Skip to comments.10 War Movies That Appeal to the Brain
Posted on 11/03/2005 1:55:10 PM PST by wallcrawlr
In a pivotal scene in the new Gulf War film "Jarhead," an audience of young Marines watches the famous "Ride of the Valkyries" scene from "Apocalypse Now" before they leave for the combat zone. Cheering Robert Duvall and his helicopter gunships, they revel in the movie's visceral depiction of destructive power.
The fact that the film was meant to be antiwar doesn't deter them. "Actually, Vietnam War films are all prowar no matter what the supposed message," Anthony Swofford writes in the grimly candid memoir on which "Jarhead" is based. Marines love them because "the magic brutality of the films celebrates the terrible and despicable beauty of their fighting skills."
A great war film is one that carries a variety of meanings for different viewers. It must show the gung-ho thrill of battle heroism and the absurdity of squandered lives, the psychological costs of combat and the camaraderie between soldiers, idealism and disillusion, the dignity of the cause and the futility of war.
Here is a collection of classics worthy of repeated viewing, and often-overlooked treasures.
"Full Metal Jacket"
"Saving Private Ryan"
"Black Hawk Down"
"They Were Expendable"
"The Battle of Algiers"
Why these 10?
"FULL METAL JACKET"
Stanley Kubrick presents his extraordinarily unformulaic war movie in two parts. The prologue shows the boot camp where a leather-lunged drill instructor (Marine Corps vet R. Lee Ermey) turns young American civilians into killing machines. The climax brings them to Vietnam, where their training is all but useless in the chaos of actual combat. A sardonic portrait of militarism from the director of "Paths of Glory,"Dr. Strangelove" and "Barry Lyndon." (1987)
(Excerpt) Read more at startribune.com ...
A couple of my favorites that reflected the dignity of the cause...but not so much the "futility" as the article would hope these films protray.
We Were Soldiers
The Charge of the Light Brigade
They missed the greatest war (anti war actually) film of all time, Paths of Glory. I't a Kubrik film and is far better than Full Metal Jacket. I guess the reason it's not in the top 10 is that it's old and even filmed in black and white.
Add Gallipoli, and Paths of Glory.
The Longest Day
Saving Private Ryan
Bridge Over the River Kwai
Tora Tora Tora
All Quiet on the Western Front
Great film, much more important than FMJ. The anthill.
All Quiet on The Western Front
Paths of Glory.
never heard of it.
thanks for the tip
It might be hard to find since it's old. You won't see it in blockbuster but you may find it at Amazon. If you like Kubrick and Kirk Douglas you'll like the movie. It's always on every list of the most important movies ever made that I've seen. It's Douglas' finest work in my opinion.
wow...I'm not a war movie newbie....just never heard of it.
I'll look, thanks.
A Bridge Too Far?
The Dirty Dozen?
Startship Troopers was a comic book, and I'm pretty sure the director, Paul Verhoeven, (BASIC INSTINCT, TOTAL RECALL) intended it to be high camp. THEY WERE EXPENDABLE - great!
If you see it freepmail me and let me know what you think.
Warning: it's anti war and there are no heroes exept Colonel Dax, the Douglas character. It's definitely not a feel good movie.
Does Braveheart count??
BTW Erich Remarque is a relation of mine - gramma claimed he was a real dandy.
Another pretty good war movie I've always liked was The Beast, an American production with American actors playing Russian tankers who get lost in an Afghanistan valley and are pursued by a band of Pashtuns bent on revenge.
I would ad "The Battle of the Bulge" (1965) to any "must see" list, for Robert Shaws' performance as Col. Martin Hessler, if nothing else.
IMO Excellent performances were also given by Robert Ryan and Telly Savalas.
The DVD has several restored scenes, which were removed from the TV & VHS releases of the film.
Tuner Classic Movies seems to run it once or twice a year. I bought the DVD. It's nice being able to watch it whenever I want.
Saving Private Ryan
Bridge On The River Kwai
Full Metal Jacket
The Great Escape
Starship Troopers was a fairly OK sci-fi book classic, but a horrible movie (IMHO). Can't believe it made the list but Patton and All Quiet on the Western Front didn't.
"Apocalypse Now" 100% comedy.
"Starship Troopers" 100% comedy.
"Full Metal Jacket" not too bad
"Saving Private Ryan" great!
"Zulu" also great.
What happened to We were Soldiers? It should have been on the top of any list. It was one of the finest war movies ever made.
I like the WWII movies too...but I especially like finding war movies that deal with WWI and earlier.
Two that I would add to the list are the realistic Vietnam War film "Go Tell the Spartans," and the surrealistic WW II film "Castle Keep." One thing they have in common is the magnificent Burt Lancaster.
Lost Battalion was good. I liked it too.
12 O'Clock High. Suspense, tension, realistic and very little combat--best movie I've seen on the responsibilities and pressures of commanding men in combat.
I agree.I'm in full agreement with Brokaw when he speaks of "the greatest generation".
Band of Brothers.
Black Hawk Down was crap, I thought the documentary on that event was way better than the movie.
I have to agree, Band of Brothers is one of the miniseries I've ever seen.
Starship Troopers?? A movie about killing giant bugs? And it appeals to the brain?
I was doing fine with the list until this one upon which I said, "Huh?".
I think Band of Brothers is the best miniseries ever made, and might well be the best war film ever made. I don't know what would beat it.
Did you see "The Great Raid"? Though it was pretty much overlooked, I really liked it. It had a strong Catholic component to it (which was inescapable, since it took place in the Phillipines). It had a personal connection to me, since I never met my paternal grandmother because of that war (lack of proper medical attention), as well as my great uncle John, the first member of my maternal grandmother's family to be born in the United States (his family was from Poland, and he died in the Bataan Death March).
Other than two movies made back during WW2 (Bataan and Back to Bataan), I don't know of any.
Starship Troopers, a top 10 war movie that appeals to the brain? I don't think so. However, Denise Richards is very appealing for other, less cerebral, reasons.
I am glad I'm not the only one to have thought of 12 O'Clock High.
I am going to add another one in here:
Master and Commander (which was great for those of us who hadn't read the books first!)
They show that movie at the Air Force Academy to illustrate the pressures of command.
'Attack!' w/Jack Palance... 'Castle Keep' w/Burt Lancaster... 'Red Beach' w/Cornel Wilde... 'Battle Cry' w/Van Heflin...
Your list looks about right to me.
Tora Tora Tora
Are three of my faves.
I look forward to the dvd.
It was filmed in Israel. Might have had some Israeli military advisors, etc. The director and principal actors were American. And the star of the film, the tank, was most certainly Russian.
I always wondered about "drinking the brake fluid?"
It is a great movie.
A few more:
Sands of Iwo Jima
The Green Berets
The Great Escape
From Here to Eternity
Von Ryan's Express
Winds of War / War and Remembrance
many didn't like Platoon.
I was an 0811, - 05's, yet in-country was an 0311...go figure.