Posted by: ckckred | May 26, 2013

What Is Your Favorite War Movie?

Since tomorrow is Memorial Day, I thought I’d ask today what is your favorite war movie?  War films have always fascinated me as a genre, with some either glamorizing war, criticize it, or both.  It’s led to some of the greatest accomplishments in cinema history.

But before I pick my favorites, let me lay out some criteria.  A war movie has to primarily show actual combat (so Casablanca does not count) or be about an actual war (which excludes many sci-fi picks).  I’m doing this just to limit the answers.

Apocalypse Now is by far, in my opinion, the greatest war movie

Apocalypse Now is by far, in my opinion, the greatest war movie

If you’ve read my blog long enough, you’d probably know my answer would be Apocalypse Now, also my favorite movie.  It’s a stunning film that somehow makes war appear terrifying and thrilling (most notably in the helicopter scene) while commenting on the United State’s policy on Vietnam and human nature itself.  My runner-ups are Dr. Strangelove and Paths of Glory (both by Stanley Kubrick and both masterpieces), and I will throw in Patton as well.

But what are your picks?



  1. Enemy at the Gates, Platoon, The Pianist, Schindler’s List, Valkyrie 😀

  2. I quite like Cross of Iron. Agree that Apocalypse Now would be at the top though. The original, not the redux.

    • Cross of Iron is pretty good. Yeah, Redux is a lot weaker than the original cut. I like some of the additional scenes, but it feels a bit stuffy, particularly with the French Plantation bit. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Jarhead, The Pianist, Platoon

    • Nice picks. Platoon is great.

  4. Schindler’s List

    • Nice pick. I wouldn’t say it’s a war movie, but it’s a great film nonetheless.

  5. Love Apocalypse Now! Platoon is also really good, and I can’t leave out Inglourious Basterds.

    • Nice picks. Platoon and IB are great picks and AN is a masterpiece.

  6. Hard to pick just one. For sheer entertainment, The Dirty Dozen. For best ensemble of men dealing as POWs, The Great Escape. For surrealism, Apocalypse Now. For another perspective, Letters From Iwo Jima. For battles sequences, Saving Private Ryan.

    • Nice list of films. Can’t disagree with any of them.

  7. A number of John Ford’s Westerns–The Searchers, Stagecoach–although that’s using the war genre loosely. Otherwise, Apocalypse Now or Paths of Glory.

    • Stagecoach is a great pick, love that choice, though I would define that as a western. Apocalypse Now and Paths of Glory are absolute classics of the genre. Nice picks.

  8. Probably either Full Metal Jacket or We Were Soldiers. Love those flicks.

    • Great picks. I’m a big FMJ fan myself, amazing film.

  9. Saving Private Ryan all the way!!

    • It’s a great movie indeed, the first scene is simply stunning.

  10. I’m one of the only people on the planet who doesn’t care for Apocalypse Now. The beginning and ending frustrates me to no end. I do love what’s in between.

    This is a hard question. I guess The Longest Day may be my favorite. Black Hawk Down is one of my favorite modern day military films.

    • I know a couple of other people who don’t like it others. I admire the ending for the direction it took, though I know it can be off-putting.

      Glad to see mentions for both The Longest Day and Black Hawk Down, both some of the best of the genre. Nice picks.

  11. There’s loads of really good ones but because I know no one else will say it, Zulu 😀

    • Zulu’s a great film, been a while since I’ve seen it. Nice pick.

  12. My favourite would probably be the one you’ve got pictured.

    I’ve actually changed my pick for favourite war movie throughout the years. First wit was Platoon, then Private Ryan, but now I’ve settled on Apoc Now.

    • Yeah, Apocalypse Now’s an amazing film. SPR and Platoon are great as well.

  13. Easy – Saving Private Ryan. My Grandpa, who I loved so dearly, was on one of those boats that stormed the beach (I can’t remember which one) (neither can my wife) but he got injured during that raid and was even addressed in the hospital by Patton. Or so he said, I have no reason to not believe him.

    I remember when this came out I asked him if he wanted me to take him to see it and he was like – “F*** NO.”

    • Nice pick. SPR’s a great movie. Did your grandpa eventually see it?

      • Nope – he said he “didn’t need to”.

        Thinking about him – the last movie he ever saw in the actual theater….?

        That Tarzan with Bo Derek…

  14. Apocalypse Now is first, but I love Patton, too!

    • Glad to see you love Apocalypse Now and Patton as well.

  15. For war films, “Apocalypse Now”, “Saving Private Ryan”, “Full Metal Jacket”, “Platoon”, “Fixed Bayonets”, “The Steel Helmet”, and “Letters from Iwo Jima”.

    In anti-war films, “The Thin Red Line” and “Paths of Glory”.

    • Solid list. Still have to see The Thin Red Line.

  16. Have to go with your choice, although I also like Saving Private Ryan…does Starship Troopers also count? 😉

    • Apocalypse Now and Saving Private Ryan are great choices. Starship Troopers falls in the sci-fi genre rather than war, but it’s a very under-appreciated movie. Thanks for commenting.

  17. My favourite is one of your runners up – Paths of Glory

    • It’s a great movie, one of Kubrick’s best. Thanks for commenting.

  18. I’d have to go with Saving Private Ryan and then the follow up of Band of Brothers. Both are great. Hamburger Hill is also one of my favorites.

    • Great choices, I’m also glad to see Band of Brothers get a shout-out.

  19. There’s so many to choose from but my top three would be The Thin Red Line, Saving Private Ryan and Platoon. I feel a bit guilty by not admitting Apocalypse Now into that but Platoon just edges it out.

    • Solid picks. Despite being a big Malick fan, I have not seen The Thin Red Line. I have to watch that. Platoon and SPR are great movies.

  20. Patton.

  21. Probably Platoon, but Apocalypse Now is a close second.

    • Nice picks. Both are great movies and I love the intimacy of Platoon.

  22. There are worth mentioning again … The Thin Red Line and Saving Private Ryan. Yeah, I think Starship Troopers should count.

    • I’m a big Terrence Malick fan, but I haven’t seen The Thin Red Line. Ryan’s great. I’d put Starship Troopers in the sci-fi category, but that’s a good pick, though it’s been far too long since I’ve last seen it.

  23. Hmmm, I’d go with The Thin Red Line. I don’t like blood and gore and so I prefer war films that deal more about the soldiers’ psyche than actual combat.

    • Still need to see The Thin Red Line. Thanks for commenting,

  24. The Deer Hunter and Saving Private Ryan truly terrified me. Those are my picks.

  25. Patton, Bridge Over the River Kwai, Saving Private Ryan, Platoon, and Apocalypse Now.

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