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20 Greatest War Movies, Ranked

20 Greatest War Movies, Ranked

best war movies

From Dunkirk (2017) to Schindler’s List (1993), here are the greatest war movies of all time.

War, along with Western films, is one of cinema’s oldest genres. While cinema gradually evolved into an unparalleled artistic medium in the first half of the 20th century, more than 90 million people perished in the two World Wars. Naturally, tales of combat, sacrifice, valor, and survival were constantly explored by European and American filmmakers. D.W. Griffith’s landmark silent epic The Birth of a Nation (1915) was a warped and racist retelling of the American Civil War.

Long before Chaplin made The Great Dictator, he directed Shoulder Arms (1918), a 45-minute war comedy set during World War I. Then came one of the most heart-wrenching war movies of the silent era, Raoul Walsh’s The Big Parade (1925). Abel Gance’s 1927 five-and-a-half-hour magnum opus Napoleon set a new precedent for filming battle scenes. The film’s innumerable war sequences still haven’t lost their magnificence. The first Academy Award presentation was held in the same year, and the Best Picture went to World War I drama Wings

The birth of talkies in 1927 only intensified the sheer emotional power of war films. Two humanist classics with anti-war sentiments were released in 1930: Lewis Milestone’s All Quiet on the Western Front and G.W. Pabst’s Westfront 1918. Both films depicted the madness of warfare from the perspective of German soldiers. Nevertheless, tyranny was on the rise in 1930s Europe, leading to the most devastating conflict humankind has ever seen. Of course, humanity never learned its lesson, even though many ingenious filmmakers have visualized the chillingly bleak nature of war. Nevertheless, it’s important to understand historical conflicts through the greatest war films and adopt a humanistic perspective. With that said, let’s now dive into these 20 best war movies of all time:

 

Best War Movies of All Time

20. Glory (1989)

Image Source: IMDb

Edward Zwick’s Glory highlights a forgotten yet significant chapter of the American Civil War (1861-1865). Based on the book One Gallant Rush by Peter Burchard, the narrative revolves around the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the first all-black regiment in the Civil War. Glory captures the diverse experiences of Black men in the 19th century. Matthew Broderick plays Robert Gould Shaw, the Colonel of the Union Army’s all-black regiment. The white officer Shaw not only leads his men onto the battlefield, but also understands their fight against racial injustice. 

The war movie has an incredible ensemble cast, including Morgan Freeman, Cary Elwes, and Bob Gunton. But it was Denzel Washington’s performance as Trip – a defiant former slave – that made Glory an unforgettable experience. Trip’s whipping scene, particularly as the camera slowly zooms into his face, is stirring. It was a breakthrough movie role for Mr. Washington, who received an Oscar (Best Supporting Actor) for it. Zwick’s Glory does over-dramatize and over-simplify certain events or characters. Yet, it’s a powerful take on the horrors of the American Civil War. The poignant final scene lingers long after. 

Where to watch: Google Play Movies, Apple TV+

 

WATCH: 11 Stunning Examples of Visual Storytelling

 

19. Dunkirk (2017) 

Image Source: Warner Bros.

The evacuation of more than 338,000 Allied soldiers between May 26 and June 4 from the beaches of Dunkirk was considered as one of the most significant events that helped turn the tide of WWII. While movies about Dunkirk rescue have been made before, Christopher Nolan’s unnerving, gritty thriller immersively depicts the soldiers’ despair, courage, and sacrifice. The Nazis were ready to launch an all-out assault against Allied soldiers from land, air, and sea. In fact, Nolan’s diverse perspectives and timelines in Dunkirk (2017) efficiently capture the battle that unfolded on land, air, and water.

Similar to Saving Private Ryan, Nolan’s war movie withholds a sense of urgency as if we are trapped alongside the soldiers on the island. The various technical departments have done an extraordinary job to realize Nolan’s vision, especially the cinematography and sound editing/mixing. Dunkirk subverts many war movie tropes and doesn’t have any unnecessary drama. From the tense opening scene to the uplifting ending, Nolan’s film extraordinarily focuses on the themes of survival, resilience, and fortitude. Moreover, Nolan masterfully handles the talented ensemble cast, including Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Harry Styles, and Kenneth Branagh. 

