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Best War Movies to Enjoy - Part 3
The Thin Red Line (1998) by Terrence Malick
After quite a long break in filmmaking, Terrence Malick made a fresh start in his film-directing career by presenting The Thin Red Line, which was at once nominated for seven Academy Awards and won Golden Bear, the most prestigious German award.
This is a war drama about the Battle of Guadalcanal during the World War II, where Malick used all his talents for camera work and peculiar lyricism to depict the evolution of the main characters – few soldiers thrown into a cauldron of war. Both the storyline and the characters cover a lot of questions concerning the sense of war, fear of death, the gab between the ordinary soldiers fighting on the front lines, risking their lives and struggling with deepest fears, and their commanders, who only used to give orders driven by deep dark complexes.
Paths of Glory (1957) by Stanley Kubrick
At times, glory becomes apparent at the expense of something, and it's terrible when it happens at the expense of innocent lives of people.
The movie brings us back to the Western Front, to the events of World War I, 1916. The allies have been trying to turn the tide of the war with Germany for two years already. General George Broulard gives an order to his subordinate General Mireau to destroy the German position nick-named "Anthill". It is seen just from the very beginning that a mission is going to be a simple fizzle, a suicidal affair. The downfall is inevitable and when the German army defeated the allies division, Mireau decides to conceal his blame for failure by unexpected and absurd decision: to kill the survivors charging them with cowardice.
The Hurt Locker (2008) by Kathryn Bigelow
Apart from being the best film of 2010 and having won six Academy Awards, this top war movie became the first film directed by a woman which is ranked so high. Due to The Hurt Locker Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing, the Academy Award for Best Director and a number of other top prizes for her excellent filming talent.
Though shot by a woman, this film depicts severe reality of Iraq conflict. This is a story of tree-man team of U.S. Army who have the most dangerous work ever – they disarm bombs. While the majority of elite soldier choose to go home after due date of their being there, only one seems to find some sense in his job rather than peaceful life.
The Killing Fields (1984) by Roland Joffé
The Killing Fields refer to two notions: to one of the best war movie about Cambodian conflict in late 1980s and to many places scattered around Cambodia where huge number of innocent civilians were killed and buried. Both of them tell a true story about madness of war.
An American journalist Sydney Schanberg leaves for Cambodia to cover the events of the civil war in the country. His friend, a native resident Dith Pran, helps assist Schanberg in doing his job. When Khmer Rouge is moving in, an American forces leave the country but two friends endanger their lives and stay there to cover realistic, bloody events of Cambodian holocaust.
Black Book (2006) by Paul Verhoeven
The story of memories about war and unforgivable betrayal, disgusting like a nightmare, that can't be simply cut out from life. Rachel is a young Jewish girl living in Netherlands during the World War II. Her family is killed, hiding place is destroyed and everything she is trying to do is to escape to already freed South Netherlands and save her life. But her attempts to cross the river with other Jewish people failed and she falls into a whirl of life-threating events again.
With excellent performance, graphic storyline and true background scenario, Black Book (Zwartboek) appeared to be the most commercially successful movie and the highest grossing film in the Netherlands in 2006.
Glory (1989) by Edward Zwick
Glory is one of few war movies where war doesn't take a leading place actually, but there are personal conflicts and prejudices that are more important and paid attention to.
54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry was the first formal unite made up of African Americans solely. Captain Robert Gould Shaw is offered a promotion to Colonel if he agrees to lead all-black people. Little did he know about the officers' attitude towards black people, and he could hardly think he would have first to resist the commanding officers and then the Confederation army. The movie stars Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, Cary Elwes and others.
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) by Lewis Milestone
All Quiet on the Western Front is an excellent adaption of Erich Maria Remarque novel of the same name. This is one of the oldest war films (shot in 1930) that managed to maintain a very high IMDB rating and is truly referred to classics of world cinematography.
Watching the movie, you'll meet the representatives of the "Lost Generation", young lads who didn't have the foggiest idea about the war, but who volunteered to fight for their country. At first, they treated the war like a game until they faced their first fighting. The plot revolves around a leading character, a boy named Paul, who is just one of a million other boys who were fighting in that senseless war. From a true patriot of his Fatherland, Paul turns into a convinced pacifist, who has seen much sorrow caused by WWI.
Doctor Zhivago (1965) by David Lean
The film's logo "A love caught in the fire of revolution" gives an idea what this movie is about: romantic relations dragged into the whirl of war, first World War I then the Russian Revolution and Russian Civil War.
In the beginning we meet Yevgraf Zhivago who is telling the story of his half-brother, a known doctor and poet Yuri Zhivago, and his only true love Larissa Antipova. He addresses a young woman Tonya Komarovskaya, who is expected to be an illegitimate daughter of his brother and mistress. Omar Sharif as doctor Zhivago is perfectly convincing in his emotions and two women of his life, his wife and mistress, though standing in sharp contrast with each other, are sympathetic characters.
Patton (1970) by Franklin J. Schaffner
If the rating and a number of awards means a great deal for you while selecting a movie for a watch, then you shouldn't omit Patton, a biographical war movie that can boast seven Academy Awards (including Best Picture) and incredibly high IMDB rating.
This is a film about General George S. Patton, whose speech against enormous American flag became iconic. Patton is one of the men who was born for war. His temper, probably maniac at times, often influenced the course of military operations during World War II. There is everything in this top war movie - great cinematography, amazing characters, excellent acting and star cast.
The Great Escape (1963) by John Sturges
The Great Escape is a multi-star war movie with involving, incredibly adventurous story. No bloody was scenes and battles there, yet there are Allied prisoners of war who are trying to escape from German prison camp.
The film informally consists of two parts: the preparations for the escape with all the tricks against prison inspectors, and the escape by itself. It is really a great escape as it involves 250 people to help implement the plan. 79 prisoners managed to escape from the camp, but only few of them survived and got freedom.
- Best War Movies to Enjoy - Part 1
- Best War Movies to Enjoy - Part 2
- Best War Movies to Enjoy - Part 3