Film The Best 80s War Movies  

Ranker Film
1.1k votes 226 voters 9.9k views 29 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite war films that were released in the 1980s.

War is hell. And it doesn’t matter if you love it or hate it. On this of the best 80s war movies you’ll find films that glorify war and films that show the horror it and films that do both. Did the 1980s produce the greatest war movies of all time? It's very well possible.

Born on the Fourth of July, Full Metal Jacket and Platoon all show the horrors of war, in this case each deals with the highly unpopular Vietnam War. On the other end of the spectrum, this list of top war movies from the 80s includes the rousing, gung-ho films Missing in Action, Red Dawn and Uncommon Valor. And don’t miss Steven Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun which shows World War II from a unique angle.

Enjoy this list of great war movies from the '80s, vote up your favorites, and feel free to add any of your favorites that might be missing.

list ordered by

1
58 12
Ranker Video
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

2
58 12
Ranker Video
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
41 11
Ranker Video
Robin Williams, Forest Whitaker, J. T. Walsh Good Morning, Vietnam is a 1987 American comedy film written by Mitch Markowitz and directed by Barry Levinson. Set in Saigon in 1965, during Vietnam, the film stars Robin Williams as a radio DJ ...more

4
40 16
Ranker Video
Clint Eastwood, Mario Van Peebles, Marsha Mason Heartbreak Ridge is a 1986 American 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. The ...more

5
40 17
Ranker Video
Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Matthew Broderick Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial 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

6
38 16
Ranker Video
Bill Murray, John Candy, Dennis Quaid Stripes is a 1981 American comedy film directed by Ivan Reitman, starring Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Warren Oates, P. J. Soles, and John Candy. It also featured several actors in their first ...more

7
39 17
Ranker Video
Sylvester Stallone, Brian Dennehy, David Caruso Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial First Blood is a 1982 American psychological thriller and action film directed by Ted Kotcheff, co-written by and starring Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo, a troubled and misunderstood veteran. ...more

8
35 14
Ranker Video
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

9
30 11
Ranker Video
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

10
38 18
Ranker Video
Charlie Sheen, Patrick Swayze, Lea Thompson Red Dawn is a 1984 American film directed by John Milius and co-written by Milius and Kevin Reynolds. It stars Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson, Charlie Sheen, and Jennifer Grey. ...more

11
28 16
Ranker Video
Christian Bale, Ben Stiller, John Malkovich Empire of the Sun is a 1987 American coming of age film based on J. G. Ballard's semi-autobiographical novel of the same name. Steven Spielberg directed the film, which stars Christian Bale, ...more

12
27 16
Ranker Video
Sylvester Stallone, Charles Napier, Richard Crenna Rambo: First Blood Part II is a 1985 American action film directed by George P. Cosmatos and starring Sylvester Stallone. Picking up where the first film left, the sequel is set in the context ...more

13
23 13
Ranker Video
John Malkovich, Craig T. Nelson, Sam Waterston This film is a 1984 British drama film set in Democratic Kampuchea, which is based on the experiences of two journalists: Cambodian Dith Pran and American Sydney Schanberg. The film, which won ...more

14
23 15
Ranker Video
Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen, Katharine Ross The Final Countdown is a 1980 alternate history science fiction film about a modern ship that travels through time to a day before the 1941. Produced by Peter Vincent Douglas and directed by Don ...more

15
28 20
Ranker Video
Born on the Fourth of July, published in 1976, is the best selling autobiography by Ron Kovic, a Vietnam veteran who became an activist. Kovic was born on July 4, 1946, and his book's ironic ...more

16
28 21
Ranker Video
Sean Penn, Michael J. Fox, John C. Reilly This film is a 1989 drama film directed by Brian De Palma, with a screenplay by David Rabe, based on the actual events of the incident on Hill 192 in 1966 during Vietnam. It stars Michael J. Fox ...more

17
23 16
Ranker Video
Gene Hackman, Patrick Swayze, Michael Dudikoff Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Uncommon Valor is a 1983 action/war film written by Joe Gayton and directed by Ted Kotcheff, about a U.S. Marine officer who puts together a team to try to rescue his son, who he believes is ...more

18
24 19
Ranker Video
Mel Gibson, Bill Hunter, Robert Grubb Gallipoli is a 1981 Australian film directed by Peter Weir and starring Mel Gibson and Mark Lee, about several young men from rural Western Australia who enlist in the Australian Army during the ...more

19
20 15
Ranker Video
Mark Hamill, Lee Marvin, Robert Carradine The Big Red One is a WWII 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 restored ...more

20
16 18
Ranker Video
Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, M. Emmet Walsh Missing in Action is a 1984 action film directed by Joseph Zito and starring Chuck Norris. It is set in the context of the Vietnam War POW/MIA issue. Colonel Braddock, who escaped a Vietnamese ...more

21
11 15
Ranker Video
Mel Gibson, Sigourney Weaver, Linda Hunt The Year of Living Dangerously is a 1982 drama film directed by Peter Weir and adapted from the novel The Year of Living Dangerously by Christopher Koch. The story is about a love affair set in ...more

22
5 8
Come and See is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best 80s War Movies
iknowwhatawesternis added Aleksei Kravchenko, Liubomiras Lauciavicius, Vladas Bagdonas Come and See is a 1985 Soviet war drama film directed by Elem Klimov about and occurring during the Nazi German occupation of the Byelorussian SSR. Aleksei Kravchenko and Olga Mironova star as ...more

23
7 13
Ranker Video
Yoshiko Shinohara, Akemi Yamaguchi, Ayano Shiraishi Grave of the Fireflies is a 1988 Japanese animated drama film written and directed by Isao Takahata and animated by Studio Ghibli. It is based on the 1967 semi-autobiographical novel Grave of ...more

24
9 16
Ranker Video
Jeffrey Jones, David Soul, Michael Moriarty The Hanoi Hilton is a 1987 Vietnam War film which focuses on the experiences of American prisoners of war who were held in the infamous Hoa Lo Prison in Hanoi during the 1960s and 1970s and the ...more

25
8 16
Ranker Video
The Winds of War is Herman Wouk's second book about World War II, the first being The Caine Mutiny. Published in 1971, it was followed up seven years later by War and Remembrance; originally ...more

26
9 18
Ranker Video
Tatsuya Nakadai, Susumu Terajima, Jinpachi Nezu Ran is a 1985 Japanese-French jidaigeki epic film directed and co-written by Akira Kurosawa. The film stars Tatsuya Nakadai as Hidetora Ichimonji, an aging Sengoku-era warlord who decides to ...more

27
7 17
Ranker Video
Tatsuya Nakadai, Kenichi Hagiwara, Kaori Momoi Kagemusha is a 1980 film by Akira Kurosawa. In Japanese, kagemusha is a term used to denote a political decoy. It is set in the Sengoku period of Japanese history and tells the story of who is ...more

28
6 18
Ranker Video
Glenn Morshower, Nicholas Cascone 84C MoPic is a 1989 drama, war film written and directed by Patrick Sheane Duncan.

29
5 19
Ranker Video
Michael Dudikoff, William Smith, Michael DeLorenzo Platoon Leader is a 1988 Cannon Films film set in the Vietnam War and directed by Aaron Norris; it starred Michael Dudikoff and Michael DeLorenzo and was filmed in South Africa. The film is ...more