Where to watch: Apple TV+, Jio Cinema

 

18. Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

Image Source: Rotten Tomatoes

American movies rarely humanize the ‘enemies’ they fought against. Directed by Clint Eastwood, who is generally regarded as the conservative icon in America, Letters from Iwo Jima came as a surprise. Eastwood made two WWII movies in 2006, focusing on the 1945 Battle of Iwo Jima. While Flags of Our Fathers chronicles the American soldiers’ perspective of the war, Letters from Iwo Jima offers a grim portrait of Japanese soldiers’ suffering. The film was made with a perfect Japanese cast, and almost all the dialogue is in Japanese (script written by Iris Yamashita). Most importantly, the film authentically depicts the Japanese history and culture.

The story primarily unfolds from the perspectives of General Kuribayashi (Ken Watanabe), a compassionate man who understands the hopeless nature of war, and a young soldier, Saigo (Kazunari Ninomiya), a baker whose life is overturned by the harsh militaristic regime of Japan. While Letters from Iwo Jima took liberties with historical accuracy, it movingly highlights the complex humanity of every soldier who gives their life for the insignificant, futile conflicts. The film was a huge commercial success in Japan, topping the box office for five straight weeks.

Where to watch: Apple TV+, YouTube

 

17. The Deer Hunter (1978)

Image Source: Time Out

While the John Wayne co-directed film The Green Berets (1968) was one of the earliest American war films to cover the country’s involvement in Vietnam, it was critically panned for its cliched and vacuous nature. In fact, only after the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 American filmmakers approached the subject with an intriguing sociopolitical lens. One such substantial narrative was Michael Cimino’s three-hour-long The Deer Hunter (1978). The film tells the story of three friends – Michael (Rober de Niro), Nick (Christopher Walken), and Steven (John Savage) – who hail from the Pennsylvania steelworkers community. Like many ordinary Americans of the era, they go to war in the jungles of Vietnam.

Soon, the friends are caught by the North Vietnamese army and imprisoned in inhumane conditions. Their captors force them to play Russian Roulette, a recurring visual motif representing the madness of war. Though the three manage to escape, the trauma of war follows them home and gradually destroys their lives. The Deer Hunter offers a torturous yet compelling look at the fragile mental state of veterans. It has a fantastic cast that includes De Niro, Walken, Meryl Streep, and John Cazale.

Where to watch: Netflix

 

16. The Big Red One (1980)

best war movies
Image Source: Mubi

Journalist, novelist, and WWII veteran Samuel Fuller is a radical artist who began making films in the late 1940s with low-budget genre movies. He primarily operated outside the conventional studio system and dealt with potent themes generally considered taboo in Hollywood. The Steel Helmet (1951) is one of the rare and audacious takes on the Korean War. But the filmmaker’s adaptation of his semi-autobiographical memoir is one of the greatest war films ever made. 

The Big Red One is a harrowing depiction of the combat experiences, that was written two decades before it was filmed. It follows a nameless grizzled sergeant (Lee Marvin) as he leads his squad of infantrymen through North Africa during World War II. The Big Red One lacks the visceral scale of David Lean, Coppola, and Spielberg movies. It instead focuses on the combatants’ limited and gruesome perspectives. Like Joseph Heller’s tragic and hilarious novel Catch 22, the film captures the absurd logic of war. Fuller masterfully blends dark humor with his terrifying visions of combat. Despite its episodic narrative structure, The Big Red One grips us till the end, thanks to the energetic performances and sharp editing. 

Where to watch: Tubi, Roku

 

15. Patton (1970)

Image Source: Slant Magazine

George S. Patton Jr. was a flamboyant and controversial US general who served on the Western Front and North Africa during WWII. Franklin J. Schaffner’s 1970 biopic on the unforgettable eponymous character was co-written by a young screenwriter, Francis Ford Coppola. The writer neither knew much about Patton nor the general’s Third Army. But it was his idea to open the film with the now-famous pep-talk monologue of Patton, which unfolds in the backdrop of a huge American flag. George C. Scott, an actor with immense charisma and power, brilliantly realizes the titular character’s large-than-life stature right from this opening 6-minute monologue.

Under Patton’s relentless guidance, the Third Army swept across France and Germany. His troops’ determination to rescue the besieged 101st Airborne at Bastogne during the Battle of Bulge is one of the most extraordinary feats in World War II.  At the same time, Patton’s pugnacious nature is perfectly captured in the narrative, particularly when the general admonishes a shell-shocked soldier for being ‘a coward.’ Schaffner’s movie also has some marvelous battle sequences. Eventually, Patton moves beyond the scope of the biopic and takes a satirical dig at militarism. 

