TOP 10 WAR MOVIES - Soldiers, Friends, Duty, Conflict, Death - WAR

Jul 19, 2003

The Bottom Line A good war movie makes you think about life, love, and morality.

War - a subject that both intrigues and repulses us at the same time. A subject that has sparked many a debate and public protest. A subject that has consumed millions of men, women, and children world wide in its dark clutches. War - no one really wins. Economically, morally, physically, and mentally - war injures, maimes, and kills.

So why are we so fascinated by movies of these tragedies? Especially graphic ones that make you feel as though you are on the battlefield watching it as a spectator would football? Why do we so enjoy movies that make veterans of conflict have flashbacks in the theater and relive the horrors they experienced first hand?

Well, in short because we are all sick and twisted individuals...

...So, on to the movies.

In no particular order:

1) Saving Private Ryan - This 1998 film, by Steven Spielberg, was simply amazing. It was a ground breaking movie that not only set the standard for film-making but more specifically war movies. The action is vivid, gory, and very, very realistic. Tom Hanks, and a great cast, give amazing performances.

2) We Were Soldiers - Vietnam via the 10th Cavalry Division. I felt Mel Gibson did a really good job in this film, a great comeback after What Women Want. Gibson plays Lt. Colonel Harold Moore (later Lt. General Moore [Ret.]) in the la Drang during Vietnam. This battle lasted over one month. It was adapted to film from the book by Moore. Very touching, full of action, great acting all around.

3) Enemy At The Gates - This is World War II from a Russian point-of-view. This is the true story of Vassili Zaitsev, a Russian sniper credited with over 140 kills during the Battle of Stalingrad. This battle was actually one of Germany's worst failures they lost tens of thousands as casualties and tens of thousands more as POWs. Jud Law and Ed Harris both perform admirably in this film. Rachel Weisz does pretty well herself, some of of her aren't bad either...(*ahem*) Two amazing snipers are pitted against one another in a duel to the death.

4) Platoon - A classic. Platoon is about the Vietnam Conflict. Although made in the mid-80's Platoon is one of my most favorite war movies. This was Oliver Stone's breakthrough film that gained him much attention. Tom Berenger, Willim Dafoe, Charlie Sheen, Forest Whitaker, and others put on a fantastic performance in this brutally realistic view of the war. It was good enough for 4 Oscars...

5) Braveheart - Going way back, Braveheart deals will William Wallace's desire to free his country from the tyranny of England. William Wallace inspired hundreds of thousands of Scottish people to fight against England so that they could have control of their country once again. This movie is based upon the real life of William Wallace. Another Mel Gibson performance, one of yet another high caliber. Braveheart has some amazing battle scenes but also some heartwarming scenes as well.

6) Schindler's List - A portrayal of the most depressing part of World War II. Steven Spielberg earned his first Oscar with this amazingly horrid yet touching film which mainly retells the story of Jewish prison camp interns during World War II. This movie was done entirely in black and white which really makes it seem more authentic. The message is powerful and very moving.

7) Full Metal Jacket - The classic military movie, depicting the worst truths about life in Marine Boot Camp. This movie is set during the Vietnam conflict. The film begins at Paris Island and goes from there sharing with us a frightening and hilarious view of boot camp. Private Pyle is always around for a good laugh. Poor kid.

8) The Patriot - The Revolutionary War is the setting for this movie. Another historical piece, focusing on the early years of America and yet another performance by Mel Gibson. The movie was most interesting when it was focused on Gibson's character, I think Heath Ledger got too much attention in the film. That's mainly because he was the new "hunk" of the day and girls wanted to see him. In any case, the movie has some funny parts, some touching moments - pretty much everything you would expect from an epic film.

9) Black Hawk Down - A very interesting movie about a recent conflict - the battle of Mogadishu. The book is far better of course but the movie is certainly entertaining, and sad. Reporter Mark Bowden put together an extremely realistic view of the Battle of Mogadishu a battle best forgotten if you're a part of the DoD. It is a personal look at the situation, although the movie doesn't focus as much on the Somalians view as the book does. It is still a very moving film. Great action, funny pieces, and lots of gore.

10) Behind Enemy Lines - A movie about those Flyboy pansies...actually this is a really good movie starring Owen Wilson. Gene Hackman is also a lead in this movie and he gives a good performance. A Navy pilot is shot down over enemy territory. This is a story of survival - evading the enemy at all costs. Wilson does a great job. This movie was at times very intense.

Honorable Mentions:
- Band Of Brothers (TV Series, Not A Movie)
- M.A.S.H. (TV Series, Not A Movie)
- Patton
- Tora! Tora! Tora!
- Windtalkers
- U-571

Any Last Words?

I am confident you will find these movies to be very good. If you think I missed any exceptional movies just leave a comment. War is a terrible thing these movies are as close as I ever want to get to it.

Thanks! Take Care & Support Our Troops!

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