Entertainment

The Best War Movies Based on Books 

Ranker Film
Updated July 31, 2019 321 votes 37 voters 1.2k views 21 items

List Rules Only war movies based on or inspired by literature.

At ease soldier! This is the list of best movies based on war books. We are ranking good films based on war novels and books. The best war movies ever adapted from books can give audiences a blend of fictional accounts and true stories with a historical backdrop, which can bring awareness and even a history lesson to those uneducated on the wars the films are based on. War books made movies can bring viewers into the action and setting of war and leave you with conflicting emotions much like war itself. Prepare yourself as your about to see a list of the best movies based on war books!

They say that war is hell, but this list doesn’t have to be. You can rerank this list of war movies based off of books as you see fit and then share the list with your fellow cadets. If you don't see a new war film adapted from a book that you think should be on this list feel free to add it and check back to see how others rank your selections.

list ordered by
1
We Were Soldiers is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best War Movies Based on Books
Mel Gibson, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jon Hamm

Released: 2002

Directed by: Randall Wallace

We Were Soldiers is a 2002 film that dramatizes the Battle of Ia Drang on November 14, 1965. The film was directed by Randall Wallace and stars Mel Gibson. It is based on the book We Were ...more
2
A Bridge Too Far is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best War Movies Based on Books
Sean Connery, Anthony Hopkins, Robert Redford

Released: 1977

Directed by: Richard Attenborough

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
3
Letters from Iwo Jima is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best War Movies Based on Books
Ken Watanabe, Ryan Kelley, Kazunari Ninomiya

Released: 2006

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

Letters from Iwo Jima is a 2006 Japanese-American film directed and co-produced by Clint Eastwood, starring Ken Watanabe and Kazunari Ninomiya. The film portrays the Battle of Iwo Jima from the ...more
4
The Great Escape is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best War Movies Based on Books
Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough, James Garner

Released: 1963

Directed by: John Sturges

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
5
Patton is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best War Movies Based on Books
George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Paul Frees

Released: 1970

Directed by: Franklin J. Schaffner

Patton is a 1970 American epic biographical film about U.S. General George S. Patton during WWII. It stars George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Michael Bates and Karl Michael Vogler. It was directed by ...more
6
Tora! Tora! Tora! is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best War Movies Based on Books
Jason Robards Jr., Martin Balsam, Joseph Cotten

Released: 1970

Directed by: Richard Fleischer, Toshio Masuda, Kinji Fukasaku

Tora! Tora! Tora! is a 1970 American–Japanese film directed by Richard Fleischer and stars an ensemble cast, including Martin Balsam, Joseph Cotten, Sō Yamamura, E. G. Marshall, James Whitmore ...more
7
The Longest Day is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best War Movies Based on Books
Sean Connery, John Wayne, Richard Burton

Released: 1962

Directed by: Darryl F. Zanuck, Ken Annakin, Bernhard Wicki, Andrew Marton, Gerd Oswald

The Longest Day is a 1962 film based on the 1959 history book The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan, about D-Day, the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944, during WWII. The film was produced by Darryl ...more
8
Flags of Our Fathers is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best War Movies Based on Books
Paul Walker, Ryan Phillippe, Jamie Bell

Released: 2006

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

Flags of Our Fathers is a 2006 American film directed, co-produced and scored by Clint Eastwood and written by William Broyles, Jr. and Paul Haggis. It is based on the book of the same name ...more
9
Black Hawk Down is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best War Movies Based on Books
Ewan McGregor, Tom Hardy, Orlando Bloom

Released: 2001

Directed by: Ridley Scott

Black Hawk Down is a 2001 American-British war film directed by Ridley Scott. It is an adaptation of the 1999 book of the same name by Mark Bowden based on his series of articles published in ...more
10
American Sniper is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best War Movies Based on Books
Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Jonathan Groff

Released: 2015

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

American Sniper is a 2014 American biographical drama film directed by Clint Eastwood and written by Jason Hall. It is based on the book American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal ...more
11
All Quiet on the Western... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best War Movies Based on Books
Fred Zinnemann, Lew Ayres, ZaSu Pitts

Released: 1930

Directed by: Lewis Milestone

All Quiet on the Western Front is a 1930 American epic film based on the Erich Maria Remarque novel of the same name. It was directed by Lewis Milestone, and stars Louis Wolheim, Lew Ayres, John ...more
12
The Thin Red Line is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best War Movies Based on Books
George Clooney, John Travolta, Sean Penn

Released: 1998

Directed by: Terrence Malick

The Thin Red Line is a 1998 American ensemble epic film written and directed by Terrence Malick. Based on the novel by James Jones, it tells a fictionalized version of the Battle of Mount ...more
13
Unbroken is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best War Movies Based on Books
Garrett Hedlund, Domhnall Gleeson, Jack O'Connell

Released: 2014

Directed by: Angelina Jolie

Unbroken is a 2014 American biographical drama film, produced and directed by Angelina Jolie, and based on the 2010 non-fiction book by Laura Hillenbrand, Unbroken: A WWII Story of Survival, ...more
14
Enemy at the Gates is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best War Movies Based on Books
Rachel Weisz, Jude Law, Ed Harris

Released: 2001

Directed by: Jean-Jacques Annaud

Enemy at the Gates is a 2001 film directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud. The film's title is taken from William Craig's 1973 nonfiction book Enemy at the Gates: The Battle for Stalingrad, which ...more
15
Casualties of War is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best War Movies Based on Books
Sean Penn, Michael J. Fox, John C. Reilly

Released: 1989

Directed by: Brian De Palma

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
16
Lawrence of Arabia is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best War Movies Based on Books
Omar Sharif, Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness

Released: 1962

Directed by: David Lean

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
17
Guadalcanal Diary is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best War Movies Based on Books
Anthony Quinn, William Bendix, Richard Jaeckel

Released: 1943

Directed by: Lewis Seiler

Guadalcanal Diary is a 1943 World War II war film directed by Lewis Seiler, featuring Preston Foster, Lloyd Nolan, William Bendix, Richard Conte, Anthony Quinn and the film debut of Richard ...more
18
From Here to Eternity is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best War Movies Based on Books
Frank Sinatra, Burt Lancaster, Ernest Borgnine

Released: 1953

Directed by: Fred Zinnemann

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
19
Atonement is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best War Movies Based on Books
Keira Knightley, Benedict Cumberbatch, Saoirse Ronan

Released: 2007

Directed by: Joe Wright

Atonement is a 2007 British romantic drama film directed by Joe Wright and based on Ian McEwan's 2001 novel of the same name. The film stars James McAvoy, Keira Knightley, Saoirse Ronan, Romola ...more
20
First Blood is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best War Movies Based on Books
Sylvester Stallone, Brian Dennehy, David Caruso

Released: 1982

Directed by: Ted Kotcheff

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
21
Green Zone is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best War Movies Based on Books
Matt Damon, Brendan Gleeson, Jason Isaacs

Released: 2010

Directed by: Paul Greengrass

Green Zone is a 2010 British-French-American thriller film directed by Paul Greengrass. The storyline was conceived from a screenplay written by Brian Helgeland, based on a 2006 non-fiction book ...more