On Facebook, I was asked to do a list of War Movies. But when you do that you tie the list to too much of a specific thing… So I modified the request and made it Military Movies. With that it gives license to choose movies that don’t necessarily have the background of a full blown war but that have a military aspect about it.
I am also taking the four big ones out of the List. They are fantastic movies, but I believe there are others that I enjoy that are lesser known. The big four are of course Apocalypse Now, Saving Private Ryan, Platoon and Full Metal Jacket. Those are the best, biggest to me.
Now some of you are going to read the list and say “TAMN, what are you… freaking high? Where is ‘Act of Valor’?” I did not include ‘Act of Valor’ for one reason and one reason only; I have not seen it yet. Everyone who has seen it says that it is fantastic and one of the best war movies ever made. I can’t argue with that just yet. I need to see it and I know I will. Give it time dear readers… give it time.
So… that said…
Here is a list, in no particular order, of my favorite Military Movies.
Audie Murphy & John Wayne
There is no way to do a list of Military movies without having a movie from these two men in it. But there is the problem. There is no way for me to pick just one. The list would be a bajillion movies long if I included every good War/Military movie these two have made.
Not to mention just listing the accomplishments of Audie Murphy in actual war time. The man had more than 27 decorations for his actions during WWII… Seriously. Just wow…
And John Wayne is the most prolific leading man in the history of film. He has been the lead in all by 11 of his movies. Think about that. Over 140 times he has played the leading man in a film.
So I give respect to both these men. They hold a place of honor in every way possible.
You need to have a Military Movie that deals with planes, why not one about the ‘Flying Fortress’? This movie is about the crew of a B-17 on its 25th mission in the European theater during WWII. If they return from this mission they will have completed their tour of duty. And if their past 24 mission are any indication of this one, they will be fine. Of course this being a movie, we know this 25th mission will not be smooth sailing like the others.
With a really solid cast, this film pulled several heartstrings, tickled a few funny bones but overall entertained. It also was the big screen debut of a little know singer from New Orleans. His voice had been heard just the year before on the sound track to another favorite film of mine, ‘When Harry Met Sally’. This young entertainer’s name….? Yep, you got it…. Harry Connick Jr.
This list wouldn’t be complete without the inclusion of this man. Tough as nails and soft spoken, Clint Eastwood was born to play a Marine. In real life he was a lifeguard for the Unites States Army during the Korean War in 1950. He also survived a plane crash in the Ocean. The pilot and Clint swam 3 miles to safety. Told you Eastwood was a bad ass.
In Heartbreak Ridge Clint plays Gunnery Sergeant Tom Highway. A tough as concrete, beer drinkin’ hard ass who got busted down and is tasked with shaping up a platoon of ne’er do wells. A good formula for an entertaining film, throw in a pretty woman who the Gunny loves and the equation is complete.
There is some language in the clip that is NSFW.
Something that was thought about during the Cold War; What would happen if the United States was invaded? This is as good of a representation of that scenario as I can think of. A bunch of teenagers flee to the mountains when Soviet forces invade the country. This group of Mid-West kids at first just tries to survive, but eventually they fight back. It was a brilliant move and one of my childhood favorites. I will have to re-watch this sometime to see if it holds up to the test of time.
This scene haunted me as a kid. It still gives me chills.
One of the worst atrocities in human history took place during World War II. The Holocaust was deplorable. There are no words to describe the cruelty and sheer savagery that took place at that time. Steven Spielberg tried to capture all of that on film and he did a superb job. This film is gripping, enlightening, heart wrenching and many other adjectives of the same ilk. It really did a fantastic job of showing the duality of man. The ying and yang. The light and the dark. The Oskar Schindler and the Amon Goeth. It won 7 Oscars but was shut out of the acting categories it was nominated in. Liam Neeson was up against Tom Hanks in ‘Philidelphia’ and Ralph Fiennes lost to Tommy Lee Jones in ‘The Fugitive’…. I can see the loss to Hanks but not the loss to TLJ. Ralph was robbed.
There is some language in the clip that is NSFW.
My friends and I call this movie “Braveheart in America” for good reason too. Man minding his own business, tyrant comes and kills someone he loves, man vows revenge, man kicks very much ass. Lather, rinse and repeat. It is one of the better Revolution Era movies out there. Good movie all the way around.
When you think Military Movies the first name you think of is Bill Murray… Am I right or am I right? Wait, what? You don’t? Huh… Must just be me then. Either way, ‘Stripes’ is a classic. The lighter side of the Military, a joyous romp through basic training and chalk full of hijinks overseas. What’s not to like!
The Last Samurai
Love him or hate him, Tom Cruise has had his moments in film. This is one of those moments. He doesn’t get enough credit for his work in this movie. This was a beautiful flick with the period costumes and the locations plus the score was spot on. The story is well done and it is acted superbly by all (Ken Watanabe is FANTSTIC!). The classic clash of old and new it takes you into the heart of the Samurai. Give this movie a shot; you may just be pleasantly surprised.
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
I am a fan of Quentin Tarantino and this is one of my favorite of his films. This movie has a legitimate spot on this list for many reasons but the biggest has to be the opening scene with Christoph Waltz. That set the tone for, not only his character, but for the whole movie. It was brilliantly done.
This is only a short clip. Do yourself a favor and rent it and watch it.
Good Morning, Vietnam
Robin Williams as Adrian Cronauer…. Yeah, it was good. One of the more perfectly played parts by Mr. Williams (I need to do that list) I have seen. He has the ‘tears of a clown’ thing down. He brings the crazy energy that he is known for but then he blindsides you with the ability to touch you in ways you didn’t expect… and not in those ways…. Pervert.
If you have never seen this, or if it has been a long time since you have seen this movie, go watch it.
Gotta have this….
Honorable mentions go to M*A*S*H, Cadence, Uncommon Valor, From Here to Eternity, The Deer Hunter, Stalag 17, North and South, Tropic Thunder, Patton, Hamburger Hill, Gods and Generals, Gettysburg, Glory, All Quiet on the Western Front, Das Boot, and Casualties of War.
There it is, for better or worse. That is my list of Military Movies.
Let me know…