Dave's War Film Collection (The Good, The Bad & The Distinctly Average)by davidraybould | created - 12 Sep 2011 | updated - 21 Oct 2011 | Public
My ongoing collection of war films. Classics, turkeys and oddities.
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1. We Were Soldiers (2002)
R | 138 min | Action, Drama, History
The story of the first major battle of the American phase of the Vietnam War, and the soldiers on both sides that fought it, while their wives wait nervously and anxiously at home for the good news or the bad news.
Votes: 122,833 | Gross: $78.12M
A good, old fashioned war film. Well acted and well paced. One of Mel Gibson's best.
2. Tigerland (2000)
R | 101 min | Drama, War
A group of recruits go through Advanced Infantry Training at Fort Polk, Louisiana's infamous Tigerland, last stop before Vietnam for tens of thousands of young men in 1971.
Votes: 36,572 | Gross: $0.14M
Despite having the obvious handicap of being a Colin Farrell this is a very good film. Not your average war film, actually it's not much a war film at all. More a study of individuality and group dynamics. Enjoyable.
3. Apocalypse Now (1979)
R | 147 min | Drama, Mystery, War
A U.S. Army officer serving in Vietnam is tasked with assassinating a renegade Special Forces Colonel who sees himself as a god.
Votes: 560,110 | Gross: $83.47M
Mad, bad and dangerous to know. A hell of a war film, a hell of a film. The first time I watched it I hated it. After repeated attempts to 'get' it, it finally clicked. Superb.
4. Platoon (1986)
R | 120 min | Drama, War
A young soldier in Vietnam faces a moral crisis when confronted with the horrors of war and the duality of man.
Votes: 357,285 | Gross: $138.53M
Strange Fact: I played the computer game on a Commodore 64 in the mid-80s long before the film (I was too young). Once I saw it I realised I loved the film as much as the game. Great.
5. The Deer Hunter (1978)
R | 183 min | Drama, War
An in-depth examination of the ways in which the U.S. Vietnam War impacts and disrupts the lives of people in a small industrial town in Pennsylvania.
Votes: 289,224 | Gross: $48.98M
A bit long, a bit slow but a whole lotta film. Robert De Niro is fantastic. A dark, brooding piece of cinema. Classic.
6. Hart's War (2002)
R | 125 min | Drama, War
A law student becomes a lieutenant during World War II, is captured and asked to defend a black prisoner of war falsely accused of murder.
Votes: 48,965 | Gross: $19.08M
Another Colin Farrell film, improved by the fact that Bruce Willis is in it. Starts promisingly but drifts off. A bit tedious to be honest.
7. Flags of our Fathers (2006)
R | 135 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
The life stories of the six men who raised the flag at the Battle of Iwo Jima, a turning point in World War II.
Votes: 112,475 | Gross: $33.60M
A Clint Eastwood masterpiece. Superior to so many other WW2 films based in the Pacific theatre of conflict. Topped only by Clint's Letters From Iwo Jima.
8. Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)
R | 141 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
The story of the battle of Iwo Jima between the United States and Imperial Japan during World War II, as told from the perspective of the Japanese who fought it.
Votes: 147,639 | Gross: $13.76M
Top movie. Loved it. Hard to fault anything here. Deep, emotional, fantastic imagery. One of those films which immerses you in the story and takes you on a journey. Highly recommended.
9. Enemy at the Gates (2001)
R | 131 min | Drama, History, War
A Russian and a German sniper play a game of cat-and-mouse during the Battle of Stalingrad.
Votes: 227,932 | Gross: $51.40M
Based on a true story, although taking some big liberties this is a good solid war film. An interesting depiction of the battle of Stalingrad.
10. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
R | 153 min | Adventure, Drama, War
In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a plan to assassinate Nazi leaders by a group of Jewish U.S. soldiers coincides with a theatre owner's vengeful plans for the same.
Votes: 1,154,593 | Gross: $120.54M
Typical Tarantino. Patchy acting, confusing, overly wordy in places, dreadful wink-wink humour......but somehow it works. To a point. Great for Quentin fanboys, exploitation fans and hipsters. Not so good for people looking for a good war film.
11. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
R | 169 min | Drama, War
Following the Normandy Landings, a group of U.S. soldiers go behind enemy lines to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action.
Votes: 1,136,559 | Gross: $216.54M
One of the greatest opening battles in film history. The rest of the film drags a tad and despite better action sequences later on in the film....I can't ignore the fact that I hate Tom Hanks in this.
12. Valkyrie (2008)
PG-13 | 121 min | Drama, History, Thriller
A dramatization of the July 20, 1944 assassination and political coup plot by desperate renegade German Army officers against Adolf Hitler during World War II.
