Top Ten War Movies

The Great Escape 1963

The Great Escape 1963

This has to be one of the all-time classics with a cast that features some of the greatest American and British actors there are including

  1. Steve McQueen
  2. Charles Bronson
  3. Richard Attenborough
  4. James Garner
  5. Donald Pleasance
  6. James Coburn
  7. David McCallum
  8. Gordon Jackson
  9. Nigel Stock

These are just a few of the memorable performers. The movie screenplay is based on a true story of prisoners of war who spent their time planning ways to escape from the prison camp culminating in one huge escape bid by many of the prisoners. Much time is spent on planning as we see the group of prisoners digging a tunnel that will see them come up on the outside of the prison camp.

All the prisoners have previously been in other camps and have escaped so the Germans decide to place them all in one camp that they “can’t” escape from. Naturally this does not work and following the mass escape the Germans spend much time rounding up the escapees some of which are caught and some who successfully gained their freedom. There are some superb performances in the movie none more so than Steve McQueen’s portrayal of Hilts “The Cooler King” so named as he spent much time in solitary as punishment for attempting to escape. Directed by John Sturges the Great Escape was nominated for both Academy and Golden Globe awards.

The theme music to The Great Escape is just as fabulous as the movie itself. There aren’t many who will not recognise this epic tune written by Elmer Bernstein as it is used throughout the movie and encapsulates the urgency plus the bravery of the prisoners and their escape bids.

Platoon 1986

Platoon 1986

This superb movie directed by Oliver Stone set in the Vietnam War tells the story of a young soldier played by Charlie Sheen who leaves college and volunteers to go to Vietnam to fight in the war. He ultimately finds that it is not only the enemy he has to battle against but with his comrades whose behaviour astounds the young recruit making him feel excluded and not part of the platoon.

Platoon takes a real life look at how soldiers coped during the Vietnam War and how their mental capacities as well as physical attributes were tested to the limits. The Illegal murder of civilians in a village along with rivalry and in fighting between two commanders makes for spell binding viewing.

The movie won four Academy awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Editing and Best Sound along with four other nominations. All the actors involved in the movie had to attend boot camp enduring two weeks of harsh training and exercise to prepare them for their roles. The cast of this cinema war epic reads as follows

  1. Jonny Depp
  2. Kevin Dillon
  3. Charlie Sheen
  4. Willem Defoe
  5. Forest Whitaker
  6. Tom Berenger
  7. Paul Sanchez plus many more too numerous to mention. If you have not seen Platoon then add it to your must see list immediately.

Patton 1970

Patton is another epic war movie that stars George C Scott in the title role. It follows the general’s career during the Second World War as he controlled the tanks in the desert of North Africa spearheading the American campaign there. The film follows Patton through Europe until the war ended. The movie also looks at Patton himself in terms of his personality which was known for bad temperedness and rebelliousness. These personality faults would ultimately affect Patton’s future career as he was overlooked when it came to being made commander of the D Day landings

George C Scott puts in a great performance as the complicated general winning the Oscar for Best actor as a result. Scott refused to accept the award as he objected to competition between actors which he called unfair and a meat parade. The movie also won Best Director for Franklin J Schaffner, Best Editing, Best Art Direction, Best Picture, Best Sound and Best Writing/Screenplay (Francis Ford Coppola)

Other cast members included

  1. Karl Malden
  2. Steven Young
  3. Michael Strong
  4. Frank Latimore
  5. Karl Michael Vogler
  6. John Doucette

The Dirty Dozen 1967

The Dirty Dozen 1967

The Dirty Dozen follows twelve convicted criminals who are selected to take part in a suicide mission prior to the D day landings. In return for their cooperation they are told they will gain their freedom if they succeed and live through the operation. The alternative for most of the prisoners is execution anyway therefore they agree to join up.

Each of the participants has a different personality that include a psychopath, a rapist, a wife beater, a religious fanatic, while the job of training this motley crew for their mission is an army major played by the superb Lee Marvin. The aim of the mission is to infiltrate a French chateau where high ranking German officers gather for R and R. Marvin’s character has a real battle on his plate as he attempts to tame these prisoners to make them into a fighting force that will succeed in their duty.

Although the film was nominated for four Academy Awards it was only successful in gaining one (should have swept the board) which was Best Effects/Best Sound Effects. The cast members included some very famous names

  1. Telly Savalas
  2. Clint Walker
  3. Lee Marvin
  4. Ernest Borgnine
  5. Charles Bronson
  6. John Cassavettes
  7. George Kennedy
  8. Trini Lopez
  9. Robert Ryan
  10. Donald Sutherland

The Bridge on the River Kwai 1957

The Bridge on the River Kwai 1957

David Lean’s superb war epic is definitely one of the most magnificent movies dealing with the Japanese campaign. Starring Sir Alec Guinness as British Colonel Nicholson this movie tells the story of prisoners of war in a Japanese camp who are tasked with building a huge bridge over the River Kwai. Unbeknown to the colonel the allies intend to destroy the bridge as soon as it is finished.

This movie is a story of brutality, endurance and camaraderie that exists between the prisoners and their captors. The scenes where the colonel is kept in a small wooden box for days without food as he refuses to work on the bridge because he is an officer are intense and superbly acted by all involved. The shock and disappointment is palpable when the bridge is blown up by American escapee William Holden, while the misery and strength of the men involved in this campaign is admirable. This classic is one that fans of war epics will not want to miss.

