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.
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.
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.
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