25 Best War Movies of All Time

POSTED BY , UPDATED ON May 30th, 2015


15. Platoon (1986)

Platoon (1986)

This 1986 war film depicting events of the Vietnam War was directed by Oliver Stone, and it stars Charlie Sheen as a college dropout who has volunteered for combat duty. It is based, partially, on Stone’s own experiences as a U.S. infantryman, and it was one of the first films about the Vietnam War to paint the conflict in an unflattering light.

Though it drifts away from the conventions of most popular war movies. but it is unique and imaginative in its storytelling, and it features some wonderful performances from all of the involved actors.


14. The Great Escape (1963)

The Great Escape

The movie takes place during the World War 2 and is based off a true story about a group of allied prisoners-of-war (POW’s) who are all put in a presumably unescapable camp.

These POWs, however are all escape artists who try their best to outwit their jailers and to dig the escape tunnel in hilarious ways (using boats, trains and planes to free themselves from occupied Europe).


13. Full Metal Jacket (1987)

 Full Metal Jacket

This movie was divided into 2 segments, with one part following a group of recruits in training camp who are under the command of the brutal Sergeant Hartman.

And, the other part focusing on those recruits – Joker, Animal Mother, Rafterman and others facing real combat scenarios such as sniper ambushes – as they traverse through the North Vietnamese resistance.


12. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

This 1957 movie directed by the legendary David Lean is an all-time classic that features a stunning performance by Alec Guinness, many years before he became famous to younger audiences for portraying Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars films.

The movie follows a group of British prisoners of war as they are made to work on the construction of a crucial bridge over the titular river. The movie builds an amazing amount of tension between Guinness’ character and the prison camp’s nefarious colonel, played by Sessue Hayakawa, before eventually releasing the tension in a spectacular fashion.

The movie is considered by many to be one of the greatest war movies of all time, and some also consider it to be one of the most enjoyable films of any genre.


11. Come and See (1985)

Come and See

An ingenious drama and psychological thriller film that is set in the Soviet war that took place during the Nazi German occupation of the Byelorussian SSR.

The movie tells us the story of Flyora and Glasha as they are forced to team up with the Soviet resistance to fight against the Germans. They witness the brutality of war and survive horrifying situations that force them to lose all their childlike imaginations and slowly become insane.


10. Paths of Glory (1957)

 Paths of Glory

Paths of Glory is a very class conscious film that is based off of a real episode that took place during World War I. The film tells the tale of a group of soldiers who refuse to perform an impossible mission and how cruelly their commander treats them for disobeying.

This film tries to portray how wrong is the theory that all soldiers are simply pawns in a General’s chess game.


9. Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

Letters from Iwo Jima

Letters from Iwo Jima is a film from the Japanese perspective of World War 2. It was released with its contrasting sister movie, “Flags of Our Fathers”, which portrayed the American perspective.

Letters from Iwo Jima is an American war film that is in the Japanese language and tells the story of the fierce bloody battle of Iwo Jima that took place between the United States and Imperial Japan during World War II.


8. The Big Red One (1980)

The Big Red One

The Big Red One talks about the horrors of seeing people die and being replaced over and over again during a war.

A veteran sergeant of World War I returns to serve the First division, Big Red One, in World War II along with 3 other survivors during D-Day at Omaha Beach. They experience survivor’s guilt and re-experience the pain and cruelty of war.


7. The Hurt Locker (2008)

The Hurt Locker war film

The Hurt locker tells the incredible tale of a bomb squad who is forced to play a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse in the chaos of Iraq War.

Their new leader is a loose cannon and seems indifferent to death as apparent by his will to sacrifice anything. However, his true character is slowly revealed in a terrific way that changes each man’s life forever.


6. La Battaglia di Algeri (The Battle of Algiers) (1966)

La Battaglia di Algeri (The Battle of Algiers)

Set in 1954, this film is a telling of one of the bloodiest battles in history. The film starts with the NLF shooting several Policemen, causing the police to counter-attack, killing many civilians.

The NLF further retaliates which invokes the police to call in the military which then uses torture to break the NLF. However, after many years of struggle, the Algerians finally gain the independent peace they longed for in 1962.