What are the best war movies?

asked by Colin Williams
107 contributors
19 solutions
  1. 16

    #1Schindler's List

    Schindler's List

    Schindler's List, a work of Steven Spielberg, is about the story of Oskar Schindler, a German industrialist that puts his life and his family's lives at risk by helping 1,100 Jews survive the extermination camps.


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    Olivia Powell
    Written on May 7, 2018
    "When I was growing up alongside my sister, my mother wanted me to watch this, but kept my younger sister out of the room. I asked her why and she said she was too young to appreciate this film. I have never forgotten this movie, and I never will."
  2. 14

    #2The Great Escape

    The Great Escape
    The Great Escape is an action adventure film directed by John Sturges, released on July 4, 1963. This historical film follows the story of the planning, execution, and resolution of the great escape of a large group of prisoners of war from a Nazi prison camp in WWII.

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    Ralph Thompson
    Written on April 25, 2018
    "A pretty old movie but a very known one. I'd say it's one of the better war movies but nowhere near the best."
  3. 13

    #3Saving Private Ryan

    Saving Private Ryan

    Saving Private Ryan is a war and drama movie directed by Steven Spielberg which follows the story of the rescue of Private Ryan, the only survivor of a family by a commando of American soldiers that infiltrates in Nazi territory.


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    Stephen Wallace
    Written on May 2, 2018
    "This DVD version of the movie Saving Private Ryan is a special edition DVD release. Saving Private Ryan was directed by Steven Spielberg and features possible the most realistic Normandy landing ever filmed. The movie tells the story of the rescue of a Private and the great lengths required in order to complete that mission."


Did you know that the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan on Omaha Beach cost a staggering $12 million? No wonder war film enthusiasts dubbed it as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, war films of all time. According to Mark Huffam, the film's associate producer, the preparations and pre-production of this iconic World War II film was "immense". In addition, he spilled that the 23-minute opening scene is 20% of the total budget of the film, which is a whopping $65 million. To justify the budget spent, it involved 1000 extras, 20 to 30 people of which were actually amputees. The amputees wore prosthetic limbs in order to appear like soldier's limbs that were getting blown off. While some of the extras were actually from the Irish Army Reserve. Furthermore, the shoot entailed the building of a lot of service roads just to take in the trucks that carry all the hardware needed. Of course, a military film is incomplete without all the battlements, bunkers, and attack vantage points. So they had to manually construct those.

The director Steven Spielberg once proved his brilliance when he purposely exempted Matt Damon, who played Private Ryan, from the 10-day military boot camp. He thought Damon's exemption would result in the resentment of the co-actors towards Damon. And this resentment would translate into their performances. He was successful in doing so! Saving Private Ryan depicted the war realistically that it triggered post-traumatic stress disorder among the WWII veterans who watched it. There are a lot of recent war films that were based on war novels,  but this perhaps is the most iconic one ever.

  1. 12

    #4The Bridge on the River Kwai

    The Bridge on the River Kwai
    The Bridge on the River Kwai apart from its iconic whistling melody is a classic war movie about a group of British POWS that are forced by the Japanese to build a bridge over the river Kwai to allow their troops to move. 

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    Zachary Richardson
    Written on April 28, 2018
    "One of my favorite films. Watch it with my father every memorial day. "
  2. 10



    Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, Patton is a biography, drama, and war movie about the famous general. Released on April 2, 1970, the movie shows the life and actions of this charismatic general feared by the Nazis during World War II.


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    Ruth Carter
    Written on April 29, 2018
    "To many the story of Patton is nothing new the movies brings him to life and you understand he wasnt just this hard core solider but much more and you really understand what the time was like during that terrible time in our history "
  3. 8


    The epic war movie by Christopher Nolan follows the story of the Battle of Dunkirk, in which allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire, and France were evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II.

