134 voters

20 Films to Show Your Kids to Get Them into War Movies

Updated October 1, 2019 534 votes 134 voters 10.8k views20 items

List RulesVote up the classic films appropriate for kids and teens that will teach them to love and respect war movies.

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 and vote up the best movies to introduce kids to the genre. Then, check out our list of the best ww1 movies.

  • Forrest Gump
    Video: YouTube
    Forrest Gump is a 1994 American epic romantic-comedy-drama film based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Winston Groom. The film was directed by Robert Zemeckis and stars Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Mykelti Williamson, and Sally Field. The story depicts several decades in the life of Forrest Gump, a slow-witted and naïve, but good-hearted and athletically prodigious, man from Alabama who witnesses, and in some cases influences, some of the defining events of the latter half of the 20th century in the United States; more specifically, the period between Forrest's birth in 1944 and 1982. The film differs substantially from Winston Groom's novel on which it was based, including...  more
    • Actors: Tom Hanks, Sally Field, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Brendan Shanahan
    • Released: 1994
    • Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
    Is this an appropriate intro?

    More Forrest Gump 

    16 Extremely Messed Up Things About Forrest Gump That'll Change How You See It#27 of 1,189 Every Oscar Winning Film Ever#1 of 369 The Best Movies Based On Books

  • Patton
    Video: YouTube
    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 Franklin J. Schaffner from a script by Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund H. North, who based their screenplay on the biography Patton: Ordeal and Triumph by Ladislas Farago and Omar Bradley's memoir A Soldier's Story. The film was shot in 65mm Dimension 150 by cinematographer Fred J. Koenekamp and has a music score by Jerry Goldsmith. Patton won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture. ...  more
    • Actors: George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Paul Frees, Lowell Thomas, Alan MacNaughtan
    • Released: 1970
    • Directed by: Franklin J. Schaffner
    Is this an appropriate intro?

    More Patton 

    #16 of 553 The Best '70s Movies#45 of 549 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made#240 of 557 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time

  • Red Dawn
    Video: YouTube
    Red Dawn is a 1984 American 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 WWIII is in the background and not fully elaborated. The story follows a group of American high school students who resist the occupation, calling themselves Wolverines, after their high school mascot....  more
    • Actors: Charlie Sheen, Patrick Swayze, Lea Thompson, Jennifer Grey, C. Thomas Howell
    • Released: 1984
    • Directed by: John Milius
    Is this an appropriate intro?

    More Red Dawn 

    #74 of 374 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked#246 of 372 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime#383 of 1,540 The Most Rewatchable Movies

  • Dances with Wolves
    Video: YouTube
    Dances with Wolves is a 1990 American epic western film directed, produced by, and starring Kevin Costner. It is a film adaptation of the 1988 book of the same name by Michael Blake and tells the story of a Union Army lieutenant who travels to the American frontier to find a military post, and his dealings with a group of Lakota Indians. Costner developed the film over a period of 5 years, with an initial budget of $15 million. Dances with Wolves had high production values and won seven Academy Awards including Best Picture and the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama. Much of the dialogue is spoken in Lakota with English subtitles. It was shot in South Dakota and Wyoming, and...  more
    • Actors: Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Charles Rocket, Graham Greene, Maury Chaykin
    • Released: 1990
    • Directed by: Kevin Costner
    Is this an appropriate intro?

    More Dances with Wolves 

    #11 of 28 Civil War Movies List#21 of 399 The Best Western Movies Ever Made#37 of 126 The Greatest Directorial Debuts Of All Time