Top 100 War Movies

Paths of Glory (1957)

Paths of Glory (1957)

Top 100 War Movies

Putting a list of the Top 100 War Movies of all times was a daunting task. After I entered my primary titles I has 133 films. The problem with these list is they are basically opinions and anyone could find fault with my reasoning. With that said I will push on with my list of the Top 100 War Movies. I have a reason and I will try to explain that in the narrative. Also I was surprised how many of these movies actually had an anti-war theme.

What I learned – never do more than 25 in a list. Some great movies ended up ranked in the 70s and 80s.

I am issuing you a challenge to add comments for the movies that I have inadvertently left off the list!

100The Conqueror (1956)The Conqueror (1956)The Conqueror (1956) is not only the worst war movie ever, it may be the worst movie of all times. However it should be watched because of its' connection to atom testing.
99The Green Berets (1968) posterThe Green Berets (1968) Widely panned as one of the worst war movies of all times, it is so bad it's fun to watch. Right-wing John Wayne uses his movie clout to explain why and how we should be fighting the Communist in Vietnam and around the world.
98The Undefeated (1969) PosterThe Undefeated (1969) Although not widely panned as the worst war movie ever, this tale of ex-Confederates fleeing to Mexico while ex-Union cavalry herds horses into the Mexican conflict with French emperor Maximilian, should be widely panned.
97300 (2006)300 (2006)300 Spartans face the might of the Persians Empire at Thermopylae in 480 B.C.
96Von Ryan's Express (1965)Von Ryan's Express (1965)In German, during World War II, an American POW escapes with a bunch of British prisoners.
95Men of the Fighting Lady (1954)Men of the Fighting Lady (1954)A famous writer visits aviators on a carrier during the Korean Conflict and learns what issues they really deal with.
94Alexander the Great (1956)Alexander the Great (1956)Cap and sword version of the life of Alexander the Great (July 356 - June 323 BC).
93The Lost Battalion (1919)The Lost Battalion (1919)Based on the true story of an American battalion cut off for 6 days in the Argonne Forest during World War I.
92Where Eagles Dare (1968)Where Eagles Dare (1968)Allied spy's raid a German castle to rescue an American General form the Nazis.
92Band of Angels (1957) posterBand of Angels (1957) Band of Angels (1957) has Clark Gable dealing with Yankees during the American Civil War. Not Gone with the Wind.
91The Boys in Company C (1978)The Boys in Company C (1978)In The Boys in Company C (1978) R. Lee Ermey trains young Marine's before they go to fight in Vietnam. Once there his lessons take hold.
89The Dam Busters (1955)The Dam Busters (1954)In this United Kingdom import, The Dam Busters (1954), the story of British attacks on German dams during World War II using a special type of bomb.
88Tears of the Sun (2003)Tears of the Sun (2003)A Special-Operator takes his team to a Nigerian jungle to rescue a doctor. She forces him to take a large group of refuges along with a determined enemy in hot pursuit.
87The Command (1954)The Command (1954)The Command (1954) has an army cavalry doctor, with no combat experience, taking command of a troop and wagon train in hostile Indian country.
86Hell's Angels (1930)Hell's Angels (1930)A hussy causes problems for a pair of brothers during World War I.
85The Wings of Eagles (1957)The Wings of Eagles (1957)A semi-true biography of Navy flier-turned-screenwriter Frank W. "Spig" Wead.
84Paratroop Command (1959)Paratroop Command (1955)During World War II a solider accidentally shoots one of his comrade and has to deal with the fallout.
83To Be or Not To Be (1942)To Be or Not To Be (1942)During World War II, a Polish acting troupe helps the underground ferret out a Nazi spy.
82Mediterraneo (1991) PosterMediterraneo (1991)Mediterraneo (1991) is an Italian film about a squad of Italian soldiers that are abandon on a small Greek island during World War II. Some become part of the community while others can only think of home.
81Go Tell the Spartans (1978)Go Tell the Spartans (1978)Burt Lancaster leads a group of US advisers during the early 1960s in Vietnam and finds out why the French army was chased out.
80A Farewell to Arms (1932)A Farewell to Arms (1932)A love affair between an ambulance driver and a Nurse during World War I.
79Enemy at the Gates (2001)Enemy at the Gates (2001)A German and Russian sniper hunt each other during the Battle of Stalingrad during World War II.
78Pearl Harbor (2001)Pearl Harbor (2001)A pitiful love story woven around Pearl Harbor and the Doolittle Raids in World War II.
77What Price Glory (1952)What Price Glory (1952)In WW I France, Captain Flagg commands a company of Marines but the new sergeant is his old enemy. This movie turns grim as the unit moves forward.
76All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)A young German soldier has his faith and hope destroyed by the fighting conditions in World War I trenches.
75Back to Bataan (1945)Back to Bataan (1945)In 1942, after the Philippines fall, John Wayne stays behind to win the war with commandos.
74Fort Apache (1948)Fort Apache (1948)A glory hungry lieutenant colonel with no respect for the local Indian tribe causes death and destruction although his reputation is maintained.
73Flying Leathernecks (1951)Flying Leathernecks (1951)The Flying Leathernecks (1951) focuses on a group of Marine aviators in the World War II Battle of Guadalcanal.
72Flying Tigers (1942)Flying Tigers (1942)The Flying Tigers (1942) has John Wayne commanding the famous American unit that fought in China before the Americans entered World War II.
71They Were Expendable (1945)They Were Expendable (1945)They Were Expendable (1945) is classic John Wayne World War II action focused on the role of American PT boats in the defense and evacuation of the Philippines.
70A Walk in the Sun (1945)A Walk in the Sun (1945)During World War II, a platoon of American's soldiers in Italy are looking for a bridge they have been ordered to blow. They find danger and death at every turn.
69Sands of Iwo Jima (1949)Sands of Iwo Jima (1949)John Wayne wins World War II at the Battle of Iwo Jima.
The Alamo (1960) Poster

