Greatest War Movies of All Time

List by john Last updated April 13, 2017

War movies almost exclusively depict historic events which actually happened in battle. This list features some of the Greatest war movies of all time from the work of Francis ford Coppola to Stanley Kubrick and many other great directors who helped paint a picture of the gritty truth of war.


Taged

war history greatest List order as defined by john

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Apocalypse Now (1979)

Drama War
This is the end...

At the height of the Vietnam war, Captain Benjamin Willard is sent on a dangerous mission that, officially, "does not exist, nor will it ever exist." His goal is to locate - and eliminate - a mysterious Green Beret Colonel named Walter Kurtz, who has been leading his personal army on illegal guerrilla missions into enemy territory.

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Vote count 1,610 Vote avg 80 Release date 1979-08-15

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Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Drama War
Vietnam can kill me, but it can’t make me care.

A pragmatic U.S. Marine observes the dehumanizing effects the U.S.-Vietnam War has on his fellow recruits from their brutal boot camp training to the bloody street fighting in Hue.

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Vote count 1,917 Vote avg 78 Release date 1987-06-26

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Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Drama History War
The mission is a man.

As U.S. troops storm the beaches of Normandy, three brothers lie dead on the battlefield, with a fourth trapped behind enemy lines. Ranger captain John Miller and seven men are tasked with penetrating German-held territory and bringing the boy home.

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Vote count 4,239 Vote avg 78 Release date 1998-07-24

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Fury (2014)

War Drama Action
War never ends quietly.

Last months of World War II in April 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theater, a battle-hardened U.S. Army sergeant in the 2nd Armored Division named Wardaddy commands a Sherman tank called "Fury" and its five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Outnumbered and outgunned, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.

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Vote count 3,331 Vote avg 74 Release date 2014-10-15

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Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Drama Action Thriller
Once upon a time in Nazi occupied France...

In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a group of Jewish-American soldiers known as "The Basterds" are chosen specifically to spread fear throughout the Third Reich by scalping and brutally killing Nazis. The Basterds, lead by Lt. Aldo Raine soon cross paths with a French-Jewish teenage girl who runs a movie theater in Paris which is targeted by the soldiers.

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Vote count 5,127 Vote avg 78 Release date 2009-08-18

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Battle of Britain (1969)

Action Drama History

In 1940, the Royal Air Force fights a desperate battle against the might of the Luftwaffe for control of the skies over Britain, thus preventing the Nazi invasion of Britain.

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Vote count 68 Vote avg 64 Release date 1969-09-15

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The Great Escape (1963)

Adventure Drama History
Put a fence in front of these men...and they'll climb it...

The Nazis, exasperated at the number of escapes from their prison camps by a relatively small number of Allied prisoners, relocates them to a high-security 'escape-proof' camp to sit out the remainder of the war. Undaunted, the prisoners plan one of the most ambitious escape attempts of World War II. Based on a true story.

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Vote count 612 Vote avg 78 Release date 1963-06-20

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Enemy at the Gates (2001)

War
Some Men Are Born To Be Heroes.

Enemy at the Gates is a war film from Jean-Jacques Annaud from 2001 that takes place during the battle of Stalingard in World War II between the Russians and the Germans.

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Vote count 832 Vote avg 71 Release date 2001-03-13

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Pearl Harbor (2001)

History Romance War
December 7, 1941 - A day that shall live in infamy.

The lifelong friendship between Rafe McCawley and Danny Walker is put to the ultimate test when the two ace fighter pilots become entangled in a love triangle with beautiful Naval nurse Evelyn Johnson. But the rivalry between the friends-turned-foes is immediately put on hold when they find themselves at the center of Japan's devastating attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

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Vote count 1,419 Vote avg 65 Release date 2001-05-21

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Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

Drama History War
When the order came to retreat. One man stayed.

WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people and becomes the first Conscientious Objector in American history to win the Congressional Medal of Honor.

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Vote count 2,144 Vote avg 76 Release date 2016-10-07

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Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)

Comedy Drama War
Time to rock it from the Delta to the DMZ!

