Jim A.

Favorite war movies

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One of my favorite genres of films is the war movie, or the military story.

My favorites are:

TWELVE O'CLOCK HIGH

THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER

THE GREAT ESCAPE

LAWRENCE OF ARABIA

GLORY

PATTON

A BRIDGE TOO FAR

THE SANDS OF IWO JIMA

SEVEN DAYS IN MAY

BREAKER MORANT

DECISION BEFORE DAWN

I haven't seen The Longest Day all the way through, so I can't vouch for it.

Any I've missed? (And, of course, I don't really give a damn about "anti-war" films such as Apocalypse Now or Platoon, no matter how well made.)

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One of my favorite genres of films is the war movie, or the military story.

I haven't seen The Longest Day all the way through, so I can't vouch for it.

Any I've missed? (And, of course, I don't really give a damn about "anti-war" films such as Apocalypse Now or Platoon, no matter how well made.)

The one that had the greatest affect on me, was the original "All Quiet On The Western Front". I now own the DVD of this movie, which Hitler banned as being anti war. Actually, it is more anti-blind-nationalism than anti war.

This was one of the earliest sound movies, but the restoration on the DVD is good. It is a recognized classic, and was redone later in the fifties with Ernest Borgnine. I have not seen that version, and can't imagine it having the impact of the one done only 12 years after the war in question.

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"WHERE EAGLES DARE" (1969)

available at http://www.amazon.com/Where-Eagles-Dare-Ri...9891&sr=8-2

A masterpiece, with an exciting, intricate plot -- starring Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood and the late Mary Ure,

with a thrilling soundtrack by Ron Goodwin.

Warning: the Alistair MacLean novel on which the film is based is morally corrupt. The movie is totally uncompromising in its moral absolutism: you kill Nazis--as many as humanly possible. (And they DO.) But in the novel, the protagonist goes out of his way to save a Nazi from burning to death.

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This is really tough, because there are too many to remember.

A few more:

The Blue Max, 1966, with George Peppard and James Mason.

The Bridge on the River Kwai, 1957, with William Holden and Alec Guiness.

An Officer and a Gentleman, 1982, Louis Gossett Jr., and Richard Gere

A Few Good Men, 1992, Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson

Brave Heart, 1995, Mel Gibson

Gladiator, 2000, Russell Crow, Richard Harris

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Gladiator, 2000, Russell Crow, Richard Harris

Gladiator is a superlative Romantic movie, though I'm not sure I'd classify it in the war genre.

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Gladiator, 2000, Russell Crow, Richard Harris

Gladiator is a superlative Romantic movie, though I'm not sure I'd classify it in the war genre.

Absolutely, it’s one of my all time favorite movies. I wavered on the classification a bit, but he did say "the war movie, or the military story". I figured it had a strong military component to it, since Maximus Meridas was a General, and because the Praetorian Guard was involved in helping him to take power back via the military, but mostly I just wanted to squeeze it in. :P

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The one that had the greatest affect on me, was the original "All Quiet On The Western Front". I now own the DVD of this movie, which Hitler banned as being anti war. Actually, it is more anti-blind-nationalism than anti war.

This was one of the earliest sound movies, but the restoration on the DVD is good. It is a recognized classic, and was redone later in the fifties with Ernest Borgnine. I have not seen that version, and can't imagine it having the impact of the one done only 12 years after the war in question.

It was very well done, but the senselessness it portrays is extremely depressing -- but so was the war and what it represented.

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One of my favorite genres of films is the war movie, or the military story.

My favorites are:

TWELVE O'CLOCK HIGH

THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER

THE GREAT ESCAPE

LAWRENCE OF ARABIA

GLORY

PATTON

A BRIDGE TOO FAR

THE SANDS OF IWO JIMA

SEVEN DAYS IN MAY

BREAKER MORANT

DECISION BEFORE DAWN

I'd add:

The Charge of the Light Brigade

The Guns of Navarone

Thirty-Six Hours

Tora! Tora! Tora!

