1. Saving Private Ryan
The year is 1944, and the world is caught up in the turmoil of World War 2. In Washington DC, it is brought to General Marshall’s notice that three out of the four boys of the Ryan family are killed in action and their mother, Mrs. Ryan is to receive the information about the deaths on the very same day. Learning that the fourth son is missing in action, General Marshall orders that he must immediately be brought home, and to carry out the mission, he assembles a group of seven, headed by Captain Miller, played by
. Backed by a stellar cast and a solid screenplay, this film explores the inhumanity of war, while also giving a humane touch to the soldiers caught up in it.
2. The Boy In The Striped Pajamas
The boy in the Striped Pajamas, directed by Mark Herman is based on the book of the same name. Bruno and his family move to the countryside due to their father’s promotion where he encounters a boy in striped pajamas on the other side of the barbed wire which encloses a concentration camp. What comes out, in this movie, through the wretchedness of war and genocide is the sweet innocence of the two young boys that almost invariably make even the stone-hearted tear up! Though not a war movie in itself it still made it to this list because it showcases how war and genocide inadvertently leaves it simpression on young child.
3. Schindler’s List
For anyone wanting to comprehend the horrors of the Holocaust Schindler’s list is a must watch. Steven Spielberg’s handiwork, it is based on the true story of Oskar Schindler who saved almost a thousand Jews from the gas chambers by employing them in his factory. The list here refers to Oskar Schindler’s list of Jews he wanted to save. How a German industrialist stands up for what he believes is right, under an extremely oppressive Nazi government, the wretchedness that prevailed at the time, and the humanity that exists even in the darkest times, is depicted vividly in the film.
4. All Quiet On The Western Front
Paul Balmer is in high school when he enlists in the German Army with his friends during World War 1 with the false fervor instilled in them by their teacher. Within a few days in service, our hero sees the futility of war; and as the films plays out we get to see his disillusionment of war strengthening every day. What I personally loved was the exploration of the primal emotions of the soldiers. Like when a French soldier lands in his trench, our protagonist doesn’t hesitate to stick a bayonet into him; such is the instinct for survival. Also, the detachment the soldier feels when he returns home briefly from the pathos and gruesomeness of war is established through our young soldier. For anyone looking to grasp the hard truths of a war, this movie is an eye-opener.
5. Jar Head
Starring the incredibly talented
and several other notable actors, Jarhead is a biographical tale of the Anthony Swofford and his time as a U.S. Marine sniper. Based on a book of the same name, Jarhead follows the protagonist through his different stages in the Marines right from boot camp to the time he served in the Gulf war.
The Great Escape is a World War 2 epic about how the prisoners of war plan the greatest escape in history from the Germans. Directed by John Sturges, it bagged several awards and was even nominated for the Academy Awards.
The Hurt Locker is a war film directed by Kathryn Bigelow about a maverick Sergeant who is assigned to the Iraq War Explosive Ordnance Disposal team. The guy seems to be a maniac, bent on risking it all with his eccentric and unconventional ways. Sergeant William James, played by the incredibly talented
, fascinates us with his skills with bombs, eccentricity, easy-going nature and his uncanny love for his job.
8. Full Metal Jacket
Full metal jacket is a take on the Vietnam War that follows the story of an 18-year old Marine Private Joker from his time spent in the savage boot camp to the fighting that takes place on the streets of Hue. Directed by Stanley Kubrick, we get to observe firsthand the debilitating effects of war on the soldiers involved through the eyes of our smart-ass hero.
Glory, is a 1989 film boasting actors of the likes of
. It tells the tale of a brave white officer Robert Shaw, who takes on the responsibility of heading a battalion of Black soldiers and doesn’t back down even when faced with dire threats and consequences for his actions.
10. The Thin Red Line
It is a gripping tale of a group of soldiers and the battle that took place at Guadalcanal during World War 2. The Title refers to a quote from James Jones book which goes "they discover the thin red line that divides the sane from the mad... and the living from the dead..." Directed by Terrence Malick and backed by a stellar cast the film has won many awards.