Heather’s 5 Great War Movies List
War movies can be difficult to watch, but they're thought-provoking and necessary. I shutter to call watching them a 'past time' for me, but it is something I share with my Dad, who is a Vietnam vet. From the gruesome to the heart-wrenching, here's my list of greatest war films.
I'm not saying these are THE best war films ever made, just the one's that have resonated most with me.
Steven Spielberg's World War II masterpiece starring Tom Hanks and Matt Damon gave us one of the most realistic depictions of D-Day in film history. I don't think I fully sympathized with what it meant to be drafted into a war, or to be forced into battle, and what that battle looked like until this movie. Seeing the band of brothers, on a mission to save one soldier, support each other through the most harrowing experiences of their lives (and deaths) made me grateful for whomever was there to take care of my own father during his enlistment. The scene where Giovanni Ribisi's Wade gets shot and can literally feel his organs shutting down because he's a military medic makes me cry every time. All he wanted was to just go home.
Centered around the Vietnam War, Martin Sheen stars as Captain Willard on a dangerous mission into Cambodia to assassinate a renegade colonel who has aligned himself with a local tribe. As outrageous as this Francis Ford Coppola-directed movie can be, it humanized the people of Vietnam for me in a strange way. And Marlon Brando's performance as Willard is one for the ages.
General George S. Patton is one of the most controversial military figures in U.S. history. Exquisitely portrayed by George C. Scott in this 1970 film (also written by Coppola), its a stunning account of the man behind the strategies the likely saved the world from Nazi domination.
While focused on one man, slain Navy S.E.A.L Chris Kyle (played by Bradley Cooper), Sniper delves into the mind of a soldier needing to make split second decisions to save lives. It also shows how difficult the transition back to normal life post-deployment can be.
While not typically considered part of the war movie genre, Sophie's Choice, set in WWII, depicts the harsh reality of the casualties of war. Meryl Streep plays a mother sent to a Nazi concentration camp and forced to choose which of her two children should be taken away from her. To call this film heartbreaking is an understatement.