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Must Watch War Movie Classics

Updated on January 31, 2017

Best Classic War Movies

In this hub we will share some of our favorite classic war movies. Wars such as any great conflict cause sorrows, pain, suffering, destruction, but sometimes glory and achievement. These movies give us a clue on what war is all about, albeit in Hollywood style. Nevertheless, they give us examples on how ordinary men (or women) that were placed in extra-ordinary circumstances perform, find inner courage despite insurmountable odds, display cunning and teamwork to complete the mission. We love heroes and most war movies have heroes.

This list is by all means not complete as there are several great ones and probably more to come or be made. You can give us comments or use the voting module.

The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) Rating: PG

Starring: Alec Guinness, William Holden, Jack Hawkins, Director: David Lean

You will either love or hate the characters in this movie. An epic movie set in a World War II Japanese prison camp. The Allied soldiers were forced to work to build a bridge for the Japanese war effort. A test of wills, courage, and conviction. What do you do if you were the senior Allied officer in-charge? What about if you were one of the senior officers? What advice will you give to the leader? Will you build the bridge? Will you have the soldiers sabotage it?

The Bridge on the River Kwai

The Guns of Navarone (1961) Rating: NR

Starring: Gregory Peck, David Niven, Anthony Quinn, Director: J. Lee Thompson, Alexander Mackendrick

A group of Allied commandos and Greek partisans decided to take on an impossible mission to destroy and silence the mighty "Guns of Navarone", a gun emplacement so well-guarded and highly fortified. The Guns of Navarone wreak havoc and destruction to any ship sent out to rescue thousands of British soldiers stranded in Greece. Will the team succeed in finally silencing the Guns of Navarone? Watch this classic war action-thriller....

The Guns of Navarone

The Guns of Navarone Trailer

The Great Escape (1963) Rating: NR

Starring: Steve McQueen, James Garner,Charles Bronson, Director: John Sturges

This movie needs no introduction. A truly magnificent classic movie based on a true story of group-escape attempts from one of Germany's toughest POW camps. This movie shows the persistence, perseverance, cunning, and test of wills of the men imprisoned in the POW camp. How did they work together to finally escape?

The Great Escape

The Great Escape (1963) Trailer

Von Ryan's Express (1965) Rating: NR

Starring: Frank Sinatra, Trevor Howard, Director: Mark Robson

This is a superb action-thriller classic movie set in an Italian prison camp at the height of World War II. They found the means to escape and when they were so close to freedom, something happened. Watch and find out how the brave men finally broke free. This is one our favorite war movies.

The Dirty Dozen (1967) Rating: NR

Starring: Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Telly Savalas, Director: Andrew V. McLaglen, Robert Aldrich

What do you do when you are handed a suicide mission and no highly qualified volunteers? Lee Marvin, a US Army major, was given just that and ordered to turn a group of convicts into a commando force whose mission is to destroy a villa filled with Nazi high ranking officers. Will they succeed? Who will survive and complete the mission? How will these convicts perform? Can you trust them?

The Dirty Dozen

Dirty Dozen (1967)

Where Eagles Dare (1969) Rating: PG

Starring: Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood Director: Brian G. Hutton

This is one of our favorite WWII classic. A group of hand-picked Allied soldiers goes on a mission against insurmountable odds to free an American general captured and held hostage by the Germans. But wait, there's a traitor in the group...Will they find out in time to complete the mission and prevent the rest of them from being killed captured?

Where Eagles Dare - 1968 - Trailer

Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970), Rating: G

Starring: Martin Balsam, Sô Yamamura, Director: Kinji Fukasaku, Richard Fleischer

This is arguably one of the best war movies ever made. The movie depicts the war on both the Japanese and American perspectives. It shows the strategies and costly mistakes both sides made leading to the historic attack on Pearl Harbor, thereby plunging the U.S. into war against Japan. Why did the Japanese decide to attack when they know they will awaken the "sleeping giant?"

Tora! Tora! Tora! Trailer Video

Kelly's Heroes (1970) Rating: PG

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Director: Brian G. Hutton

If you like "The Dirty Dozen", you'll like Kelly's Heroes. Private Kelly (Clint Eastwood) leads a group of American soldiers on a mission to steal gold bullions behind enemy lines in German-occupied France. Will they succeed and hand the Germans a devastating blow, to help the war effort after all?

Kelly's Heroes Trailer

Midway (1976) Rating: NR

Starring: Charlton Heston, Robert Mitchum, Henry Fonda, Director: Jack Smight, Laurent Bouzereau

A truly impressive and gigantic naval battle between the American and Japanese forces during World War II. History revealed this battle became the turning point of the war in the Pacific that broke the Japanese imperial forces. Watch and find out how the American forces prevailed, despite some losses.

Midway Trailer

Force 10 From Navarone (1978) Rating: PG

Starring: Robert Shaw, Harrison Ford, Director: Guy Hamilton

This movie is a follow on to "The Guns of Navarone". A World War II action-thriller where a group of commandos goes on a mission to destroy a bridge crucial to the Germans. Will they succeed in spite of little resources? Do they have the cunning and courage to complete the mission?

Force 10 From Navarone Trailer

The Longest Day (1962)

Reader Feedback

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    • SavioC profile image

      SavioC 4 years ago

      I have watched most of them. Something about them that makes me watch it again and again. Good selection . But I think you are missing one very good movie cannot remember now.

    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 4 years ago from Redcar

      A great selection

    • fun-information profile image

      Aditya Gogoi 5 years ago from Sunnyvale

      I need to watch To hell and Back

    • PaigSr profile image

      PaigSr 5 years ago from State of Confussion

      Some I have seen. Others I just might.

    • profile image

      msseiboi 5 years ago

      The technology may be a bit backward but the stories are excellent...i have watched most of the above movies. great lens

    • chuckholmes301 profile image

      chuckholmes301 6 years ago

      I've never watched the Guns of Navarone. I will have to check that out. Thanks for sharing this list.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      My Dad loved war movies, so I saw the 50's and 60's ones on their first runs in the theater. I still remember the view of the men's marching legs to the music of The Bridge On The River Kwai.

    • Rankography profile image

      Rankography 6 years ago

      nice war movie lens. I added it to our lens on Movies about War.

    • Aloha Pinoy profile image

      Dan & Yollie Bunag 7 years ago from Oahu, Hawaii

      @TonyPayne: Thanks for commenting and liking our lens. Best wishes...

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 7 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Good list of movies, and I am a big fan of war movies.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

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