Entertainment

The Best 50s War Movies  

Ranker Film
617 votes 135 voters 5.7k views 29 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite war films that were released in the 1950s.

As you’ll notice on this list of the best 50s war movies, the type of subjects Hollywood began to tackle between major conflicts shifted away from the gung-ho, patriotic films of the 40s and took a more introspective note. Do you have a favorite war movie from the 1950s? Vote for your favorites below.

Among the top 50s war movies, you’ll find stories of prisoners-of-war (Stalag 17, The Bridge on the River Kwai), stories of conflict between American troops (The Caine Mutiny, From Here to Eternity) and even stories about the enemy (The Desert Fox:The Story of Rommel). Also make sure to check out The African Queen, where Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn star in the story of two misfits who join forces and sink a German supply ship during World War I.

Enjoy this list of great war movies of the 50s, and feel free to add any of your favorites that might be missing.

list ordered by
1
Ranker Video
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
2
Ranker Video
Kirk Douglas, Adolphe Menjou, Richard Anderson
Paths of Glory is a 1957 American film by Stanley Kubrick based on the novel of the same name by Humphrey Cobb. Set during WWI, the film stars Kirk Douglas as Colonel Dax, the commanding officer ...more
3
Ranker Video
William Holden, Peter Graves, Otto Preminger
Stalag 17 is a 1953 film which tells the story of a group of American airmen held in a German WWII prisoner camp, who come to suspect that one of their number is an informant. It was adapted ...more
4
Ranker Video
John Wayne, Natalie Wood, Vera Miles
The Searchers is a 1956 American Technicolor VistaVision Western film directed by John Ford, based on the 1954 novel by Alan Le May, and starring John Wayne as a middle-aged veteran who spends ...more
5
Ranker Video
Humphrey Bogart, Lee Marvin, José Ferrer
The Caine Mutiny is a 1954 American drama film set during World War II, directed by Edward Dmytryk and produced by Stanley Kramer. It stars Humphrey Bogart, José Ferrer, Van Johnson and ...more
6
Ranker Video
Gregory Peck, Martin Landau, George Peppard
Pork Chop Hill is a 1959 American Korean War film starring Gregory Peck, Rip Torn and George Peppard. The film, which was the final war film directed by Lewis Milestone, is based upon the book ...more
7
Ranker Video
Clark Gable, Burt Lancaster, Don Rickles
Run Silent, Run Deep is a 1958 film starring Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster, based on the novel of the same name by Commander Edward L. Beach, Jr.. The title refers to "silent ...more
8
Ranker Video
Audie Murphy, James Whitmore, Andy Devine
The Red Badge of Courage is a 1951 war film made by MGM. Directed by John Huston, it was produced by Gottfried Reinhardt with Dore Schary as executive producer. The screenplay is by John Huston, ...more
9
Ranker Video
Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Hugh Griffith
Ben-Hur is a 1959 American epic historical drama film, directed by William Wyler, produced by Sam Zimbalist for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and starring Charlton Heston, Stephen Boyd, Jack Hawkins, Hugh ...more
10
Ranker Video
Grace Kelly, Mickey Rooney, William Holden
The Bridges at Toko-Ri is a film from 1954 that was directed by Mark Robson and was based on the novel by James Michener about a U.S. Navy pilot assigned to bomb a group of heavily defended ...more
11
Ranker Video
Frank Sinatra, Burt Lancaster, Ernest Borgnine
From Here to Eternity is a 1953 drama film directed by Fred Zinnemann and based on the novel of the same name by James Jones. The picture deals with the tribulations of three soldiers, played by ...more
12
Ranker Video
Katharine Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, Robert Morley
The African Queen is a 1951 adventure film adapted from the 1935 novel of the same name by C. S. Forester. The film was directed by John Huston and produced by Sam Spiegel and John Woolf. The ...more
13
Ranker Video
Richard Attenborough, John Mills, Bernard Cribbins
Dunkirk is a 1958 British war film directed by Leslie Norman and starring John Mills, Richard Attenborough and Bernard Lee. It was based on two novels: Elleston Trevor's The Big Pick-Up and Lt. ...more
14
Ranker Video
Audie Murphy, Denver Pyle, David Janssen
To Hell and Back is a CinemaScope war film released in 1955. It was directed by Jesse Hibbs and starred Audie Murphy as himself. It is based on the 1949 autobiography of the same name and is an ...more
15
Ranker Video
Jessica Tandy, Cedric Hardwicke, Leo G. Carroll
The Desert Fox is a 1951 biographical film about Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in the later stages of World War II. It stars James Mason in the title role, was directed by Henry Hathaway, and was ...more
16
Ranker Video
Richard Burton, Robert Newton, Robert Douglas
The Desert Rats is a 1953 American war film about the World War II siege of Tobruk. It stars Richard Burton and was directed by Robert Wise.
17
Ranker Video
Marlon Brando, Dean Martin, Montgomery Clift
The Young Lions is a 1958 CinemaScope war drama film directed by Edward Dmytryk, based upon the 1948 novel of the same name by Irwin Shaw, and starring Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, and Dean ...more
18
Ranker Video
Robert Shaw, Patrick McGoohan, Michael Redgrave
The Dam Busters is a British Second World War war film starring Michael Redgrave and Richard Todd and directed by Michael Anderson. The film recreates the true story of Operation Chastise when ...more
19
Ranker Video
Lee Marvin, Jack Palance, Eddie Albert
Attack, also known as Attack!, is a 1956 American war film. It was directed by Robert Aldrich and starred Jack Palance, Eddie Albert, Lee Marvin, William Smithers, Robert Strauss, Richard ...more
20
Ranker Video
Gene Evans, Richard Loo, Steve Brodie
The Steel Helmet is a war film directed by Samuel Fuller and produced by Lippert Studios during the Korean War. It was the first film about the war, and the first of several war films by ...more
21
Ranker Video
John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Ward Bond
The Wings of Eagles is a 1957 Metrocolor film starring John Wayne, based on the true story of Frank "Spig" Wead and the history of U.S. Naval aviation from its inception through World ...more
22
Ranker Video
John Gavin, Keenan Wynn, Erich Maria Remarque
A Time to Love and a Time to Die is a 1958 American CinemaScope drama film directed by Douglas Sirk and starring John Gavin. It is based on the book by the German author, Erich Maria Remarque, ...more
23
Ranker Video
Lev Borisov, Nikolai Kryuchkov, Zhanna Prokhorenko
Ballad of a Soldier, is a 1959 Soviet film directed by Grigori Chukhrai and starring Vladimir Ivashov and Zhanna Prokhorenko. While set during World War II, Ballad of a Soldier is not primarily ...more
24
The Robe is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best 50s War Movies
RobLein added Richard Burton, Jean Simmons, Harry Shearer
The Robe is a 1953 American Biblical epic film that tells the story of a Roman military tribune who commands the unit that crucifies Jesus. The film was made by 20th Century Fox and is notable ...more
25
Ranker Video
William Holden, William Bendix, Don Taylor
Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Submarine Command is a 1951 film starring William Holden, Don Taylor, Nancy Olson, William Bendix, and Darryl Hickman, directed by John Farrow. The movie is notable for being one of the first to ...more