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The Best Military Movies Ever Made 

Ranker Film
Originally by
Updated July 27, 2020 127.1k votes 11.7k voters 1.3M views 304 items

List Rules Films about war, soldiers, boot camp, combat, and military conflicts.

Good military films give civilians a taste of what our troops go through on the battlefield and throughout their daily lives. While not all of these films feature war, they all use military service as a central theme. All branches of the U.S. military are represented, although admittedly, fewer films have been made about the Coast Guard. Most of these films focus on the Army, Navy, and Air Force. All time periods have been included from recent, modern militaries to the armies of the past. A few movies about armed forces from other countries, as well as fictional guerilla forces, are also on this list. If you are interested in the military, then these are the movies for you.

What are the best movies about soldiers, sailors, marines and military pilots? We're pretty sure that all of the top military movies are on this list. If you believe we've missed one though, please feel free to add it to the list yourself. 
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1
Full Metal Jacket is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Military Movies Ever Made
Vincent D'Onofrio, R. Lee Ermey, Adam Baldwin

Released: 1987

Directed by: Stanley Kubrick

Full Metal Jacket is a 1987 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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Behind-The-Scenes Stories From The Making Of 'Full Metal Jacket' #2 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #33 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Books

2
Patton is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Military Movies Ever Made
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

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#3 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #5 of 214 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

3
Platoon is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Military Movies Ever Made
Johnny Depp, Charlie Sheen, Willem Dafoe

Released: 1986

Directed by: Oliver Stone

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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The Most Memorable Quotes From 'Platoon' #5 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Rankedlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

4
The Longest Day is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Military Movies Ever Made
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

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#4 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #3 of 214 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

5
The Great Escape is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Military Movies Ever Made
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

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#7 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #6 of 214 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time #477 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies

6
The Dirty Dozen is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Military Movies Ever Made
Jim Brown, Donald Sutherland, Charles Bronson

Released: 1967

Directed by: Robert Aldrich

The Dirty Dozen is a 1967 film directed by Robert Aldrich, released by MGM, and starring Lee Marvin. The picture was filmed in England and features an ensemble supporting cast including Ernest ...more

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#13 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #20 of 214 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

7
Enemy at the Gates is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Military Movies Ever Made
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

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#15 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #16 of 214 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time #10 of 12 The 12 Most Inaccurate War Movies Ever Made

8
The Hunt for Red October... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Military Movies Ever Made
Alec Baldwin, Sean Connery, Tim Curry

Released: 1990

Directed by: John McTiernan

The Hunt for Red October is a 1990 American submarine spy-thriller film directed by John McTiernan, based on the 1984 novel by Tom Clancy. In November 1984, the Soviet Union's best submarine ...more

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#89 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #114 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Bookslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

9
The Patriot is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Military Movies Ever Made
Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Logan Lerman

Released: 2000

Directed by: Roland Emmerich

The Patriot is a 2000 American epic historical fiction film directed by Roland Emmerich. Peaceful farmer Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson) is driven to lead the his own group of men during the ...more

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#32 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #147 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #62 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

10
Glory is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Military Movies Ever Made
Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Matthew Broderick

Released: 1989

Directed by: Edward Zwick

Glory is a 1989 American drama film directed by Edward Zwick and starring Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes and Morgan Freeman. The screenplay was written by Kevin Jarre, based on ...more

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#16 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #874 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

11
Tora! Tora! Tora! is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Military Movies Ever Made
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

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#19 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #11 of 214 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

12
Hamburger Hill is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Military Movies Ever Made
jgarlowich added Don Cheadle, Dylan McDermott, Courtney B. Vance

Released: 1987

Directed by: John Irvin

Hamburger Hill is a 1987 American film about the actual assault of the U.S. Army's 3rd Battalion, part of the 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division 'Screaming Eagles', on a well-fortified ...more

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#26 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #281 of 522 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #9 of 24 Brutal War Movies That Absolutely Got It Right

13
Heartbreak Ridge is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Military Movies Ever Made
Clint Eastwood, Mario Van Peebles, Marsha Mason