Where to watch: YouTube, Apple TV+

 

14. Fires on the Plain (1959)

Image Source: DVD Beaver

Masaki Kobayashi’s The Human Condition Trilogy (1959-1961), based on the six-part novel by Junpei Gomikawa, is unquestionably a fantastic humanist drama on the totalitarian war-era Japan. However, it was Kon Ichikawa’s despair-filled narrative of Fires on the Plain that potently realizes the Japanese soldiers’ psychological and physical suffering. Based on Shohei Ooka’s novel and starring Eiji Funakoshi, the story is set in the Philippine front during the final days of Second World War II. The protagonist is Tamura, a lanky soldier suffering from tuberculosis. The troop is stationed in the jungle, and the food rations are dwindling. 

Tamura is asked to walk to the field hospital to cure his ailment. This takes him on a nightmarish journey as Tamura encounters numerous depravities in the land engulfed by war. Though Fires on a Plain is unrelentingly bleak, it does contain a macabre sense of humor. Ichikawa’s direction conjures apocalyptic visions of corpses scattered across fields. He plunges deep into the darkest corners of the human soul. More haunting is the hollowed-out expressions of Funakoshi in the central role. The searing close-up shots of Funakoshi remind us of the traumatized boy character in Come and See.

Where to watch: The Criterion Channel, Kanopy

 

13. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

Image Source: EW

The Bridge on the River Kwai, a riveting WWII epic, solidified David Lean’s stature as an icon of grand-scale filmmaking. His subsequent masterpieces include Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and Doctor Zhivago (1965). Adapted from Pierre Boulle’s 1952 French novel, the story unravels the lives of British soldiers held captive in a Japanese camp on the border of Burma and Thailand. The steadfast Colonel Nicholson, portrayed by Alec Guinness, upholds order amongst the British POWs. Meanwhile, the camp’s leader, Colonel Saito, emerges as a brutal figure, inflicting both physical and psychological pain on the English soldiers.

When the POWs are tasked with building a bridge over Kwai to invade India, they secretly attempt to botch the work. The film does tend to overtly mythologize the so-called British ingenuity and resolve. Yet it remains a stunning world war drama with extraordinary mise en scene. The film’s wild and mesmerizing climax remains one of the most thrilling sequences in the history of cinema. Bridge on the River Kwai won seven out of the eight Academy Awards it was nominated for, including Best Picture. 

Where to watch: Prime Video, Apple TV+

 

12. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

Image Source: Netflix

German novelist and First World War veteran Erich Maria Remarque published his classic anti-war novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, in 1928. American filmmaker Lewis Milestone adapted the novel as Nazism was on the rise in Germany. It was considered to be the first best war film of the sound era and claimed the Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture. The plot revolves around Paul Baumer (Lew Ayres), a naive boy with a romantic delusion about war. We witness his gradual disillusionment as he undergoes rigorous military training and is later sent to encounter chaotic trench warfare. 

All Quiet on the Western Front set a precedent for war movies that questioned the shallow ideals related to warfare, like glory, honor, and bravery. Milestone’s visual storytelling was brilliant and unforgettable; particularly the scene where a soldier is struck down as he reaches for a butterfly. However, the acting might evoke memories of the highly-expressive performances of the silent-film era. The film’s distressingly realistic portrayal of the battlefield irked both the Nazis and the American legion. German-Austrian filmmaker Edward Berger adapted the novel in 2022, which was released as a Netflix Orginal. 

Where to watch: Tubi

 

11. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Image Source: Indiewire

Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan is often hailed for its realistic depiction of combat action in general. The film’s difficult-to-watch D-Day Landing scene changed how military violence was viscerally captured in cinema. Spielberg’s keen eye for staging and blocking is combined with an almost documentary approach as we witness the chaos and horrors of a battlefield. It reshaped the aesthetics of war films and influenced movies like Hacksaw Ridge, 1917, and Dunkirk. The narrative follows Tom Hanks’ John H. Miller, a US military captain, who leads his men across the blood-drenched and entrails-strewn beaches of Normandy. 

