Every war has horror and heroes, terror and triumph, winners and losers. This is why it is such a popular subject matter for cinema, serving as the basis for hundreds of great films.
While all military movies deal with war in some capacity, they can vary dramatically in their approach. For instance, films such as Robert Altman’s “M*A*S*H” and Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator” both use comedy to convey their messages. Michael Cimino’s “The Deer Hunter” is more grim, exploring the darkness of war.
24/7 Wall St. has identified the 50 best military movies of all time by creating an index based on metrics such as user and critic ratings from IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes. The list includes classics as well as more recent, well-received films.
The best military movies include films from every decade starting with the 1930s. These films are about 17 different conflicts or wars. Even so, half of the movies on the list are about World War II. The second-most popular subject among movies on the list is World War I, with five films.
Stanley Kubrick directed three of the motion pictures on the list – more than any other director. He’s followed by David Lean, Clint Eastwood, and Mel Gibson with two each. The latter two directors also starred in one of the films on the list.
To determine the best military movies of all time, 24/7 Wall St. created an index based on each film’s Rotten Tomatoes average critic rating, Rotten Tomatoes average audience rating, and Internet Movie Database average user rating. To be considered, each film had to have at least 10,000 total user ratings between IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes and 10 approved Tomatometer critic reviews. Each film also had be classified as a war film by IMDb. Movies that were classified under the war genre but did not sufficiently relate to the military were removed at 24/7 Wall St.’s discretion.