Midway

Zulu

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Good topic. Patton and Midway are among the tops for me. I also love HBO's Band of Brothers for the realism, strong characters (and terrific acting!), deep plot lines, and historical scope; Saving Private Ryan, too, for the same reasons, but I have to block out the mixed altruism. I also like sub dramas like Robert Mitchum's The Enemy Below and the gripping and exhausting Das Boot. Even though it's anti-war and fatalistic, Kubrick's Paths of Glory is great, with Kirk Douglas as a rational, moral hero among mindless, sacrificial leaders.

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Oops, I forgot to mention Force 10 From Navarone, which focuses on a small covert mission, but has an entertaining story and great acting from the likes of Harrison Ford, Robert Shaw, and Edward Fox.

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Some good ones have already been mentioned, and I'll enthusiastically second the recommendations for

Where Eagles Dare

Guns of Navarone

Glory

Patton

And I'll add

Gettysburg

633 Squadron (About a WWII British air attack against a German rocket fuel factory.)

I've also heard good reports on these, but not seen them myself (yet):

The Desert Fox

The Desert Rats.

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Like Bill Bucko, I, too, like Where Eagles Dare alot. But I consider it more of a spy thriller than a "war movie".

The focus of the story is more on the ingeniousness of covert actions by Major John Smith, Lieutenant Schaffer and the men under them, than it is on their willingness to shed their own blood for a strong personal value. And as a spy thriller--which happens to be set during WW II--it is terrific!

My favorite scene in the whole movie is the one in Castle Schloss-Adler, when Smith and Shaffer are holding high officers of the Wehrmacht at gunpoint, and playing a game of "Who's Who?" The scene epitomizes the best in spy fiction: it demands that one keep track of context; the viewer has to constantly ask himself: "Who's spying for what country? Oh, and now that we know this, who's spying on that spy?", and so on. And I love it when the German Colonel who cannot stand the young Gestapo officer sees him enter the room with a pistol, stands up and says "Thank God you're here, Major" and the Gestapo officer points his pistol at him and says "SIT DOWN, COLONEL!" That was great, because it showed the heroes of the story were successfully creating conflicts amonst the Germans.

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What do people think of Blackhawk Down? I enjoyed it...

To me The Longest Day is hard to beat.

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What do people think of Blackhawk Down? I enjoyed it...

I think it did a good job of telling a naturalistic real-life story, but depressing because of the modern setting in Somalia. If it had been a WW2 story, there would have been a lot more Somalians dead from carpet bombing, rather than a few isolated American soldiers struggling to survive the assaults of stone-age savages from small arms fire.

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One of my favorite genres of films is the war movie, or the military story.

My favorites are:

TWELVE O'CLOCK HIGH

THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER

THE GREAT ESCAPE

LAWRENCE OF ARABIA

GLORY

PATTON

A BRIDGE TOO FAR

THE SANDS OF IWO JIMA

SEVEN DAYS IN MAY

BREAKER MORANT

DECISION BEFORE DAWN

I haven't seen The Longest Day all the way through, so I can't vouch for it.

Any I've missed? (And, of course, I don't really give a damn about "anti-war" films such as Apocalypse Now or Platoon, no matter how well made.)

Thumbs up for pretty much all the films mentioned in the thread until now plus

Battle of the Bulge - Robert Shaw doing a great Nazi portrayal

They died with their boots on - Any Errol Flynn movie involving conflict is watchable

Things to come - a pre-WW2 anti-war movie, but very good, albeit Wells 'solution' is worse than the problem

And revealing my British prejudices:

The Battle of Britain - What it means to be a Brit? seeing Nazis bitterly dumping life-jackets and marching away from Calais at the end of the movie

Sink the Bismark - Okay the cinematography is poor, but again, you can feel the upper lip stiffening, and

Battle of the River Plate - Again, all about the attitudes of the various characters involved, including one of the very first sympathetic post war German potrayals

And if anyone liked 'Zulu' check out 'Zulu Dawn' for a portrayal of military incomptence on a grand scale

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(And, of course, I don't really give a damn about "anti-war" films such as Apocalypse Now or Platoon, no matter how well made.)