Subsequently, Miller and his men embark on a mission behind enemy lines to find and rescue Private Ryan (Matt Damon). While Saving Private Ryan is lionized for its incredible mise-en-scène, it also features a solid script (by Robert Rodat based on the books of Stephen E. Ambrose). The narrative depicts how ordinary Americans from all walks of life fought in World War II against the German forces. Each of the main characters is written with depth, and Spielberg brought together a fine cast, including Tom Sizemore, Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel, and Barry Pepper. 

Where to Watch: Apple TV+

 

10. Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Image Source: Rotten Tomatoes

Stanley Kubrick provided his searing indictment of military bureaucracy in Paths of Glory (1957) and brilliantly satirized the callousness of the powerful in Dr. Strangelove (1964). In his Vietnam War masterpiece Full Metal Jacket, Kubrick zeroes in the harsh conditioning and maltreatment of young minds to mold them into lethal weapons. In fact, Full Metal Jacket was decidedly more dark and disturbing than the filmmaker’s previous political movies. The first half exhaustively details the boot camp training of US Marines by the sadistic Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (R. Lee Ermey). 

Ermey’s performance is undeniably hilarious and thoroughly intimidating. The overweight Private Pyle becomes the target of Hartman’s harsh physical and mental jibes. The first half culminates with an explosive and shocking moment. The latter half moves to Vietnam, following the American soldiers’ chaotic military exploits. Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket invalidates many war film cliches. While hyper-masculine action movies were on the rise in the 1980s, Kubrick showcases war’s profound impact on an individual’s psyche. Unlike many traditional war flicks, the filmmaker doesn’t end the story on a hopeful or reflective note. We are simply left with an experience deeply scarring. 

Where to watch: Tubi, Paramount +

 

9. The Ascent (1977)

Image Source: Offscreen

Ukrainian Soviet filmmaker Larisa Sheptiko, a VGIK film school classmate of Andrei Tarkovsky and Sergei Parajanov, attained her international breakthrough with her World War II masterpiece The Ascent. Based on a novella by Vasily Bykov, the story follows two Soviet partisans, Sotnikov (Boris Plotnikov) and Rybak (Vladimir Gostyukhin). They walk across the purgatorial, snow-filled landscape to find food for their troops on the neighboring farm. However, they are captured by Germans and sadistically interrogated by a Belorussian collaborator, Portnov (Anatoly Solonitsyn). 

The Ascent offers a profound commentary on the themes of sacrifice and self-preservation in the backdrop of war. The story is best known for its gracefully realized biblical metaphors as Sotnikov, an asthmatic former school teacher, is elevated to a Christ-like figure. At the same time, Rybak, the strong soldier, gradually becomes a Judas to Sotnikov’s Christ. The war film is a testament to the exceptional talent of Sheptiko, who tragically perished in a car accident in 1979. The heartfelt close-ups remind us of Dreyer’s silent masterpiece, Passion of Joan of Arc (1928). Shot in the brutally cold climes of the Kazakh steppe, The Ascent presents the natural world as a character in itself. 

Where to watch: YouTube

 

8. Apocalypse Now (1979)

Image Source: United Artists

Francis Ford Coppola (in)famously proclaimed at the 1979 Cannes Film Festival, “My film is not about Vietnam, it is Vietnam.” In fact, Apocalypse Now became one of the most emblematic works of the absurdities and brutalities of the Vietnam War. Besides, the film’s chaotic production schedule led to the making of a darkly fascinating behind-the-scenes documentary. Loosely based on Joseph Conrad’s 1899 novella Heart of Darkness, Coppola changes the setting from colonized Africa to war-torn Southeast Asia. 

The narrative follows US Army officer Captain Willard (Martin Sheen), who is sent on a mission to Cambodia to assassinate the allegedly insane renegade Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando). Kurtz is said to have killed countless innocents, set up his own dominion within the jungle, and revered as a demi-god by the indigenous people. Apocalypse Now provides an unflinching commentary on America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. From Lieutenant Colonel Kilgore’s (Duvall) fascination with the ‘scent of napalm’ to the breathtaking helicopter assault sequence and the heart-wrenching scene of the water buffalo’s demise, Coppola’s film evokes a myriad of emotions.

Apocalypse Now has three versions, though the ‘Final Cut’ is considered the definitive version. 

