610 voters

The Best British War Movies

Updated November 26, 2020 3.3k votes 610 voters 24.4k views49 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.

  • 1


    Michael Caine, Stanley Baker
    Zulu is a 1964 epic film depicting the Battle of Rorke's Drift between the British Army and...  more

    More Zulu 

    The Most Brutal Military Training Exercises Throughout History#527 of 666 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked

  • 2


    George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman
    1917 is a 2019 British war film directed by Sam Mendes. Two British soldiers are tasked with...  more

    More 1917 

    #61 of 73 The Greatest Movies To Watch Outside#11 of 24 Brutal War Movies That Absolutely Got It Right

  • 3

    Master and Commander

    Russell Crowe, Paul Bettany
    Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is a 2003 epic historical drama film...  more

    More Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World 

    #200 of 376 The Best Movies Based On Books#70 of 112 Movies That Need Sequels

  • 4

    Lawrence of Arabia

    Omar Sharif, Peter O'Toole
    Lawrence of Arabia is a 1962 British epic adventure drama film based on the life of T. E....  more

    More Lawrence of Arabia 

    #10 of 46 Movies That Won Best Picture at the Oscars and Golden Globes#30 of 301 The Best Movies Based On True Stories

  • 5

    A Bridge Too Far

    Sean Connery, Anthony Hopkins
    A Bridge Too Far is a 1977 epic film based on the 1974 book of the same name by Cornelius...  more

    More A Bridge Too Far 

    #10 of 376 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked#217 of 549 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

  • 6

    Bridge over the River Kwai

    Alec Guinness, William Holden
    The Bridge on the River Kwai is a 1957 WWII epic film directed by David Lean, based on the...  more

    More The Bridge on the River Kwai 

    #18 of 1,195 Every Oscar Winning Film Ever#532 of 1,506 The Most Rewatchable Movies

  • 7

    The Cruel Sea

    Denholm Elliott, Stanley Baker
    The Cruel Sea is a 1953 British war film starring Jack Hawkins, Donald Sinden, Denholm...  more
  • 8

    The Eagle Has Landed

    Robert Duvall, Michael Caine
    The Eagle Has Landed is a 1976 British film directed by John Sturges and starring Michael...  more

    More The Eagle Has Landed 

    #8 of 109 The 25+ Best Michael Caine Movies of All Time, Ranked#10 of 95 The Best Robert Duvall Movies

  • 9

    Ice Cold in Alex

    John Mills, Harry Andrews
    Ice Cold in Alex is a British film based on the novel of the same name by British author...  more
  • 10

    The Great Escape

    Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough
    The Great Escape is a 1963 American WWII epic film based on an escape by British and...  more

    More The Great Escape 

    #174 of 246 The Best Rainy Day Movies#208 of 306 The Best Ensemble Movies

  • 11

    Sink the Bismarck!

    Kenneth More, Dana Wynter
    Sink the Bismarck! is a 1960 black-and-white CinemaScope British war film based on the book...  more

    More Sink the Bismarck! 

    #14 of 46 The Best 60s War Movies#106 of 316 The Best Military Movies Ever Made

  • 12


    Richard Attenborough, John Mills
    Dunkirk is a 1958 British war film directed by Leslie Norman and starring John Mills, Richard...  more
  • 13

    The Battle of the River Plate

    Christopher Lee, Patrick Macnee
    The Battle of the River Plate is a 1956 British war film by director-writer team of Michael...  more
  • 14
    Yangtse Incident: The Story of H.M.S. Amethyst is a British war film that tells the story of...  more
  • 15

    Hope and Glory

    Sarah Miles, Colin Higgins
    Hope and Glory is a 1987 British comedy-drama-war film, written, produced and directed by John...  more
  • 16

    The Four Feathers

    Ralph Richardson, June Duprez
    The Four Feathers is a 1939 Technicolor adventure film directed by Zoltan Korda, starring John...  more
  • 17
  • 18


    Charlton Heston, Laurence Olivier
    Khartoum is a 1966 film written by Robert Ardrey and directed by Basil Dearden. It stars...  more
  • 19

    Where Eagles Dare

    Clint Eastwood, Richard Burton
    Where Eagles Dare is a 1968 WWII action film starring Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood and Mary...  more

    More Where Eagles Dare 

    #723 of 1,235 The Best Novels Ever Written#22 of 45 The Best Movies Starring Clint Eastwood

  • 20

    Sea of Sand

    Richard Attenborough, Michael Craig
    Desert Patrol is a 1958 film directed by Guy Green....  more
  • 21

    The Heroes of Telemark

    Kirk Douglas, Richard Harris
    The Heroes of Telemark is a 1965 war film directed by Anthony Mann based on the true story of...  more

    More The Heroes of Telemark 

    #28 of 78 The Best Kirk Douglas Movies#29 of 54 The Best Spy Movies of the 1960s

  • 22


    Orson Welles, Christopher Plummer
    Waterloo is a 1970 Soviet-Italian film directed by Sergei Bondarchuk and produced by Dino De...  more

    More Waterloo 

    #50 of 207 The Best Historical Drama Movies Of All Time#70 of 125 The Best '70s Action Movies

  • 23

    Above Us the Waves

    John Mills, Theodore Bikel
    Above Us the Waves is a 1955 British war film directed by Ralph Thomas, about human torpedo...  more
  • 24

    They Who Dare

    Dirk Bogarde, Denholm Elliott
    They Who Dare is a 1954 Second World War war film directed by Lewis Milestone and starring...  more
  • 25

    Battle of Britain

    Michael Caine, Laurence Olivier
    Battle of Britain is a 1969 British action film directed by Guy Hamilton. In 1940, the British...  more

    More Battle of Britain 

    #126 of 175 The Best Movies Of The '60s#30 of 75 The Best Movies About Hitler