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The Best War Movies Ever

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!

The Best War Movies Ever Films
  • 61 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 1928
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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
    + 1054
    - 451


    Alec Guinness, William Holden, Jack Hawkins

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  4. 4
    + 894
    - 422

    the people's #1 & often listed
    Marlon Brando, Harrison Ford, Robert Duvall Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

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  5. 5
    + 1243
    - 403


    Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Brendan Gleeson

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  6. 6
    + 989
    - 331


    Johnny Depp, Charlie Sheen, Willem Dafoe

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  7. 7
    + 1163
    - 568

    often listed
    Gerard Butler, Michael Fassbender, Lena Headey

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  8. 8
    + 1158
    - 257

    ranked low on reranks
    Ewan McGregor, Tom Hardy, Orlando Bloom Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

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  9. 9
    + 876
    - 355

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley

    ; watch now
  10. 10
    + 887
    - 240


    George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Paul Frees

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  11. 11
    + 1201
    - 225


    Donnie Wahlberg, Damian Lewis, Dexter Fletcher

    ; buy at  
  12. 12
    + 671
    - 255


    Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Uwe Ochsenknecht

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  13. 13
    + 692
    - 222


    Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough, James Garner

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  14. 14
    + 571
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    Jason Robards Jr., Martin Balsam, Joseph Cotten Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

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  15. 15
    + 547
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    often listed
    Martin Sheen, Tom Berenger, Sam Elliott

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  16. 16
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    Mel Gibson, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jon Hamm

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  17. 17
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    added by gamedemon24
    Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Logan Lerman Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

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  18. 18
    + 554
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    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken

    ; watch now
  19. 19
    + 696
    - 263


    Rachel Weisz, Jude Law, Ed Harris

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  20. 20
    + 640
    - 286


    Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Matthew Broderick Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

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  21. 21
    + 465
    - 260

    often listed
    Ken Watanabe, Ryan Kelley, Kazunari Ninomiya

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  22. 22
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    - 122

    ranked low on reranks & added by SanGv
    Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Michael Sheen

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  23. 23
    + 637
    - 174

    ranked low on reranks
    Sean Connery, John Wayne, Richard Burton Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

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  24. 24
    + 412
    - 194


    Fred Zinnemann, Lew Ayres, ZaSu Pitts

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  25. 25
    + 470
    - 209


    Sean Connery, Anthony Hopkins, Robert Redford

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  26. 26
    + 425
    - 237


    Olivia de Havilland, Gregory Peck, David Niven

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  27. 27
    + 464
    - 229


    Tom Selleck, Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda

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  28. 28
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    - 312


    Evangeline Lilly, Ralph Fiennes, Jeremy Renner

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  29. 29
    + 428
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    John Wayne, Forrest Tucker, Richard Jaeckel

    ; buy at  
  30. 30
    + 549
    - 170

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

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  31. 31
    + 454
    - 296


    Tom Hanks, Kurt Russell, Sally Field

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  32. 32
    + 459
    - 292

    added by isadora2
    Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger, Rose Byrne

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  33. 33
    + 422
    - 182


    Don Cheadle, Dylan McDermott, Courtney B. Vance

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  34. 34
    + 396
    - 228


    Mark Hamill, Lee Marvin, Robert Carradine

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  35. 35
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    Robert Duvall, Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould

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  36. 36
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    often listed & added by gschwayze
    Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Diane Kruger

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  37. 37
    + 254
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    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Robert Duvall, Mira Sorvino, Jeff Daniels

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  38. 38
    + 254
    - 115

    added by Trioxin245
    Omar Sharif, Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

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  39. 39
    + 382
    - 277


    George Clooney, John Travolta, Sean Penn

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  40. 40
    + 370
    - 80

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

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  41. 41
    + 311
    - 180


    Michael Caine, Laurence Olivier, Christopher Plummer Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

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  42. 42
    + 400
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    ranked low on reranks & added by Dbo878
    Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Pete Postlethwaite Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

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  43. 43
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    often listed
    Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix, Don Cheadle

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  44. 44
    + 344
    - 221


    Clint Eastwood, Richard Burton, Michael Hordern

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  45. 45
    + 229
    - 163


    Robert Duvall, Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland

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  46. 46
    + 186
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    Robin Williams, Forest Whitaker, J. T. Walsh

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  47. 47
    + 280
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    ranked low on reranks & 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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  48. 48
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    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Kirk Douglas, Adolphe Menjou, Richard Anderson

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  49. 49
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    John Wayne, Richard Widmark, Frankie Avalon

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  50. 50
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    ranked low on reranks & added by AlanRapsey
    Michael Caine, Stanley Baker, Jack Hawkins

    ; watch now
260 +

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