Ok continuing on from the previous post we are now at 60 films. I would like to get the list to 100 and then do a poll. Here they are in no particular order:

  1. Battle of Britain
  2. Waterloo
  3. Zulu
  4. A Bridge Too Far
  5. Black Book
  6. The Longest Day
  7. The Desert Fox
  8. Dambusters
  9. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
  10. Das Boot
  11. Black Hawk Down
  12. Gallipoli
  13. Enigma
  14. Master and Commander
  15. Downfall
  16. We Were Soldiers
  17. Apocalypse Now
  18. Full Metal Jacket
  19. The Hurt Locker
  20. The Great Escape
  21. Paths of Glory
  22. Ice Cold in Alex
  23. The Hill
  24. The Best Years of Our Life
  25. The Manchurian Candidate
  26. Casablanca
  27. Dr Strangelove
  28. Lawrence of Arabia
  29. The African Queen
  30. In Which We Serve
  31. Tora! Tora! Tora!
  32. The Cruel Sea
  33. Come and See
  34. The Way to the Stars
  35. Appointment in London
  36. Where Eagles Dare
  37. The Eagle has Landed
  38. Pork Chop Hill
  39. A Walk In The Sun
  40. Story Of G I Joe
  41. Iron Cross
  42. The Bridge (german)
  43. Bridge at Remagen
  44. Hamburger Hill
  45. Platoon
  46. Big Parade
  47. Attack
  48. Stalingrad (russian version)
  49. Paths of Glory
  50. Deer Hunter
  51. The Trench
  52. 3 days of Naples
  53. Open City
  54. The Bridge over the River Kwai
  55. The Thin Red Line
  56. Midway
  57. Letters from Iwo Jima
  58. 633 Squadron
  59. Schindlers List
  60. Jarhead



7 thoughts on “Top 60 War Films

  1. I think you have to have some criteria here, a quick look shows no Japanese, Chinese or Korean, I’m sure there must be Filipino and Indian films about WWII. The list is very light on German, Italian and Russian films. I think it is interesting that the French don’t seem to have made any great war films Outside of Grand Illusion, perhaps, Last Metro.

    In a listing of war films does Schindler’s List deserve a spot? A well done film about a small footnote to a horrendous war. I guess you have to decide if SL is a war film or a film about one man’s personality. Once you leave the battlefield the movies made about the ancillary effects of war become almost too many to count. Think of all the various plots, the girl left behind, the factory worker movie that almost always ended with an exposed spy or a group of workers looking at their finished product going off to war. The Dear John letter, The 4 F’er who proves himself. mostly pure propaganda drivel.

    The Hollywood production studios were so good that they could turn these out by the carload.
    Look at all the great “B” movies they made.
    Guadalcanal Diary
    Destination Tokyo
    North Star
    Operation Burma

    Take the last three, pure agit- prop films, but well made because of the Hollywood studio system, are they more of a war film then The Best Years of Our lives”or Casablanca (another B studio effort)

    There i9s a little known German film called”The Bridge” about some teenage Hitler Youth in the last days of the Euro war defending a bridge against real combat troops. Now this is a hell of a movie both for combat sequences and moral questioning. Against that standard many of the above films would have to removed from the above list.

    I think before this kind of list can be drawn up we have to decide what is a war film. As I said, I think movies Like An Eagle Has Landed, Dirty Dozen, Tora, Tora,Tora, and Great Escape are just star turns and not very serious films. Would you include Great Escape and exclude Stalag 17?

    Am I the only one who finds it interesting that the bravest act in the occupied countries would have been hiding a Jew and the only film I can think of is Anne Frank, and that movie was not about the terrible fear that people must have gone through just to do what was right.

    In addition there should be a serious search for the Asian and German, Italian films plus the Russian effort.

  2. First, why should there be criteria? This post started off by me posting what I considered the top 10 war films. This was based on my opinion of what I have enjoyed watching over the years. I then asked people what films they enjoyed. I have then subsequently added their, and yours, suggestions to the list. As I have stated several times the list is in no particular order, though I may if it gets to 100 post a popular poll. Therefore, the criteria was what you thought was a good war film. Nothing over complicated for a blog.

    I agree that the lack of foriegn films is noticeable. Maybe this is a representation of the people who read my blog. I am sure there are good films our there from these countries that deal with their part of the genre, however, that was not the point of the post.

    As for your contention that Schindlers List being a small footnote could be rather contentious. The films larger issues relate to the German Ppolicy towards Jews. Does this not deserve to portrayed? The Holocaust is perhaps the worst indictment of humanity with regards to the emergence of modern industrial warfare and its associated ideas. I think it deserves a place in any list.

    Deciding what a war film is. Is that not like defining what war is? A rather vague a catch all term to describe humanityies most violent action. I suppose I could have used the term combat movies but then again that does not allow us to understand the essence of war, especially in the 20th Century. For example, does not Back Book, a film that deals with the difficult issue of resistance and collaboration and the fine that people in that situation dealt with, desrve a place. It also fulfils your criteria a foreign language film too. I think we need to consider the representation of war in its widest defintion, therefore, by default films that may not deal with the sharp end of war will be in the list.