The Alamo (1960) Poster

The Alamo (1960) The Alamo (1960) is a John Wayne epic that tells a fictionalized tale of the Texas fight for Independence from Mexico.
67Cast a Giant Shadow (1966)Cast a Giant Shadow (1966)In Cast a Giant Shadow (1966) Kurt Douglas leads an all-star cast in this fictionalized version of Israel's struggle for nationhood.
66The Big Red One (1980)The Big Red One (1980)The Big Red One (1980)The Big Red One (1980) is the World War II actions of a squad in the first division as they go through the theaters of operation.
65High Road to China (1983)High Road to China (1983)During WW1, an drunken American pilot is hired by the spoiled daughter of an inventor to find her father who was last seen travelling in Asia.
64Breaker Morant (1980)Breaker Morant (1980)Breaker Morant (1980) is an Australian movie about three Australian Commandos that were scapegoated during The Boar War.
63The Fighting 69th (1940)The Fighting 69th (1940)James Cagney as a coward in World War I
62Zulu (1964)Zulu (1964)Michael Caine is fantastic in Zulu (1964) where he is a second in command officer at Rorke's Drift during the Anglo-Zulu War.
61 (1959)The Horse Soldiers (1959) is the story of a Union cavalry raid during the Vicksburg campaign where John Wayne's and William Holden's characters battle about moral issues.
60In Harm's Way (1965) posterIn Harm's Way (1963) This outstanding ensemble cast follows from just before Pearl Harbor in 1941 until around mid-1942 when the balance of power shifted in the Pacific. This is a very enjoyable character driven story when extols the virtues of personal responsibility.
59Fury (2014)Fury (2014)Late in World War II, an American tank crew attempts to stop a much larger German force.
58None But the Brave (1965)None But the Brave (1965)Stranded Japanese and American forces declare a truce when they are all trapped on an island.
57The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954)The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954)During the Korean Conflict Naval pilots are sent to the same target repeatedly until things end badly.
56Rules of Engagement (2000)Rules of Engagement (2000)Samuel L. Jackson loudly shoots locals and an embassy and loudly goes on trial.
55Battle of Britain (1969)Battle of Britain (1969)The Battle of Britain (1969) is an English film that focuses on the repulse of the Nazi aerial campaign in 1940.
54Jarhead (2005)Jarhead (2005)Young Marines in during Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
53Hell In The Pacific (1968)Hell In The Pacific (1968)Lee Marvin and Toshirô Mifune fighting to the death on a deserted island during World War II. |
52Enigma (1982) posterEnigma (1982)Cold War fair as a CIA agent tries to infiltrate KGB intelligence service to stop a murderous plot.
51The Thin Red Line (1998)The Thin Red Line (1998)This movie tells the story of Marines at Guadalcanal during World War II.
50Flags of Our Fathers (2006)Flags of Our Fathers (2006)The true stories of the six men that raised the America flag on Mount Suribachi following the Battle of Iwo Jima inn World War II.
49Victory (1981)Victory (1981)Victory (1981) is an enjoyable war farce as allied prisoners use a soccer match to escape from a German prisoner of war camp during World War II.
48We Were Soldiers (2002)We Were Soldiers (2002)We Were Soldiers (2002) is the story of the first major battle in Vietnam when American faced North Vietnamese Regulars.
47Battle of the Bulge (1965) PosterBattle of the Bulge (1965)The Battle of the Bulge (1965) is a highly fictionalized telling of the action during the December 1994 battle.
46The Chosen (1981)The Chosen (1981)Two youths from different backgrounds struggle as the state of Israeli is being founded.
45Kelly’s Heroes (1970)Kelly’s Heroes (1970)A group of American soldiers cross enemy lines to steal a secret stash of Nazi treasure and start winning the war by accident.
44The Guns of Navarone (1961)The Guns of Navarone (1961)A team of British commandos are sent to Greece to destroy a massive German coastal battery.
43Hamburger Hill (1987)Hamburger Hill (1987)Hamburger Hill (1987) is a realistic telling of one of the bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War when American's repeated attempted to take a hill. This movie is noted for showing the true closeness of combat.
42The Deer Hunter (1978)The Deer Hunter (1978)Very much like the Vietnam War on LSD and people escaping from that movie place where your friend falls into molten metal before you change your life. See: Rudy (1993)
41Wings (1927)Wings (1927)Class, love, and war are factors in this World War I silent classic.
40Ran (1985)Ran (1985)A Japaneses movie, Ran (1985) is beautifully filmed Samurai epic.
39Gallipoli (1981) PosterGallipoli (1981)An Australian film, Gallipoli (1981) is the story of ANZACs fighting the Turkish in World War I at the Gallipoli peninsula.
Battleground (1949)

