films The Best War Movies Ever  

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List Rules 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!
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1
4,009 1,242
Saving Private Ryan is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Saving Private Ryan 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

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2
2,762 1,465
Full Metal Jacket is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Full Metal Jacket Stanley Kubrick, Vincent D'Onofrio, R. Lee Ermey Full Metal Jacket is a 1987 war 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
1,951 1,385
Apocalypse Now is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Apocalypse Now 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
2,097 1,174
Platoon is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Platoon 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
3,276 522
Band of Brothers is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Band of Brothers Donnie Wahlberg, Damian Lewis, Dexter Fletcher Band of Brothers is a 2001 American war 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

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1,813 1,286
The Bridge on the River Kwai is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
The Bridge on the River Kwai Alec Guinness, William Holden, Jack Hawkins The Bridge on the River Kwai is a 1957 World War II 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 ...more

7
2,319 1,517
Braveheart is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Braveheart 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

8
2,461 1,046
Black Hawk Down is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Black Hawk Down 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

9
1,966 1,162
Schindler's List is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Schindler's List 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
2,022 1,828
300 is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
300 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

11
1,858 889
Patton is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Patton George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Paul Frees Patton is a 1970 American epic biographical war film about U.S. General George S. Patton during World War II. It stars George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Michael Bates and Karl Michael Vogler. It was ...more

12
1,373 953
Das Boot is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Das Boot Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Uwe Ochsenknecht Das Boot is a 1981 German epic war film written and directed by Wolfgang Petersen, produced by Günter Rohrbach, and starring Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, and Klaus ...more

13
1,478 853
The Great Escape is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
The Great Escape Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough, James Garner The Great Escape is a 1963 American World War II epic film based on an escape by British and Commonwealth prisoners of war from a German POW camp during World War II, starring Steve McQueen, ...more

14
1,116 949
The Deer Hunter is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
The Deer Hunter Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken The Deer Hunter is a 1978 American epic war drama film co-written and directed by Michael Cimino about a trio of Russian American steelworkers and their service in the Vietnam War. The film ...more

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1,401 936
Glory is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Glory Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Matthew Broderick Glory is a 1989 American drama war film directed by Edward Zwick and starring Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes and Morgan Freeman. The screenplay was written by Kevin Jarre, ...more

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The Patriot is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
gamedemon24 added The Patriot Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Logan Lerman The Patriot is a 2000 film directed by Roland Emmerich.

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Tora! Tora! Tora! is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Tora! Tora! Tora! Jason Robards Jr., Martin Balsam, Joseph Cotten Tora! Tora! Tora! is a 1970 American–Japanese war film that dramatizes the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The film was directed by Richard Fleischer and stars an ensemble cast, including ...more

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1,879 950
We Were Soldiers is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
We Were Soldiers Mel Gibson, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jon Hamm We Were Soldiers is a 2002 war 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

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1,130 951
Gettysburg is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Gettysburg Martin Sheen, Tom Berenger, Sam Elliott Gettysburg is a 1993 epic war film written and directed by Ronald F. Maxwell, adapted from the novel The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara, about the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil ...more

20
989 736
Letters from Iwo Jima is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Letters from Iwo Jima Ken Watanabe, Ryan Kelley, Kazunari Ninomiya Letters from Iwo Jima is a 2006 Japanese-American war film directed and co-produced by Clint Eastwood, starring Ken Watanabe and Kazunari Ninomiya. The film portrays the Battle of Iwo Jima from ...more

21
1,435 817
Enemy at the Gates is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Enemy at the Gates Rachel Weisz, Jude Law, Ed Harris Enemy at the Gates is a 2001 war 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

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1,548 695
Gladiator is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
SanGv added Gladiator Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Michael Sheen Gladiator is a 2000 American-British epic historical drama film directed by Ridley Scott, starring Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Ralf Möller, Oliver Reed, Djimon Hounsou, ...more

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1,112 935
Inglourious Basterds is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
gschwayze added Inglourious Basterds 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

24
864 531
All Quiet on the Western Front is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
All Quiet on the Western Front Fred Zinnemann, Lew Ayres, ZaSu Pitts All Quiet on the Western Front is a 1930 American epic war film based on the Erich Maria Remarque novel of the same name. It was directed by Lewis Milestone, and stars Louis Wolheim, Lew Ayres, ...more

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1,315 553
The Longest Day is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
The Longest Day Sean Connery, John Wayne, Richard Burton The Longest Day is a 1962 war film based on the 1959 history book The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan, about D-Day, the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944, during World War II. The film was ...more

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990 535
A Bridge Too Far is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
A Bridge Too Far Sean Connery, Anthony Hopkins, Robert Redford A Bridge Too Far is a 1977 epic war 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 ...more

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1,423 882
Forrest Gump is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Forrest Gump Tom Hanks, Kurt Russell, Sally Field Forrest Gump is a 1994 American epic romantic-comedy-drama film based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Winston Groom. The film was directed by Robert Zemeckis and stars Tom Hanks, Robin ...more

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1,198 471
American Sniper is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
American Sniper Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Jonathan Groff American Sniper is a 2014 American biographical war drama film directed by Clint Eastwood and written by Jason Hall. It is based on the book American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal ...more

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1,011 724
The Hurt Locker is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
The Hurt Locker Evangeline Lilly, Ralph Fiennes, Jeremy Renner The Hurt Locker is a 2008 American war film about a three-man Explosive Ordnance Disposal team during the Iraq War. The film was produced and directed by Kathryn Bigelow and the screenplay was ...more

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The Last of the Mohicans is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Dbo878 added The Last of the Mohicans Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Pete Postlethwaite The Last of the Mohicans is a 1992 historical epic film set in 1757 during the French and Indian War and produced by Morgan Creek Pictures. It was directed by Michael Mann and based on James ...more