All Quiet on the Western Front 1930

This movie classic charts the horrific path that World War I took winning much coveted Oscars for Best film plus Best Director as a result. The screenplay is based on the novel written by Erich Maria Remarque, while the story follows German schoolboys who are encouraged to enlist to fight in the war by their teacher.

Each young man sees the war individually and the story is told in this way throughout the movie. Witnessing atrocities soon takes away the rose tinted spectacles of what war is truly like for the boys. This is shown when one of the boys seriously hurts a French enemy soldier only to attempt to save his life when he is trapped in a hole with the injured man.  The movie truly shows how we think war may be and what the reality actually is.

It is doubtful the stars names will ring any bells but do not let this put you off the movie as it is a fine example of the futility of war and its effect on those involved. Cast members includeLouis Walheim, Lew Ayres, John Wray, plus was directed by Lewis Milestone.

Inglorious Basterds 2009

Inglorious Basterds 2009

Quentin Tarantino director of this movie really excelled himself with this wonderful take on events involving a German officer and his involvement in the execution of Jewish families in occupied France during the Second World War. The story involves a plan by a group of Jewish American Guerilla soldiers, led by Brad Pitt, to assassinate Adolf Hitler, while the only surviving member of a Jewish family (who owns a cinema) murdered by Christoph Waltz’s evil German Colonel character is intent on the same.

Fans of Tarantino will recognise his style immediately in this superb movie as “The Basterds” who have earned a formidable reputation for violence and no mercy make their way through many German captives executing them as they go. The movie is violent as you would expect from the onset with the opening scene featuring the execution of a whole Jewish family except for Shoshona the girl who escapes and plans her revenge against the Nazis years later.

Waltz won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in the movie which was well deserved. Brad Pitt also put in a sterling performance along with Melanie Laurant as Shoshona, Eli Roth, Michael Fassbender, Christoph Waltz, Diane Kruger, Daniel Bruhl, and many other superb actors who all performed well in their individual roles. Did they succeed with their plans? That is for you to find out!

Saving Private Ryan 1998

Saving Private Ryan 1998

Steven Spielberg’s drama set in World War II tells the story of how American soldiers were tasked with finding Private Ryan the sole survivor from a family of four soldiers to ensure his safe passage back home. The movie starts in 1944 with a gory but very realistic portrayal of the Omaha Beach landings on D Day. This scene encapsulates with realism the death, destruction and bravery that happened on that day.

The movie follows the soldiers through Europe behind enemy lines looking for the Private who is with the 101st Airborne Division. Eventually after many ups and downs they do find him. This film is not merely a war epic but it also has a very human side to it which shines through. Tom Hanks is superb as leader of the searching platoon, while all the main actors (except Matt Damon) were sent to boot camp to endure gruelling training exercises.

To gain authenticity no stone was left unturned. For example the gunfire sound was recorded using actual live ammunition previously, while they also used period weapons too. The movie won five academy awards including Best Director and Best Editing. Cast members included

  1. Tom Hanks
  2. Tom Sizemore
  3. Edward Burns
  4. Barry Pepper
  5. Adam Goldberg
  6. Vin Diesel
  7. Matt Damon
  8. Ted Danson
  9. Dennis Farina
  10. Jeremy Davis

The Hurt Locker 2008

The Hurt Locker 2008

Set in the Iraq War this film tells the story of an elite squad that has the most dangerous job of all, disarming bombs. Based in Baghdad the company leader Sgt Will James who is somewhat of a maverick leads Sanborn and Eldridge his crew in a reckless fashion. He doesn’t seem to fear death in fact he seems to welcome it in a way that frightens his comrades to death. In an explosive city where everyone is a potential enemy the two crew members attempt to reign in their leader but to no avail, while the whole group suffer the consequences with lives being changed forever as a result.

The Hurt Locker won six Academy Awards

  1. Best Director for Katherine Bigelow
  2. Best Editing
  3. Best Sound Editing
  4. Best Sound Mixing
  5. Best Film
  6. Best Screenplay

The movie was shot in Jordan with some of the scenes being shot during Ramadan that caused a few complications for the crew in terms of drinking eating and smoking in front of their Muslim counterparts. The Hurt Locker stars Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Guy Pierce, Ralph Fiennes, David Morse and Evangeline Lilley.

Born on the Fourth of July 1989

This movie is the true story of Vietnam Veteran Ron Kovic (played beautifully by Tom Cruise) who returns from the war in Vietnam paralysed from the chest down. Ron may be unable to walk but his mental faculties are certainly in place and he has plenty he wants to get over to the establishment as a result.

Feeling betrayed by his country Ron becomes an anti-war activist who also campaigns for human rights. He enlisted to help his country and serve it as a patriot but becomes disillusioned due to what he sees and does while in Vietnam plus how he is treated on his return. The movie culminates in Kovic along with other Vietnam Vets storming the 1972 Republican convention with Richard Nixon in attendance.

This film shows how badly treated returning soldiers were by the US government and is filled with emotion from beginning to end. Directed by Oliver Stone the movie was nominated for eight Oscars winning two, one for Best Director the other Film Editing. It is our opinion that Tom Cruise deserved the Best Actor nod, while the film was number one in the top seen movies for over six weeks. Other notable actors included

  1. Tom Berenger
  2. Willem Dafoe
  3. Raymond J Barry
  4. Josh Evans
  5. Caroline Kava
  6. Jerry Levine
  7. Stephen Baldwin

John Getz

Play War Games Online

Army War Games

Plane War Games

Tank War Games

Medieval & Ancient War Games

Fun & Alternative War Games