The Best War Movies of All Time – From Schindler’s List to Dunkirk

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Simran Rigzin
Simran is a constant work in progress and never says no to an opportunity. She loves writing and broadening the knowledge of vocabularies and use of language. She believes that there's always something to gain from experiences no matter how small they may be.

Who doesn’t love a good war movie, whether it is to learn more about history or merely watch people fighting to protect what is theirs? We give you a list of best war movies of all time that will blow your minds away. So get ready to watch it all.

To watch them online, try some free movie streaming websites, or free movie apps for a mobile experience. Also, don’t forget to check out our compilations of the best thrillers and the best action movies of all time.

1.    Apocalypse Now (1979)

  • IMDB Rating: 8.5/10
  • Movie Length: 147 minutes
  • Director: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Actors: Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Frederic Forest
  • Gross revenue: $83.4 million
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This war movie is set during the time of the Vietnam War where Colonel Williard (Martin Sheen) is being sent to Cambodia to kill a colonel named Walter Kurtz(Marlon Brando) who is said to have gone crazy and conducting various missions against the Vietnam Congress and NVA. But when Williard arrives at the village in Cambodia along with his crew, he sees that Colonel Walter is a leader, and god-like figure to the local people and assassinating him would be complicated.

2.    Schindler’s list (1993)

  • IMDB Rating: 9/10
  • Movie Length: 195 minutes
  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Actors: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley, Caroline Goodall
  • Gross revenue: $96.07 million

Watch as Schindler (Liam Neeson) who started hiring Jews for his gain became the saviour of hundreds of Jewish lives. The movie is based on a true story and takes place in Poland during WWII. As the holocaust begins and many Jews lose lives many of them survive, thanks to Schindler. This movie was the first Black and White War movie that I watched and it had me in tears, it is a must watch.

3.    Saving Private Ryan (1998)

  • IMDB Rating: 6/10
  • Movie Length: 169 minutes
  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Actors: Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns
  • Gross revenue: $216.5 million

During the invasion of Normandy, two brothers under the leadership of Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) are killed on a mission to secure a beachhead. Their third brother has also died previously in New Guinea, but a fourth brother James Ryan (Matt Damon) still lives as he has been captured by the enemy. To save the mother of the four miseries on the death of three of her children, the US Army sends Captain Miller and seven other soldiers to find the soldier and bring him back safely.

4.     300 (2006)

  • IMDB Rating: 7/10
  • Movie Length: 117 minutes
  • Director: Zach Snyder
  • Actors: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, David Wenham
  • Gross revenue: $456 million

In 480 BC, the Persians invaded Greece through Thermopylae mountain pass. King Xerxes led his Persian Army and outnumbered the Greeks who put forward only 300 Spartans, 400 Thebans and 700 Thespians. The Greeks fought so bravely even though they knew that they would eventually lose and it took the Persian Army who was large in number three days to kill all the Greeks and achieve victory over the land.  300 is a war movie based upon times of kings and conquests.

5.    Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

  • IMDB Rating: 9/10
  • Movie Length: 141 minutes
  • Director: Clint Eastwood
  • Actors: Ken Watanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya, Tsuyoshi Ihara
  • Gross revenue: $68.6 million
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During the World War between America and Japan, Iwo Jima was a small island located between the two countries. The Japanese army does not want the US army to capture the island as it would give them an upper hand, so General Kuribayashi (Ken Watanabe) prepares for attack from the island whereas the other general is against the method of Kuribayashi. A young soldier Saigo (Kazunari) is terrified knowing that there is a more significant battle approaching than just the quarrel within the army itself. What will be the outcome of the disagreement between the two generals?

6.    Black Hawk Down (2001)

  • IMDB Rating: 7/10
  • Movie Length: 144 minutes
  • Director: Ridley Scott
  • Actors: Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore
  • Gross revenue: $172.9 million

The US army drops 160 Elite soldiers in Somalia to seize two Lieutenants of a prominent warlord. In the process of war between the US soldiers and the Somalia gunmen both of the Black Hawk helicopters belonging to the US are shot down. Some die and some are taken in as prisoners including the captain having no mean to return to their homeland. Will they survive?

7.    Inglorious Basterds (2009)

  • IMDB Rating: 8.3/10
  • Movie Length: 153 minutes
  • Director: Quentin Tarantino, Eli Roth
  • Actors: Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger, Eli Roth, Melanie Laurent
  • Gross revenue: $120.5 million

During the German- France War, a young girl watches Colonel Hans (Christoph Waltz) murder her family while she escapes. After a few years, a German hero takes an interest in Shosanna (Melanie Laurent), and she starts plotting her revenge, holding a screening in a theatre where she invites all the elite Nazi officers. As she puts her planning into motion, she does not see a group of Jewish- American bastards led by Lt. Aldo (Brad Pitt) making their advancements too. Will the two work together or will the bastards spoil Shosanna’s plans?

8.    Platoon (1986)

  • IMDB Rating: 8.1/10
  • Movie Length: 120 minutes
  • Director: Oliver Stone
  • Actors: Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe, Keith David
  • Gross revenue: $138.53 million

Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen) is a college student who goes into the Vietnam War after dropping out. He’s not given any importance by the other soldiers as he is just a naïve new boy who has never been in war before. As the War begins, Chris condition psychologically goes haywire as he fights to survive not only in the big battle but also the conflict within his Platoon.

9.    Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

  • IMDB Rating: 8.2/10
  • Movie Length: 139 minutes
  • Director: Mel Gibson
  • Actors: Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey
  • Gross revenue: $175.3 million

This movie is based on a real-life story of Desmond T. Doss, an army Medic who played a very significant role in the Battle of Okinawa. He was also the first American to be honoured with the ‘Medal of Honour’ without shooting. Desmond (Andrew Garfield) is a religious medic who is against killing people. He goes through a lot of trouble while enlisting in the US army and when he does, he saves many lives on the battlefield that seemed a lot like Hell. Hacksaw Ridge is a War movie which concludes that Heroes are not only those who protect and kill but also the ones who save lives.

10.  Dunkirk (2017)

  • IMDB Rating: 8/10
  • Movie Length: 106 minutes
  • Director: Christopher Nolan
  • Actors: Fionn Whitehead, Barry Keoghan, Mark Rylance
  • Gross revenue: $525.57 million

Dunkirk is one of the best war movies in terms of story, casting and especially Cinematography. Christopher Nolan has left no stone unturned with his venture into the time when ‘Survival was the most important’.

The British soldiers were trapped and surrounded by the German Army in 1940 during the Battle of France in WWII with no means to escape. This story is about the Evacuation of millions of soldiers from the harbour of Dunkirk.

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