Votes: 216,563 | Gross: $83.08M
Great film. Great script. Great supporting cast. Tom Cruise is not a good Stauffenberg though. It's Tom Cruise. Doing a dodgy German routine. Spoiled it.
13. Windtalkers (2002)
R | 134 min | Action, Drama, War
Two U.S. Marines in World War II are assigned to protect Navajo Marines, who use their native language as an unbreakable radio cypher.
Votes: 62,924 | Gross: $40.91M
One of Cage's better films....although that's not much of an accolade I'll grant you. Interesting subject matter and well acted in places....spoiled by a storyline that slows in all the wrong places and really doesn't deliver.
14. The Thin Red Line (1998)
R | 170 min | Drama, War
Adaptation of James Jones' autobiographical 1962 novel, focusing on the conflict at Guadalcanal during the second World War.
Votes: 162,535 | Gross: $36.40M
Thoughtful, well directed, well acted, well scripted. Should be one of the best. For some reason doesn't quite gel together to make a classic.
15. Raid on Rommel (1971)
GP | 99 min | Drama, War
In 1942 Libya, a German-speaking British Intelligence officer uses former British POWs, some dressed in German uniforms, to fulfill a secret sabotage mission inside German-captured Tobruk.
I love Richard Burton but this is a weak film. Some good action sequences and supporting actors really isn't enough to save it.
16. The Great Escape (1963)
Not Rated | 172 min | Adventure, Drama, History
Allied prisoners of war plan for several hundred of their number to escape from a German camp during World War II.
Votes: 208,367 | Gross: $12.10M
A great romp. Silly in places, exciting in others.....a good all round action/adventure yarn. Perfect for Xmas telly....and it has been on every year since 1980.
17. Beneath Hill 60 (2010)
R | 122 min | Drama, History, War
In 1916, the 1st Australian Tunnelling Company is tunneling beneath German fortifications and bunkers to detonate massive explosive charges.
Great story. Reasonably acted. Could've been so much better with a bigger budget. A good film.
18. Everyman's War (2009)
Not Rated | 104 min | Biography, Drama, War
The true story of Don Smith's heroic experience at the Battle of the Bulge while with the 94th Infantry.
Poor on every level. I would imagine film students could film better with a mobile phone and five of their mates. Truly abysmal.
19. Where Eagles Dare (1968)
PG | 158 min | Action, Adventure, War
Allied Agents stage a daring raid on a castle where the Nazis are holding American Brigadier General George Carnaby (Robert Beatty) prisoner, but that's not all that's really going on.
Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood in a film of daring do against the Nazis? What could be better? Tongue in cheek in places, this is a top notch adventure flick. A good Sunday afternoon escape into Commando Comic style fantasy.
20. The Grey Zone (2001)
R | 108 min | Drama, History, War
A Nazi doctor, along with the Sonderkommando, Jews who are forced to work in the crematoria of Auschwitz against their fellow Jews, find themselves in a moral grey zone.
Votes: 9,854 | Gross: $0.52M
All films based on the Holocaust should try to portray the horror of the event and period but this is one of the more graphic. Absolutely horrific in places and not for the feint hearted, it's a must see. A great and criminally ignored piece of film.
21. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
PG | 161 min | Adventure, Drama, War
After settling his differences with a Japanese P.O.W. camp commander, a British Colonel co-operates to oversee his men's construction of a railway bridge for their captors, while oblivious to a plan by the Allies to destroy it.
Votes: 189,156 | Gross: $44.91M
A classic. Plain and simple. My only complaint is that some of the film loses a bit of pace and some of the characters are a bit to predictable but these are minor quibbles.
22. Battle of Britain (1969)
G | 132 min | Action, Drama, History
In 1940, the British Royal Air Force fights a desperate battle to prevent the Luftwaffe from gaining air superiority over the English Channel as a prelude to a possible Axis invasion of the U.K.
Votes: 19,394 | Gross: $4.36M
One of the first war films I ever watched. Very impressed as a child and still enjoy it with a sense of excitement and amazement now. A true classic personally and in cinema history.
23. The Guns of Navarone (1961)
TV-PG | 158 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
A British team is sent to cross occupied Greek territory and destroy the massive German gun emplacement that commands a key sea channel.
Votes: 42,619 | Gross: $28.90M
Like Where Eagles Dare this is a great romp. Full of action and daring do. Another one for the Sunday afternoon 'dad time on the dvd'.
