film The Best 80s War Movies  

Ranker Film
974 votes 194 voters 7.7k 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.

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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

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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

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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

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First Blood 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

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Red Dawn Charlie Sheen, Patrick Swayze, Lea Thompson Red Dawn is a 1984 American war 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 ...more

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Heartbreak Ridge Clint Eastwood, Mario Van Peebles, Marsha Mason 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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Glory Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Matthew Broderick Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial 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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Stripes Bill Murray, John Candy, Dennis Quaid Stripes is a 1981 American war-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

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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

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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

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Rambo: First Blood Part II 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. The screenplay was by Stallone and James Cameron. A sequel to 1982's ...more

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The Killing Fields John Malkovich, Craig T. Nelson, Sam Waterston The Killing Fields 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, ...more

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Uncommon Valor 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

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

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Casualties of War Sean Penn, Michael J. Fox, John C. Reilly Casualties of War 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 the Vietnam War. It ...more

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The Final Countdown Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen, Katharine Ross The Final Countdown is a 1980 alternate history science fiction film about a modern aircraft carrier that travels through time to a day before the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Produced by Peter ...more

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Born on the Fourth of July Born on the Fourth of July, published in 1976, is the best selling autobiography by Ron Kovic, a paralyzed Vietnam War veteran who became an anti-war activist. Kovic was born on July 4, 1946, ...more

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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

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Gallipoli 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

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Missing in Action 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

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Come and See is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best 80s War Movies
iknowwhatawesternis added Come and See 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

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The Year of Living Dangerously 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

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Grave of the Fireflies 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

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Ran 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

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The Hanoi Hilton 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

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Kagemusha 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 a ...more

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

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Platoon Leader 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

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The Winds of War 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