War movies aren’t my favorites, mostly because of the gore and the violence, but men seem to love them, and I do like the drama. I was hooked on “Band of Brothers” and “The Pacific,” though, and watched it with my boyfriend every week. So I wondered, what great war movies had I missed because I was too squeamish to watch? Here’s a list of the 8 best war movies of all time, from my boyfriend’s perspective…
1 Saving Private Ryan
On this movie, my boyfriend and I completely agree — it’s one of the best war movies ever made. It tells the story of a small group of men who survive the brutal, horrific Normandy Landings, then set out behind enermy lines to extract Private Ryan, a man whose brothers have been killed in action. The movie stars Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore, Tom Hanks, and won 5 Oscars, including Best Picture. If you haven’t seen it, you really should, but be prepared — the first ten minutes of this film are so grim and horrifying, you may not make it past them and into the film itself. If you do, and love it, then rent “Band of Brothers,” a gripping mini-series Tom Hanks and Steven Speilberg made soon after they finished “Ryan.”
2 The Longest Day
This movie may be older than most of our readers, but it’s epic. It tells the events of D-Day from both the German, British, Free French, and American perspectives. It stars so many famous actors from the era, some of them only for a few minutes, but it’s so, so incredibly good. It was nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture, but won two other Oscars instead.
This movie is just as grim and gritty as “Ryan,” but in another war, this time, the Vietnam War. Charlie Sheen plays a young volunteer who arrives in Vietnam and quickly realizes he’ll be struggling with not only the Vietnamese enemy, but also his own platoon. This movie also won an Oscar for Best Picture.
4 Tora! Tora! Tora!
This movie tells the story of just how the American military blindly allowed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor to happen, detailing the numerous mistakes and miscalculations. It’s so fascinating and heart-breaking to watch, because we all know the outcome…
5 To Hell and Back
Audie Murphy is, even today, America’s most decorated war hero, and this movie tells part of his story, and he even stars in it himself! He begins his life in Texas, joins the military to support his family, then proves his courage and honor through a series of battles is Italy, France, Germany, and North Africa. He was not only awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor by the U.S., he has also been decorated by the French and Belgian governments!
6 The Hurt Locker
This is another Best Picture Oscar-winning film, and one of only a handful that tells the story of soldiers fighting in our current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It feels real, like a documentary, and follows an elite Army bomb squad as they work their way through a series of dangerous missions. You’ll be on the edge of your seat, anxious to see what happens next, and you won’t be able to sleep for days…
7 Blackhawk down
This movie is so heart-wrenching and difficult to watch because you know it’s real, based on a true story of 123 American soldiers who go into Somalia to capture two warlords (an easy mission) but end up in an extended, heated battle with heavily-armed Somali forces… this movie is so hard to watch, but so worth it… even if it’s just for the scenes with the two pilots who beg for permission to land and assist a fellow soldier who’s trapped, even though they know they can’t possibly make it out alive…
8 Sgt. York
This movie stars Gary Cooper and tells the real-life story of World War I hero Alvin York, the most decorated American soldier of that time.
Rent a few of these and ask your boyfriend or husband to watch them with you… be prepared or some graphic violence, though, and have a box of tissues ready just in case! Do you love war movies? Which of these is your favorite, or have I left one off my list? (Please note I would have added “The Patriot,” but my boyfriend disagreed…)