24. A Bridge Too Far (1977)
PG | 175 min | Drama, History, War
Operation Market Garden, September 1944: The Allies attempt to capture several strategically important bridges in the Netherlands in the hope of breaking the German lines.
Votes: 48,095 | Gross: $50.80M
An all star cast, great action and big budget. What could go wrong? Never really got into it despite watching in many times. I'd still watch it but would never consider it a classic.
25. Cross of Iron (1977)
R | 119 min | Drama, War
German commander Captain Hauptmann Stransky (Maximilian Schell) places a squad in extreme danger after Sergeant Rolf Steiner (James Coburn) refuses to lie for him.
This film screams Peckinpah, a raw, visceral piece of film. James Coburn is great and Maximillian Schell is also on top form. Up with Stalingrad as one of the best films about the Eastern Front.
26. Defiance (I) (2008)
R | 137 min | Action, Drama, History
Jewish brothers in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe escape into the Belarussian forests, where they join Russian resistance fighters, and endeavor to build a village, in order to protect themselves and about one thousand Jewish non-combatants.
Votes: 131,305 | Gross: $28.64M
Despite being 'Bond' to most people, Daniel Craig has made some really good films. This is one of the best (His TV movie Archangel is also worth seeking out). This is a great war film based on the true story about the Bielski partisans. Well made, well acted, well paced....offers everything you need. A gem of a film.
27. Good (2008)
R | 92 min | Drama, Romance, War
John Halder, a German literature professor in the 1930s, is initially reluctant to accept the ideas of the Nazi Party. He is pulled in different emotional directions by his wife, mother, mistress and Jewish friend.
Votes: 6,524 | Gross: $0.02M
Not a war film as such, but a fascinating insight into Nazi Germany in the late 30's and the people, culture and political system that changed Europe forever. This film has garnered some pretty negative reviews but as a depiction of the era, the acting and script is top notch. Well worth a watch. Would be 'good' (scuse the pun) to show this film as part of 'the rise of Nazism' section of History courses in senior schools.
28. Kokoda: 39th Battalion (2006)
PG-13 | 92 min | Action, Drama, War
A bitter battle is fought between Australian and Japanese soldiers along the Kokoda trail in New Guinea during World War II.
A small budget Aussie film about a forgotten campaign. Acting is a bit hit and miss but the film has a reasonable pace to it. Barely seeing the Japanese in the jungle helps with the dank, claustrophobic and desperate atmosphere. Great in parts.
29. Flyboys (2006)
PG-13 | 140 min | Action, Drama, History
The adventures of the Lafayette Escadrille, young Americans who volunteered for the French military before the U.S. entered World War I, and became the country's first fighter pilots.
Votes: 39,807 | Gross: $13.08M
Good actors. Dodgy effects. Dreadful film. Oh the humanity.
30. Pearl Harbor (2001)
PG-13 | 183 min | Action, Drama, History
A tale of war and romance mixed in with history. The story follows two lifelong friends and a beautiful nurse who are caught up in the horror of an infamous Sunday morning in 1941.
Votes: 296,498 | Gross: $198.54M
Where do you start? The beginning? Poor. The middle? Poor. The end? A relief.
31. Flame & Citron (2008)
Not Rated | 130 min | Action, Drama, History
A drama centered on two fighters in the Holger Danske World War II resistance group.
Votes: 16,642 | Gross: $0.15M
Great dark thriller about resistance fighters in occupied Denmark. Slow in places but a solid film that delivers everything you want.
32. A Woman in Berlin (2008)
Unrated | 131 min | Biography, Drama, History
A woman tries to survive the invasion of Berlin by the Soviet troops during the last days of World War II.
Votes: 5,679 | Gross: $0.29M
A complex and dark exploration of the life of a female civilian in the last days of war, and the horrors experienced when the world seems to be falling apart.
33. Max Manus: Man of War (2008)
Not Rated | 118 min | Action, Biography, Drama
The true story about one of the most brilliant saboteurs during World War II and his battle to overcome his inner demons.
A thrill. Well made, well acted and a 'Boys Own' style adventure film all in one. Has all the ingredients of films like 'The Cockleshell Heroes' etc and a new, fresh Scandinavian feel.
34. The Bridge (2008 TV Movie)
R | 103 min | Drama, History, War
In this TV remake of the classic German war film, 16-year-old Walter and his friends are recruited to help defend a bridge near their town. What begins as a minor op becomes a life or death... See full summary »
A disappointing. Poor acting, surprising from Franke Potenta and a dodgy script. Badly thought out action sequences, poor special effects....waste of time.
