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Top 50 Best War movies of all time

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  1. Paths of Glory (1957)

    Paths of Glory

    During World War I, commanding officer General Broulard (Adolphe Menjou) orders his subordinate, General Mireau (George Macready), to attack a German trench position, offering a promotion as an incentive. Though the mission is foolhardy to the point of suicide, Mireau commands his own subordinate, Colonel Dax (Kirk Douglas), to plan the attack. When it ends in disaster, General Mireau demands the court-martial of three random soldiers in order to save face.

    Directed by Stanley Kubrick
  2. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

    Saving Private Ryan

    As U.S. troops storm the beaches of Normandy, three brothers lie dead on the battlefield, with a fourth trapped behind enemy lines. Ranger captain John Miller and seven men are tasked with penetrating German-held territory and bringing the boy home.

    Directed by Steven Spielberg
  3. The Great Escape (1963)

    The Great Escape

    The Nazis, exasperated at the number of escapes from their prison camps by a relatively small number of Allied prisoners, relocates them to a high-security "escape-proof" camp to sit out the remainder of the war. Undaunted, the prisoners plan one of the most ambitious escape attempts of World War II. Based on a true story.

    Directed by John Sturges
  4. Full Metal Jacket (1987)

    Full Metal Jacket

    A pragmatic U.S. Marine observes the dehumanizing effects the U.S.-Vietnam War has on his fellow recruits from their brutal boot camp training to the bloody street fighting in Hue.

    Directed by Stanley Kubrick
  5. Grand Illusion (1937)

    Grand Illusion

    During the first World War, two French officers are captured. Captain De Boeldieu is an aristocrat while Lieutenant Marechal was a mechanic in civilian life. The two unlikely companions meet fellow prisoners and plot an escape.

    Directed by Jean Renoir
  6. The Hurt Locker (2008)

    The Hurt Locker

    Forced to play a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse in the chaos of war, an elite Army bomb squad unit must come together in a city where everyone is a potential enemy and every object could be a deadly bomb.

    Directed by Kathryn Bigelow
  7. Schindler's List (1993)

    Schindler's List

    Told from the perspective of businessman Oskar Schindler who saved over a thousand Jewish lives from the Nazis while they worked as slaves in his factory. Schindler’s List is based on a true story, illustrated in black and white and controversially filmed in many original locations.

    Directed by Steven Spielberg
  8. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

    Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

    An insane general starts a process to nuclear holocaust that a war room of politicians and generals frantically try to stop. A classic black and white war satire from director Stanley Kubrick starring Peter Sellers.

    Directed by Stanley Kubrick
  9. Downfall (2004)

    Downfall

    In April of 1945, Germany stands at the brink of defeat with the Russian Army closing in from the east and the Allied Expeditionary Force attacking from the west. In Berlin, capital of the Third Reich, Adolf Hitler proclaims that Germany will still achieve victory and orders his generals and advisers to fight to the last man. When the end finally does come, and Hitler lies dead by his own hand, what is left of his military must find a way to end the killing that is the Battle of Berlin, and lay down their arms in surrender.

    Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel
  10. The Longest Day (1962)

    The Longest Day

    The retelling of June 6, 1944, from the perspectives of the Germans, the US, Britain, and the Free French. Marshall Erwin Rommel, touring the defenses being established as part of the Reich's Atlantic Wall, notes to his officers that when the Allied invasion comes they must be stopped on the beach. "For the Allies as well as the Germans, it will be the longest day"

    Directed by Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton, Bernhard Wicki
  11. Come and See (1985)

    Come and See

    The invasion of a village in Byelorussia by German forces sends young Florya (Alexei Kravchenko) into the forest to join the weary Resistance fighters, against his family's wishes. There he meets a girl, Glasha (Olga Mironova), who accompanies him back to his village. On returning home, Florya finds his family and fellow peasants massacred. His continued survival amidst the brutal debris of war becomes increasingly nightmarish, a battle between despair and hope.

    Directed by Elem Klimov
  12. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

    Inglourious Basterds

    In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a group of Jewish-American soldiers known as "The Basterds" are chosen specifically to spread fear throughout the Third Reich by scalping and brutally killing Nazis. The Basterds, lead by Lt. Aldo Raine soon cross paths with a French-Jewish teenage girl who runs a movie theater in Paris which is targeted by the soldiers.

