36.4k voters

The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked

Updated April 30, 2021 528.0k votes 36.4k voters 769.8k views376 items

List RulesVote up the best films about wars and soldiers or that use wars as a primary backdrop.

From classics like Saving Private Ryan to newer entries like Dunkirk and 1917, 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 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 up 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! Then check out the best war movies on Netflix.

  • 1

    Saving Private Ryan

    Tom Hanks, Matt Damon

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  • 2

    Black Hawk Down

    Ewan McGregor, Tom Hardy

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  • 3


    George C. Scott, Karl Malden

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  • 4

    We Were Soldiers

    Mel Gibson, Lyndon B. Johnson

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  • 5

    Full Metal Jacket

    Vincent D'Onofrio, R. Lee Ermey

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  • 6

    The Longest Day

    Sean Connery, John Wayne

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  • 7


    Johnny Depp, Charlie Sheen

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  • 8

    Schindler's List

    Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes

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  • 9

    The Great Escape

    Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough

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  • 10

    A Bridge Too Far

    Sean Connery, Anthony Hopkins

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  • 11

    All Quiet on the Western Front

    Fred Zinnemann, Lew Ayres

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  • 12

    Das Boot

    Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer

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  • 13

    Lawrence of Arabia

    Omar Sharif, Peter O'Toole

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  • 14

    The Dirty Dozen

    Jim Brown, Donald Sutherland

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  • 15

    American Sniper

    Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller

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  • 16

    Enemy at the Gates

    Rachel Weisz, Jude Law

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  • 17


    Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix

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  • 18

    Hacksaw Ridge

    Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington

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  • 19


    Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington

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  • 20

    The Bridge on the River Kwai

    Alec Guinness, William Holden

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  • 21

    Tora! Tora! Tora!

    Jason Robards Jr., Martin Balsam

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  • 22


    Michael Caine, Stanley Baker

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  • 23

    Apocalypse Now

    Marlon Brando, Harrison Ford

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  • 24

    The Last of the Mohicans

    Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe

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  • 25

    Letters from Iwo Jima

    Ken Watanabe, Ryan Kelley

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