‘Hacksaw Ridge’ is quite different from most of the war movies. In essence, it is actually an anti-war movie. The film tells the true story of Desmond Doss, an army medic who refused to even touch a gun. 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. The portrayal of war in the film is so real and horrific, it will compel one to re-think the whole purpose of war.
When it released in 2017, ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ gained universal acclaim both from the audiences and critics. For those who love the message of the film, here’s the list of movies similar to Hacksaw Ridge that are our recommendations. You can watch some of these movies like Hacksaw Ridge on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
10. The Pianist (2003)
It follows the story of an acclaimed Polish musician Wladyslaw who faces problems from all sides as he loses contact with his family during the Second World War. He struggles for survival as he hides in the ruins of Warsaw. The Director Roman Polanski does everything to make you feel for the protagonist. The lead character played by Adrien Brody is quite likable, there is no melodrama to this movie, but it is the sheer simplicity which drives the movie. Hence, ‘The Pianist’ is a true work of art.
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9. Dunkirk (2017)
In the 1940s, Germany advanced into France, trapping Allied troops on the beaches of Dunkirk. It follows the story of the evacuation of 330,000 soldiers from those beaches. There are no words to describe how it felt to watch this movie in IMAX. Cristopher Nolan is a freaking genius, after the ‘Batman Trilogy’ and movies like ‘Inception’, ‘Interstellar’, this guy drops in a war movie featuring the likes of Harry Styles, Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance and Cillian Murphy. The movie has three non-linear story-telling phases, one on land, one in waters and one in the air. ‘Dunkirk’ converges these plots into a mind-blowing climax. Moreover, Nolan’s name is a reason enough for you to watch it ASAP!
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8. 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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7. 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.
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6. 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.
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5. Apocalypse Now (1979)
The hallucinatory adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, by Francis Ford Coppola, is considered not only as one of the best films of 20th Century but also one of the most powerful anti-war movies ever made.
Martin Sheen portrays Capt. Captain Benjamin. L. Willard, a cynical and battle-hardened soldier, who is tasked to find and kill Colonel Kurtz, played by Marlon Brando. Colonel Kurtz has become a Demi-God for Montagnard troops and fighting his own war. He is a perfect example of how the hunger for power can make someone go fully insane. During the journey of finding Kurtz, Willard encounters horrific accounts of human slaughter and destruction. The movie does not showcase the war on the battlefield as much as it depicts the war within the human soul.
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4. Waltz With Bashir (2008)
This is only animated entry in the list. Directed by Ari Folman, the movie is the real life account of Lebanon War. Told from the perspective of Folman himself, the movie deals with a soldier’s desperate attempt to recall the unpleasant memories of war. Here, Folman, a 40 years old individual, is in search of his lost and repressed memories. As the film progresses, we come to know why those memories are repressed.
Showcased in a documentary format, it is based on the real life incident of Sabra and Shatila Massacre in which Folman played an indirect part. He was one of the soldiers, who surrounded the refugee camp and fired flare to illuminate the camp for Christian Phalange militants. A sense of guilt overwhelmed him out of which he could never recover. The movie moves like a hallucination that is gripping and painful at the same time. It deals with two predominant themes – memory and war – and powerfully shows the collision of the two.
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3. Platoon (1986)
Platoon is loosely based on director Oliver Stone’s own experiences during Vietnam War. The movie is not only a anti-war film but also a social commentary. The story is told from the perspective of a young idealist soldier named Chris Taylor, (Charlie Sheen), who volunteered for the war and is serving under the command of Sgt. Barnes, played by Tom Berenger.
Sgt. Barnes and his followers are the true products of war. They do not flinch at torturing innocent civilians, raping young children and killing the old and the disabled. They were drafted because they are the unwanted and were not born with a silver spoon. The village assault scene in the movie is a reference to the infamous Mai Lai Massacre, where U.S Troops indiscriminately killed 300-400 unarmed civilians including men, women, children and infants.
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2. The Bridge On the River Kwai (1957)
A classic in every sense, this is a satire on the unrighteousness of human nature using the construction of a bridge as a medium. A British officer, at the cost of his men helps in building a bridge which will necessarily help the enemy Japanese army move forward but for him it will serve as a proof of British ingenuity. The moment of despair arrives in the movie where he discovers his own army’s plan to sabotage the bridge by planting explosives. He moves to counter it, only to be thwarted by his men, as the bridge blows to pieces with ‘Madness.. Madness’ echoing all around.
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1. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Released in the year 1987 this Stanley Kubrick war drama is considered as a classic. Here, Kubrick shows what it takes to become a soldier and a cold ruthless killer. Within every man resides good and evil. Which quality prevails itself is determined by how one is raised and perceives the world. The film shows how soldiers are brainwashed with ideas of right or wrong. By injection of words of propaganda, a moral ambiguity is created within the soldier. Once this takes place, it is the job of the soldier to figure out what he is; a killing machine as he has been trained, or a peace bringer to a war-torn nation.
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