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100 Best War Movies that will make you THINK

Updated on August 30, 2017

List of classic War Movies Of All time

Wars often have sad,sorrowful tales with them and Hollywood have always loved true and real subjects as much as we do. May be that's the reason that among the highest rated movies on various sites we often see war movies on top places. Even Academy awards love them and movies about war often win.

Personally I canât handle war movies. Its too hard for me to see the bloodshed of innocent people. I am a native of Panipat district of Haryana state in India. The place has a long history on war. 3 of the greatest historical wars in India were fought in this district during the 16th and 17th century. People often find skeletons when they dig deep. The epic Mahabharta battle (fought 5000 years ago) in which more than 10 million people participated was fought in Kurukchetra which is just 50 miles away from Panipat.

I have seen several war movies. Here on this page i have compiled a list of 100 best war movies.I have given preference to anti war movies. The terror of war, sorrow of getting separated from loved ones and the tales of bravery in battlefield are among the main sub plots of these films.

At the end of the list i have made a list of "Top 10 war films" which are my personal favorites. If you find any of your favorite war movie missing then do let me know in comments at the end of this page.

Photo Credit : lreed76

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The very first war movie I saw was Roman Polanski’s The Pianist. The film was based on a real life Jewish musician who was forced to go underground during world war II. I was depressed to see how his family was separated from him and how he suffered physically during the war. The brutality of Nazi army on the Jewish is very well picturized in this film.

Which War movie had long lasting impact on you? Which film do you think is the greatest war film ever made?

Top 10 War Movies

Below is the list of my personal favorite 10 best war films.

# 10. Inglourious Basterds - Once upon a time in Nazi occupied France...

Inglourious Basterds (Single-Disc Edition)
Inglourious Basterds (Single-Disc Edition)

Description :-

Inglourious Basterds revolves around the fictional story of Jewish-American soldiers killing Nazis during world war 2. The plot revolves around two different parties trying to assassinate Adolf Hitler while he is planning to watch a German movie in a theater hall. I liked the plot and theme of the movie.This war movie has elements of dark comedy and action adventure.Starring Brad pitt,This war film is directed by Quentin Tarantino(who previously directed some of the best gangster movies like Pulp fiction and Reservoir dogs).

Personally i liked the role of Christoph Waltz. Right from the beginning of the film he gives you cold shiver and a feeling that he is the baddest person ever born. The opening scene of the film shows how brutal he is. The film received 8 academy award nominations and won 1 for best supporting actor for Christoph Waltz (who won many other awards too for his powerful role).

Director :- Quentin Tarantino

Star-Cast :- Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger and Eli Roth

Plot :- A Group of soldiers tries to fear the nazis during world war ii, in nazi occupied france.


# 9. 300 - Spartans, tonight, we dine in hell!

300 [Blu-ray]
300 [Blu-ray]

Description :-

300 is an epic action war film which is based on the graphic novel of same name by Frank miller.This film is not for all those viewers who want a war movie based on true incidents that are depicted as it is.300 is a fictional tale that revolves around the Battle of Thermopylae and is solely produced for the purpose of entertainment.In the Battle of Thermopylae king Leonidas with his 300 spartan soldiers fought a revolutionary war with Persian king,Xerxes.Though being fictional this war movie was loved and praised by all.The cinematography,direction and plot of the movie were excellent and acting was good.The soundtrack of the movie is awesome and it made Gerrard butler a star.

Director :- Zack Snyder

Star-Cast :- Gerard Butler, Lena Headey and David Wenham

Plot :- A fictional tale about how Battle of Thermopylae was fought by king Leonidas and his 300 soldiers


# 8. Paths Of Glory - Never has the screen thrust so deeply into the guts of war!

Paths of Glory
Paths of Glory

Description :-

Why Kubrick is World's Best Director?Just Watch this film and you'll understand.Kubrick directed this,one of the strongest anti war film at a very young age.The film was adapted from the novel by Humphrey Cobb.Kubrick beautifully explores the politics behind wars and powerfully delivers the message that whosoever win the war,In the end Humanity loses everything.Also Kirk Douglas catches your attention as he plays the role of Colonel who is appointed as attorney for scapegoats.

Director :- Stanley Kubrick

Star-Cast :- Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker and Adolphe Menjou

Plot :- A Group of soldiers refuse for a suicidal attack during world war i.Their colonel defends them agaings charge of cowardice.