    Directed by Quentin Tarantino
  13. The Deer Hunter (1978)

    The Deer Hunter

    A group of working-class friends decides to enlist in the Army during the Vietnam War and finds it to be hellish chaos -- not the noble venture they imagined. Before they left, Steven married his pregnant girlfriend -- and Michael and Nick were in love with the same woman. But all three are different men upon their return.

    Directed by Michael Cimino
  14. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

    All Quiet on the Western Front

    A young soldier faces profound disillusionment in the soul-destroying horror of World War I. Together with several other young German soldiers, he experiences the horrors of war, such evil of which he had not conceived of when signing up to fight. They eventually become sad, tormented, and confused of their purpose.

    Directed by Lewis Milestone
  15. Germany Year Zero (1948)

    Germany Year Zero

    The final film in Rossellini's war film trilogy (the first two being Rome, Open City and Paisà). Germany Year Zero takes place in post-war Germany, unlike the others, which take place in German-occupied Rome and post-war Italy, respectively. The story follows a twelve-year-old boy, Edmund Kohler, who is mainly left to his own devices in order to survive and to help his family do the same.

    Directed by Roberto Rossellini
  16. Empire of the Sun (1987)

    Empire of the Sun

    The story of young English boy who lives with his parents in Shanghai during World War II. After the Pearl Harbor attack, the Japanese occupy the Shanghai International Settlement, and in the following chaos Jim becomes separated from his parents.

    Directed by Steven Spielberg
  17. The Dirty Dozen (1967)

    The Dirty Dozen

    Classic World War II action drama about a group of 12 American military prisoners, who are ordered to infiltrate a well-guarded enemy château and kill the Nazi officers vacationing there. The soldiers, most of whom are facing death sentences for a variety of violent crimes, agree to the mission and the possible commuting of their sentences.

    Directed by Robert Aldrich
  18. Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

    Letters from Iwo Jima

    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.

    Directed by Clint Eastwood
  19. Black Hawk Down (2001)

    Black Hawk Down

    When U.S. Rangers and an elite Delta Force team attempt to kidnap two underlings of a Somali warlord, their Black Hawk helicopters are shot down, and the Americans suffer heavy casualties, facing intense fighting from the militia on the ground.

    Directed by Ridley Scott
  20. Fury (2014)

    Fury

    Last months of World War II in April 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theater, a battle-hardened U.S. Army sergeant in the 2nd Armored Division named Wardaddy commands a Sherman tank called "Fury" and its five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Outnumbered and outgunned, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.

    Directed by David Ayer
  21. MASH (1970)

    MASH

    One of the world's most acclaimed comedies, MASH focuses on three Korean War Army surgeons brilliantly brought to life by Donald Sutherland, Tom Skerritt and Elliott Gould. Though highly skilled and deeply dedicated, they adopt a hilarious, lunatic lifestyle as an antidote to the tragedies of their Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, and in the process infuriate Army bureaucrats. Robert Duvall, Gary Burghoff and Sally Kellerman co-star as a sanctimonious Major, an other-worldly Corporal, and a self-righteous yet lusty nurse.

    Directed by Robert Altman
  22. Men in War (1957)

    Men in War

    In Korea, on 6 September 1950, Lieutenant Benson's platoon finds itself isolated in enemy-held territory after a retreat. Soon they are joined by Sergeant Montana, whose overriding concern is caring for his catatonic colonel. Benson and Montana can't stand each other, but together they must get the survivors to Hill 465, where they hope the division is waiting. It's a long, harrowing march, fraught with all the dangers the elusive enemy can summon.

    Directed by Anthony Mann
  23. The Dam Busters (1955)

    The Dam Busters

    Adapted by R.C. Sherriff from Guy Gibson's book Enemy Coast Ahead, The Dam Busters is a docudrama following the conception of a new British weapon for smashing the German dams in the Ruhr industrial complex and the execution of the raid by 617 Squadron 'The Dam Busters'

    Directed by Michael Anderson
  24. Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)

    Good Morning, Vietnam

    An unorthodox and irreverent DJ begins to shake up things when he is assigned to the US Armed Services Radio station in Vietnam.

