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The Best WAR Movies of all Time

Discussion in 'Pop Culture Board' started by Crown Royal, Dec 6, 2010.

  1. Crown Royal

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    Because of discussion lately in a recent movie thread, thought we could post our favourites. Please, let's all get along here and not bury this.

    If I were to choose (this is not easy, lots of choices here):

    1) Glory
    2) Saving Private Ryan
    3) The Deer Hunter
    4) From Here to Eternity
    5) Apocalypse Now
    6) The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
    7) Platoon
    8) The Desert Fox
    9) The Guns of Navarone
    10) Black Hawk Down

    *-I did not count Schindler's List as a war movie. Opinions vary.

    FOCUS: What do you think are the best war movies of all time? Discuss.
     
  2. Fracas

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    #2 Fracas, Dec 6, 2010
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  3. Juice

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    In the Army Now starring Pauly Shore.

     
    #3 Juice, Dec 6, 2010
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  4. KIMaster

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    There is an awful lot of important ones I haven't seen, such as "The Deer Hunter", "Patton" and "Saving Private Ryan" (seriously). There are also a couple on my list that are difficult to classify in terms of the classical war genre. But since there are a lot fewer great war movies on my list than I expected, I have included them anyways;

    1. Seven Beauties (borderline genre)
    2. Kanal
    3. The Hurt Locker
    4. Les Carabiniers (borderline genre)
    5. Apocalypse Now
    6. All Quiet on the Western Front (first great film ever made?)
    7. Alexander Nevsky
    8. Das Boot

    What I think about other notable ones;

    Fullmetal Jacket- The first half contains some of the most memorable and quotable characters and situations in film history. It's excellent, although not perfect; Pyle's sudden transformation is difficult to swallow, Joker being a natural leader among the group, given his character, is equally strange, and the pacing is brutal at times. However, the acting is phenomenal, the dialogue is superlative, and the scenes wickedly funny, brutal, and entertaining. It's great.

    But does anyone even remember the second half? It sucks, with laughable battle scenes, and turns into just another mediocre war film.

    Glory- An average, predictable, politically correct war movie, with some nice acting performances and a few good scenes. Absolutely nothing special.

    Platoon- Seems like an attempt at re-making "Apocalypse Now" with Stone's liberalism instead of Milius' staunch conservative values, only nowhere near as good, in any regard. (Acting, directing, or script)

    Black Hawk Down- I thought the movies above were at least average; however, BHD just flat-out sucked. Ugh.

    Edit-

    By the way, let's actually try to discuss these movies, as Crown Royal suggested, instead of just dumping Youtube videos and having that be the entire post, okay?
     
  5. Maltob14

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    Thoughts on the Devil's Brigade? I know I enjoyed it but haven't seen it in a long assed time to remember how good it really was. Think I might watch it soon.
     
  6. zwtipp05

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    Not sure how many of you would classify it as a war movie, but Army of Shadows is pretty damn good. It focuses on the French Resistance during early WW2.

    There's a lot of war movies what I have yet to see, (Apocalypse Now, Thin Red Line, Das Boot) but Saving Private Ryan, Hurt Locker and Black Hawk Down are certainly in my top 10.
     
  7. Obviously5Believer

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    I tend to think that most war movies don't go anywhere near far enough in having realistic violence and gore. Saving Private Ryan came the closest in recent years but it is still miles off from the true horrors of war with people pissing and shitting themselves, shooting at friendlies, killing and raping civilians and the like. No war movie has really come close to truly depicting what goes on. Glory is a perfect example: a film made about a brutal maelstrom of a conflict in which tens of thousands died by the day and the soldiers in the battle scenes just kind of fall over when they're shot.

    Full Metal Jacket contains the absolute best and most memorable portrayal of an old school boot camp in any film. Taken as a complete work though, it's pretty lacking. Paths Of Glory is Kubrick's better war film.