Battleground (1949)

Battleground (1949)Battleground (1949) is a gritty drama about the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944.
37The Dawn Patrol (1938)The Dawn Patrol (1938)British flyer in World War I contend with command, friendship, and the realities of war.
36Apocalypse Now (1979)Apocalypse Now (1979)A Green Beret is sent to Cambodia to kill an American Colonel that has made himself a god to the locals. This film is set during the Vietnam War.
35MASH (1970)MASH (1970)MASH (1970) comically follows a group of surgeons and support staff during the Korean Conflict.
34From Here to Eternity (1953)From Here to Eternity (1953)Burt Lancaster trains a group of men in the lead up to Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.
33The Longest Day (1962)The Longest Day (1962)The Longest Day (1962) features an international cast at it focuses on D-Day, June 6, 1944, during World War II.
32Midway (1976)Midway (1976)Midway (1976) features an international cast in this story of the first major naval defeat of the Japaneses in World War II.
31They Came to Cordura (1959)They Came to Cordura (1959)In They Came to Cordura (1959) Gary Cooper is masterful as a coward examining what makes a man a hero one and a coward at another time.
30Seven Days in May (1964)Seven Days in May (1964)Seven Days in May (1964) is a Cold War story of nuclear treaties and treason featuring an all-star cast.
29To Hell and Back (1955)To Hell and Back 1955)Cowboy actor Audie Murphy stars in his life story rising from a poor farmer to the most decorated man in World War II.
27The Great Escape (1963)The Great Escape (1963)The Great Escape (1963) features an ensemble cast in this highly fictionalized version of an escape from a German prisoner of war camp during World War II.
26Run Silent Run Deep (1958)Run Silent Run Deep (1958)An American submarine commander is obsessed with a specific Japanese ship and has conflicts with his crew.
25The Dirty Dozen (1967)The Dirty Dozen (1967)The Dirty Dozen (1967) is a very enjoyable movie where Lee Marvin character trains a group of condemned prisoners for a commando raid during World War II.
24The General (1926)The General (1926)Based on a true story that happened during the American Civil War, this silent movie sets the bar for using trains and Keaton is amazing with the physical comedy that he undertakes. When Union spies steal the engineer's locomotive, he pursues with total disregard for his own safety.
23Lawrence of Arabia (2003)Lawrence of Arabia (1962)Lawrence of Arabia (2003) tells the story of British officer T.E. Lawrence leading an Arab revolt during World War I to help Allies.
23Black Hawk Down (2001)Black Hawk Down (2001)Black Hawk Down (2001) tells the story of a failed American raid during our Somalian operations
22The Last Samurai (2003)The Last Samurai (2003)In The Last Samurai (2003) Tom Cruise goes from Custer's US 7th cavalry to the struggle of Japaneses imperialism.
21Pork Chop Hill (1959)Pork Chop Hill (1959)This movie is set near the end of the Korean Conflict. A small group of soldiers are holding Pork Chop Ridge while Chinese negotiators send increasing numbers of attacks to test the American will as they try to gain an advantage in the peace negotiations.
20The Last of the Mohicans (1992)The Last of the Mohicans (1992)The Last of the Mohicans (1992) is based on the James Fenimore Cooper novel is set during the French and Indian War. This is an action packed and exciting movie.
19Command Decision (1948)Command Decision (1948)Command Decision (1948) is a well acted story of Army Air Corp generals in World War II struggle with the decision to bomb German jet factories although the mission cause excessive US loses.
18The Caine Mutiny (1954)The Caine Mutiny (1954)The Caine Mutiny (1954) is on my list of the greatest movies ever. This movie tells the story of a broken-down Destroyer Captain played masterfully by Humphrey Bogart and the crew that fails to support him.
