By: MTN Reporters Fredrick Behaylo and Jackson Cate
1. Restrepo (2010)
Restrepo (2010) is a documentary directed by American journalist Sebastian Junger and British photojournalist Tim Hetherington that follows the 173rd Airborne Brigade assigned to the Korengal Valley, one of the most dangerous areas in Afghanistan. Considered by many to be the best war movie of all time, Restrepo provides the audience with a realistic insight into America’s longest war and the effects that it had on both soldiers and civilians. If you have not seen this movie, it is definitely worth a watch.
2. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Saving Private Ryan (1998) is often hailed as one of the most realistic depictions of World War II. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the movie stars Tom Hanks and Matt Damon and tells the story of a group of soldiers that are tasked with finding James Francis Ryan, the final survivor of three brothers lost in the war. With a highly realistic opening scene, Saving Private Ryan is considered by many to be one of the most influential movies of all time.
3. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Full Metal Jacket (1987) is a Vietnam War movie produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick. The first half of the movie follows the story of a platoon of marine recruits making their way through boot camp under their abusive drill instructor portrayed by R. Lee Ermy, while the second half follows the soldier's involvement in the Tet Offensive and the moral dilemmas that they encounter. Full Metal Jacket is widely considered to be the best Vietnam war movie of all time, with many fans appreciating R. Lee Ermy’s humorous performance as well as the pensive way that it explores the bleak realities of the US involvement in Vietnam.
4. Blackhawk Down (2001)
Directed by Ridley Scott, Black Hawk Down (2001) is undoubtably one of the most popular war movies of the early 2000’s. Black Hawk Down tells the story of US Delta Force operators' involvement in Mogadishu and their attempt to capture two high level targets to maintain peace in Somalia. Although criticized for inaccuracies and insensitive portrayals, Black Hawk Down remains as one of the most popular American war movies of the 21st century.
5. Inglorious Basterds (2009)
Directed by Quentin Tarantino, Inglorious Basterds (2009) is a World War II movie that tells an alternative history story of an assassination attempt on the leadership of Nazi Germany. Starring Brad Pitt and narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, Inglorious Basterds is an exceedingly fun war movie with lots of violence and humor in typical Tarantino fashion. For viewers that aren’t fans of war movies, Inglorious Basterds provides an entertaining movie that is accessible, action packed and easy to enjoy.
6. Platoon (1986)
Platoon (1986) is a Vietnam War movie starring Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Willem Defoe, and Johnny Depp. Platoon primarily focuses on the moral struggles that soldiers must face in the gruesome situations that they encounter on a daily basis. The movie has often been commended for being a thoughtful and introspective presentation of the US involvement in Vietnam, the ethical issues that many soldiers faced, and the way it affected the young men who served.
7. 1917 (2019)
Directed by Sam Mendes, 1917 (2019) follows the story of two Lance Corporals ordered to deliver a message to call off an attack that would jeopardize the lives of thousands of soldiers. 1917 is unique in the way that it was filmed almost entirely in one take, joining the ranks of only a few films that have ever attempted the feat. The movie received positive reviews and was considered by many to be one of the best movies of 2019, receiving 10 nominations for Academy Awards.
8. Dunkirk (2017)
Dunkirk (2017) provides three different perspectives on the historical Dunkirk evacuation World War 2. Directed by the Dark Knight Trilogy director, Christopher Nolan and starring the likes of Harry Styles, Fionn Whitehead, and Tom Hardy, Dunkirk offers an excellent front row seat from land, air, and water to the struggles of brave Allied soldiers fighting to get home and the heroic civilians that steered toward danger to assist them.
9. 13 Hours (2016)
Directed by Michael Bay, 13 Hours (2016) is an explosive insiders look into the 2012 Benghazi attacks. This film marks the takeoff of actor John Krasinski’s career in the world of action/adventure blockbusters. Although the film has been criticized for taking some historical liberties, it still provides an exciting take on American involvement in Benghazi.
10. Kelly’s Heroes (1970)
A former Lieutenant, a Supply Sergeant, and a doped-up tank commander walk into a bank to steal some Nazi gold. That’s the story of Kelly’s Heroes, a Clint Eastwood classic that follows a rag tag group of weary soldiers in the backwaters of France during the closing days of World War 2 trying to reap the spoils of war before the brunt of the American military arrives to claim it all in the name of the government. Brilliantly directed by Brian G. Hutton, this film is unique reprieve from the heroic archetype of the American soldier, traded in for jaded protagonists tired of the deadly grind and ready to claim their hard-earned compensation by any means necessary.