    Deer Hunter contains some amazing scenes and is an incredibly ambitious movie, but it is in need of some trimming. I get the purpose of spending an hour introducing the characters but given its depressing nature it turns into a film you have to struggle to get through. I only watch it every few years for that purpose.

    Saving Private Ryan is a great film and a technical masterpiece. It pretty much defined the look for most of the action movies of this decade and I can totally understand it being placed at the top of many people's lists, but I personally think it falls short of being one of the best. I have a real problem with World War II films that layer everything with a sheen of nostalgia and patriotism, pretending like the U.S. marched into Europe and stole it back from the Nazi's singlehandedly. Just once I'd like to see a no holds barred war film set on the Eastern front in 1942-43, without a doubt the bloodiest, most brutal conflict in all of human history.


    My list:
    1. Apocalypse Now - a stunning achievement and a classic work of art by any measure, especially given the conditions during the production. There's something to be said for creating art in the face of all kinds of adversity.
    2. Das Boot - About as tense and suspenseful a film as you can get and the best naval film in history, and the whole time you're rooting for the Wermacht. It's worth watching for the cinematography alone, which does a great job of inducing claustrophobia. You have to watch it in the original German or it just doesn't work.
    3. Thin Red Line - a film that is a much deeper examination of the philosophy of war than SPR, and an ensemble cast that delivers across the board. Although there are a few too many extended scenery shots (Malick has got an extreme hard on for shots of grass waving in the wind, making up about 78% of Days of Heaven...ahem), I can't think of any other film that portrays Guadalcanal and the pacific theater in general so well and accurately.

    Letters From Iwo Jima is the best war film of the decade. I also forgot Downfall which is about the last days of Hitler in the Fuherbunker and possibly the most complete characterization of Hitler ever captured on film. He's almost likable in some scenes and a complete raving lunatic in others, very much like the real man.
     
  8. Kubla Kahn

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    Uhh "Me love you long time..." ?? Hello, one of the most memorable scenes in the entire movie is the first scene of the second half. Not to mention the whole climactic female sniper scene at the end followed by the soldiers singing the mickey mouse theme, all amazing shit.

    I can see Joker being a squad leader being hard to take but Pyle's freak out? A fat, slow minded puss gets physically and psychologically beaten, and you think his change isn't easy to swallow? It's EXACTLY what I think happens when ever some Columbine loser blows away a dozen or so class mates. They fucking snap. It's not like it was that instantaneous to begin with, I think Vincent D'Onofrio, played the role perfectly.

    My favorite war movie is Apocalypse Now Redux, Ive never actually seen the movie in it's theatrical cut. I hear they are quite different. From what Ive read some of the best parts, I think, of the Redux were cut from the original movie. Except the plantation scene, which was overly long and killed the flow of the movie. I agree that Platoon was way to political towards Stone's liberal agenda. Shit like that can kill a movie for me.

    As for Saving Private Ryan, save watching it until you have either a top of the line surround sound system or can catch it at a theater that replays old films(that has a good sound system). The battle scenes are rightly considered the best executed of all time.The story is actually pretty standard for a war film nothing too daring, nothing too political. But god damn if I don't have a tear in my eye every time at the end when the horns are playing over the shot of the waving American flag.


    edit for Obvious5Believer: I think the patriotic sheen war films might have gotten played out. But then again I think the rash of anti-war films this past decade have been fucking terrible. As soon as the Iraq war broke out it seemed like every film maker was rushing to make the next big antiwar film. Just look at the difference in tone between Band of Brothers and The Pacific. Not to say The Pacific was terrible but the focus was shifted to a much more antiwar slant, which I think put other aspects on the back burner, aspects that made Band of Brothers amazing. Sometimes I miss the patriotic sheen.
     
  9. KIMaster

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    My memory of the film isn't perfect, but didn't that occur during the first 10 minutes? I seem to remember it early on.

    Kubrick has a hell of a flair for combining visuals and music. Too bad that it doesn't work well for a gritty war film that's supposed to hinge on its characters and story.

