Weird History The Best War Movies Ever  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
361.7k votes 25.2k voters 587.4k views 444 items

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

We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, Ranker may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

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!

list ordered by

1
8,443 3,143
Saving Private Ryan is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Vin Diesel Saving Private Ryan is a 1998 American epic drama war film set during the Invasion of Normandy in World War II. Directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Robert Rodat, the film is notable for ...more

2
6,905 2,783
Full Metal Jacket is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Stanley Kubrick, Vincent D'Onofrio, R. Lee Ermey Full Metal Jacket is a 1987 film directed and produced by Stanley Kubrick. The screenplay by Kubrick, Michael Herr, and Gustav Hasford was based on Hasford's novel The Short-Timers. The film ...more

3
4,556 3,006
Ranker Video
Marlon Brando, Harrison Ford, Robert Duvall Apocalypse Now is a 1979 American epic adventure war film set during the Vietnam War. Produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, and Robert Duvall. ...more

4
4,774 2,393
Platoon is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Johnny Depp, Charlie Sheen, Willem Dafoe Platoon is a 1986 American war film written and directed by Oliver Stone and starring Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe and Charlie Sheen. It is the first film of a trilogy of Vietnam War films by ...more

5
7,328 1,194
Band of Brothers is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Donnie Wahlberg, Damian Lewis, Dexter Fletcher Band of Brothers is a 2001 American WWII drama miniseries based on historian Stephen E. Ambrose's 1992 non-fiction book of the same name. The executive producers were Steven Spielberg and Tom ...more

6
3,325 2,376
The Bridge on the River Kwai is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Alec Guinness, William Holden, Jack Hawkins The Bridge on the River Kwai is a 1957 WWII epic film directed by David Lean, based on the novel Le Pont de la Rivière Kwai by Pierre Boulle. The film is a work of fiction but borrows the ...more

7
5,282 2,092
Black Hawk Down is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Ewan McGregor, Tom Hardy, Orlando Bloom Black Hawk Down is a 2001 American-British war film directed by Ridley Scott. It is an adaptation of the 1999 book of the same name by Mark Bowden based on his series of articles published in ...more

8
4,379 3,050
Braveheart is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Brendan Gleeson Braveheart is a 1995 epic historical medieval war drama film directed by and starring Mel Gibson. Gibson portrays William Wallace, a 13th-century Scottish warrior who led the Scots in the First ...more

9
4,258 2,229
Schindler's List is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley Schindler's List is a 1993 American epic historical period drama, directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg and scripted by Steven Zaillian. It is based on the novel Schindler's Ark by Thomas ...more

10
3,892 1,557
Patton is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Paul Frees Patton is a 1970 American epic biographical film about U.S. General George S. Patton during WWII. It stars George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Michael Bates and Karl Michael Vogler. It was directed by ...more

11
3,556 3,665
300 is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Gerard Butler, Michael Fassbender, Lena Headey 300 is a 2006 American fantasy war film based on the 1998 comic series of the same name by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley. Both are fictionalized retellings of the Battle of Thermopylae which took ...more

12
3,183 1,735
Glory is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Matthew Broderick Glory is a 1989 American drama film directed by Edward Zwick and starring Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes and Morgan Freeman. The screenplay was written by Kevin Jarre, based on ...more

13
4,304 1,597
We Were Soldiers is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Mel Gibson, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jon Hamm We Were Soldiers is a 2002 film that dramatizes the Battle of Ia Drang on November 14, 1965. The film was directed by Randall Wallace and stars Mel Gibson. It is based on the book We Were ...more

14
2,741 1,739
Das Boot is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Uwe Ochsenknecht Das Boot is a 1981 German epic film written and directed by Wolfgang Petersen, produced by Günter Rohrbach, and starring Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, and Klaus Wennemann. ...more

15
3,066 1,430
The Great Escape is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough, James Garner The Great Escape is a 1963 American WWII epic film based on an escape by British and Commonwealth POW from a German POW camp during WWII, starring Steve McQueen, James Garner, and Richard ...more

16
2,325 1,659
Ranker Video
Martin Sheen, Tom Berenger, Sam Elliott Gettysburg is a 1993 epic film written and directed by Ronald F. Maxwell, adapted from the novel The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara, about the Battle of Gettysburg. The film starred Tom ...more

17
2,319 1,606
Ranker Video
Jason Robards Jr., Martin Balsam, Joseph Cotten Tora! Tora! Tora! is a 1970 American–Japanese film directed by Richard Fleischer and stars an ensemble cast, including Martin Balsam, Joseph Cotten, Sō Yamamura, E. G. Marshall, James Whitmore ...more

18
2,388 1,816
The Deer Hunter is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken The Deer Hunter is a 1978 American epic drama film co-written and directed by Michael Cimino about a trio of Russian American steelworkers and their service in Vietnam. The film stars Robert De ...more

19
2,696 974
The Longest Day is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Sean Connery, John Wayne, Richard Burton The Longest Day is a 1962 film based on the 1959 history book The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan, about D-Day, the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944, during WWII. The film was produced by Darryl ...more

20
3,553 2,162
The Patriot is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
gamedemon24 added Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Logan Lerman The Patriot is a 2000 American epic historical fiction film directed by Roland Emmerich. Peaceful farmer Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson) is driven to lead the his own group of men during the ...more

21
2,355 1,001
The Dirty Dozen is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Jim Brown, Donald Sutherland, Charles Bronson The Dirty Dozen is a 1967 film directed by Robert Aldrich, released by MGM, and starring Lee Marvin. The picture was filmed in England and features an ensemble supporting cast including Ernest ...more

22
2,884 2,141
Inglourious Basterds is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
gschwayze added Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Diane Kruger Inglourious Basterds is a 2009 German-American war black comedy film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino and starring Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Mélanie Laurent, Michael ...more

23
2,099 1,373
Letters from Iwo Jima is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Ken Watanabe, Ryan Kelley, Kazunari Ninomiya Letters from Iwo Jima is a 2006 Japanese-American film directed and co-produced by Clint Eastwood, starring Ken Watanabe and Kazunari Ninomiya. The film portrays the Battle of Iwo Jima from the ...more

24
3,036 1,463
Ranker Video
Rachel Weisz, Jude Law, Ed Harris Enemy at the Gates is a 2001 film directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud. The film's title is taken from William Craig's 1973 nonfiction book Enemy at the Gates: The Battle for Stalingrad, which ...more

25
2,012 992
Ranker Video
Sean Connery, Anthony Hopkins, Robert Redford A Bridge Too Far is a 1977 epic film based on the 1974 book of the same name by Cornelius Ryan, adapted by William Goldman. It was produced by Joseph E. Levine and Richard P. Levine and directed ...more