An unorthodox and irreverent DJ begins to shake up things when he is assigned to the US Armed Services Radio station in Vietnam.

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Vote count 510 Vote avg 70 Release date 1987-12-23

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The Inglorious Bastards (1978)

Action Comedy War
If you're a kraut, he'll take you out!

Set in Europe during WWII, a group of American soldiers on their way to military prison are beset upon by a German artillery attack, escaping with Switzerland in their sights. Before making it any farther, they volunteer to steal a V2 warhead for the French Underground - taking them deep into the heart of German territory.

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Vote count 46 Vote avg 60 Release date 1978-02-08

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The Dam Busters (1955)

Drama Action History

Adapted by R.C. Sherriff from Guy Gibson's book Enemy Coast Ahead, The Dam Busters is a docudrama following the conception of a new British weapon for smashing the German dams in the Ruhr industrial complex and the execution of the raid by 617 Squadron 'The Dam Busters'

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Vote count 30 Vote avg 70 Release date 1955-05-16

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Behind Enemy Lines (2001)

Action Drama Thriller
His only weapon is his will to survive.

While flying a routine reconnaissance mission over Bosnia, fighter pilot Chris Burnett photographs something he wasn't supposed to see and gets shot down behind enemy lines, where he must outrun an army led by a ruthless Serbian general. With time running out and a deadly tracker on his trail, Burnett's commanding officer decides to risk his career and launch a renegade rescue mission to save his life.

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Vote count 389 Vote avg 60 Release date 2001-11-17

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Black Hawk Down (2001)

Action History War
Leave No Man Behind.

When U.S. Rangers and an elite Delta Force team attempt to kidnap two underlings of a Somali warlord, their Black Hawk helicopters are shot down, and the Americans suffer heavy casualties, facing intense fighting from the militia on the ground.

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Vote count 1,562 Vote avg 71 Release date 2001-12-28

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Platoon (1986)

Drama War Action
The first casualty of war is innocence.

As a young and naive recruit in Vietnam, Chris Taylor faces a moral crisis when confronted with the horrors of war and the duality of man.

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Vote count 984 Vote avg 74 Release date 1986-12-18

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Das Boot (1981)

Action Drama History
When the hunters become the hunted

A German submarine hunts allied ships during the Second World War. Soon it becomes hunted itself. The crew tries to survive below the surface, while stretching both the boat and themselves to their limits...

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Vote count 542 Vote avg 79 Release date 1981-09-16

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The Deer Hunter (1978)

Drama War
One of the most important and powerful films of all time!

A group of working-class friends decides to enlist in the Army during the Vietnam War and finds it to be hellish chaos -- not the noble venture they imagined. Before they left, Steven married his pregnant girlfriend -- and Michael and Nick were in love with the same woman. But all three are different men upon their return.

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Vote count 755 Vote avg 76 Release date 1978-12-08

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Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Adventure Drama History
A Mighty Motion Picture Of Action And Adventure!

An epic about British officer T.E. Lawrence's mission to aid the Arab tribes in their revolt against the Ottoman Empire during the First World War. Lawrence becomes a flamboyant, messianic figure in the cause of Arab unity but his psychological instability threatens to undermine his achievements.

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Vote count 735 Vote avg 78 Release date 1962-12-10

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Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)

History Action Drama
The incredible attack on Pearl Harbor.

In the summer of 1941, the United States and Japan seem on the brink of war after constant embargos and failed diplomacy come to no end. "Tora! Tora! Tora!", named after the code words use by the lead Japanese pilot to indicate they had surprised the Americans, covers the days leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor, which plunged America into the Second World War.

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Vote count 131 Vote avg 69 Release date 1970-01-26

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Lone Survivor (2013)

Action Drama Thriller
Based on True Acts of Courage

Based on the failed June 28, 2005 mission "Operation Red Wing." Four members of SEAL Team 10, were tasked with the mission to capture or kill notorious Taliban leader, Ahmad Shah. Only one member of the team survived.

