War has been an important part of every nation’s history. Be it against colonial rule, neighboring nations, or intra-country, every nation has been its part some time or the other. War has destroyed lives and nations but it is an important part of our history. Not only one needs to know about it but one also needs to understand everything about the war and its impact on the people and their surroundings. However, you need not worry as we have just the right motivation for you to learn about it. The film industry has made several movies and shows on the aforementioned and we have selected a list of the Top 10 War Movies of all time.
It is no shocker that several war films have been made over the past few decades and especially in recent years. Since we are talking about war, movies consisting of superheroes or so have not been included in the list below. Consequently, it will help you in finding out historically accurate and real-life based events. A war movie can be pacifist or revolutionary which can affect a person’s school of thought massively. However, at the end of the day, it is up to the person which path he wants to tread on. So, let us dive deep into this article to find out which are the Top 10 War Movies that you must watch.
1) Dunkirk (2017):
When you hear the name Christopher Nolan, you know you’ll be watching something highly intense and nothing short of a thriller. Consequently, his cinematic imagination helped him in creating one of the most superior war movies of all time. It is the 2017 film ‘Dunkirk’. Nolan is the producer and the director of the movie with Fionn Whitehead in the lead role. The movie portrays the evacuation from the town of Dunkirk from three perspectives i.e. land, air, and sea. The film is very well known as it is one of the few movies that has used minimal dialogues.
Nolan’s sole purpose behind this was to target the depiction of the entire event and he did so by not including any backstories or flashbacks to his characters. Consequently, there was no attempt of trying to invoke sympathy amongst the audience. Anyhow, the movie is an absolute masterpiece and you must watch it! It is one of the few war movies that has won an Academy Award (Best Sound category). Apart from that, it has won and even been nominated for several other awards and accolades. You can just click here to watch the movie.
2) Atonement (2007):
‘Atonement’ is a 2007 romantic war movie directed by Joe Wright and produced by Eric Fellner, Tim Bevan, and Paul Webster. It is not solely about war and rather covers the story of human penitence set during World War II. The plot revolves around a youthful girl who catches her sister and their housekeeper’s son affianced in a flirty moment of intimacy. Consequently, she gets jealous and unknowingly initiates a course of incidents that eventually lead to catastrophe for the immature lovers.
Anyhow, after several years, the war amounts to a deafening circumstance of the brain for the young couple. The sister grows to become a nurse while her lover gets recruited as a soldier. At the time when mankind had failed to maintain its rationality, the two keep yearning to meet each other. Ultimately, they do meet but, was it in real or fiction? That is the most significant question. You can just click here to watch the movie.
3) Paths of Glory (1957):
Directed by Stanley Kubrick and produced by James B. Harris, the movie ‘Paths of Glory’ is based on a novel with the same name by Humphrey Cobb. It is Kubrick’s one of the most sentimental cinematic ventures. The movie is an anti-war film in reality and revolves around a group of soldiers who deny taking on a dangerous mission. Consequently, a general accuses them of timidity in front of everyone and humiliates them. As a result, the soldiers’ commanding officer hits out to defend them in a court case.
Even though the movie has now been concealed under various of Kubrick’s other blockbuster films, it is one of his most humane and touching works. He has crafted the war scenes excellently and it might not match up to his works aesthetically but it is still an extremely artistic movie for its time. Therefore, it is one of the best anti-war films of all time without any doubt. You can just click here to watch the movie.
4) The Bridge On the River Kwai (1957):
‘The Bridge on the Rive Kwai’ is a classic in all respect. Directed by David Lean and produced by Sam Speigel, it is an epic war film. It ridicules the nefarious nature of human beings using the building of a bridge as symbolism. A British officer helps in constructing a bridge at the expense of his men. The sole reason being that the bridge’s construction will only help the enemy Japanese army move forward. However, the officer feels that it will prove to be an example of the British imagination.
In the end, the instance of anguish comes up when he finds out that his own army had planned to destruct the bridge with the help of explosives. Consequently, he decides to wreck their plan but gets foiled by his men as they blow the bridge into debris. The movie is a complete classic and was a massive hit commercially as well as critically. It won several nominations and awards. The epic war film won 7 Academy Awards in total and 4 British Academy Film Awards. You can just click here to watch the movie.
5) Patton (1969):
‘Patton, also known as ‘Patton: Lust for Glory’ is an epic biographical war movie. Frank McCarthy was its producer whereas Franklin J. Schaffner was its director. The movie revolves around the life of an obnoxious, arrogant, and audacious but battle-hardened commander. His name is George S. Patton (played by George C. Scott) and is a US Major General. He was very well-known for his courageous and retributing strategies during the war.
George C. Scott was even elected as the winner of the Academy Award for the best actor which he refused to take. Consequently, he became the first of the only two people to do so before Marlon Brando, who refused the Academy Award for his role in ‘The Godfather’. Anyhow, the movie is a legendary one as it highlights the American hero who once stated that no bast*** had ever won a war by dying for his country. You could only win it by making the other poor dumb bast*** die for his country. You can just click here to watch the movie.
