Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Best War Movies


We were out with friends, great western and war movie lovers, on Saturday night and they had just watched TWELVE O"CLOCK HIGH, which they said was one of their favorite war movies.Then Bill Crider chose one for a forgotten movie this week, saying it was his favorite as a kid.

What are the best war movies ever? This can be a pretty wide-ranging question so let's say that is has to actually have battlescenes or be set in a war zone. In other words, SCHINDLER'S LIST would not qualify unless it has war scenes I don't remember.

Here are three to start it off: GO TELL THE SPARTANS, FULL METAL JACKET and MASH.

My review of ABOUT LAST NIGHT is on Crimespree Magazine. 

37 comments:

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Tough one, Patti. THE DIRTY DOZEN for sheer entertainment. I also liked THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI; Alistair MacLean's WHERE EAGLES DARE and THE GUNS OF NAVARONE; TORA! TORA! TORA! which I saw as a kid and where I learned about Pearl Harbour; Jack Higgins' THE EAGLE HAS LANDED; and finally one of my all-time favourite war movies, OPERATION DAYBREAK. Whatever happened to Timothy Bottoms?

Margot Kinberg said...

I thought Saving Private Ryan was excellent.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Patti, I must mentioned two more war films, THE KILLING FIELDS and, more recently, ENEMY AT THE GATES with Ed Harris, Jude Law, and some terrific background music.

Bill Crider said...

All Quiet on the Western Front, Sands of Iwo Jima, Paths of Glory, Sgt. York, The Great Escape, and a few others I'm blanking on.

pattinase (abbott) said...

PATHS OF GLORY is probably the single best. Or that French one I am blanking on. Ugh Memory.

George said...

I'm with Prashant on the entertainment value of THE DIRTY DOZEN. And I have a certain fondness for KELLY'S HEREOES.

Charles Gramlich said...

Go Tell the Spartans is a favorite of mine. Full metal jacket was also very good. Saving Private Ryan

Anonymous said...

Battleground, The Story of G.I. Joe, A Walk in the Sun, The Big Red One, The Longest Day, Pork Chop Hill, The Enemy Below, The Bridges at Toko-Ri. I would have included Time Limit, Command Decision, and Mister Roberts, but they didn't have any combat scenes.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Well they fall close enough. What I was trying to stay away from was movies about the folks at home or the aftermath. Not that they don't deserve their own list.

Jerry House said...

Every human being with the Y chromosome loves THE GREAT ESCAPE.

Anonymous said...

The Great Escape
The Guns of Navarone
Paths of Glory
Breaker Morant


We watched Dirty Dozen and The Longest Day again last year.


Jeff M.

Steve Oerkfitz said...

Gallipoli, The Sand Pebbles, Platoon, Apocalypse Now, Paths of Glory,Bridge Over the River Kwai,Das Boot, Saving Private Ryan, Empire of the Sun, Hell in the Pacific, Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence.
For pure entertainment value-The Dirty Dozen, The Great Escape and Unglorious Bastards.

Steve Oerkfitz said...

Forgot to include Full Metal Jacket.

Anders E said...

Ice Cold in Alex
Das Boot
The General (1927)
Kagemusha the Shadow Warrior
Ran

The original 1955 version of The Unknown Soldier / Tuntematon Sotilas is iconic in Finland but really a mixed bag; some parts are amazing and some are, well, less so. The combat scenes are very impressive however. Some say the 1985 remake is better, but I have not seen that.

The soviet Come and See (1985) is supposedly very good, but I have not seen that either.

For TV series, nothing will ever top Blackadder Goes Forth.

Anders E said...

Patti, that French one you can't recall - is that The Battle of Algiers?

pattinase (abbott) said...

GRAND ILLUSION. Although BATTLE would be right up there.

Kent Morgan said...

The two that ring a bell with me are From Here to Eternity and The Deer Hunter.

Yvette said...

THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI, TORA! TORA! TORA!, THE DIRTY DOZEN, THE EAGLE HAS LANDED. (I'm with Prashant on these four.)I'd also add EMPIRE OF THE SUN and a few others whose titles I've forgotten. But GRANDE ILLUSION, for me is it.

Cap'n Bob said...

Battleground, Bataan, Waterloo, Midway, A Walk in the Sun, Gettysburg, The Longest Day, Flying Tigers, The Battle of Britain, Go Tell the Spartans, Pork Chop Hill, and dozens more.

Ed Gorman said...

Paths of Glory, The Steel Helmet

Shay said...

Zulu.

Anders E said...

Btw, Juri Nummelin blogged somewhat relatedly recently and I could not help but dig in and it all resulted in a few movie recommendations in the commentary.

http://pulpetti.blogspot.se/2014/03/vaino-linna-unknown-soldier-1954.html

Kelly Robinson said...

All Quiet on the Western Front. Saving Private Ryan. I haven't seen a lot of war movies, I don't guess.

Cap'n Bob said...

How could I forget Zulu? I guess the same way I forget why I went to the store.

David Cranmer said...

SAVING PRIVATE RYAN is my #1 pick. Off the well worn path I would choose HELL IS FOR HEROES with Steve McQueen.

Thomas Pluck said...

I'll second The Story of GI Joe. The miniseries Band of Brothers and The Pacific were both excellent as well, if they count.
I lean toward films that try to capture the absurdity and brutality of it, which makes me one of the few who mention The Thin Red Line in these discussions. Full Metal Jacket, Grand Illusion, Hell in the Pacific, The Big Red One, Three Kings, Even Cross of Iron by Peckinpah are all favorites.
As for "fun" war movies, we might as well go full fantasy like The Dirty Dozen, Kelly's Heroes, Father Goose, and so on.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I must see BAND OF BROTHERS. Great lists.

pattinase (abbott) said...

CASUALTY OF WAR.

pattinase (abbott) said...

MIDNIGHT CLEAR,

Jim Wilsky said...

Patti, very difficult. So, so many. I'm the son of a Marine who was on Guadalcanal for almost the entire campaign so I have my own sentimental leanings, but overall;
1.Saving Private Ryan
2.The Sand Pebbles
3.The Great Escape
Strong Honorable Mentions; Bridge over the River Kwai and The Deer Hunter...and Zulu.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Glad someone mentioned THE DEER HUNTER.

Richard said...

LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA was excellent, another vote for FULL METAL JACKET, and of course FRANCIS JOINS THE ARMY. (Ha.)

Anonymous said...

For sheer entertainment, The Great Escape. For an anti-war message, Paths of Glory. For a reasonably accurate depiction of historical events, The Longest Day, A Bridge Too Far, and Tora Tora Tora.

Todd Mason said...

Some great and some terrible (in the wrong way) cited, but I'll certainly vote for PATHS OF GLORY...and I'll offer another for THREE KINGS.

The French film I first thought of when you were reaching was FORBIDDEN GAMES, and the other that might be almost dismissed here as Aftermath films would include ONIBABA. The best dramatic item that comes quickly to mind that hasn't been cited yet is OPEN CITY.

It's indicative of how things are going that I can only recall all these with a catch in the throat.

Todd Mason said...

Best tv series so far for me would be CHINA BEACH.

Two more films: Bergman's near-future sf film SHAME, and MISSING.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I have a catch in the throat thinking of CHINA BEACH.

Todd Mason said...

Time-Life is (finally) selling the complete series on DVD. Query at your library, Patti.