    That's not what I was referring to. Rather, it's that Pyle suddenly goes from loser misfit to a competent, able soldier right up until graduation just like that, with a snap of his fingers. Even his physical performance magically improves. That's what I have a hard time believing.

    Dually noted, thanks.
     
  10. Obviously5Believer

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    Shouldn't every good war film be anti-war though? The films that glamorize war and turn it into some zany adventure are frankly pretty insulting to people who actually experienced it. I mean, war is an absolutely ugly thing and a film that successfully portrays it should make us anti-war by the time the credits roll, right? For every instance of USA! imagery in Band of Brothers there was someone dying a useless and brutal death or struggling with personal demons and questioning their morality. I think the makers didn't really try to glorify it like they could have and the atmosphere was that it was an all around nightmare and people reacted in all sorts of ways.

    But there is a big difference between being anti-war and focusing on whatever authority put the characters in their position. It's why Apocalypse Now is better than Platoon, one puts a little too much focus on politics and the other is just a descent into utter madness. War films in particular are so much more interesting when they focus on individuals and their reaction to unimaginable displays of violence and destruction, not the people who sent them there for whatever reason. In my opinion the whole point of war films should be to let people experience a tiny fraction of what war is like and to tell the stories of the people who were there. It cheapens the whole idea to use a war film to get a political point across.

    Nope, like he said it occurs at the beginning of the second half, almost immediately after the full metal jacket scene.
     
  11. zyron

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    Would Braveheart be considered a war movie? There are a lot of battle scenes in it.
     
  12. Kubla Kahn

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    But I think Saving Private Ryan does a good job of displaying both the realities in war and the sacrifices our heroes made to deliver us our freedom today. The frank depictions of battle reinforces the patriotism of the troops. I think the same could be said in the case of Band of Brothers. I think by now we realize war isn't a John Wayne movie, I just get tired of the over politicization in most anti war films. I think thats partially why movies like Lions for Lambs and Stop Loss tanked at the box office. People were burnt out on anti war films since a whole slew of mediocre to terrible ones have been released this decade.
     
  13. rei

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    No one's mentioned Kelly's Heroes yet? Seriously?



    I was always really attached to A Bridge Too Far
     
  14. lhprop1

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    My top 5, in no particular order:

    1. Restrepo
    2. To Hell and Back
    3. Tora, Tora, Tora
    4. A Bridge Too Far
    5. Saving Private Ryan

    The fact that my #2 and #3 haven't been mentioned yet is straight up unpatriotic commie Al Qaeda shit. Seriously, the greatest, most historically accurate war film ever made was based on the events of something that happened on this day in 1941.

    Yeah, To Hell and Back was a little campy, but it had the real Audie fucking Murphy in it.

    Restrepo is, well, it's unfuckingbelievable. Just go see it. It's a documentary following a platoon of soldiers in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley for one year. Dubbed the "deadliest place on earth", it's the heaviest, most constant fighting any US troops have seen since Viet Nam. It's chilling. Just as much as Band of Brothers, if not moreso because this is real footage, not Hollywood magic. The firefights are caught up close with the camera man on point with the soldiers, not from a distance. The personal interviews are very sobering and very real. <a class="postlink" href="http://restrepothemovie.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://restrepothemovie.com/</a>
     
  15. KIMaster

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    I've seen both #3 and #4, and strongly considered adding "Tora, Tora, Tora" to my list, but in the end, it's only a very good movie, not a great one. That being said, it definitely deserves praise; it's one of the more educational and strongly historical war films ever made.

    You actually learn a lot about what the Pearl Harbor Attack.

    In addition to that, you also have the delightful task of reading white lettered subtitles on the foreground of a white tablecloth.
     
  16. lhprop1

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    Yeah, there's that, but as a history guy, this movie takes the cake. They actually got a bunch of the wires and transcripts from the Japanese government just so they could make sure both sides of the story were historically accurate. Some of the dialogue and wires/cables are verbatim.
     
