The 20 Greatest War Movies of All Time

War brings with it many things; pain, anger, anguish, separation being one of those. While wars are usually associated with winners, but when you think about the net gain, it’s always a loss. Everyone had a story to tell from the world wars but not necessarily every story had war in it. Somewhere it was a love story dying within the war and sometimes it was the painful letter of a soldier writing but unable to send it home. Going back to the history to curate a list of the greatest stories ever told during the times of war, opened few scars for us but for most of the time, it was those stories which emphatically celebrated the feeling that made us what we actually were: Humans.

 

20. 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.

 

19. Atonement (2007)

Atonement

It is essentially not a war movie but is the story of human repentance set during the WWII. A young girl sees her sister and their housekeeper’s son engaged in a flirtatious moment of intimacy and in jealousy, sets in motion a series of events that ultimately spells doom for the young lovers. Years later, the war represents the tumultuous situation of the mind for the young couple where the sister is a nurse and her lover gets enlisted as a soldier. At a time when humanity failed to keep its sanity, they keep longing to meet each other. Eventually they meet, well, in real or fiction, that remains the question.

 

18. Inglorious Basterds (2009)

Inglorious Basterds

A fictional take on an assassination attempt on Hitler’s life blended with Quentin Tarantino’s quirkiness and immortalized by the performance of Christoph Waltz – that’s ‘Inglorious Basterds’ for you. Told in a linear pattern but interlaced with smaller events with perspective to the bigger story that leads to Hitler’s assassination, this is an epic tale. From Col. Hans Landa to Shoshana to Fredrick Zoller to First Lt. Aldo Raine, each character is etched so well that you reach out to know more about them. Christoph Waltz won the academy award and the BAFTA in the supporting actor segment and the best actor in Cannes for his portrayal of the much hated Col. Hans Landa.

 

17. Empire of the Sun (1987)

empire-of-the-sun

Steven Spielberg’s third on this list, is about the loss of innocence of a kid, during the times of war. A young Jamie gets separated from his parents during the Japanese invasion, gets caught to join a POW camp. Through sheer hardship, scams and sometimes with pure luck he manages to exist in the big bad world. Eventually when he gets the chance to escape, he cannot remember what his parents look like ! The movie hits its zenith with the climatic scene of atomic bombing at Nagasaki, which stays with the viewer for a long time. Released to a mixed reaction, over the years this movie has achieved a cult status.

 

16. 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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