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    Harold Day
    Written on April 26, 2018
    "Dunkirk is one of the best, and most riveting action historical films in the past several years. It is also the newest film from acclaimed director Christopher Nolan, so this should appeal to a larger audience than just the typical historical drama crowd. This is one the whole family will enjoy, and another hit film from Nolan."
  4. 6

    #7Letters From Iwo Jima

    Letters From Iwo Jima

    Letters From Iwo Jima is a historical war, and drama movie directed by Clint Eastwood. Released on February 2, 2007, this tells the story of the battle of Iwo Jima from the Japanese point of view.


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    Jordan Cooper
    Written on April 30, 2018
    "Letters From Iwo Jima is one of my all time favorite war movies. It's definitely my favorite Clint Eastwood directed movie. The way the movie captures both the desperation and humanity of the Japanese soldiers is incredibly nuanced for a war film, a must view if you're at all interested in WWII."
  5. 5

    #8The Steel Helmet

    The Steel Helmet

    The Steel Helmet by Samuel Fuller is a drama action, war movies. It is a portrait of the Korean War soldiers. This movie is one of the first that treats about the morality and the racist component of war and the blood and guts of war. 


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    Jonathan Simmons
    Written on May 8, 2018
    "Just because "The Steel Helmet" is an old war movie, it doesn't make it good. There are loads of better movies, masterpieces even, which have been released in the relatively recent past. They show the ugliness of war, are visually stunning and leave such an impression that it's hard to forget all those brutal and impactful scenes for many years."
  6. 2

    #9Enemy at the Gates

    Enemy at the Gates

    Enemy at the Gates by Jean Jacques Annaud is the story of two snipers, a German and a Soviet that fight against each other during the siege of Stalingrad.


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    Ashley Harris
    Written on May 8, 2018
    "A very good movie about The Battle of Stalingrad, during WWII. While it is not correct in every detail, it is based on true events. This movie is based on the service of an infantry soldier that goes on to serve as a Sniper during The Battle of Stalingrad. As a sniper, he had a great many confirmed kills of enemy Officers that served to increase the morale of the Russian troops, and the Russian people. The Snipers were so good at what they did, that it served to hurt the morale of the German troops, and their supporters back home as well. This long battle helped turn the tide of the war against the German forces invading Russia. Be advised that this is a war movie, and as such, there is death and destruction(albeit simulated) that some viewers may find offensive. Don't say that I didn't warn you. If you are a history buff, use your favorite search engine(or your local library) to look up more information about this battle and/or other battles that took place during this terrible war that took the lives of many millions of people on numerous battle fronts across Europe and Africa."
  7. 1

    #10Black Hawk Down

    Black Hawk Down

    Black Hawk Down is a war movie directed by Ridley Scott starring Josh Harnett, Ewan McGregor and Sam Shepard in 2001. It won two Academy Awards for Best Film Editing and Best Sound Mixing. 


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    Gary Holland
    Written on July 9, 2018
    "This movie has 4.5/5 stars on amazon and a 7.7/10 on IMDB. In many of the reviews, reviewers state that this is indeed a war movie and the ratings indicate that it is indeed considered a good film."
  8. 1

    #11The Longest Day

    The Longest Day

    The Longest Day is a 1962 production based on the book by Cornelius Ryan. The film was directed by Ken Annakin and Andrew Marton, and it stars John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, Sean Connery, Richard Burton, Henry Fonda, and more. 


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    Walter Howell
    Written on May 5, 2018
    "One of the best things about this movie is that the British side of WW2 as well as the Americans. The movie is incredibly detailed when it comes to battle scenes. Also, the scenes outside of battle are historically accurate according to many."
  9. 0

    #12Kelly's Heroes

    Kelly's Heroes

    Kelly's Heroes is an American war comedy film released in 1970, directed by Brian G. Hutton. The movie stars Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, and Donald Sutherland as a group of World War II soldiers who decide to go AWOL to rob a bank behind enemy lines.