I must resurrect this thread, since this is something I have wondered for a while and here's the occasion to clear it up. First, I agree with your assessment of Platoon.

Why do so many people think Apocalypse Now is anti-war/hippy?

I see it as a movie about truth - this IS war. It's not pretty. It's not clean. This is what we have to do to defend our values.

I know a bunch of guys who are fond of Army-related things, and who like to watch AN with a bottle of red wine and rare steaks. It is one of my favourite movies (and the one I consider the best in "war" movies).

I saw in the (definitely anti-war) Jarhead the US forces got a morale boost from watching the helicopter scene.

I thought it was a fantastic movie, one that dared show war as it really is, as opposed to staged battles between two front lines or cute draftees shaking with terror and eventually being gutted alive after accidentally killing a comrade.

Sure, they attack a cute village with kids being shown out of a school (this attack I showed my little brother when he was 10, so that he wouldn't make the mistake of other kids who saw war as a video game. Sure enough he turned white. He became far more mature than his peers). Sure, they didn't show much communist cruelty and their astonishing ingenuity (The Green Berets had enough of that for the generation, I think - another fantastic movie). But, what's wrong with:

1. the objective being depicted: Kurz has taken war into his own hands. He knows that the war cannot be won if you are bound by nonsensical engagement rules that get tighter every day, despite your superior firepower and resources. He creates an elite unit, that fights war like it is meant to be fought - efficiently, by specialists, and for the right values (against communism, which knows no moral limits). This efficiency "must" be terminated by the government, much like the government in many countries has often been scared of The Good and cut off the tap to it especially if the government senses they are losing control (Mermoz had a lot of nasty things to say about French bureaucrats killing the French air industry, for example).

2. The spirit in the French plantation. This was how I guess my grandad (he was a colonel in our colonies) and great-grandad (a general in the colonies) felt. They died too early for me to be able to ask them, unfortunately, but the rows of medals, the pride of my grandmother, and the many photos say so eloquently enough. Makes a nice difference from the usual depiction of the French as cowards. Some of us actually have values. "I am a French officer". One of the most powerful quotes in the film, for me, because what he was saying is "I will fight to the death to defend my property and way of life. My government has given up. I won't. I'll continue. Living under servitude, or having given up my property, is not worth it for me."

3. The way Willard feels. To me, it seems fine. He's a professional. He enjoys his job. Most people probably wouldn't invite him for dinner (I would). He's so... competent. Yeah, he drinks. Well, being in the Army is damn boring, most of the time. My friends in the British forces used to trade their much more generous beer rations with the Americans in Iraq! It's not like he has to worry about liver damage, considering his line of employment. Makes a nice difference from the usual hippie movie "college kid drafted against his will and terrified of everything".

4. The "crazy" commanding officer that asks them to surf the beach. Well, that was just brilliant leadership. Here was what used to be a bunch of scared kids, with little combat experience, turned into motivated soldiers who will obey his orders and do their job. The BBQ! Fantastic. "This is America, even if we are thousands of miles away from home."

Yes, it's a negative movie, in many ways. But so is Watchmen, which had a powerful message against the evils of altruism (or at least the characterial flaws of its proponents, and the problems a powerful elite coupled with the concept of a "common good" could create). I enjoy watching AN and Watchmen again for that reason.

What did I miss?

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SEVEN DAYS IN MAY

This was more like a coup d'etat movie, rather than a war movie.

Bob Kolker

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Sink the Bismark! One of my favorite movies ever since I saw it as a kid in the middle of the night while the rest of the family slept.

Also:

Kurosawa's Seven Samurai

Branagh's Henry V

Das Boot

I'll put in a plug for the TV series, Combat!, with Vic Morrow.

The version of Apocalypse Now that was initially released years ago was much more anti-American and "hippie" than the cut shown in theaters more recently.

The Dam Busters is a remarkable British film that focuses on two amazing men: inventor Dr. Barnes Wallis and Wing Commander Guy Gibson.

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