17Full Metal jacket (1987)Full Metal jacket (1987)In Full Metal jacket (1987) R. Lee Ermey trains young Marine's before they go to fight in Vietnam. Once there his lessons take hold.
16The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)In The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) the Japanese force British prisoners of war to build a bridge but the one American there saves the day.
15Platoon (1986)Platoon (1986)Platoon (1986) is a gritty Vietnam movie directed by Olive Stone a veteran of that war.
14Master and Commander (2003)Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)Master and Commander (2003) is ranked so highly because it is hard to find good wooden ship action and this movie has it in spades. Set in the Napoleonic Wars this story follows an ocean spanning battle between two isolated ships.
13The Patriot (2000) posterThe Patriot (2000)Mel Gibson plays on over the top version of The Swamp Fox, Francis Marion, in this re-imagined Revolutionary War tale of the southern campaign.
12The Train (1964)The Train (1964)Burt Lancaster is amazing as a French train yard manager fighting the Nazis with agility and guile in the World War II drama as he fights to protect French art in The Train (1964).
10Sergeant York (1941) posterSergeant York (1941)Sergeant York (1941) is based on the life of Alvin C. York, Gary Cooper plays the most decorated man in World War I. He journeys from a backwoods pacifist to a war hero.
11Courage Under Fire (1996) PosterCourage Under Fire (1996)In Operation Desert Storm the meaning of courage and cowardice are explored following a friendly fire incident and an attempted mutiny.
9Kingdom of Heaven (2005) PosterKingdom of Heaven (2005)Kingdom of Heaven (2005) follows the arc of a young blacksmith, played by Orlando Bloom, as he travels from France to the Holy Land and become involved in the battle for Jerusalem in one of the last European crusades.
8Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) PosterTora! Tora! Tora! (1970)Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) shows the lead-up to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and all of the American blunders that allowed the attack to happen. This is much better that the movie Pearl Harbor (2001) and the aerial work is fantastic.
7Das Boot (1981) PosterDas Boot (1981)Das Boot (1981) is an East German export realistically capture the claustrophobia of U-Boat life during World War II.
6Saving Private Ryan (1998) PosterSaving Private Ryan (1998)Saving Private Ryan (1998) is set in World War II shortly after D-Day as a group of Rangers attempt to location one man amidst the chaos in Normandy.
5Paths of Glory (1957) PosterPaths of Glory (1957)Paths of Glory (1957) is a World War I movie following the aftermath of a failed attack. Kirk Douglas does a fantastic job as the main character.
4Dr. Strangelove (1964) PosterDr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)Dr. Strangelove (1964) is a big anti-war spoof. Stanley Kubrick did a masterful job directing this comedy with a serious streak.
3Patton (1970) PosterPatton (1970)Patton (1970) is a pro-war movie that covers the checkered World War II career of Gen. George S. Patton.
2Stalag 17 (1953)Stalag 17 (1953)Stalag 17 (1953) is one of my favorites. William Holden is masterful as the isolated Prisoner-of-War and his final scenes are amazing.
1A Bridge Too Far (1977)A Bridge Too Far (1977)A Bridge Too Far (1977) covers operation Market Garden during World War II. It was a British plan to capture three bridge into Germany and end the war by Christmas 1944. They captures two of the three bridges. This movie has a strong anti-war bias.


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