    Directed by Barry Levinson
  25. Three Kings (1999)

    Three Kings

    A group of American soldiers stationed in Iraq at the end of the Gulf War find a map they believe will take them to a huge cache of stolen Kuwaiti gold hidden near their base, and they embark on a secret mission that's destined to change everything.

    Directed by David O. Russell
  26. Jarhead (2005)

    Jarhead

    Jarhead is a film about a US Marine Anthony Swofford’s experience in the Gulf War. After putting up with an arduous boot camp, Swafford and his unit are sent to the Persian Gulf where they are earger to fight but are forced to stay back from the action. Meanwhile Swofford gets news of his girlfriend is cheating on him. Desperately he wants to kill someone and finally put his training to use.

    Directed by Sam Mendes
  27. Apocalypse Now (1979)

    Apocalypse Now

    At the height of the Vietnam war, Captain Benjamin Willard is sent on a dangerous mission that, officially, "does not exist, nor will it ever exist." His goal is to locate - and eliminate - a mysterious Green Beret Colonel named Walter Kurtz, who has been leading his personal army on illegal guerrilla missions into enemy territory.

    Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
  28. Army of Shadows (1969)

    Army of Shadows

    Betrayed by an informant, Philippe Gerbier (Lino Ventura) finds himself trapped in a torturous Nazi prison camp. Though Gerbier escapes to rejoin the Resistance in occupied Marseilles, France, and exacts his revenge on the informant, he must continue a quiet, seemingly endless battle against the Nazis in an atmosphere of tension, paranoia and distrust.

    Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville
  29. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

    The Bridge on the River Kwai

    A classic story of English POWs in Burma forced to build a bridge to aid the war effort of their Japanese captors. British and American intelligence officers conspire to blow up the structure, but Col. Nicholson , the commander who supervised the bridge's construction, has acquired a sense of pride in his creation and tries to foil their plans.

    Directed by David Lean
  30. Platoon (1986)

    Platoon

    Chris Taylor, a young, naive recruit in Vietnam, faces a moral crisis when confronted with the horrors of war and the duality of man.

    Directed by Oliver Stone
  31. The Battle of Algiers (1966)

    The Battle of Algiers

    Tracing the struggle of the Algerian Front de Liberation Nationale to gain freedom from French colonial rule as seen through the eyes of Ali from his start as a petty thief to his rise to prominence in the organisation and capture by the French in 1957. The film traces the rebels' struggle and the increasingly extreme measures taken by the French government to quell the revolt.

    Directed by Gillo Pontecorvo
  32. Patton (1970)

    Patton

    "Patton" tells the tale of General George S. Patton, famous tank commander of World War II. The film begins with patton's career in North Africa and progresses through the invasion of Germany and the fall of the Third Reich. Side plots also speak of Patton's numerous faults such his temper and habit towards insubordination.

    Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner
  33. Waltz with Bashir (2008)

    Waltz with Bashir

    Much awarded animated documentary, in which director and Israeli army veteran Ari Folman interviews friends and former soldiers about their memories of the 1982 Lebanon war and especially the Sabra and Shatila massacre in Beirut. The usage on animation enabled Folman to illustrate their personal memories and dreams.

    Directed by Ari Folman
  34. Life Is Beautiful (1997)

    Life Is Beautiful

    A touching story of an Italian book seller of Jewish ancestry who lives in his own little fairy tale. His creative and happy life would come to an abrupt halt when his entire family is deported to a concentration camp during World War II. While locked up he tries to convince his son that the whole thing is just a game.

    Directed by Roberto Benigni
  35. Ran (1985)

    Ran

    A story of greed, a lust for power, and ultimate revenge when an elderly lord abdicates to his three sons, and the two corrupt ones turn against him. A profound examination of the folly of war and the crumbling of one family under the weight of betrayal, greed, and the insatiable thirst for power.

    Directed by Akira Kurosawa
  36. Das Boot (1981)

    Das Boot

    A German submarine hunts allied ships during the Second World War. Soon it becomes hunted itself. The crew tries to survive below the surface, while stretching both the boat and themselves to their limits...

    Directed by Wolfgang Petersen
  37. Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

    Zero Dark Thirty

    A chronicle of the decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden after the September 2001 attacks, and his death at the hands of the Navy S.E.A.L. Team 6 in May, 2011.

