Best War Movies List by Release Date
A list of the best war movies of all times. These are only a few from a genre which has given us many a heart wrenching and unforgettable tale. This best war movies list is a selection of some of the best movies from the war movies genre.
The Great Dictator (1940)
Directed By : Charlie Chaplin and Wheeler Dryden
Starring : Charlie Chaplin and Paulette Goddard
Background : The Rise of Adolf Hitler and his initial expansions in eastern Europe in a satirical way that has since never been attempted again
Academy Awards : Five nominations
The first movie in this list is also perhaps the only one of its kind. This is a comedy movie released during the World War II in which Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party has been severely criticised but all in a very satirical way. This movie was Chaplin’s first true talking picture. The genius of Chaplin is so evident in this movie where he has made such fun of the biggest monster of the twentieth century that no praise seems enough. This is a must watch for everyone and especially for the ardent Chaplin fans.
Apocalypse Now (1971)
Directed By : Francis Ford Copolla
Starring : Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando and Harrison Ford
Background : The Vietnam War
Academy Awards : Best Cinematography and Best Sound
This is a masterpiece from the master himself. Francis Ford Copolla’s Apocalypse Now is such a close to reality recreation of the horrors of the Vietnam War that it has become a part of movie lore all the world around. The creative genius of Copolla has given us a modern day classic and the portrayals of the characters by Brando and Sheen are not worth missing. This is a gruesome movie about a gruesome war which could have been easily avoided.
Schindler’s List (1993)
Directed By : Steven Spielberg
Starring : Liam Neeson and Ben Kigsley
Background : Holocaust during the World War II
Academy Awards : Seven Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director
Based upon the true of a German businessman name Oskar Schindler, this movie showcases the genius of one of the greatest filmmakers of our times. Schindler saved the lives of more than one thousand Polish Jews by employing them in his factories from the Holocaust by the Nazi Party. This is a heart wrenching recreation of one of the most heinous crimes ever done by mankind. This movie is a must watch.
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Directed By : Steven Spielberg
Starring : Tom Hanks and Matt Damon
Background : Normandy Landing of the Allied Forces during World War II
Academy Awards : Five including best Director
This is perhaps the most popular of all World War II movies. When such talented people as Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks come together, people expect something extra ordinary and the movie caters to all the expectations of the watcher with superb acting, high drama, ground breaking special effects and a subject which makes us all feel thankful and grateful that those men risked everything they had to give us a free world to live in. This movie is recommended to all movie goers. If you miss this movie, your movie watching is incomplete.
The Band of Brothers (2001)
Directed By : Phil Alden Robinson, Richard Loncraine, Mikael Salomon, David Nutter, Tom Hanks, David Leland, David Frankel and Tony To
Produced By : Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks
Background : Experiences of the Easy Company of the 101st Airborne Division during the World War II in the Battle of Europe
Band of Brothers is a television mini series produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks after the success of Saving Private Ryan. In spite of the fact that this not being a movie, I have included it because I think this series deserves to be in any list featuring movies on warfare. This is arguably the most authentic recreation of the World War II battle for Europe. In ten episodes, the series narrates the story of the Easy Company of the 101st Airborne Division in their quest to overcome every odds to overthrow the Nazis. You must watch this series.
Black Hawk Down (2001)
Directed By : Ridley Scott
Starring : Josh Hartnett, Eric Bana and Orlando Bloom
Background : The Battle of Mogadishu in Somalia
Academy Awards : Best Film Editing and Best Sound
Black hawk Down is one of the most realistic depictions of modern warfare in urban and densely populated surroundings. The movie is based on the US operations to capture the Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. The story revolves around the Delta Force in its attempts to capture Aidid in the market areas of Mogadishu. This movie was however subject to criticism for the way it portrayed the Somali people and has even been allegations of racism.
Enemy at the Gates (2001)
Directed By : Jean-Jacques Annaud
Starring : Jude Law, Ed Harris, Rachel Weisz and Joseph Fiennes
Background : The Battle of Stalingrad during World War II
Academy Awards : None
This is a severely criticised movie for its liberal modifications of history, ground realities during the Battle of Stalingrad and portrayal of characters but if not watched from the critics viewpoint as a documentary on the Battle but just as an entertainer this movie is simply great. The tension and the battle of wits between the two snipers each trying not just to take an upper hand but also to kill the other one on the very first opportunity is something which is not worth missing.
The Pianist (2002)
Directed By : Roman Polanski
Starring : Adrien Brody and Thomas Kretschmann
Background : The Polish campaign of Hitler’s Germany and the subsequent Holocaust
Academy Awards : Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay
This is another heart wrenching saga of the Holocaust. This movie is based on the true story of Władysław Szpilman, a famous Polish Jewish pianist and his ordeal during the peak days of the Holocaust. This movie beautifully but terrifyingly shows the kind of oppression the Jews in Poland had to go through. There is a span of about half an hour in the movie where there is perhaps no word said and the only living person roaming the streets of a Warsaw destroyed by advancing Russian bombardments. The movie also shows how Szpilman is saved by a Nazi officer before being rescued by the Red Army. This is highly recommended and a must watch.
Downfall [German: Der Untergang] (2004)
Directed By : Oliver Hirschbiegel
Starring : Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Maria Lara and Juliane Köhler
Background : The last days of Adolf Hitler
Academy Awards : Best Foreign Language Film
This German film is different from all the other movies in this list. This movie depicts the events of the last twelve days of Hitler’s life, mostly covering his life inside the bunker where he supposedly committed suicide with Eva Braun. This movie has been severely criticised in most circles for its sympathetic portrayals of Hitler and his accomplishes. For all movie lovers and World War II enthusiasts, this movie is a must watch in order to understand what could have happened in that bunker where Hitler died.