# 7. Platoon - The First Casuality Of War Is Innocence

Platoon (Special Edition)
Platoon (Special Edition)

Description :-

Directed by Oliver stone,Platoon is widely regarded as the best Vietnam war film ever made.Even many critics called "Platoon" as the strongest anti war film.The film shows that how Vietnam war affected the life of soldiers.Presenting Vietnam war as the biggest mistake,Platoon explores the human nature on the basis of good human and bad human.The acting of charlie sheen is must watch.The film completes stone's Vietnam war trilogy.The other two being Born on the Fourth of July and Heaven & Earth.

Director :- Oliver Stone

Star-Cast :- Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger and Willem Dafoe

Plot :- A young vietnam war soldier become feared of war and faces duality with his duty and his terror.


# 6. Full Metal Jacket - One rifle, one gun. One for killing, one for fun.

Full Metal Jacket
Full Metal Jacket

Description :-

If world war ii was the most important and significant thing that happened in last 100 years than Vietnam war was surely the second.Directed by one of my favorite director,Stanley kubrick "Full metal jacket" as it is presents the harsh after effects of Vietnam war on the mind of people specially on the mind of soldiers.Not all of us have fought war but Kubrick's FMJ surely gives the terror,sorrow and sadness of war.

Personally Full Metal Jacket had a huge impact on my mind. I watched the film long time ago but i can still recalls the scenes from the film as it is. Each and every scene memorable be it the cadets practice session where they will sing and practice with the ruthless general or the tensed toilet scene or the final battle scene i would never forget them.The music of FMJ was well set int he dark tone of the movie.The film received an academy award nomination and is often included in the list of best Hollywood movies.

Director :- Stanley Kubrick

Star-Cast :- Matthew Modine, R. Lee Ermey and Vincent D'Onofrio

Plot :- During the training of U.S. Marines,2 marines observes the after effect of Tet Offensive during vietnam war


# 5. Saving Private Ryan - There was only one man left in the family, and the mission was to save him.

Saving Private Ryan (Single-Disc Special Limited Edition)
Saving Private Ryan (Single-Disc Special Limited Edition)

Description :-

Steven Spielberg loves directing war movies (like 1941,empire of sun and Schindler's list) and in 1999 he comes up with another great war film "Saving private Ryan". Saving private Ryan is tale about a group of soldiers during world war 2 who are sent to save a private officer whom the high command thinks,is the only alive son to his mother.Though the film has central plot as War but it also focuses on emotions,pride and mutual respect among soldiers of different nationalities.The first 27 minutes of the movie depicts the "Omaha beach operation" which was considered by many magazines and critics as the best war scene of all time.The film won 5 academy awards out of 11 nominations.

Director :- Steven Spielberg

Star-Cast :- Tom Hanks, Matt Damon and Tom Sizemore

Plot :- A group of soldiers is sent on a special mission to save a private officer,who is believed to be the last alive son of a mother.


# 4. Apocalypse Now - The Horror...The Horror...

Apocalypse Now (Apocalypse Now / Apocalypse Now Redux / Hearts of Darkness) (Three-Disc Full Disclosure Edition) [Blu-ray]
Apocalypse Now (Apocalypse Now / Apocalypse Now Redux / Hearts of Darkness) (Three-Disc Full Disclosure Edition) [Blu-ray]

Description :-

Apocalypse now is more of human study rather than simply being a war movie.The movie has Vietnam war as its sub-plot but primarily "Apocalypse now" focuses on human emotions and beliefs.Marlon brando stars as ruthless colonel Kurtz.He was the top billed actor for the movies just for 15 minute of his onscreen appearance.Francis Ford Coppola Who previously worked with Brando in one of the greatest Hollywood movie The Godfather even said that the presence of Marlon is enough to ensure the success of film.Martin sheen plays captain Willard,who is sent to kill colonel kurtz.The film was inspired from Joseph Conrad's novel Heart of Darkness. Though it differs from the novel at many points.

Director :- Francis Ford Coppola

Star-Cast :- Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando and Robert Duvall

Plot :- Captain Willard is sent on a mission to kill colonel Kurtz,who is using his power in his own way,during the vietnam war.


# 3. Lawrence of Arabia - The Desert Classic

Lawrence of Arabia (Collector's Edition)
Lawrence of Arabia (Collector's Edition)

Description :-

There is no doubt that David lean was one of the greatest director of his time.Almost all his movies met critical acclaim and were nominated for various awards including the most prestigious,Oscars.He was master in making war movies and made war romance films like Doctor Zhivago.Lawrence of Arabia is one such classic by him.

Lawrence of Arabia accounts the life of British officer T.E. Lawrence and his involvement in Arab revolt during world war 1.Not only the direction,plot,score and acting in this movie is of topnotch but above all what makes this movie a legendary movie is the title character,T.E. Lawrence.This legendary movie character was played by Peter o Toole who received an academy award nomination for his brilliant acting.