Where to watch: Apple TV+

 

 

7. The Grand Illusion (1937)

Image Source: TCM

Jean Renoir, the pioneer of poetic realism, made this preeminent antiwar drama. Grand Illusion’s earnest pacifist discourse pushed the chief propagandist of the Nazi party, Goebbels, to call it: “cinematic public enemy No. 1.” In fact, Goebbels ordered it to be destroyed, and the film negative was thought to be lost during an air raid in 1942. Thankfully, the original negative survived the World War II. 

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The script, co-written by Renoir and Charles Spaak, is set during the First World War. It follows French Captain de Boeldieu and Lieutenant Marechal (Jean Gabin), who are captured and imprisoned by Germans after their plane is shot down. After many escape attempts, they end up in an impregnable fortress run by Captain von Rauffenstein (Eric Von Stroheim).

Though Grand Illusion features plenty of action like other brilliant POW camp films, Stalag 17 (1953) and The Great Escape (1963), the rich characterization and potent social message make it a vital war film. Renoir, best known for his intricate and vivid camerawork, meticulously frames the events. His techniques influenced a generation of filmmakers. One of the film’s greatest strengths is the elegant portrayal of the unexpected camaraderie between Rauffenstein and de Boeldieu. 

Where to watch: Criterion Channel

 

6. Das Boot (1981)

Image Source: Slash Film

Wolfgang Petersen’s claustrophobic anti-war masterpiece delves into the disturbing realities of submarine warfare during the Second World War. Based on German novelist Lothar-Gunther Buchheim’s 1973 novel of the same name, Das Boot (The Boat) was in production for nearly two years. Its $15 million budget made it the most expensive German film of the time. The production involved constructing several U-boats, including a detailed full-sized model for interior filming. The narrative is primarily set inside the U-96 submarine and follows its weary crew as they embark on a dangerous mission across the Atlantic Ocean.

Full of impeccable performances from an ensemble cast coupled with stunning direction and cinematography (by Jost Vacano), Das Boot captures the psychological effects of war on individuals with unblinking clarity. Petersen also profoundly examines the indefatigable power of the human spirit. Unlike the traditional war narratives on Nazi Germany, the film makes us feel for the ordinary German soldiers caught in the tyrannical schemes of the Third Reich. Das Boot was nominated for 6 Academy Awards and was a huge commercial success. In 1997, director Petersen released a 209-minute ‘Director’s Cut,’ which is the most preferred among the three versions. 

Where to watch: Fobu, Apple TV+

 

5. The Thin Red Line (1998)

Image Source: 3 Brothers Film

After a two-decade hiatus from filmmaking, influential American filmmaker Terrence Malick made his remarkable comeback with the WWII drama The Thin Red Line. Based on James Jones’ 1962 eponymous novel, the film chronicles the nightmarish experiences of Charlie Company men who fight the Japanese troops on the island of Guadalcanal. The Thin Red Line was released the year Spielberg powerful and realistically re-created the D-Day invasion of Allied forces in June 1944. Unlike Saving Private Ryan, Malick approached the human cost of war from an entirely different approach, profoundly contemplative and less sentimental.

In fact, Malick is known for his hauntingly poetic visions of the human condition. Like many of his films, the significance and impact of Thin Red Line was only understood in the years that followed. John Toll’s cinematography and Hans Zimmer’s score perfectly elevate Malick’s attempt to find meaning amidst war’s brutality and absurdity. Even more fascinating is the array of talented actors cast for the three-hour epic: Sean Penn, Adrien Brody, Nick Nolte, Jim Caviezel, John Cusack, and Woody Harrelson. 

Where to watch: Apple TV+

 

4. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

best world war movies
Image Source: The New York Times

War isn’t always waged in the battlefronts. There’s more to war than the victimization of the soldiers. And it is the destruction of innocent lives and the crushing of beautiful dreams that make the horrors of war hit you on the deepest emotional level. Studio Ghibli co-founder and revered animation filmmaker Isao Takahata’s Grave of the Fireflies is one such film. Based on Akiyuki Nosaka’s eponymous short story, the narrative follows two orphaned siblings, Seita and Setsuko, as they struggle to survive the desperate final months of World War II.

Having personally survived a U.S. air raid in wartime, Isao Takahata unflinchingly captures the human cost of war. Animation has long been misunderstood as a genre for kids’ entertainment. But the genius creators at Studio Ghibli have, time and again, realized the full potential of the artistic medium through stories of profound gravity. “Why do fireflies have to die so soon?” the little teary-eyed Setsuko asks Seita. The question stays with us, forcing us to confront the tragic fate of those who bear the brunt of war, yet have no voice in its orchestration.