35. City of War: The Story of John Rabe (2009)
134 min | Biography, Drama, History
A true-story account of a German businessman who saved more than 200,000 Chinese during the Nanjing massacre in 1937-38.
Votes: 5,844 | Gross: $0.07M
A good film about the Rape of Nanking and the 'good nazi' John Rabe. Not in the same class as 'City of Life & Death' though. Worth a watch.
36. Leningrad (2009)
R | 110 min | Drama, War
When in 1941 Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union, their troops quickly besieged Leningrad. Foreign journalists are evacuated but one of them, Kate Davies, is presumed dead and misses the ... See full summary »
Good action sequences and reasonable story, let down by dodgy subtitling and sluggish acting in places. Not too bad.
37. Army of Crime (2009)
Not Rated | 139 min | Drama, History, War
The poet Missak Manouchian leads a mixed bag of youngsters and immigrants in a clandestine battle against the Nazi occupation. Twenty-two men and one woman fighting for an ideal and for ... See full summary »
Votes: 2,910 | Gross: $0.04M
Fascinating French film. Well made and acted. It drags a little and some of the themes are a bit confused but on the whole I enjoyed it.
38. Das Boot (1981)
R | 149 min | Adventure, Drama, Thriller
The claustrophobic world of a WWII German U-boat; boredom, filth and sheer terror.
Votes: 214,646 | Gross: $11.49M
Classic from start to finish. One of the greatest films of all time. I liked the tv series but when I eventually got around to watching the full directors cut version I came to love it. Atmospheric, claustrophobic, sweaty and equally exciting and terrifying. Awesome.
39. The Counterfeiters (2007)
R | 99 min | Crime, Drama, War
The story of the Operation Bernhard, the largest counterfeiting operation in history, carried out by Germany during WWII.
Votes: 41,329 | Gross: $5.48M
Who'd have thunk it? A great Austrian film. Well acted, well made and a story well told within it's short running time. One of the best foreign language films of the last decade.
40. Black Book (2006)
R | 145 min | Drama, Thriller, War
In the Nazi-occupied Netherlands during World War II, a Jewish singer infiltrates the regional Gestapo headquarters for the Dutch resistance.
Votes: 69,165 | Gross: $4.40M
Paul Verhoeven's big project is.....a let down really. It lacked atmosphere, authenticity and the acting was pretty dreadful. Most expensive Dutch film ever? What did they spend the money on? Catering?
41. Battle of the Bulge (1965)
Not Rated | 167 min | Drama, History, War
A dramatization of Nazi Germany's final Western Front counterattack of World War II.
The kind of war film you used to sit down and watch with your grandad. Great entertainment.
42. Patton (1970)
GP | 172 min | Biography, Drama, War
The World War II phase of the career of the controversial American general, George S. Patton.
Votes: 89,112 | Gross: $61.70M
George C. Scott is Patton. That's pretty much the film in one sentence. Enthralling.
43. The Longest Day (1962)
G | 178 min | Action, Drama, History
The events of D-Day, told on a grand scale from both the Allied and German points of view.
Votes: 49,732 | Gross: $39.10M
....and the longest film. A classic war film but the length? Jeez. Anyway a big film with a large cast it's one of those that you can't help enjoy.
44. MASH (1970)
R | 116 min | Comedy, Drama, War
The staff of a Korean War field hospital use humor and high jinks to keep their sanity in the face of the horror of war.
Votes: 64,107 | Gross: $81.60M
Not funny. There I said it. Overrated by so many.
45. Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War (2004)
R | 140 min | Action, Drama, War
When two brothers are forced to fight in the Korean War, the elder decides to take the riskiest missions if it will help shield the younger from battle.
Votes: 36,091 | Gross: $1.11M
A modern classic Asian war film. Enjoyed it from start to finish. Highly recommended.
46. Green Zone (2010)
R | 115 min | Action, Drama, Thriller
Discovering covert and faulty intelligence causes a U.S. Army officer to go rogue as he hunts for Weapons of Mass Destruction in an unstable region.
Votes: 123,149 | Gross: $35.05M
A solid conspiracy driven thriller, with plenty of Bourne style set-pieces. To be fair if you called it the 'The Bourne Conspiracy' nobody would've batted an eyelid. A good romp.
47. The Pianist (2002)
R | 150 min | Biography, Drama, Music
A Polish Jewish musician struggles to survive the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto of World War II.
Votes: 660,277 | Gross: $32.57M
Harrowing, hard hitting, thought provoking, tragic, tearjerking etc etc. A simply beautiful film, based on a true story of the horror of the holocaust in Poland. Must see.
48. Band of Brothers (2001)
TV-MA | 594 min | Action, Drama, History