6) Platoon (1986):
‘Platoon’ is a 1986 war film directed and written by Oliver Stone. Arnold Kopelson was its producer It is partially based on Stone’s personal experiences during the time of the Vietnam War. The film not only supports pacifism but also dictates social commentary. The plot is narrated from the viewpoint of a young visionary soldier named Chris Taylor (portrayed by Charlie Sheen). He had volunteered for the war and is seen serving Sgt. Barnes (portrayed by Tom Berenger). Sgt. Barnes and his assistants are the honest outcomes of war. They do not hold themselves back from tormenting innocent civilians, raping children, and killing the old and disabled.
The sole reason for them being drafted was that they were unwanted and not born with a silver spoon. Furthermore, there is a village assault scene in the film which is in reference to the well-known Mai Lai Massacre. In that, U.S Troops blindly assassinated 300-400 unshielded civilians including infants, children, women, and men. The movie did extremely great critically as well as commercially. Consequently, they won many Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, and several other awards for the movie in various categories. You can just click here to watch the movie.
7) Schindler’s List (1993):
‘Schindler’s List’ is an epic historical war drama movie produced and directed by Steven Spielberg. It is based on the 1982 historical fiction novel ‘Schindler’s Ark’ (by Thomas Keneally). The Holocaust is definitely one of the cruelest decisions in the history of mad Germans. However, there was one other German who resued more than thousands of lives from their fate in the detention camps. As a result, he managed to script the noblest story on humanity. The movie revolves around the life of Oskar Schindler (played by Liam Neeson). He wanted to exploit the ongoing war with the appointment of POWs in his factory. However, he ended up rescuing their lives in the end.
Practically witty, the movie is spotlighted owing to its black and white cinematography. Despite its immense commercial and critical success, the movie is to date debated as one of the best war movies ever made. Many individuals had issues with the film’s emotional tone. Consequently, they accused Spielberg of emotionally manipulating and make the story simpler to make it appear a bit more appealing to the larger audience. Nevertheless, the film definitely satisfies its title and the storyline it wanted to highlight. As a result, it is and will remain one of the greatest ever war movies made of the previous century. You can just click here to watch the movie.
8) Apocalypse Now (1979):
‘Apocalypse Now’ is a famous American epic psychological war film produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. It is narrated by Michael Her and is an illusory adaptation of the novel Heart of Darkness (by Joseph Conrad). The movie is regarded as one of the most powerful anti-war movies to be ever made. Martin Sheen brings the character of Capt. Even though the film does not show the war on the battlefield but rather focuses on portraying the war within the human soul. ‘Apocalypse Now’ paints a dreadful picture of the human soul’s gloominess. Willard’s journey is figurative in many ways. His journey dictates that he is traversing deep down within his own soul.
Finally, when he decides to confront it, he feels immensely traumatized and offended. However, he is not able to deal with it as he doesn’t want to accept his true identity. The war scenes in the movie have been filmed brilliantly. Moreover, despite being made approximately 40 years ago, it looks extremely excellent on a purely perceptible level. Brando steals the show in the final half-hour playing the role of Colonel Kurtz. He managed to seize the essence of the entire plot through his performance. As a result, ‘Apocalypse Now’ is doubtlessly one of the war films that you must watch. You can just click here to watch the movie.
9) 1917 (2019):
Directed and produced by Sam Mendes, ‘1917’ is hands down, the best war film created in the previous decade. Its nomination for the 2019 Best Picture at the Academy Awards states that clearly. Mendes drew inspiration for the movie partially from the stories that his paternal grandfather had told him during his time in World War I. However, before watching the film, you must know that it is more about pacifism than about the glories of either side of World War I. It takes place during Operation Alberich after the Germans retreated to the Hindenburg Line.
The story revolves around two British soldiers i.e. Tom Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) and Will Schofield (George MacKay). The movie has been shot to look like a continuous take. As a result, when you will watch it, you will feel like you have spent almost 2 hours in a single breath. You can just click here to watch the movie.
10) The Thin Red Line (1998):
‘The Thin Red Line’ is an epic war film that explores certain fighting techniques and strategies that the Japanese infantry used during their island warfare. The line between win and ethics had been compromised at that time. Terrence Malick had directed the movie whereas Robert Michael Geisler, Grant Hill, and John Roberdeau had produced it. The story revolves around the life of an enthusiastic U.S. private (portrayed by Jim Caviezel) who gets chosen to go AWOL. He spends time with the locals of a small South Pacific island but is caught soon. As a result, he is enforced to retort the ranks to fight in World War II against the Imperial Japanese Army.
The movie consists of a very versatile and talented cast and symbolizes the sentiments that the American soldiers felt while confronting an unknown opponent. The movie is one of the most classic war movies and consequently, it was nominated for several awards including the Academy Awards. Even though they did not win many of them, the movie has become a classic over the course of time. You can just click here to watch the movie.