Special Report

The Best Military Movies of All Time

Many military movies deal with war in some capacity — and they vary dramatically in their approach. From realistic portrayals of battles to satire of nuclear warfare, some military-themed movies are better than the rest.

24/7 Tempo 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, and they all convey their messages effectively either by using comedy or by exploring the darkness of war.

The best military movies include films from every decade, starting with the 1930. These films are about more than a dozen different conflicts or wars. Many are about World War II. World War I is also a popular topic. Even the most recent movies that made the list have plots set in either of these global wars.

Stanley Kubrick directed two of the motion pictures on the list — as many as Brian G. Hutton, Kathryn Bigelow, Oliver Stone, and Steven Spielberg. See who won the Oscar for Best Director every year since the Oscars began.

Click here to see the best military movies of all time

To determine the best military movies of all time, 24/7 Tempo developed an index using average ratings on IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon, and a combination of audience scores and Tomatometer scores on Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator. All ratings are as of October 2021 and were weighted equally. Only movies tagged with the word “military” or the war genre tag on IMDb with at least 10,000 audience votes on that site were considered. Movies that have military elements but are not explicitly about the military experience were excluded. Directorial credits and cast information come from IMDb.

Source: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Releasing

50. Fury (2014)
> IMDb user rating: 7.6/10 (450,199 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 84% (107,896 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 76% (260 reviews)
> Directed by: David Ayer

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Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

49. Three Kings (1999)
> IMDb user rating: 7.1/10 (165,898 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 77% (186,185 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 94% (129 reviews)
> Directed by: David O. Russell

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

48. Black Hawk Down (2001)
> IMDb user rating: 7.7/10 (377,107 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 88% (473,192 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 76% (174 reviews)
> Directed by: Ridley Scott

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

47. Von Ryan’s Express (1965)
> IMDb user rating: 7.1/10 (13,368 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 82% (5,861 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 90% (20 reviews)
> Directed by: Mark Robson

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Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

46. MASH(1970)
> IMDb user rating: 7.5/10 (70,096 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 83% (53,188 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 84% (55 reviews)
> Directed by: Robert Altman

Source: Courtesy of New Line Cinema

45. Gettysburg (1993)
> IMDb user rating: 7.6/10 (28,239 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 89% (29,388 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 77% (22 reviews)
> Directed by: Ron Maxwell

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Source: Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

44. Kelly’s Heroes (1970)
> IMDb user rating: 7.6/10 (47,288 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 88% (31,247 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 78% (23 reviews)
> Directed by: Brian G. Hutton

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

43. Empire of the Sun (1987)
> IMDb user rating: 7.7/10 (120,240 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 90% (60,320 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 75% (56 reviews)
> Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Source: Courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures

42. Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)
> IMDb user rating: 7.3/10 (132,985 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 82% (131,515 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 90% (42 reviews)
> Directed by: Barry Levinson

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Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

41. Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
> IMDb user rating: 7.4/10 (285,070 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 80% (197,285 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 91% (302 reviews)
> Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow

Source: Courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures

40. Mulan (1998)
> IMDb user rating: 7.6/10 (268,708 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 85% (612,012 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 86% (78 reviews)
> Directed by: Barry Cook & Tony Bancroft

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Source: Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

39. The Dirty Dozen (1967)
> IMDb user rating: 7.7/10 (69,957 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 90% (41,423 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 80% (49 reviews)
> Directed by: Robert Aldrich

Source: Sunset Boulevard / Getty Images

38. The Enemy Below (1957)
> IMDb user rating: 7.5/10 (10,548 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 87% (4,631 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 86% (07 reviews)
> Directed by: Diсk Powell

Source: Courtesy of Hemdale

37. Salvador (1986)
> IMDb user rating: 7.4/10 (20,466 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 86% (8,547 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 89% (27 reviews)
> Directed by: Oliver Stone

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Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

36. Wonder Woman (2017)
> IMDb user rating: 7.4/10 (611,008 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 83% (135,481 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 93% (470 reviews)
> Directed by: Patty Jenkins

Source: Frederic Lewis / Getty Images

35. Sands of Iwo Jima (1949)
> IMDb user rating: 7.1/10 (10,106 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 80% (9,816 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 100% (10 reviews)
> Directed by: Allan Dwan

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Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

34. From Here to Eternity (1953)
> IMDb user rating: 7.6/10 (45,202 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 84% (14,909 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 90% (62 reviews)
> Directed by: Fred Zinnemann

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

33. Run Silent Run Deep (1958)
> IMDb user rating: 7.3/10 (10,987 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 79% (5,580 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 100% (10 reviews)
> Directed by: Robert Wise

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

32. Sergeant York (1941)
> IMDb user rating: 7.7/10 (17,457 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 86% (5,683 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 88% (24 reviews)
> Directed by: Howard Hawks

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Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

31. Dunkirk (2017)
> IMDb user rating: 7.8/10 (595,440 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 81% (69,228 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 92% (461 reviews)
> Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Source: Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

30. Where Eagles Dare (1968)
> IMDb user rating: 7.6/10 (55,522 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 89% (27,681 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 87% (23 reviews)
> Directed by: Brian G. Hutton

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Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

29. The Guns of Navarone (1961)
> IMDb user rating: 7.5/10 (47,868 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 86% (20,768 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 92% (24 reviews)
> Directed by: J. Lee Thompson