Takahata’s poignant World War II drama gives voice to the voiceless, and their troubled lives offer unforgettable lessons on the nature of war. 

Where to watch: Netflix

 

 

3. Schindler’s List (1993)

Image Source: Universal Pictures

Steven Spielberg’s heart-wrenching movie visualizes one of the most vital and dramatic stories to come out of World War II. Based on Thomas Keneally’s 1982 book Schindler’s Ark, the narrative tells the true story of Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson), a flawed German Catholic businessman who rescued over 1100 Jews during the Holocaust. Schindler is not the ideal hero. He was an industrialist and a Nazi spy. When Germany invaded Poland and other European countries in 1939, Schindler wanted to make big money by aligning himself with the Nazi war machine. He set up a factory in Krakow, Poland, employing many displaced Jewish people. 

A few years later, after experiencing first-hand the SS and Hitler’s brutal policies, Schindler devised a plan – aided by his Jewish accountant Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley) – to save more than 1,000 of his Jewish workers. Spielberg takes a few creative liberties that elevate the central character’s unforgettable acts of bravery. But what’s more haunting is the impeccable mise en scène, that allows us to emphathize with the suffering of the millions of Jews. Spielberg uses unique, expressive staging to profoundly realize the Holocaust’s devastation. Schindler’s List won 7 Oscars, including the Best Picture.

Where to watch: Prime Video, Netflix

 

2. Paths of Glory (1957)

Image Source: TCM

While many war films delve into the psychological and physical horrors of war, Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory shifts the lens towards the inherent moral decay and class-based discrimination within the military establishment. Starring Kirk Douglas, Paths of Glory is based on Humphrey Cobb’s eponymous 1935 novel, and is inspired by actual events in the French military during World War I. We follow Colonel Dax (Kirk), a French Army officer who is ordered to command his unit in an assault on a heavily fortified German outpost known as ‘Anthill.’ When the mission inevitably fails, the tyrannical General Mireau tries to scapegoat the soldiers by putting them on trial for cowardice.

Dax, who is also a criminal defense lawyer, defends the men at the military trial and tries to save them from execution. Kubrick’s film indicts the outdated, inhumane ideologies of the conceited army chiefs, who atrociously violate human rights without facing the consequences. It shows how countless lives are sacrificed for the arrogance and ego of a few. Released during a period when the United States was increasingly involving itself in global warfare, Paths of Glory serves as a timely anti-war commentary, highlighting the tragic cost of sending young men off to fight in conflicts fueled by the agendas of a few.

Where to watch: Apple TV+

 

1. Come and See (1985)

Image Source: New Yorker

Elem Klimov’s Soviet war film chronicles the harrowing odyssey of teenager Flyora (Aleksey Kravchenko), who intends to join the Belarusian resistance movement to fight the Nazis. Flyora lives in Nazi-occupied Belarus in 1943, and his dreams of becoming a soldier lead to a series of fateful encounters that exposes the depravity of war. While every war movie should be an anti-war movie, in reality, filmmakers tend to reduce a gruesome real-life tragedy into a compelling ‘action set-piece.’ Come and See offsets the common pitfalls associated with war films by immersing us in an unnveringly palpable sense of “being right there.”

Elem Klimov cleared many obstacles to make this devastating feature. From Soviet censorship to lengthy production schedules, the film faced numerous challenges. Although this horrific account of war received positive responses in film festivals, it took decades for it to be recognized as the benchmark for anti-war movies. Come and See is a difficult film to watch. More than all the graphic content in the narrative, what immensely affects us is the wizened face of Flyora in the end. His guilelessness is replaced with inescapable trauma. The boy’s utter helplessness lingers long in our stunned consciousness.

Where to watch: YouTube

 

Conclusion

There we go! These are some of the best war movies of all time. Of course, the war genre is expansive and if you’re interested in exploring further, check outThe Great War (1959), King and Country (1964), Platoon (1986), The Hurt Locker (2008), Inglourious Basterds (2009), Gallipoli (1981), Kanal (1957), Trial on the Road (1971), The Winter War (1989) and Waltz With Bashir. What are your favorite war movies?

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