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    Andrew Schultz
    Written on December 18, 2018
    "The lead actors are brilliant! I never thought Clint Eastwood could pull off a serious and a humorous character. Well, this war movie is really worth 16 million gold bars! "
  10. 0



    Braveheart tells the epic tale of the Scottish warrior William Wallace who united the clans of Scotland to fight the tyranny of Scotland's English overlords. Mel Gibson stars and directs while Patrick McGoohan plays King Edward I.


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    Jerry Lee
    Written on December 18, 2018
    "Intense emotion. I think is one of the best, if not the best, epic war movie of all time. The character of Lonshacks should be nominated for oscars! Brilliant direction and cinematography also."
  11. 0

    #14We Were Soldiers

    We Were Soldiers

    We Were Soldiers is a war film directed by Randall Wallace. Released in 2002, the movie dramatizes the Battle of Ia Drang in 1965. It starred Mel Gibson, Madeleine Stowe, Greg Kinnear, Sam Elliott, Chris Klein, and Barry Pepper.


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    Victoria Pan
    Written on December 18, 2018
    "I remember encountering the story of vietnam war in one of my college subjects before. I never loved history subjects but when I was able to watch this movie. What a powerful and moving war film. Col Moore has my respect."
  12. 0

    #15Band of Brothers

    Band of Brothers

    Band of Brothers is a 2001 American war miniseries based on the book of Stephen E. Ambrose of the same name. It won seven Primetime Emmy Awards and Golden Globe Award for Best Miniseries or Television Film. 

    TV Shows

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    Kathy Williamson
    Written on December 18, 2018
    "This ain't a movie but rather a mini-series. Rarely will you find a tv-series that will leave an imprint. Great world war ii film!!!!"
  13. 0

    #16The Tin Drum

    The Tin Drum

    The Tin Drum is a drama and war film directed by Volker Schlöndorff on April 11, 1980. Starring David Bennent, Mario Adorf, and Angela Wrinkler, this movie follows the story of Oskar Matzerath amidst World War II.


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    Ai Long
    Written on December 18, 2018
    "Classic war movie! Okay, this is kind of old but the story doesn't get old at all, If you wanna know the struggles of a young man amidst world war II, this is a watch film"
  14. 0

    #17Waltz With Bashir

    Waltz With Bashir

    Waltz With Bashir is a biography and drama film directed and written by Ari Folman himself, first shown on June 12, 2008. This animation movie starred Ari Folman himself, Ron Ben-Yishai, Ronny Dayag.


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    Kenneth Lopez
    Written on December 18, 2018
    "It always gives me chills to watch a documentary military and war film. To get this straight, this is an animated film and it just redefines the whole genre of biography film."
  15. 0

    #18City of Life and Death

    City of Life and Death

    City of Life and Death is a history and war movie directed and written by Chuan Lu, released on April 22, 2009 in China. Starring Ye Liu, Wei Fan, and Hideo Nakaizumi, this drama film is the story of the war between Japan and China.


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    Yuan Li
    Written on December 18, 2018
    "Compared tp Schindler's List, this war film never took a side. It is impartial. The characters are believable enough to give a grand and horrible sense of presence among the audience."
  16. 0



    Restrepo is a documentary war film directed by Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger, released on August 6, 2010. Starring  Juan 'Doc Restrepo, and Dan Kearney, this film follows the life of one platoon in the a valley of Afghanistan.


    $3.99- 9.99

    Jane Hou
    Written on December 18, 2018
    "No wonder this film won for the jury prize for a documentary war film. I mean, I have friends who belong to a military troop and I can attest to how the put their lives at stake. Heart-wrenching war film. I swear."


Best What are the best war movies
1Schindler's ListMovies 16 Paid
2The Great EscapeMovies 14 Free
3Saving Private RyanMovies 13 Paid
4The Bridge on the River KwaiMovies 12 Paid
5PattonMovies 10 Paid
6DunkirkMovies 8 Paid
7Letters From Iwo JimaMovies 6 Paid
8The Steel HelmetMovies 5 Paid
9Enemy at the GatesMovies 2 Paid
10Black Hawk DownMovies 1 Paid

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