Director :- David Lean

Star-Cast :- Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness and Anthony Quinn

Plot :- The epic story of British officer T.E. Lawrence and his role in Arab revolt during the world war i.


# 2. Gone With the wind - The Most Magnificent Picture ever

Gone With the Wind (70th Anniversary Edition)
Gone With the Wind (70th Anniversary Edition)

Description :-

Gone with the with is the most popular and greatest Hollywood movie of all time.The film is based on the best selling and Pulitzer award winning novel of same name.The film set many records at the time of its release.It was the longest running movie of its time and set a record for winning most academy awards (10). Gone with the wind view the civil war from the southern point and has main protagonist a spoiled brat scarlet o Hara. This war romance movie become one of the highest grossing film of American cinema.The acting of Clarke gable and Vivien Leigh was of top notch.The film set standard for other movies and every now and then great movies of various cinemas of world are compared with Gone with the wind.

Director :- Victor Fleming

Star-Cast :- Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh and Thomas Mitchell

Plot :- A Romance ensues between a spoiled girl and a roguish man during the civil war.


# 1. Schindler's List - The List Is Life

Schindler's List (Widescreen Edition)
Schindler's List (Widescreen Edition)

Description :-

Frankly speaking i had only read in Books and biographies that what Hitler had done but the true brutality of Hitler and World war II is shown as it is in this heart touching film.Hitler is not there as a character in the film but the whole movie revolves around him and World war 2. Aman goeth a sadistic German general is true follower of Hitler.He hates Jews and Kills them just to practice shots.

Spielberg's film is Based on the novel Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally and probably is the best and the greatest war movie ever made.Both the novel and the film are based on real life events Oskar schindler,a german businessman.Oskar saved around 1200 jews during the holocaust in world war 2.The film stars some of the most talented actors in some of the most powerful roles.Liam nesson stars as Oskar schindler,a greedy businessman who later feels his duty towards humanity.Ralph fienes star as Amon goeth,a sadistic German general is true follower of Hitler(one of the best movie character,you will ever see on big screen).He hates Jews and Kills them just to practice shots.Like other war movies this film too won academy awards (7) including best picture and best director.

Director :- Steven Spielberg

Star-Cast :- Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes and Ben Kingsley

Plot :- A German businessman named Oskar schindler saves the lives of 1200 jews during world war ii holocaust.


World War III? - Share Your View

Do you think another world war will occur?

Oskar Schindler Saved nearly 1200 jews during the holocaust in world war 2.

Oskar Schinldler - A Real life Hero

Oskar Schinldler - A Real life Hero
Oskar Schinldler - A Real life Hero

Which movie is your favorite war movie?

Shout out loud.

Shout About Your Favorite War Movie - Share Your Thoughts,comments,suggestions or just Say "Hi"

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    • Siclone profile image


      5 years ago from NSW, Australia

      I love Platoon and Saving Private Ryan, as well as the Band of Brothers TV show. There are some Great War movies around. Great lense!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Band of brothers

    • profile image


      5 years ago


    • profile image


      6 years ago

      The Blue Max is one of my many favorites and one I didn't see listed here!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      For an Australian viewpoint of Vietnam, might I suggest "THE ODD ANGRY SHOT".

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      In Harms Way

    • rachelscott profile image


      6 years ago

      I love to watch different kinds of movies.

    • desa999 lm profile image

      desa999 lm 

      6 years ago

      Great collection of movies. Well done.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      yeah I just think that some of these war movies may fit in better Did you see all of the ones on your list?

    • Liveliferead LM profile image

      Liveliferead LM 

      7 years ago

      Again, my favorite war movie is Schindler's List!!! I'm actually doing a project on it right now, it's amazing!

    • Phillyfreeze profile image

      Ronald Tucker 

      7 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      My favorite is Glory starring Denzel Washington

    • spartakct profile image


      7 years ago

      good collection!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Loved your list. I agree with pretty much all of them. "Black Hawk Down" is one of my personal favs. I swear I can watch that movie over and over again.

    • cok666 lm profile image

      cok666 lm 

      7 years ago

      vote for number 9, 5 and 1


    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Good thing you mentioned The English Patient. Guess it's time to read the book later; I grab a copy of it 2 years ago but I haven't read it yet. Good film, yes! And so are the rest of the other war films listed here. My personal favorites are Schlinder's List and Letters From Iwo Jima.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 

      7 years ago from Southampton, UK

      That's a good list of war movies. So many to choose from, and everyone has their own favorite ones.


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