With our upcoming MILFcast guest this week I was inspired to do a list reflecting my favorite war movies. With so many classics like The Bridge On The River Kwai, The Deer Hunter, Platoon, Full Metal Jacket, Gone With The Wind, The Patriot, All Quiet On The Western Front, Letters From Iwo Jima, Flags Of Our Fathers, Tora! Tora! Tora!, and We Were Soldiers it’s difficult to make a list without excluding some particularly awesome movies. These ten are my personal favorites and the ones that have resonated most profoundly in my existence.
10. SCHINDLERS LIST
What can I say? Steven Speilberg knows how to make films about war. This black and white tale leaves you time to focus on nothing but the story. Oskar Schindler opens a factory in occupied Poland and employs Jewish workers as cheap labour. On good terms with German officers, his motive is to simply make a profit. Gradually, he is moved by the plight of the Jewish population and he uses his position to save hundreds of Jews destined for the Concentration Camp. The tragedy of the movie is how incredibly realistic it is. There is nothing but raw emotion that sells this film and it really emotes the horror of those that lost or lost.
The battle for Freedom might be something to visual behold but mostly it’s a cry against oppression. Like a few other battles here, they may feel slightly inspired, but there is a reason for that. The power of freedom, the fight for freedom has been something ingrained in our minds and the most important thing worth fighting for. Braveheart , Gladiator, and 300 are all movies that defend the human rights of man. The right to be free. There is no stance more powerful to get behind, and though Braveheart started out being driven by vengeance it evolved into a film that is iconic because of the strength of it’s message. The sacrifices of freedom, of choice, and that along with great action and effects is what made the battle in Braveheart so earth shatteringly good.
8. GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES
Grave Of The Fireflies is gripping from start to finish showing a unique perspective on two orphans surviving a war ridden country. The sorrow and tragedy of their lives and the effect war has on a people is deeply explored through the eyes of these children. It is gut wrenching and heart aching. The intensity and harshness of a nation, actually looking at the result of war rather than the battle. The hopelessness of their situation, and the constant struggle to survive was maddening torture. The coldness of others, and the feeling of solitude delivered in waves of dense melancholy. It’s message was pure and it’s tragedy was impossible not to empathize with.
7. EMPIRE OF THE SUN
It’s 1941 and the Japanese have invaded Shanghai. A young British boy is separated from his parents and taken to a Japanese camp. He befriends a smuggler played by John Malkovich, and so much time goes by the boy forgets what his parents look like. He obsesses over the war planes and their pilots. What the child goes threw growing with no parents, no sense of culture of identity is sad, but the final scene is just terrible. This is a brilliant movie, but difficult to watch.
6. THE HURT LOCKER
Kathryn Bigelow did a phenomenal job putting this film together. The subject matter, the setting, and the situation may not have had a large appeal to people ended up evolving into one of the most riveting movies of the decade and certainly one of the most outstanding this year. The weight men carry that have to do things we can’t imagine, how it changes them, and how it solidifies some in their ways were only some of the character trials explored. Sanborn’s reflection at the end says it all. Some men do what they have to do to get by, and some men were built for the job.
Glory was based on the letters of Colonel Robert G. Shaw. Shaw was an officer in the Federal Army during the American Civil War who volunteered to lead the first company of black soldiers. Played by Matthew Broderick, he befriends one of the black soldiers and must deal with not only the hatred of the south but even his own officers prejudice. It’s a touching movie that really captures the essence of the struggles of a nation during the civil war.
George S. Patton is played by George C. Scott in one of the best performances of all time. Wars have been shown threw the eyes of soldiers, the enemies, and the people, but seldom an interpretation through the general that had a huge part in the failure or success of that war, and Patton while hated by some and revered by others is one of the most compelling Generals in our history. The story begins with Patton’s career in North Africa and progresses through the invasion of Germany and the fall of the Third Reich.
3. APOCALYPSE NOW
It is the height of the war in Vietnam, and U.S. Army Captain Willard is sent by Colonel Lucas and a General to carry out a mission that, officially, ‘does not exist – nor will it ever exist’. The mission: To seek out a mysterious Green Beret Colonel, Walter Kurtz, whose army has crossed the border into Cambodia and is conducting hit-and-run missions against the Viet Cong and NVA. This film is all about the characters and the profound affect war has on individuals. The different perspectives are naturally unveiled but the utter darkness of the film is what really grips you.
2. BLACK HAWK DOWN
Black Hawk Down offers a very profound view to an event that really transpired in Somalia during the Clinton administration. It clearly sets itself apart from other War films or epics by short-cutting back and forth between the individual experiences of the men during this surmountable mission gone bad. The brutality of war, the violence of war has all been portrayed before, but not in the way that Ridley Scott shot this film. It almost felt more documentary at times, connecting the viewer directly to the military men you were focused on. By the end of the film you don’t ask yourself if it was worth it, you don’t reflect on the political aspect of the situation, nor do you reflect on the aspect of the battle and war itself. You simply think about the men. It’s as complicated and simple as that.
1. SAVING PRIVATE RYAN
As brutal as this unforgiving and relentless part of Saving Private Ryan is, the physical and the personal points it burns with is a wicked combination of entertainment and the painful and awful realization that this is as true as fiction has come to showing us what war is truly like. For the same reasons Black Hawk Down was so engaging and touched me so personally is the same feel I have for this scene in Private Ryan. Each time I watch it I feel my eyes burning from holding back tears, and my throat dries with apprehension and fear. It’s a physical response to something that says a hell of a lot more than big booms and stuff exploding. It is both riveting and tragic and nothing comes close to it.
Remember, we here at Man, I Love Films don’t do definitive lists. We do our favorites and we want to hear yours. So, make sure and tell us about them in the comments section below.