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Vote count 1,335 Vote avg 73 Release date 2013-12-24

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City of Life and Death (2009)

Drama History War

City of Life and Death takes place in 1937, during the height of the Second Sino-Japanese War. The Imperial Japanese Army has just captured the then-capital of the Republic of China, Nanjing. What followed was known as the Nanking Massacre, or the Rape of Nanking, a period of several weeks wherein tens of thousands of Chinese soldiers and civilians were killed.

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Vote count 44 Vote avg 76 Release date 2009-04-22

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Ice Cold in Alex (1958)

War Drama
From Tobruk to Alexandria... they had to make it... even if one of'em was a traitor!

A group of army personnel and nurses attempt a dangerous and arduous trek across the deserts of North Africa during the second world war. The leader of the team dreams of his ice cold beer when he reaches Alexandria

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Vote count 14 Vote avg 75 Release date 1958-06-24

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The Longest Day (1962)

Action Drama History
This is the day that changed the world... When history held its breath.

The retelling of June 6, 1944, from the perspectives of the Germans, the US, Britain, and the Free French. Marshall Erwin Rommel, touring the defenses being established as part of the Reich's Atlantic Wall, notes to his officers that when the Allied invasion comes they must be stopped on the beach. "For the Allies as well as the Germans, it will be the longest day"

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Vote count 185 Vote avg 72 Release date 1962-09-25

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Zulu (1964)

Action Drama History
Dwarfing the mightiest! Towering over the greatest!

In 1879, during the Zulu wars, man of the people Lt. John Chard (Stanley Baker) and snooty Lt Gonville Bromhead (Michael Caine) are in charge of defending the isolated Natal outpost of Rorke's Drift from tribal hordes, holding out during an Alamo-like seige until they are overwhelmed, losing the battle, but going down in history as heroes. 150 soldiers defended a supply station against some 4000 Zulus, aided by the Martini-Henry rifle 'with some guts behind it. "At Rorke's Drift, eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded. Seven to the 2nd Battalion, 24th (2nd Warwickshire) Regiment of Foot, one to the Army Medical Department, one to the Royal Engineers, one to the Commissariat and Transport Department and one to the Natal Native Contingent.

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Vote count 120 Vote avg 73 Release date 1964-01-22

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Jarhead (2005)

Drama War
Welcome to the suck.

Jarhead is a film about a US Marine Anthony Swofford’s experience in the Gulf War. After putting up with an arduous boot camp, Swafford and his unit are sent to the Persian Gulf where they are earger to fight but are forced to stay back from the action. Meanwhile Swofford gets news of his girlfriend is cheating on him. Desperately he wants to kill someone and finally put his training to use.

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Vote count 650 Vote avg 65 Release date 2005-11-04

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The Hurt Locker (2008)

Drama Thriller War
You'll know when you're in it.

Forced to play a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse in the chaos of war, an elite Army bomb squad unit must come together in a city where everyone is a potential enemy and every object could be a deadly bomb.

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Vote count 1,595 Vote avg 72 Release date 2008-10-10

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American Sniper (2014)

War Action
The most lethal sniper in U.S. history.

U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle takes his sole mission—protect his comrades—to heart and becomes one of the most lethal snipers in American history. His pinpoint accuracy not only saves countless lives but also makes him a prime target of insurgents. Despite grave danger and his struggle to be a good husband and father to his family back in the States, Kyle serves four tours of duty in Iraq. However, when he finally returns home, he finds that he cannot leave the war behind.

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Vote count 3,733 Vote avg 74 Release date 2014-12-11

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Downfall ()

"Downfall" is a puppet animation short film about the fall and rise. It is a poetical, visually aesthetic tale that will interest and be interpreted by viewers of all nations and age. The main character is proud but weak eagle, that flies away to his last journey, experiencing fatal battle between good and evil. The film is rich in metaphors, allusions to Greek mythology and general philosophical reflections on life and death. "Downfall" idealizes beauty of nature, brute force and the power of will. It is an exciting, involving and thrilling adventure with a dramatic ending.

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Vote count 0 Vote avg 0

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