Lists are subjective. We state that at the outset. In honor of Veterans Day, here is out list of the 50 best films about war from the perspective of both the officers and the enlisted men. Our aim was to choose movies that focus specifically on soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen; veterans and their sacrifices. We have also included longer form miniseries (such as Band of Brothers and The Pacific).
The list (in order by the calendar date of the movie) begins and ends with World War One–from the impressive aviation sequences in the silent film Wings, to the trench warfare of Turkey in the Australian series Gallipoli. We are still marking the 100-year anniversary of The Great War so we’ve underlined the five features focused on that conflict.
We hope you take time this Veteran’s Day to watch a few of them and reflect.
Wings (1927) WWI
All Quiet on the Western Front (1929) WWI
The Four Feathers (1939) Sudan
Sergeant York (1941) WWI
Destination Tokyo (1943) WWII Pacific
In Which We Serve (1943) WWII Europe
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944) WWII Pacific
Pride of the Marines (1945) WWII Pacific
They Were Expendable (1945) WWII Pacific
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) WWII
Command Decision (1948) WWII Europe
Battleground (1949) WWII Europe
Sands of Iwo Jima (1949) WWII Pacific
Twelve O’Clock High (1949) WWII Europe
The Desert Fox (1951) WWII Africa
The Red Badge of Courage (1951) U.S. Civil War
Stalag 17 (1953) WWII Europe
The Bridges of Toko-Ri (1954) Korea
To Hell and Back (1955) WWII Europe
Paths of Glory (1957) WWI
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) WWII Pacific
Run Silent, Run Deep (1958) WWII Pacific
The Young Lions (1958) WWII Europe
The Guns of Navarone (1961) WWII Europe
The Longest Day (1962) WWII Europe
The Great Escape (1963) WWII Europe
Zulu (1964) South Africa
The Sand Pebbles (1966) WWII Pacific
The Dirty Dozen (1967) WWII Europe
Where Eagles Dare (1968) WWII Europe
Battle of Britain (1969) WWII Europe
Patton (1970) WWII Europe
Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) WWII Pacific
Midway (1976) WWII Pacific
The Deer Hunter (1978) Vietnam
Apocalypse Now (1979) Vietnam
The Big Red One (1980) WWII Europe
Das Boot (1981) WWII Europe. Director’s cut is 209 minutes.
Platoon (1986) Vietnam
Glory (1989) U.S. Civil War
Saving Private Ryan (1998) WWII Europe
Band of Brothers (2001) WWII Europe. Ten episodes.
Black Hawk Down (2001) Somalia
Enemy at the Gates (2001) WWII Russia
We Were Soldiers (2002) Vietnam
Letters from Iwo Jima (2006) WWII Pacific
The Pacific (2010) WWII Pacific. Ten episodes.
Lone Survivor (2013) Afghanistan
American Sniper (2014) Iraq
Gallipoli (2015) WWI. Seven episodes.