The Best War Movies Ever

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List Criteria: Movies about war and soldiers, or that use a war as a primary setting.

This list ranks the best movies about war, battles, and military conflicts. These films recreate some of the most significant events in world history from a variety of perspectives and with a variety of purposes and intentions. Some top war films attempt to recreate as realistically as possible the events that they depict, either from an omniscient perspective permitted by historical study or from the point of view of the soldiers and civilians involved in the conflict itself. Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down, for example, was both praised in its time and heavily criticized for bringing a "you are there" sense of realism - and little outside or cultural perspective - to a recreation of the Battle of Mogadishu. The best war movies of all time differ widely in their handling of the subject matter, but they all strike a chord with viewers now and in the time when they came out.

Some of the greatest war films use war as a backdrop to look at larger issues - such as man's inhumanity to man or the crippling impact of post-traumatic stress - or just as a meditation on war itself. Still other films like Glory and Band of Brothers examine the personal drama of a few individuals, and mine it for larger insights about the meaning of war and the impact that violence has on individual human lives.

Finally, some war films - particularly those made during the classic Hollywood era - are simply adventure films with war providing a compelling setting and situation. The Great Escape, for example, remains a classic not because of its grand ideas about the nature of war, but because it is a ceaselessly entertaining spectacle. No matter what type of film, there's no denying that these are certainly the best war movies ever.

Vote for your favorite war films to move them up the list. And if your favorites are not yet represented, make your own version of the list and add them!
Collection Photo:  DreamWorks Pictures
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  1. 1
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    most listed
    Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Vin Diesel

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  2. 2
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    Stanley Kubrick, Vincent D'Onofrio, R. Lee Ermey

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  3. 3
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    Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Brendan Gleeson

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  4. 4
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    Alec Guinness, William Holden, Jack Hawkins

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  5. 5
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    - 290


    Donnie Wahlberg, Damian Lewis, Dexter Fletcher

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  6. 6
    + 1,351
    - 682


    Johnny Depp, Charlie Sheen, Willem Dafoe

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  7. 7
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    the people's #1 & often listed
    Marlon Brando, Harrison Ford, Robert Duvall

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  8. 8
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    Gerard Butler, Michael Fassbender, Lena Headey

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  9. 9
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    ranked low on reranks
    Ewan McGregor, Tom Hardy, Orlando Bloom

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  10. 10
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    Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley

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  11. 11
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    ranked low on reranks
    George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Paul Frees

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  12. 12
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    Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Uwe Ochsenknecht

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  13. 13
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    Jason Robards Jr., Martin Balsam, Joseph Cotten

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  14. 14
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    Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough, James Garner

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  15. 15
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    added by gamedemon24
    Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Logan Lerman

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  16. 16
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    Martin Sheen, Tom Berenger, Sam Elliott

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  17. 17
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    Mel Gibson, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jon Hamm

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  18. 18
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    Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Matthew Broderick

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  19. 19
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken

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  20. 20
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    Tom Hanks, Kurt Russell, Sally Field

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  21. 21
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    Rachel Weisz, Jude Law, Ed Harris

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  22. 22
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    added by SanGv
    Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Michael Sheen

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  23. 23
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    Sean Connery, John Wayne, Richard Burton

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  24. 24
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Ken Watanabe, Ryan Kelley, Kazunari Ninomiya

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  25. 25
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    ranked low on reranks & added by Dbo878
    Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Pete Postlethwaite

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  26. 26
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    Sean Connery, Anthony Hopkins, Robert Redford

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  27. 27
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    ranked low on reranks & added by AlanRapsey
    Michael Caine, Stanley Baker, Jack Hawkins

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  28. 28
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    Tom Selleck, Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda

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  29. 29
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Fred Zinnemann, Lew Ayres, ZaSu Pitts

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  30. 30
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    ranked low on reranks
    Jim Brown, Donald Sutherland, Charles Bronson

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  31. 31
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Olivia de Havilland, Gregory Peck, David Niven

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  32. 32
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    added by Trioxin245
    Omar Sharif, Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness

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  33. 33
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    ranked low on reranks
    Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Jonathan Groff

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  34. 34
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    John Wayne, Forrest Tucker, Richard Jaeckel

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  35. 35
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    Don Cheadle, Dylan McDermott, Courtney B. Vance

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  36. 36
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    Evangeline Lilly, Ralph Fiennes, Jeremy Renner

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  37. 37
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    added by gschwayze
    Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Diane Kruger

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  38. 38
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    added by isadora2
    Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger, Rose Byrne

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  39. 39
    + 563
    - 329


    Robert Duvall, Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould

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  40. 40
    + 526
    - 388


    George Clooney, John Travolta, Sean Penn

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  41. 41
    + 341
    - 264

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Kirk Douglas, Adolphe Menjou, Richard Anderson

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  42. 42
    + 521
    - 300


    Mark Hamill, Lee Marvin, Robert Carradine

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  43. 43
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    - 199

    added by BekkiWirthwein
    Clint Eastwood, Mario Van Peebles, Marsha Mason Gotta' love Eastwood in this... Tough as nails.. and reading Ladies Home Journal... ~laffin'~  

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  44. 44
    + 357
    - 187

    added by Trioxin245
    Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre

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  45. 45
    + 452
    - 271

    added by wiabux
    Tom Cruise, Billy Connolly, Timothy Spall

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  46. 46
    + 453
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    John Wayne, Richard Widmark, Frankie Avalon

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  47. 47
    + 482
    - 282


    Clint Eastwood, Richard Burton, Michael Hordern

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  48. 48
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    Michael Caine, Laurence Olivier, Christopher Plummer

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  49. 49
    + 542
    - 225
    Kelly's Heroes is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best War Movies Ever

    ranked low on reranks
    Clint Eastwood, Donald Sutherland, Don Rickles

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  50. 50
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Robert Duvall, Mira Sorvino, Jeff Daniels

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297 +

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