10 Best Anti War Movies of All Time

We all know that war is hell and war means destruction and death. War is a catastrophe, where countries are divided, cities are destroyed and most importantly, souls are obliterated in the name of patriotism. But the true reason behind the war is the failure of understanding, hence the failure of diplomacy, where a band of soldiers is called to pacify a situation created by the agendas of corrupt politicians and warmongers. Following their orders, soldiers march through diverse landscapes with their weapons in hand and with their lobotomized souls. They come back home in pieces or with a gift of PTSD. Manier times, the victims end up without a home or are forced to flee from their homeland.

Here is a list of movies that deals with the brutality of war. Some of them bring the harrowing experiences of the battlefield on reel and some dig deeper into the roots. Out of too many, here is the list of top 10 anti war movies.


10. Jarhead (2005)

Directed by Sam Mendes, Jarhead is based on the Anthony Swofford’s eponymous memoir. The film depicts an U.S Army Sniper’s struggle during Gulf War. His obsession to get his first kill, causes him a greater amount of psychological damage and eventually he becomes a victim of boredom and depression.

The movie does not contain much graphic images or on-screen combat scenes as it focuses more on the psychological stress a soldier faces during a war.


9. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Directed by Steven Spielberg, Saving Private Ryan is a milestone in the history of cinema. It is a gruesome tale of a band of soldiers led by Capt. Miller (Tom Hanks) and their quest to find the the titular character (Matt Damon). The film is set during one of the bloodiest battles of World War II – The Invasion of Normandy. It is remembered specially for the graphic portrayal of the famous or in this case, infamous Omaha Beach landing. In this sequence young soldiers are gunned down by hailstorm of bullets, charred and dismembered by intense artillery fire from the Nazi stronghold. The movie perfectly depicts how futile a soldier’s life can be and to save one soldier how dozens can lose their lives in a brutal fashion.


8. The Deer Hunter (1978)

Michael Cimino’s The Deer Hunter is one of the earliest attempts by Hollywood to process the traumatic memories of the Vietnam war. It focuses on a trio of Russian-American Steelworkers who get drafted in Vietnam to fight a futile war after one of their friend’s wedding.

Driven by inexperience, the trio face horrendous consequences and one of them becomes a victim of PTSD. Packed with visceral imageries, the movie is a detailed portrayal of the war that sacrificed the lives of young lively individuals. Featuring an ensemble cast including Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, John Cazale and Meryl Streep, the movie is a tight slap to the people who encourage war. In between the beautifully depicted Pennsylvenia, the mid section of the film is the horrific depiction of Vietnam, in which the trio witnesses genocide, torture and are forced to participate in the brutal game of Russian Roulette.


7. Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

This Mel Gibson war drama is set against the backdrop of the Battle Of Okinawa. the movie already got Oscar Nods for its visceral and graphic depiction of war. It features well-choreographed and gruesome battle scenes, where a soldier’s life ends in a blink of an eye. The portrayal is so real and horrific, it will compel one to re-think before taking part in a war.

The central character of the movie is real life medic Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield), who took part in the bloody battle as a medic without a single weapon to protect himself. In the midst of all the blood spilling and carnage, he poses as a symbol of peace and a bringer of hope by saving countless disabled teammates and even soldiers from the enemy front. He chose to save lives instead of taking them hence perfectly carrying out the Biblical commandment – “Thou Shalt Not Kill”.


6. Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

Based on an autobiographical novel penned by Ron Kovic and directed by Oliver Stone, who is a Vietnam veteran himself, Born on the Fourth of July deals with the after effects of war. Here, Ron Kovic (Tom Cruise), volunteers for the War in Vietnam. He ends up doing horrible things like taking part in the massacre of a village full of unarmed Vietnamese civilians as well as accidentally killing one of his fellow comrades. After being critically wounded in a firefight, Kovic becomes paralyzed and falls victim to PTSD.

The title itself is an irony as 4th of July is the independence day of America and on the same day a soldier was born only to become a disillusioned individual. Here, Kovic’s journey is an example of naive patriotism and the results of it.

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