This Remembrance Day, many of us are thinking about those who fought and died in war. Thankfully fewer and fewer of us are actually going to war or know what war is like. That is why war films are an important part of our culture. They remind us of the amazing sacrifice veterans went through so we could preserve our freedom.
Themes explored in these war films include combat, survivor and escape stories, tales of gallant sacrifice and struggle, studies of the futility and inhumanity of battle, the effects of war on society, and intelligent and profound explorations of the moral and human issues.
More films have been made about World War II than about any other armed hostility in history, including the Vietnam War. But that doesn’t’ mean we can forget about the First World War or the Korean War or even more recent ones like the Iraq or Afghanistan War.
This list ranks of best movies about war, battles, and military conflicts. It’s not an exhaustive list by any means and there are many great war films that have been left out. These films recreate some of the most significant events in world history from a variety of perspectives and with a variety of purposes and intentions.
Saving Private Ryan
Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Vin Diesel
Saving Private Ryan is a 1998 American epic drama war film set during the Invasion of Normandy in World War II. Directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Robert Rodat, the film is notable for ...more
Full Metal Jacket
Vincent D'Onofrio, R. Lee Ermey
Full Metal Jacket is a 1987 war film directed and produced by Stanley Kubrick. The screenplay by Kubrick, Michael Herr, and Gustav Hasford was based on Hasford's novel The Short-Timers. The film ...more
Marlon Brando, Harrison Ford, Robert Duvall
Apocalypse Now is a 1979 American epic adventure war film set during the Vietnam War. Produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, and Robert Duvall.
Johnny Depp, Charlie Sheen, Willem Dafoe
Platoon is a 1986 American war film written and directed by Oliver Stone and starring Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe and Charlie Sheen. It is the first film of a trilogy of Vietnam War films.
The Bridge on the River Kwai
Alec Guinness, William Holden, Jack Hawkins
The Bridge on the River Kwai is a 1957 World War II epic film directed by David Lean, based on the novel Le Pont de la Rivière Kwai by Pierre Boulle.
Black Hawk Down
Ewan McGregor, Tom Hardy, Orlando Bloom
Black Hawk Down is a 2001 American-British war film directed by Ridley Scott. It is an adaptation of the 1999 book of the same name by Mark Bowden based on his series of articles.
Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Brendan Gleeson
Braveheart is a 1995 epic historical medieval war drama film directed by and starring Mel Gibson. Gibson portrays William Wallace, a 13th-century Scottish warrior who led the Scots against the English.
Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley
Schindler's List is a 1993 American epic historical period drama, directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg and scripted by Steven Zaillian. It is based on the novel Schindler's Ark.
George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Paul Frees
Patton is a 1970 American epic biographical war film about U.S. General George S. Patton during World War II. It stars George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Michael Bates and Karl Michael Vogler.
Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Matthew Broderick
Glory is a 1989 American drama war film directed by Edward Zwick and starring Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes and Morgan Freeman. The screenplay was written by Kevin Jarre.
We Were Soldiers
Mel Gibson, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jon Hamm
We Were Soldiers is a 2002 war film that dramatizes the Battle of Ia Drang on November 14, 1965. The film was directed by Randall Wallace and stars Mel Gibson. It is based on the book We Were Soldiers.
Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Uwe Ochsenknecht
Das Boot is a 1981 German epic war film written and directed by Wolfgang Petersen, produced by Günter Rohrbach.
Tora! Tora! Tora!
Jason Robards Jr., Martin Balsam, Joseph Cotten
Tora! Tora! Tora! is a 1970 American–Japanese war film that dramatizes the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The film was directed by Richard Fleischer and stars an ensemble cast.
The Great Escape
Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough, James Garner
The Great Escape is a 1963 American World War II epic film based on an escape by British and Commonwealth prisoners of war from a German POW camp during World War II.
The Deer Hunter
Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken
The Deer Hunter is a 1978 American epic war drama film co-written and directed by Michael Cimino about a trio of Russian American steelworkers and their service in the Vietnam War.
Martin Sheen, Tom Berenger, Sam Elliott
Gettysburg is a 1993 epic war film written and directed by Ronald F. Maxwell, adapted from the novel The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara, about the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil.
The Longest Day
Sean Connery, John Wayne, Richard Burton
The Longest Day is a 1962 war film based on the 1959 history book The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan, about D-Day, the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944, during World War II.
Enemy at the Gates
Rachel Weisz, Jude Law, Ed Harris
Enemy at the Gates is a 2001 war film directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud. The film's title is taken from William Craig's 1973 nonfiction book Enemy at the Gates: The Battle for Stalingrad, which was one of the deadliest conflicts in World War 2.
Letters from Iwo Jima
Ken Watanabe, Ryan Kelley, Kazunari Ninomiya
Letters from Iwo Jima is a 2006 Japanese-American war film directed and co-produced by Clint Eastwood, starring Ken Watanabe and Kazunari Ninomiya.
The Dirty Dozen
Jim Brown, Donald Sutherland, Charles Bronson
The Dirty Dozen is a 1967 war film directed by Robert Aldrich, released by MGM, and starring Lee Marvin. The picture was filmed in England and features an ensemble supporting cast.
A Bridge Too Far
Sean Connery, Anthony Hopkins, Robert Redford
A Bridge Too Far is a 1977 epic war film based on the 1974 book of the same name by Cornelius Ryan, adapted by William Goldman. It was produced by Joseph E. Levine and Richard P. Levine and ...more
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