  17. scootah

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    M*A*S*H should be on the list I think. If you ever get a chance to talk to a doctor or a nurse who served in a forward position in Korea or Vietnam, ask them how close that movie and the first few seasons of that show come to the reality of the experience and the insanity required to survive.
     
  18. Sam N

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    I don't really see any way Army of Shadows (L'armee des ombres) makes it as a "war" film, but it is a spectacular film for whatever it is.

    Anyone out there seen Come and See (Idi i smotri)? Belorussian film about WWII, utterly depressing and manic, but fucking good in my opinion as well.
     
  19. Idiot Wind

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    Here's a few relatively unknown war movies well worth watching:

    The Train

    Towards the end of WW2, the Germans are leaving France, and Colonel Von Waldheim, a conosseur of art, is tasked to transport priceless French paintings back to Germany by train. The Resistance, eager not to lose national treasures, asks Labiche, the train station manager and a member of the Resistance, to prevent the train from leaving France. Labiche feels that objects of art are not worth the price in human lives, but eventually agrees to carry out the sabotage.

    This is a smart and suspenseful action movie, and its probably the last large-budget action film to be made in black and white.

    The Purple Plain

    It takes place in Burma during WW2, and the main character is a bomber pilot, who has lost his wife in a bombing raid in London, and is now withdrawn and suicidal. He begins his mental recovery when the camp doctor invites him to a nearby village where he meets a beautiful girl. When on a mission, his plane goes down in the wilderness, and he and his two other passengers must find their way out before they die of dehydration.

    The first half of the movie sets up the main character excellently (he has been on the point of giving up on life, but now may have the strength to survive), and the second half focuses on the survival story, which is effective, but could have been a bit longer to get the feeling of desperation across better (the whole movie is about 100 mins).

    L’Ennemi Intime (Intimate Enemies)

    This takes place in the mountains of Algeria during the French-Algerian war. An inexperienced lieutenant arrives to a French unit stationed in the mountains. He is initially disgusted by the ruthless methods (eg. torture, napalm bombing) used by the soldiers, with which they respond to the guerilla tactics of the Algerians, but with the escalating circle of violence he begins to embrace these methods.

    The movie excellently depicts the psychological strain of fighting against a mostly invisible enemy and using torture. The most interesting part was that Algerians have served in the French army during WW2, and some of them are now still with the French and fighting against their own compatriots. In one scene an Algerian French soldier and a guerilla about to be executed find out that they had fought at Monte Casino together.

    On RottenTomatoes many dismissed this film for its similar content with Platoon, but I think the similarity can be attributed to the somewhat similar nature of the two wars, and L’Ennemi Intime takes the main character in a different direction, and the side story of the Algerian soldiers caught between two sides is quite unique and interesting.

    Tigerland

    The entire film takes place in a training camp for soldiers about to be shipped to the Vietnam war. Colin Farrell plays Private Bozz, who is a troublesome individual, but is resourceful and has good leadership qualities. The film focuses on his friendship with another, somewhat naive private, and Bozz’s plans to escape to Mexico.

    Savior

    Our hero is Guy, an American who loses his family in a terrorist attack, and immediately goes on a killing spree in a mosque. Some years later, he is fighting as a mercenary in Bosnia on the side of the Serbs. When a Serbian woman, who had been captured and raped by the Bosnians and is now pregnant, is about to be beaten up by her own people, Guy intervenes and has to go on the run with her.

    Basically, this is a story of redemption and finding humanity, and there are some pretty brutal wartime scenes.
     
  20. Crown Royal

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    The thing about FMJ is this: the first half at Parris Island is so powerful and so brilliantly constructed that when the action switches to the war it basically becomes a contrived 'Nam film with much better cinematography than the others. R. Lee Ermey is the reason anybody on this site (or anywhere) likes the film in the first place, period. Without his astonishing performance, this film would probably fly under the radar as far as war movies go. Others will no doubt feel otherwise.