    Directed by Kathryn Bigelow
  38. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

    Lawrence of Arabia

    An epic about British officer T.E. Lawrence's mission to aid the Arab tribes in their revolt against the Ottoman Empire during the First World War. Lawrence becomes a flamboyant, messianic figure in the cause of Arab unity but his psychological instability threatens to undermine his achievements.

    Directed by David Lean
  39. Battleship Potemkin (1925)

    Battleship Potemkin

    Battleship Potemkin is the classic silent masterpiece from director Sergej Eisenstein from 1925. The film is based on the true events of the Russian Revolution of 1905. The film had an incredible impact on the development of cinema and was a masterful example of montage editing.

    Directed by Sergei M. Eisenstein
  40. Glory (1989)

    Glory

    Robert Gould Shaw leads the US Civil War's first all-black volunteer company, fighting prejudices of both his own Union army and the Confederates.

    Directed by Edward Zwick
  41. Ice Cold in Alex (1958)

    Ice Cold in Alex

    A group of army personnel and nurses attempt a dangerous and arduous trek across the deserts of North Africa during the second world war. The leader of the team dreams of his ice cold beer when he reaches Alexandria

    Directed by J. Lee Thompson
  42. The Killing Fields (1984)

    The Killing Fields

    The Killing Fields tells the real life story of a friendship between two journalists, an American and a Cambodian, during the bloody Khmer Rouge takeover of Cambodia in 1975, which lead to the death of 2-3 million Cambodians during the next four years, until Pol Pot's regime was toppled by the intervening Vietnamese in 1979.

    Directed by Roland Joffé
  43. Atonement (2007)

    Atonement

    Fledgling writer Briony Tallis, as a 13-year-old, irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister's lover of a crime he did not commit. Based on the British romance novel by Ian McEwan.

    Directed by Joe Wright
  44. The Pianist (2002)

    The Pianist

    The Pianist is a film adapted from the biography of Wladyslaw Szpilman. A Jewish-Polish pianist who during the second world war lived and hid miraculously in Warsaw after having gone through a terrible tragedy. A film from Roman Polanski.

    Directed by Roman Polanski
  45. Braveheart (1995)

    Braveheart

    Enraged at the slaughter of Murron, his new bride and childhood love, legendary Scottish warrior William Wallace slays a platoon of the local English lord's soldiers. This leads the village to revolt and, eventually, the entire country to rise up against English rule.

    Directed by Mel Gibson
  46. Black Book (2006)

    Black Book

    In the Nazi-occupied Netherlands during World War II, a Jewish singer infiltrates the regional Gestapo headquarters for the Dutch resistance.

    Directed by Paul Verhoeven
  47. Kanal (1957)

    Kanal

    September, 1944. It's the 56th day of Warsaw's uprising against the Nazis. The third Platoon of the Resistance is down to 43 heroic men and women, and they're penned in. After a last day of fighting, and of good-byes to family, to love making, and to music, a handful of doomed survivors wade into the city's underground sewers in hopes of escape. Their valor is tested a final time.

    Directed by Andrzej Wajda
  48. Paisan (1946)

    Paisan

    Six vignettes follow the Allied invasion from July 1943 to winter 1944, from Sicily north to Venice.

    Directed by Roberto Rossellini
  49. Sergeant York (1941)

    Sergeant York

    Alvin York a hillbilly sharpshooter transforms himself from ruffian to religious pacifist. He is then called to serve his country and despite deep religious and moral objections to fighting becomes one of the most celebrated American heroes of WWI.

    Directed by Howard Hawks
  50. Zulu (1964)

    Zulu

    In 1879, during the Zulu wars, man of the people Lt. John Chard (Stanley Baker) and snooty Lt Gonville Bromhead (Michael Caine) are in charge of defending the isolated Natal outpost of Rorke's Drift from tribal hordes, holding out during an Alamo-like seige until they are overwhelmed, losing the battle, but going down in history as heroes. 150 soldiers defended a supply station against some 4000 Zulus, aided by the Martini-Henry rifle 'with some guts behind it. "At Rorke's Drift, eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded. Seven to the 2nd Battalion, 24th (2nd Warwickshire) Regiment of Foot, one to the Army Medical Department, one to the Royal Engineers, one to the Commissariat and Transport Department and one to the Natal Native Contingent.

    Directed by Cy Endfield

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