I have always been interested in war movies, however I am often disappointed when I do shell out the cash to go see a war movie in the theater and it is the biggest load of trash you have ever seen.
So I have complied a list of my 5 favorite war / military movies in descending order (1 is the best) – I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
5 – Platoon
This movie is about the Vietnam war. The US government drafts many teens to become soldiers who are then sent off to Vietnam and into an absolute blood bath. One of the main characters in the movie is Chris Taylor, he is allocated into a platoon controlled by two sergeants who don’t see eye to eye and who believe war should be fought their own way. One of the sergeants is Elias who is all about making sure they survive and believe in respecting the enemy while Barnes id essentially a brute who is more interested in bloodshed and being as violent / disrespectful to the enemy as possible. Essentially the movie follows Chris Taylor and how he deals with the two very different military commands each sergeant has.
Wikipedia – Platoon
4 – The Hurt Locker
This movie is top shelf and easily one of the best I have seen in the last 10 years or so. The movie takes place around the Iraq war and what it is like to be in the American bomb squad looking for IED’s. Essentially the entire movie revolves around a series of bomb threats that the unit has to investigate and diffuse. Each threat is intense and you really get a feel for what it would be like if you were in that situation – it really is thrilling stuff.
The Hurt Locker doesn’t glorify war at all and actually portrays an anti-war message throughout. It shows that real people are involved in these wars and they do get injured and even killed just for doing their jobs. It also shows the other side of the war and that the people being invaded are just like anyone else, only they live in this messed up war torn country (which they had no choice in). This really is a great movie and I recommend you give it a whirl.
Wikipedia – The Hurt Locker
3 – Saving Private Ryan
I’m not a big Tom Hanks fan, but in this movie he was superb. Saving Private Ryan is set during the invasion of Normandy in World War II. I would have to say that the first 30 minutes or so is some of the most intense viewing in a war movie you are ever likely to watch, it is graphic and it doesn’t shy away from exactly how brutal war can be.
The plot in this movie to me is a little lacking and also fairly unrealistic, but the war scenes and the acting make it more than a worthwhile movie to watch. In general, the movie focuses on a small platoon who’s mission is to find private Ryan who is MIA. The team has to overcome many obstacles along the way, none more interesting than some dissent amongst the ranks and the lingering question of why this private Ryans life is more important than the platoon sent out to bring him back to safety.
Wikipedia – Saving Private Ryan
2 – Full Metal Jacket
This is close to the best war movie ever made, although the second half of the movie is certainly not as good as the first half. It is really interesting to watch these marines training and being broken down by the system and turned into order following killers without question or remorse. I don’t want to write too much about this movie because I don’t want to ruin it for you, but make sure you watch out for the sniper scene in the second half of the movie – don’t worry, you will know it when it comes. It will keep you on the edge of your seat and you will be terrified the entire time. There are plenty of memorable quotes in the movie and if you liked any of the previous war movies I listed above then you will love this one.
Wikipedia – Full Metal Jacket
1 – We Were Soldiers
I remember seeing this movie at the cinema with a friend and her dad who was a Vietnam veteran and I’ll never forget what he said when we walked out. He said that it was the most realistic war movie he had ever seen and that finally someone had got it right. It was a toss up for me to put this movie ahead of Full Metal Jacket, but I believe it is a more rounded movie as it shows some of the aspects of the families at home who are also impacted by war, and not just the military personnel on the ground.
The movie is very graphic and extremely realistic to a point where you honestly feel like you are right there and you can feel your heart racing. There is no sugar coating when it comes to this film, be prepared intense war scenes with realistic characters and a great all round movie. You won’t be disappointed.
Wikipedia – We Were Soldiers