-examination of both, though I would be surprised if a civilian would be able to find the nuances outside of any analogous corporate/govt concepts.

Ed G
Ed G

Interesting list but as with others must question some of the exclusions...but isn't that the thing with lists like this.

Blue Max, Guns of Navarone, Lawrence of Arabia (so surprised this is excluded!), Glory, Zulu, The Lost Battalion

I certainly disagree with Starship Troopers being anywhere near this list!

Tony D
Tony D

@Ed G for Sure....the Lost Battalion is a Classic!!

John C
John C

I have always considered "Paths of Glory" to be  Kubrick's REAL masterpiece, but still would put "All Quiet on the Western Front" at number one in this list.  Also "For Whom the Bell Tolls" belongs in the list as well.  Glad too, to see, "They Were Expendable" near the top. "Run Silent, Run Deep" also belongs. 
"Sergeant York" would have been on the list, but near the bottom, for me.

Tony D
Tony D

@John C Run Slilent, Run Deep....on my Favorites List ;)

K-Cuf U
K-Cuf U

David Fear, Joshua Rothkopf and Keith Uhlich: congratulations! This is officially the #1 Worst Movie List Ever Made!

Birgir N
Birgir N

You miss the war movie above all: Die Brücke (The bridge) - a German war movie from 1959:  West German film directed by Austrian filmmaker Bernhard Wicki

grimm e
grimm e

great List, would have included the german made movie "Stalingrad" though

Royal T
Royal T

This list and the facts and descriptions about each movie are both so great, I'm excited to re-watch a bunch of these now knowing all the lore and defining factors i didn't know.  Thanks guys!

r m
r m

Since they included Gallipoli they should have included Joyeau Noel...they usually play it on cable during the holidays. It's in French, German and English and features the lovely Diane Kruger in a small role. See it.

Paul C
Paul C

There was a WWII movie that I can't remember the name but it was about the Germans building a fake American military hospital complex and then capturing an American intelligence officer, making him believe the war had been over for several years and he had been in a coma. They tried to get him to talk about the American invasion plan but after a few days he realized that the cut on his finger was from a paper cut he had gotten in his office previously and then knew he was being fooled.

Does anyone remember the name?

Christopher J
Christopher J

I would add U-571 and Black Hawk Down to this list and Saving Private Ryan should definitely be in the top 5.

Brian M
Brian M

Breaker Morant, The Odd Angry Shot...the list goes on.  And somehow Starship Troopers comes in at number 5?  I was enjoying this list up until that point.

Ismael C
Ismael C

Oh come on Starship Troopers? Battle of the Bulge, MacArthur, Hamburgel Hill, From Here to Eternity, The lost Platoon. LMFAO. 

David S
David S

The Blue Max, greatest aviation war movie!!!

Marvin P
Marvin P

Starship Troopers?!? Is this a fucking joke? Where is Guns of Navarone and Hamburger Hill?

Rio S
Rio S

i think "Saving Private Ryan" no 1
and where "Black Hawk Down" ?
now "Lone Survivor" appropriate in to list :D

Ed E
Ed E

Really, Starship Troopers? Why not just throw Tropic Thunder on the list. Patton & Platoon don't even break below 30. What about From Here to Eternity, In Harm's Way, Tora Tora Tora, To Hell and Back. Sure they from an older generation of movies many of the actors and crew actually served in the military.

Douglas M
Douglas M

Stalag 17 was better then about 45 of those movies.

ChicagoCrew .
ChicagoCrew .

Missing movies ----- The Enemy Below

                                     Captain Horatio Hornblower

                                       Sink the Bismarck

                                       Courage Under Fire 

                                       Glory

                                       Braveheart

joe
joe

This is a terrible list.

Claire
Claire

Johnny got his gun (1971)

Daniel Devine
Daniel Devine

This is ridiculous. Saving Private Ryan not top 10? WHAT??!! Where is Glory in the top 10 as well? No Hamburger Hill?

Mike Crowner
Mike Crowner

What about Glory??????????????? Glory is the best war movie by far! Come on!

Chris .
Chris .

@Mike Crowner Glory was a great movie,but Paths of Glory is the best War Movie ever,however he missed several great movies

Mark Bell
Mark Bell

Bingo! Good List because he got "Paths of Glory" at top. Good Choice. The man knows how to value and review a movie.