As classic cinematic masterpieces - like Saving Private Ryan and Apocalypse Now - are war movies, you probably want to introduce your kids to the genre so they can one day appreciate great films. Unfortunately, the aforementioned movies, and many others depicting war, are not really child appropriate. War movies can be tricky seeing as they depict conflicts in an accurate, frightening, and gory fashion. Fortunately, there are plenty of classic war movies kids can watch. The below films are a great middle of the road option to get kids into war films.
These war movies for tweens, teens, and younger children aren't without violence and other questionable material, so use your discretion based on your kid's age and overall maturity. Films like Red Dawn come with a PG-13 rating, and therefore may not be great for very young children. However, the foreign film Life is Beautiful has a whimsical enough feel and avoids gratuitous violence, so it could be a great war movie for beginners.
Browse this list of war movies below! Vote up the best movies to introduce kids to the genre.
War Horse is a 2011 American war drama film directed by Steven Spielberg. It is an adaptation of British author Michael Morpurgo's 1982 children's novel of the same name set before and during the First World War. The film's cast includes Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, David Thewlis, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Eddie Marsan, Toby Kebbell, David Kross and Peter Mullan. The film is produced by Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, and executive produced by Frank Marshall and Revel Guest. Long-term Spielberg collaborators Janusz Kamiński, Michael Kahn, Rick Carter and John Williams all worked on the film. Produced by DreamWorks Pictures and released by Touchstone Pictures, War Horse became a ...more on Wikipedia
Actors: Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston, Emily Watson, Liam Cunningham, David Thewlis, + more
Initial Release: 2011
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Red Dawn is a 1984 American war film directed by John Milius and co-written by Milius and Kevin Reynolds. It stars Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson, Charlie Sheen, and Jennifer Grey. The film is set in an alternate 1980s in which the United States is invaded by the Soviet Union and its Cuban and Nicaraguan allies. However, the onset of World War III is in the background and not fully elaborated. The story follows a group of American high school students who resist the occupation with guerrilla warfare, calling themselves Wolverines, after their high school mascot. ...more on Wikipedia
Actors: Charlie Sheen, Patrick Swayze, Lea Thompson, Jennifer Grey, C. Thomas Howell, + more
Initial Release: 1984
Directed by: John Milius
#50 on The Best War Movies Ever
#89 on The Greatest Movies for Guys
#16 on The Best Movies of 1984
Memphis Belle is a 1990 film directed by Michael Caton-Jones and written by Monte Merrick. The film featured an all-star cast with Matthew Modine, Eric Stoltz and Harry Connick Jr. in leading roles. Memphis Belle is a fictionalization of the 1943 documentary Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress by director William Wyler, about the 25th and last mission of an American Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bomber, the Memphis Belle, based in England during World War II. The 1990 version was co-produced by David Puttnam and Wyler's daughter Catherine, and dedicated to her father. The film closes with a dedication to all airmen, friend or foe, who fought in the skies above Europe during World War ...more on Wikipedia
Actors: John Lithgow, Sean Astin, Harry Connick, Jr., Billy Zane, + more
Initial Release: 1990
Directed by: Michael Caton-Jones
#60 on The Best War Movies Ever
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a 2008 British historical-drama based on the novel of the same name by Irish writer John Boyne. Directed by Mark Herman, produced by Miramax Films, and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, the film stars Asa Butterfield, Jack Scanlon, David Thewlis, Vera Farmiga, Amber Beattie and Rupert Friend. This film is a Holocaust drama that explores the horror of a World War II Nazi extermination camp through the eyes of two 9-year-old boys; one the son of the camp's Nazi commandant, the other a Jewish inmate. ...more on Wikipedia
Actors: Vera Farmiga, Asa Butterfield, David Thewlis, Rupert Friend, Richard Johnson, + more
Initial Release: 2008
Directed by: Mark Herman
#86 on The Best Movies for Tweens