Released: 1986

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

Heartbreak Ridge is a 1986 American 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. The ...more

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#49 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #106 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys #164 of 324 The Funniest '80s Movies

14
Das Boot is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Military Movies Ever Made
MaxCarta added Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Uwe Ochsenknecht

Released: 1981

Directed by: Wolfgang Petersen

Das Boot is a 1981 German epic film written and directed by Wolfgang Petersen, produced by Günter Rohrbach, and starring Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, and Klaus Wennemann. ...more

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#12 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #7 of 214 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time #605 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies

15
Midway is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Military Movies Ever Made
Tom Selleck, Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda

Released: 1976

Directed by: Jack Smight

Midway, released in the United Kingdom as Battle of Midway and in the US on video as The Battle of Midway, is a 1976 Technicolor film directed by Jack Smight and produced by Walter Mirisch from ...more

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#31 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #10 of 214 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time #298 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

16
The Hurt Locker is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Military Movies Ever Made
Evangeline Lilly, Ralph Fiennes, Jeremy Renner

Released: 2008

Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow

The Hurt Locker is a 2008 American film about a three-man Explosive Ordnance Disposal team during the conflict in Iraq. The film was produced and directed by Kathryn Bigelow and the screenplay ...more

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#41 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #175 of 276 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Crylisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

17
A Bridge Too Far is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Military Movies Ever Made
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

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#14 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #9 of 214 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time #1,122 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies

18
A Few Good Men is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Military Movies Ever Made
Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Jack Nicholson

Released: 1992

Directed by: Rob Reiner

A Few Good Men is a 1992 American legal drama film directed by Rob Reiner, based on the play by Aaron Sorkin. Military lawyer Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) defends Marines accused of ...more

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#165 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #125 of 133 Movies That Should Never Be Remadelisted on The 50 Highest Grossing '90s Movies, Ranked

19
American Sniper is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Military Movies Ever Made
JenniferGarnick added 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

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29 Things Most People Don't Know About 'American Sniper' #22 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Rankedlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

20
Letters from Iwo Jima is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Military Movies Ever Made
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

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#27 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #19 of 214 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

21
Flags of Our Fathers is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Military Movies Ever Made
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

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#61 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #44 of 214 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time #16 of 82 The Best Movies Based on Non-Fiction Books

22
Act of Valor is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Military Movies Ever Made
stanknpickle added Roselyn Sánchez, Ernie Reyes, Jr.

Released: 2012

Directed by: Scott Waugh, Mike McCoy

Act of Valor is a 2011 action adventure thriller film written by Kurt Johnstad and directed by Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh.

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#131 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #17 of 24 Brutal War Movies That Absolutely Got It Right #11 of 100 The Greatest Army Movies Ever Made

23
Sergeant York is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Military Movies Ever Made
Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Joan Leslie

Released: 1941

Directed by: Howard Hawks

Sergeant York is a 1941 biographical film about the life of Alvin York, one of the most-decorated American soldiers of WWI. It was directed by Howard Hawks and was the highest-grossing film of ...more

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#34 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #230 of 276 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Crylisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

24
Lone Survivor is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Military Movies Ever Made
monty46 added Mark Wahlberg, Eric Bana, Taylor Kitsch

Released: 2013

Directed by: Peter Berg

Lone Survivor is a 2013 American film written and directed by Peter Berg, and starring Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster and Eric Bana. The film is based on the 2007 ...more

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#158 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Books #265 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #173 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys

25
The Green Berets is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Military Movies Ever Made
John Wayne, George Takei, Vera Miles

Released: 1968

Directed by: Mervyn LeRoy, John Wayne, Ray Kellogg

The Green Berets is a 1968 American film set in Vietnam, featuring John Wayne, George Takei, David Janssen, Jim Hutton and Aldo Ray, nominally based on the eponymous 1965 book by Robin Moore, ...more

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#70 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #1,053 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #30 of 81 The Most Patriotic Movies of All Time