12 Times We Felt Really Bad For The ‘Other Side’ In War Movies

Voting Rules
Vote up the moments that made you feel really bad for the 'opposing side' in famous war films.

War movies usually portray a good side and a bad side, but real war is more complicated. All participants have justifications for their involvement, most of which aren't “just” at all. Very few wars have been considered “just,” and even those are debatable.

Realistic war films explore the perspectives of both sides, telling the fundamental truth about war: that everyone suffers. Here are 12 moments from war movies that made us feel really bad for the “enemy.”

  • 1
    859 VOTES

    In 'Jojo Rabbit,' Captain Klenzendorf Pulls One Final Virtuous Act When He Knows He's Done For

    Despite running a Hitler Youth camp, Captain Klenzendorf proves throughout Jojo Rabbit that he's sympathetic to Jewish people. First, he covers for Elsa, a hidden Jewish woman, after she forgets a part of her fake identity. Second, he tells Jojo that his mother, who harbored Elsa and was hanged for resisting the Nazis, was an “actual good person.”

    His third supremely virtuous act is pretending that Jojo is Jewish when they get captured by Soviets. Jojo is spared while Captain K is executed by firing squad.

    859 votes
  • 2
    580 VOTES

    In 'Empire of the Sun,' Jamie's Kamikaze Pilot Friend Gets Shot While Sharing His Snack

    A Japanese kamikaze pilot trainee befriends a British boy of similar age who is imprisoned in a POW camp. After the camp is disbanded and he fails to succeed as a kamikaze pilot, he reunites with his former POW friend.

    He gifts him a mango and even uses his sword to cut it for him. Thinking that the Japanese boy has his sword raised to attack, an American fatally shoots him.

    580 votes
  • 3
    823 VOTES

    In ‘Saving Private Ryan,’ Allies Fail To Understand Two Czech Soldiers Surrendering With Their Hands Up - And Kill Them

    During the Omaha Beach invasion, two soldiers leave the German line and try to surrender to the Americans. With their hands up and yelling in desperation (but without subtitles), they approach two armed American soldiers. “I'm sorry, I can't understand what you're saying,” one says, before they shoot them.

    What they were saying (as translated by Michael Lynes on YouTube) is “Don't shoot me! I'm not German, I'm Czech! I didn't kill anyone! I'm Czech!” As Germany occupied Czechoslovakia from 1938 to 1945, many Czechs were conscripted by the German army against their will.

    823 votes
  • 4
    435 VOTES

    In ‘Platoon,’ Sgt. Barnes Executes A Villager’s Wife While Interrogating Him About Aiding The NVA

    A chief gets interrogated by the titular platoon after it finds an enemy weapons cache in his village. The chief insists he had no choice in storing the NVA's (North Vietnamese Army) weapons since it killed the previous chief for resisting. His wife joins the fray, complaining about the platoon slaughtering their pigs, until Sergeant Barnes shoots her.

    The chief and his daughter cry over the body of their slain matriarch. His daughter is then taken by Barnes, who puts his gun against her temple, threatening to dispatch her as well unless the chief gives him the proper information. The intervention of a less bloodthirsty sergeant prevents her execution.

    435 votes
  • 5
    440 VOTES

    In 'The Pianist,' The Nazi Who Saves Szpilman Perishes In A Soviet POW Camp

    After the destruction of Warsaw, Nazi captain Wilm Hosenfeld comes upon Jewish survivor Władysław Szpilman rummaging for scraps of food in a deserted house. He asks Szpilman to identify himself and learns he was a pianist. He makes Szpilman prove it on a grand piano inside the house. Over the next few months, Hosenfeld keeps Szpilman's hiding place a secret while supplying him with food and clothing. The captain leaves when Soviet liberators near.

    The next time we see Hosenfeld, he's being taunted by Holocaust survivors while imprisoned in a Soviet camp. One of the hecklers reveals himself to be a musician, which prompts the suffering Hosenfeld to ask if he knows Szpilman. After learning that he does, the current prisoner implores the former one to contact Szpilman for help. Szpilman and the musician return to the site of the camp, but find it empty.

    Hosenfeld passed in Soviet captivity in 1952.

    440 votes
  • 6
    584 VOTES

    In ‘Full Metal Jacket,’ A Sniper Is Revealed To Be A Teenage Girl - Who Begs For The Marines To Finish Her Off

    After a Viet Cong sniper kills Cowboy, an American Marine, his comrades go for vengeance. Upon finding the sniper, who is revealed to be a young Vietnamese girl, Joker's rifle jams, so Rafterman steps in to shoot her.

    The Marines gather around the mortally wounded teenager, debating how to proceed. The girl pleads for death - and after a disturbingly long time, Joker obliges.   

    584 votes