31
815 540
The Guns of Navarone is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
The Guns of Navarone Olivia de Havilland, Gregory Peck, David Niven The Guns of Navarone is a 1961 British-American action/adventure war film directed by J. Lee Thompson. The screenplay by producer Carl Foreman was based on Alistair MacLean's 1957 novel The Guns ...more

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1,104 502
The Dirty Dozen is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
The Dirty Dozen Jim Brown, Donald Sutherland, Charles Bronson The Dirty Dozen is a 1967 war 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 ...more

33
791 274
Zulu is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
AlanRapsey added Zulu Michael Caine, Stanley Baker, Jack Hawkins Zulu is a 1964 epic war film depicting the Battle of Rorke's Drift between the British Army and the Zulus in January 1879, during the Anglo-Zulu War. It depicts 150 British soldiers, many of ...more

34
867 535
Midway is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Midway Tom Selleck, Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda Midway, released in the United Kingdom as Battle of Midway and in the US on video as The Battle of Midway, is a 1976 Technicolor war film directed by Jack Smight and produced by Walter Mirisch ...more

35
816 397
Hamburger Hill is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Hamburger Hill Don Cheadle, Dylan McDermott, Courtney B. Vance Hamburger Hill is a 1987 American war film about the actual assault of the U.S. Army's 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, part of the 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division 'Screaming ...more

36
752 340
Lawrence of Arabia is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Trioxin245 added Lawrence of Arabia Omar Sharif, Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness Lawrence of Arabia is a 1962 British epic adventure drama film based on the life of T. E. Lawrence. It was directed by David Lean and produced by Sam Spiegel through his British company, Horizon ...more

37
772 479
Sands of Iwo Jima is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Sands of Iwo Jima John Wayne, Forrest Tucker, Richard Jaeckel Sands of Iwo Jima is a 1949 war film starring John Wayne that follows a group of United States Marines from training to the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II. The movie also features John ...more

38
802 573
The Thin Red Line is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
The Thin Red Line George Clooney, John Travolta, Sean Penn The Thin Red Line is a 1998 American ensemble epic war film written and directed by Terrence Malick. Based on the novel by James Jones, it tells a fictionalized version of the Battle of Mount ...more

39
538 400
Paths of Glory is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Paths of Glory Kirk Douglas, Adolphe Menjou, Richard Anderson Paths of Glory is a 1957 American anti-war film by Stanley Kubrick based on the novel of the same name by Humphrey Cobb. Set during World War I, the film stars Kirk Douglas as Colonel Dax, the ...more

40
799 484
MASH is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
MASH Robert Duvall, Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould MASH is a 1970 American satirical black comedy film directed by Robert Altman and written by Ring Lardner, Jr., based on Richard Hooker's novel MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors. The ...more

41
711 414
The Big Red One is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
The Big Red One Mark Hamill, Lee Marvin, Robert Carradine The Big Red One is a World War II war film starring Lee Marvin and Mark Hamill, released in 1980. It was written and directed by Samuel Fuller. It was heavily cut on its original release, but a ...more

42
610 336
Battle of Britain is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Battle of Britain Michael Caine, Laurence Olivier, Christopher Plummer Battle of Britain is a1969 action film directed by Guy Hamilton.

43
571 332
Casablanca is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Trioxin245 added Casablanca Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre Casablanca is a 1942 American romantic drama film directed by Michael Curtiz and based on Murray Burnett and Joan Alison's unproduced stage play Everybody Comes to Rick's. The film stars ...more

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815 331
Ranker Video
Kelly's Heroes Clint Eastwood, Donald Sutherland, Don Rickles Kelly's Heroes is a 1970 war comedy film directed by Brian G. Hutton, about a group of World War II soldiers who go AWOL to rob a bank behind enemy lines. The film stars Clint Eastwood, Telly ...more

45
652 401
Where Eagles Dare is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Where Eagles Dare Clint Eastwood, Richard Burton, Michael Hordern Where Eagles Dare is a 1968 World War II action film starring Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood and Mary Ure. It was directed by Brian G. Hutton and shot on location in Austria and Bavaria. ...more

46
661 326
Heartbreak Ridge is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
BekkiWirthwein added Heartbreak Ridge Clint Eastwood, Mario Van Peebles, Marsha Mason Gotta' love Eastwood in this... Tough as nails.. and reading Ladies Home Journal... ~laffin'~
 
Heartbreak Ridge is a 1986 American war film directed and produced by Clint Eastwood, who also starred in the film. The film also co-stars Mario Van Peebles, Marsha Mason, and Everett McGill. ...more

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873 637
Troy is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
isadora2 added Troy Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger, Rose Byrne Troy is a 2004 American epic war film written by David Benioff and directed by Wolfgang Petersen. It is loosely based on Homer's Iliad, which narrates the story of the 10 year Trojan War. ...more

48
578 336
Good Morning, Vietnam is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Good Morning, Vietnam Robin Williams, Forest Whitaker, J. T. Walsh Good Morning, Vietnam is a 1987 American war-comedy film written by Mitch Markowitz and directed by Barry Levinson. Set in Saigon in 1965, during the Vietnam War, the film stars Robin Williams ...more

49
517 342
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Lear... is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb James Earl Jones, Peter Sellers, George C. Scott Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, more commonly known as Dr. Strangelove, is a 1964 political satire black comedy film that satirizes the cold war fears of a ...more

50
512 517
The Pianist is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best War Movies Ever
The Pianist Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Emilia Fox The Pianist is a 2002 historical drama film co-produced and directed by Roman Polanski, scripted by Ronald Harwood, and starring Adrien Brody. It is based on the autobiographical book The ...more