Top Ten War Movies of All Time

War or armed conflict between two states always results in human casualties and leave disastrous impact on human life. Though war or offensive war is prohibited under the United Nations charter but human history is full of frequent occurrence of wars. War is hell but every generation on earth has witnessed horror of war. Our civil society gives their best in promotion of peace and played active role against war. In the same way filmmakers, as part of civil, brilliantly made war movies or anti-war movies and gave their best possible abilities in promoting humanitarian thoughts. Top war movies sent messages of peace and left eternal effects on minds of viewers against madness of war. Here are top ten war movies of all time.

10. Rome, Open City


Rome, open city is the masterpiece that reveals Nazis occupation of Rome and the audacious resistance of Italians. Rossellini, director of movie started work on the script with writer, Fellini, soon when German tanks marched towards Rome and obliterate the city in June 1944. By January, he started shooting of film in the streets of Rome. Story of movie is based on actual facts of underground resistance of Romans against Germans. Main character of secret agent is played excellently by the Marcello Pagliero. He was the agent cornered by Germans. Aldo Fabrizi came in the role of priest, who used his office for liberation. Anna Magnani, a young wife gave her life during hiding her life partner. Whole team justified their roles. It is the movie, we can say that made history in top war movies of the past century.

9. The Deer Hunter

The Deer Hunter

This movie was directed by Michael Cimino which tells the impact of Vietnam War on the lives of American working class steel workers. Film opens in Clairton, PA, where three friends Mike (Robert De Niro), Nick (Christopher Walken) and Stan (John Cazale) get together for celebrating wedding of their friend Steve (John Savage). They then go for final deer hunting in nearby mountains where they were captured by the Vietcong soldiers, who compel them to play Russian roulette for the V.C.’s amusement. During their escape plan, Steve loses his legs. The Russian roulette aspect was extensively condemned in this top war movie of late 70s.

8. BraveHeart


This movie is directed by Mel Gibson who also played role in the movie. Movie is focused on medieval times of Scottish and English war history. Story begins with young Wallace who lost his brother and father fighting the English and becomes in the custody of his uncle. Twenty years later, he returns after completion of his study and meeting with her childhood friend, Murron. They fall in love and marry in secret. Very next day of their marriage, the girl was killed by English solider. In revenge, he single-handedly slays whole English foot platoon. Full fledged war starts between England and Scotland after joining of other villagers as Scotland was struggling against English tyranny. Gibson won the best director award, as every single scene of movie is perfectly directed and filmed.

7. Paths of Glory

Paths of Glory

This is one of the most perfect movies ever made. Kubrick, the director of movie loved the novel of the same name by Humphrey Cobb and decided to make film on its story. Kirk Douglas played French officer role and gave excellent performance. It was banned a number of years in France, Germany and Switzerland because story of film was based on true facts. It is a must-see war movie.

6. Born on the Fourth of July


Born on the Forth of July is an Oscar winning movie directed by Oliver Stone to portray the impact of Vietnam War. It is true story of Ron Kovic, a small town athlete. This character is played by Tom Cruise who decides to fight in Vietnam War, witnesses horror of war and unintentionally slays his own man. During war he receives a bullet wound that leaves him paralyzed. Much later he turns back to normal life again and becomes an active antiwar activist. This is very sentimental work of Tom and Stone. Tom was as well nominated for Oscar for his superb performance in this top war movie of era.

5. Das Boot

Das Boot

Das Boot is greatest movie made on the horrors of Second World War. It is an autobiographical novel-based movie. The story revolves around the lives of fearless U boat captain and his inexperienced crew in the Atlantic and Mediterranean Seas. The ship was sent in said seas to attack the allied shipping and cut the supply of necessary things to enter Britain. The film has also short television series. After watching this movie, you will understand reason of putting it on fifth place in top ten war movies of all time.

4. Schindler’s List

Schindler's List, Oliwia Dabrowska

Schindler’s list is also based on actual facts. Schindler was a German businessman who plan to make money in occupied Poland. He opened factory in Poland and got the military contracts by using flattery tactics. He hired cheap Jewish labors. His sole purpose was making profit. By the time he realized plight of Jewish population, he began using his position for saving Jewish employees from forced labor camps. He lost his all fortune during this process but saved thousands of lives. Movie won seven Academy awards and got the title of best American film about Holocaust. Steven Spielberg, director of movie won the title of best director.

3. The Thin Red Line

The Thin Red Line

This is also an autobiographical novel-based movie directed by Terrence Malick. Movie depicts the Second World War’s melancholic rumination, human and nature destruction. It tells about Guadalcanal campaign fought in 1942 in the Solomon islands. There are so many different but interesting aspects in the movie. This is a fantastic war movie with lyrical direction of Malick. It is a true combination of multiple numbers of emotions.

2. Full Metal Jacket


Stanley Kubrick, the director of movie made this film after seven-year gap between his last film, The Shining. It tells the experiences of Vietnam War and depicts the problems of marine volunteers.  First half deals with the problems and stress associated with military indoctrination in training camps in a light way but twist comes in second half when one of the recruits kills his drill instructor and then commits suicide in response to the pressure. The movie is declared big cinematographic success. If you really are searching for a top war movie, then watch Full Metal Jacket.

1. Apocalypse Now


This is the best film among top ten war movies ever made. Coppola, the director of movie completed this film in difficult conditions. As the cyclone destroy the set of the movie and its main star Sheen was replaced because of his heart attack in the middle of movie. Story of movie is based on the book, Heart of Darkness written by Joseph Conrad. In the movie, Captain Willard is sent to Cambodia with a task of assassinating renegade Colonel who set himself as a God among local tribe.

Coppola did excellent work on every scene in film. It lefts long-lasting effects on minds of viewers about madness of war. The film won two Oscars and many other awards for best cinematography, sound and picture.


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