Entertainment

The Best British War Movies 

Ranker Film
2.1k votes 505 voters 20k views 26 items

Spanning nearly a century worth of movies, here are the greatest British war movies of all time, as voted on by cinephiles like you. The British have been involved in a lot of wars in their time: The Boar Wars, World War One, World War Two, The Falklands, Desert Storm, Afghanistan and Iraq, just to name a few. For that reason it was only natural for us to create this list of the best British war movies, with the help of your votes.

Some of the best English war movies are represented here, A Bridge Too Far (World War II), Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (the Napoleonic Wars), and Lawrence of Arabia (World War I). 

Plenty of Hollywood legends are represented in the UK war movies below, including Michael Caine (Zulu), Steve McQueen (The Great Escape), Russell Crowe (Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World), William Holden (The Bridge on the River Kwai) and it goes on…

Which of the films on this list of movies about British war would you recommend to others Join our other military mavens and give the most conflict-ridden movies on this list a thumbs up, or do battle with our other users in the comment section below.

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Michael Caine, Stanley Baker, Jack Hawkins
Zulu is a 1964 epic film depicting the Battle of Rorke's Drift between the British Army and the Zulus in January 1879. It depicts 150 British soldiers who successfully held off a force of 4,000 ...more

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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. The film stars Peter O'Toole in the ...more

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#12 of 93 The Very Best Oscar-Winning Movies For Best Picture #1,083 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Mark Strong
1917 is a 2019 British war film directed by Sam Mendes. Two British soldiers are tasked with delivering a message to the frontlines and experience a particularly harrowing day during World War

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#4 of 69 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock #4 of 204 The Best R-Rated War Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

4
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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

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#344 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #79 of 348 The Best Movies Based On Bookslisted on Movies That Won Best Picture at the Oscars and Golden Globes

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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

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#1,097 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #121 of 591 The Best '70s Movies

6
The Eagle Has Landed is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best British War Movies
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Robert Duvall, Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland
The Eagle Has Landed is a 1976 British film directed by John Sturges and starring Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland and Robert Duvall. Based on the novel The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins, the ...more

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#65 of 382 The Best War Movies Ever #71 of 221 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time

7
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Denholm Elliott, Stanley Baker, Jack Hawkins
The Cruel Sea is a 1953 British war film starring Jack Hawkins, Donald Sinden, Denholm Elliott, Stanley Baker, Liam Redmond, Virginia McKenna and Moira Lister. The film, which was made by Ealing ...more
8
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Russell Crowe, Paul Bettany, Joseph Morgan
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is a 2003 epic historical drama film co-written and directed by Peter Weir, starring Russell Crowe as Jack Aubrey, with Paul Bettany as Stephen ...more

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#207 of 348 The Best Movies Based On Books #136 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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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

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#281 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #11 of 382 The Best War Movies Ever

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Ice Cold in Alex
John Mills, Harry Andrews, Anthony Quayle
Ice Cold in Alex is a British film based on the novel of the same name by British author Christopher Landon, and described as a true story in the film's opening credits. Directed by J. Lee ...more
12
Hope and Glory is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best British War Movies
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Sarah Miles, Colin Higgins, Charley Boorman
Hope and Glory is a 1987 British comedy-drama-war film, written, produced and directed by John Boorman, and based on his own experiences of growing up in the Blitz in London during World War II. ...more

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Clint Eastwood, Richard Burton, Michael Hordern
Where Eagles Dare is a 1968 WWII 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. Alistair ...more

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#58 of 382 The Best War Movies Ever #70 of 194 The Best Movies of the '60s

14
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Thora Hird, Elizabeth Allan, Edward Rigby
Went the Day Well? is a 1942 British war film adapted from a story by Graham Greene and directed by Alberto Cavalcanti. It was produced by Michael Balcon of Ealing Studios and served as ...more
15
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Richard Widmark, Judy Davis, Edward Woodward
Who Dares Wins is a 1982 British film starring Lewis Collins, Judy Davis, Richard Widmark and Edward Woodward, directed by Ian Sharp. The title is the motto of the elite Special Air Service. The ...more
16
Aces High is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best British War Movies
dazter added
Christopher Plummer, Malcolm McDowell, John Gielgud
Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Aces High is a 1976 British-French war film directed by Jack Gold and starring Malcolm McDowell, Peter Firth, Christopher Plummer and Simon Ward. The screenplay was written by Howard Barker. As ...more
17
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Kirk Douglas, Richard Harris, Michael Redgrave
The Heroes of Telemark is a 1965 war film directed by Anthony Mann based on the true story of the Norwegian heavy water sabotage during World War II. It was filmed on location in Norway.
18
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David Niven, William Hartnell, Trevor Howard
The Way Ahead is a British Second World War drama released in 1944. It stars David Niven and Stanley Holloway and follows a group of civilians who are conscripted into the British Army to fight ...more
19
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Mia Farrow, Richard Attenborough, Jack Hawkins
Guns at Batasi is a 1964 drama film starring Richard Attenborough, Jack Hawkins, Flora Robson, John Leyton and Mia Farrow. The film was based on the 1962 novel The Siege of Battersea by Robert ...more
20
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Kenneth Williams, Sid James, Charles Hawtrey
Carry On Up the Khyber is the sixteenth in the series of Carry On films to be made, released in 1968. It stars Carry On regulars Sid James, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey, Joan Sims, Bernard ...more
21
Eye of the Needle is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best British War Movies
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Donald Sutherland, Bill Nighy, Kate Nelligan
Eye of the Needle is a 1981 American spy film directed by Richard Marquand and starring Donald Sutherland and Kate Nelligan. Based on the novel of the same title by Ken Follett, the film is ...more
22
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Hardy Kr├╝ger, Michael Goodliffe, Alec McCowen
The One That Got Away is a 1957 Second World War film starring Hardy Krüger and featuring Michael Goodliffe, Jack Gwillim and Alec McCowen. The film was directed by Roy Ward Baker with a ...more
23
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John Le Mesurier, Arthur Lowe, Clive Dunn
Dad's Army is a 1971 feature film based on the BBC television sitcom Dad's Army. Directed by Norman Cohen, it was filmed between series three and four and was based upon material from the early ...more
24
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Clive Owen, Tim Roth, Catherine McCormack
The Song of Names is a 2019 international drama film directed by François Girard, based on the novel of the same name by Norman Lebrecht. Martin (Tim Roth) and Dovidl (Clive Owen) are two ...more

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Daniel Radcliffe, Carey Mulligan, Kim Cattrall
My Boy Jack is a 2007 television drama based on David Haig's 1997 play My Boy Jack. It was filmed in August 2007, with Haig as Rudyard Kipling and Daniel Radcliffe as John Kipling. It does not ...more