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

28. Mister Roberts (1955)
> IMDb user rating: 7.7/10 (15,533 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 84% (6,729 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 92% (26 reviews)
> Directed by: John Ford & Mervyn LeRoy

Source: Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures

27. Jojo Rabbit (2019)
> IMDb user rating: 7.9/10 (339,208 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 94% (6,542 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 80% (422 reviews)
> Directed by: Taika Waititi

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Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

26. The Longest Day (1962)
> IMDb user rating: 7.8/10 (53,890 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 90% (42,945 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 87% (23 reviews)
> Directed by: Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton, Bernhard Wicki

Source: Courtesy of Summit Entertainment

25. The Hurt Locker (2008)
> IMDb user rating: 7.5/10 (434,495 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 84% (96,200 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 97% (289 reviews)
> Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow

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Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

24. Lifeboat (1944)
> IMDb user rating: 7.6/10 (27,765 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 87% (9,430 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 93% (28 reviews)
> Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

23. The Caine Mutiny (1954)
> IMDb user rating: 7.7/10 (26,715 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 87% (7,564 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 92% (25 reviews)
> Directed by: Edward Dmytryk

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

22. Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)
> IMDb user rating: 7.9/10 (158,118 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 86% (341,132 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 91% (204 reviews)
> Directed by: Clint Eastwood

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Source: Courtesy of Lionsgate

21. Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
> IMDb user rating: 8.1/10 (467,761 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 91% (55,854 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 84% (280 reviews)
> Directed by: Mel Gibson

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

20. Twelve O’Clock High (1949)
> IMDb user rating: 7.7/10 (14,043 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 87% (6,031 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 96% (25 reviews)
> Directed by: Henry King

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Source: Courtesy of United Artists

19. The Train (1964)
> IMDb user rating: 7.8/10 (15,508 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 89% (4,310 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 93% (15 reviews)
> Directed by: John Frankenheimer

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

18. Kagemusha (1980)
> IMDb user rating: 8.0/10 (34,189 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 92% (12,421 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 88% (26 reviews)
> Directed by: Akira Kurosawa

Source: Courtesy of Bleecker Street Media

17. Beasts of No Nation (2015)
> IMDb user rating: 7.7/10 (77,493 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 92% (8,145 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 92% (143 reviews)
> Directed by: Cary Joji Fukunaga

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Source: Courtesy of Mister Smith Entertainment

16. 1917 (2019)
> IMDb user rating: 8.3/10 (491,524 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 88% (30,525 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 89% (458 reviews)
> Directed by: Sam Mendes

Source: Courtesy of The Weinstein Company

15. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
> IMDb user rating: 8.3/10 (1,333,240 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 88% (776,325 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 89% (332 reviews)
> Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

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Source: Courtesy of Orion Pictures

14. Platoon (1986)
> IMDb user rating: 8.1/10 (395,356 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 93% (240,012 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 87% (69 reviews)
> Directed by: Oliver Stone

Source: Courtesy of Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment

13. Glory (1989)
> IMDb user rating: 7.8/10 (129,766 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 93% (60,300 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 93% (44 reviews)
> Directed by: Edward Zwick

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

12. The Deer Hunter (1978)
> IMDb user rating: 8.1/10 (324,627 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 92% (103,588 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 92% (78 reviews)
> Directed by: Michael Cimino

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Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

11. Patton (1970)
> IMDb user rating: 7.9/10 (98,585 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 93% (43,344 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 94% (49 reviews)
> Directed by: Franklin J. Schaffner

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

10. Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
> IMDb user rating: 8.2/10 (73,742 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 93% (8,681 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 91% (23 reviews)
> Directed by: Stanley Kramer

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Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

9. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
> IMDb user rating: 8.1/10 (59,343 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 89% (18,059 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 98% (81 reviews)
> Directed by: Lewis Milestone

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

8. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
> IMDb user rating: 8.1/10 (211,273 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 93% (54,763 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 95% (61 reviews)
> Directed by: David Lean

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

7. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
> IMDb user rating: 8.3/10 (701,608 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 94% (324,778 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 92% (83 reviews)
> Directed by: Stanley Kubrick

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Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

6. Stalag 17 (1953)
> IMDb user rating: 8.0/10 (54,031 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 93% (13,214 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 97% (37 reviews)
> Directed by: Billy Wilder

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

5. The Great Escape (1963)
> IMDb user rating: 8.2/10 (233,835 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 95% (103,579 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 94% (49 reviews)
> Directed by: John Sturges

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Source: Courtesy of RKO Radio Pictures

4. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
> IMDb user rating: 8.1/10 (60,985 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 93% (10,855 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 98% (91 reviews)
> Directed by: William Wyler

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

3. Paths of Glory (1957)
> IMDb user rating: 8.4/10 (187,198 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 95% (35,412 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 95% (62 reviews)
> Directed by: Stanley Kubrick

Source: Courtesy of DreamWorks Distribution

2. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
> IMDb user rating: 8.6/10 (1,292,307 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 95% (993,591 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 93% (143 reviews)
> Directed by: Steven Spielberg

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Source: Courtesy of United Artists

1. Apocalypse Now (1979)
> IMDb user rating: 8.4/10 (629,925 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 94% (286,235 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 98% (96 reviews)
> Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola

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