    As to films such as the Eagle has Landed etc not having a serious message I would disagree most films of the cold war era were not designed to represent the period they were portraying but rather they were reaction of the time. Take most Vietname films and the pacifictic portrayal of war. Is this not a reaction to the issue of the 70’s. Kelly’s Heroes while being set during the Second World War is much more about the reaction to the Vietnam War. Is this not an import issue that needs to be considered?

  3. No criteria, I thint that the act of listing is a criticism. For example, I like motor racing, I liked Steve Mc queen both as an actor and as a race driver. I like movies. Yet LE MANS was a terrible film. The driving sequences were a joy to watch, but as a movie the film did not hold up. I felt sorry for people who went to it expecting some sort of Race Car BULLITT. I guess we all see films differently. my comments on SL is that I saw a film showing a profiteer slowly becoming human. The concentration camps and Nazi brutaliuties were ancillery to what I was watching. In certain ways we each saw two different films.
    How about this listing;

    10 best pre WW1 war film
    Napoleon (Gance)
    Red Badge of Courage
    (Where do you put 7 SU MURAI)
    War and Piece (Bondarchuk)

  4. No criteria, I think that the act of listing is a criticism. For example, I like motor racing, I liked Steve Mc queen both as an actor and as a race driver. I like movies. Yet LE MANS was a terrible film. The driving sequences were a joy to watch, but as a movie the film did not hold up. I felt sorry for people who went to it expecting some sort of Race Car BULLITT. I guess we all see films differently.
    How about listing the films this way

    10 best pre WWI film
    Napoleon (gance)
    Thin Red Line

    10 best WWI
    The Trench
    Paths Of Glory
    Lost Patrol’
    Westfront 1918
    Grand Illusion
    The Big Parade
    All Quiet on The Western Front (Milestone)
    Croix de Bois
    Road to Glory
    Chamber des Officers

    10 best WWII western front film
    Saving Private Ryan
    A walk in the Sun
    Bridge at Remagan
    Story of G I Joe
    Four Days of Naples
    The Bold and The Brave

    10 best eastern front
    Stalingrad (russian)
    North Star
    Red Star
    Trial on the Road
    Cranes are Flying
    Cross of Iron

    10 best Naval
    Cruel Sea
    The Enemy Below
    Das Boot
    Destination Tokyo
    Battle of the River Plate (Graf Spree)
    Men of The Fighting Lady
    Action in the North Atlantic
    Sink the Bismark
    Submarine Patrol

    10 best North African
    Sahara (Bogart)
    5 graves to Cairo
    Desert Fox

    10 best occupation
    400 Blows
    Last Metro
    The Train
    The Valley

    10 best Pacific WWII
    Bridge over the River Kwai
    Guadalcanal Diary
    Beach Red

    10 best air film
    Dawn Patro
    The Hunters
    Wing and A Prayer
    Men Of the Fighting Lady
    Twelve O’clock High

    10 best asian made film

    10 best home front
    Mrs Miniver
    Our Hears were young and Gay
    The Best Years of Our lives
    Human Comedy
    Millions Like Us
    The Bunker

    10 best Korean war film
    Iron Helmet
    Fix Bayonets
    Pork Chop Hill

    Hamburger HILL
    section 317(FRENCH)
    Apocalypse Now
    Deer Hunter
    Go Tell The SPARTANS
    Iron Triangle

    The BEAST

    You get the Idea, I’ll try tocome back and fill in the blanks at another time

  5. I’ll leave the criteria to you folks…

    But don’t leave the Canucks out…

    Passchendaele should receive high marks for their work on showing the homefront and all it’s complexities as well as the horrifying nature of Ternch Warfare.

    Taegukgi is an absolutely genius movie on the Korean conflict and it’s impact on families as well as the harsh mountainous warfare at the front.

    Great blog you have here…I’ll be following from here on in…

  6. I would like to suggest some off the wall.
    The best war movie comedy – Tropic Thunder.
    Best POV – 84 Charlie Mopic
    Best war romance – Last of the Mohicans
    Best Made for TV – Horatio Hornblower: The Duel
    Best Cold War – Seven Days in May
    Best Remake – All Quiet on the Western Front
    Best Suicide Mission – Where Eagles Dare

  7. It is a pretty good list, and any list will naturally be subjective. I always view these lists simply as starting points for discussion.

    I agree with Matt about Passchendaele, it captures the horror of trench warfare very well.
    Mrs. Miniver is a brilliant movie about the home front. The Dawn Patrol manages to be enjoyable and quite accurate. Fixed Bayonets and The Steel Helmet are both excellent movies about the Korean War. I would add The Alamo (the 2004 version), The Lighthorsemen, and Ride with the Devil, despite its overly melodramatic romance.

    Looking forward to the full list of 100 films.

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