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David’s Top-Ten War Films

Posted on Jun 4, 2013 by in Genres, Lists, Top 10, War |

Picasso's Guernica

In no particular order:

The Thin Red Line –  Slow, pondering, beautiful. Stealing this one from Spencer, cause he’s a sucker.

Kelly’s Heroes – Classic war adventure, one of Clint Eastwood’s best from the old days. And another steal from Spence’s list. Actually, we’re probably stealing these from our fathers, who both loved old World War II movies.

Waltz With Bashir – Stylish and a bit unnerving, this is one of the true anti-war films that doesn’t end up glorifying violence.

Platoon – A look into the life of a Vietnam-era grunt; short, sad, and violent.

Glory – A bit sappy at times, intentionally ripping the heartstrings out of your chest. However, it really is a powerful story that reflects a lot of truth about the American Civil War.

Saving Private Ryan – Has one of the most epic war scenes ever filmed.

Band of Brothers – Ok, not a movie, but a really compelling war series depicting the American invasion of Europe during World War II. Includes the various perspectives of different soldiers and actual interviews from some of the men who were there.

Generation Kill – Cheating again, I know. It’s not a fucking movie. Still, I’m including it on the list. The same dude (Dave Simon) who created The Wire. How could this not be amazing?

Restrepo – Yes, documentaries can be war films, too. This one gives an unblinking, unromantic look at the modern American soldier.

Inglorious Bastards – Tarantino pulls off some of the best tension-building scenes since, well, Pulp Fiction. Debatable whether this falls strictly into the genre of “war films.”


Speaking of the “war film” genre, what actually constitues a “war movie?” I didn’t include some of my favorite movies that take place during war, such as The Pianist or Life Is Beautiful. Are those viewed simply as “Holocaust” movies? What about Tinker, Tailer, Soldier, Spy? Does the Cold War count as a war? Or what about Lincoln? Yes, technically Lincoln is a biopic. But, I don’t think you can really separate Abraham Lincoln from the Civil War and expect to understand him very well. Perhaps our pigeonholing of the “war movie” as having specifically to do with soldiers and fighting and, dare I say, glory, makes it difficult to create a movie about war that accurately depicts why we would never want to be in one. Anyway, just food for thought.