Special Report

These Are the Best War Movies Ever

Source: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

20. Patton (1970)
> Genre: War, drama
> Starring: George C. Scott

The film about General George Patton’s battle rich career in WWI has other characters, and actors beyond Scott, but the film’s is so dominated by these two that a fine performance by Karl Malden as General Omar Bradley barely worth mentioning. Scott’s career really only has one truly fine film, and this is it. He won the Best Actor Oscar. The movie won for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

19. Braveheart (1995)
> Genre: War, drama
> Starring: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan

The film was cast-rich with solid players like McGoohan as King Edward I and thousands of extras for the elaborately and remarkably bloody battle scenes, but “Braveheart” stands out as Gibson’s great one-man show. He plays Scot William Wallace who has convinced himself he can free his people from the British. Gibson produced and directed the film, which ends badly for Wallace in the finishing frames. The movie won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Makeup, and Best Sound Effects Editing.

Source: Courtesy of Sony

18. Fury (2014)
> Genre: War, drama
> Starring: Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman

Pitt plays a tank commander in the WWII drama. Pitt’s action hero resume stretches out over decades. Rarely has he played a more sympathetic character than gruff Don “Wardaddy” Collier, a U.S. Army Staff Sergeant. A vicious Nazi killer, he is likely, almost tenderly, by the men he commands. The last portion of the movie, when Pitt and his tank crew take on hundreds of German’s single handed ranks among the better film conclusions of WWII pictures.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

17. Dunkirk (2017)
> Genre: War, drama
> Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy

This film’s star turns out to be Christopher Nolan, of Batman fame, who wrote, directed, and produced it. The movie contains so little dialogue and so few marque actors, that some of the louded parts of battle sound nearly silent. That near silence and lack of talk, Nolan must have believed, would make the violence of war all the more vivid. Built around the Battle of Dunkirk in 1940, Nolan turns the movie into a contemplation of battle without honor or victory.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

16. Midway (1976)
> Genre: War, drama
> Starring: Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda, James Coburn, Glenn Ford, Hal Holbrook, Toshiro Mifune, Robert Mitchum Cliff Robertson

Not to be confused by the horrendous remake in 2019, this stands as the most starred studded movies about WWII with the possible exception of “A Bridge Too Far” (1977). “Midway”‘s plot runs fairly close to the actual events of the Pacific carrier battle between the U.S. and Japanese from June 4 to 7, 1942. The U.S. victory has been credited with the turn of the tide after the Pearl Harbor disaster. At its best when the air battle rages above Midway Island and the ocean around it, most of the subplot work does not add much.