If you like war movies, there’s no doubt that you’ll love this list of the 10 most epic war movies ever made. These films explore all of the aspects of war and leave nothing out. The characters in these movies battle through the difficult lives that war can force upon people and sometimes lose those they love in the process, but they persevere and find success in what they do.
1) Apocalypse Now
This 1979 film is an adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. It takes place during the Vietnam war (that is, if you consider it to be a war). Marlon Brando plays a high-ranking military officer who has been sent in to find and kill a Green Beret Colonel named Kurtz, played by Meryl Streep.
2) Schindler’s List
One of Spielberg’s earliest and most powerful movies, Schindler’s List is an Academy Award-winning dramatization of Oskar Schindler, a man who kept over 1,000 Jews out of Nazi concentration camps. Based on a true story, it shows how choices can impact even groups and whole countries. A powerful story that will stick with you long after watching.
This 1986 war film tells a raw, uncensored and personal account of what it was like to fight in Vietnam. It’s a great movie to see if you want an unbiased look at what fighting in a foreign country felt like. You’ll also get some insight into how people respond to trauma and cope with war. The intensity of those who fought will really resonate with you as well after watching it.
4) Saving Private Ryan
This 1998 Steven Spielberg film is considered by many to be one of Hollywood’s best war movies ever. It was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. However, it ended up taking home only two awards: Best Cinematography and Best Sound. Nevertheless, Saving Private Ryan is a powerful drama that depicts one of history’s most violent conflicts in cinematic detail.
5) Full Metal Jacket
Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 classic follows a young Marine recruit through training and into Vietnam, where he and his platoon come face-to-face with their deepest fears. The stark black-and-white photography perfectly captures both the intensity of boot camp and the insanity of war. (Netflix)
Nominated for 10 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director, Braveheart is a historical drama that tells a tale of love, sacrifice, and heroism in 13th-century Scotland. A visually stunning epic that follows William Wallace’s (Mel Gibson) rise from obscurity to leading his people against English rule.
7) Enemy at the Gates
Two men, one a Russian and one an American, fought valiantly in World War II to become two of history’s most legendary snipers. Though they were not aware of each other’s existence until much later, these two soldiers’ struggles and triumphs during World War II were remarkably similar. The American was Charles Chuck Mawhinney (1918-2002), a humble farmer from upstate New York who fought in France and Germany before being captured by German forces in 1944.
8) Forrest Gump
The heartwarming Forrest Gump tells a simple tale of love, loss, and war with such an emotionally intense screenplay that you won’t be able to take your eyes off of it. Tom Hanks stars as Forrest Gump, an iconic character who can’t seem to find anything but luck wherever he goes. The story takes place during various periods of U.S.
9) Bridge Over the River Kwai
Directed by David Lean, Bridge Over The River Kwai is arguably one of history’s greatest war movies. A British colonel (Alec Guinness) gets stuck in a Japanese prison camp where he convinces his captors to build a bridge over a river—and names it after himself. This movie highlights that some people are willing to give up their own freedom just to ensure others can keep theirs. That’s why it tops our list of great war movies ever made.
No other movie on our list can compete with Glory when it comes to power and intensity. This is easily one of John Singleton’s best films, not to mention one of Denzel Washington’s best performances, making it an absolute must-see. The fact that it won two Oscars in 1989 (Best Supporting Actor for Morgan Freeman and Best Screenplay) also adds some weight to its position on our list.