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The greatest American war hero movies ever

  • The greatest American war hero movies ever
    1/ Amblin Entertainment

    The greatest American war hero movies ever

    As America gears up to celebrate its 242nd birthday, it's important to pay tribute to the people who made the United States what it is today. While Americans can read about notable battles through historical documents, books, and newspapers, there’s nothing like being able to see and hear the incredible efforts that have contributed to the creation of America. That’s why war movies are so valuable: they often give the viewer a glimpse into the trials and tribulations of true patriotism and the sacrifices American heroes have made for their homeland.

    In honor of Independence Day
    the holiday, not the movieStacker ranked the greatest American war hero movies ever. These are the women and men of Hollywood who have stepped into the shoes of the greatest heroes in American historyboth real and fictional, and made audiences proud to be Americans. Using IMDb user rankings, this list contains war movies that were produced in English and received at least 5,000 votes. In the case of any ties in user rankings, the higher slot was given to the film that had more total votes. Read on to see how many Spielberg war films landed on the list and which two Kubrick classics made it to the top five.

    RELATED STORY: Click here to see the most popular war movies of all time

  • #45. In Harm's Way
    2/ Paramount Pictures

    #45. In Harm's Way

    IMDb user rating: 7.4
    IMDb user votes: 6,974
    Release year: 1965
    Director: Otto Preminger

    Major macho men John Wayne and Kirk Douglas topline this tale of post-World War II revenge. A Navy officer (Wayne) goes after the Japanese during the attack on Pearl Harbor, but finds himself rebuked for breaking protocol. After being promoted to Rear Admiral, Wayne’s character finds redemption in his revenge on the Japanese in the South Pacific. The last black-and-white John Wayne film, “In Harm’s Way” was nominated for an Academy Award for its exquisite cinematography.

  • #44. Father Goose
    3/ Granox Productions

    #44. Father Goose

    IMDb user rating: 7.4
    IMDb user votes: 8,329
    Release year: 1964
    Director: Ralph Nelson

    A World War II aircraft spotter finds himself in an unexpectedly paternal role while stationed on a remote island with a school teacher and her seven pupils. Cary Grant plays the lead opposite Leslie Caron in this wartime love story that won the Oscar for Best Screenplay in 1965.

  • #43. Little Boy
    4/ Metanoia Films

    #43. Little Boy

    IMDb user rating: 7.4
    IMDb user votes: 20,169
    Release year: 2015
    Director: Alejandro Monteverde

    Little Boy” tells the story of a Pepper Busbee, a child living in World War II-era California who is dealing with his father going off to war, alongside the ensuing rise of anti-Japanese sentiment in the United States. After his dad deploys, the boy befriends a Japanese man named Hashimoto and learns the true power of humanity. Emma Watson, Kevin James, and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (“The Man in the High Castle”) star in the film, which didn’t rate highly with professional critics.

  • #42. Mudbound
    5/ Elevated Films

    #42. Mudbound

    IMDb user rating: 7.4
    IMDb user votes: 26,622
    Release year: 2017
    Director: Dee Rees

    This Netflix movie is as much about racism as it is about war. When an African-American soldier returns to his rural Mississippi home, he finds that his service isn’t enough to break through the color barrier in the Jim Crow South. Nominated for four Academy Awards and two Golden Globes, “Mudbound” gave singer Mary J. Blige the most celebrated acting role of her career.

  • #41. Lincoln
    6/ DreamWorks Pictures

    #41. Lincoln

    IMDb user rating: 7.4
    IMDb user votes: 219,759
    Release year: 2012
    Director: Steven Spielberg

    One of America’s most beloved presidents gets the Spielberg treatment in this sprawling two-and-a-half-hour biopic that tracks Abraham Lincoln’s presidency during the final days of the Civil War. Daniel Day-Lewis won the Oscar for his work as the commander in chief; the rest of the cast featured big names including Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones.

  • #40. Friendly Persuasion
    7/ Allied Artists Pictures

    #40. Friendly Persuasion

    IMDb user rating: 7.5
    IMDb user votes: 5,529
    Release year: 1956
    Director: William Wyler

    Mid-century heartthrob Gary Cooper led the way in this tale of a pacifist Quaker family drawn into the drama of the Civil War. Although the script was penned by Michael Wilson, it was released without a screenwriting credit because the writer was under investigation by Joseph McCarthy’s House Un-American Affairs Committee. Regardless, Wilson was still nominated for the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, and the film was also nominated for Best Picture and Best Director.

  • #39. Battleground
    8/ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

    #39. Battleground

    IMDb user rating: 7.5
    IMDb user votes: 5,811
    Release year: 1949
    Director: William A. Wellman

    Known as one of the first significant war movies released after World War II, “Battleground” follows an Army airborne division as its soldiers get trapped during the Siege of Bastogne—a major element of the Battle of the Bulge. Van Johnson gets star billing in the film that went on to receive a number of Academy Award nominations, including victories for black-and-white cinematography and writing.

  • #38. Tora! Tora! Tora!
    9/ 20th Century Fox

    #38. Tora! Tora! Tora!

    IMDb user rating: 7.5
    IMDb user votes: 27,819
    Release year: 1970
    Directors: Richard Fleischer, Kinji Fukasaku, Toshio Masuda

    The attack on Pearl Harbor gets told from both sides in “Tora! Tora! Tora!” The title of the film is based on the Japanese word for achieving a total surprise victory. Legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa was originally supposed to direct the Japanese scenes of the film, but was replaced by Fukasaku and Masuda just two weeks into shooting.

  • #37. Lone Survivor
    10/ Universal Pictures

    #37. Lone Survivor

    IMDb user rating: 7.5
    IMDb user votes: 234,658
    Release year: 2013
    Director: Peter Berg

    Based on a nonfiction war memoir, “Lone Survivor” tells the true story of an American Navy SEAL unit who infiltrates Afghanistan to capture a Taliban leader, but winds up surrounded and has to escape against all odds. As the title suggests, Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg) becomes the lone survivor of the mission, thanks to help from an Afghani local.

  • #36. Sahara
    11/ Columbia Pictures

    #36. Sahara

    IMDb user rating: 7.6
    IMDb user votes: 6,891
    Release year: 1943
    Director: Zoltan Korda

    Humphrey Bogart stars as an American tank commander charged with fighting Nazis in Libya during World War II. Not to be confused with the 2005 Matthew McConaughey film or its 1995 made-for-TV remake starring Jim Belushi, this “Sahara” came out nearly 11 months after Bogart’s iconic performance in another war film set in North Africa: “Casablanca.”

  • #35. T
    12/ 20th Century Fox

    #35. T

    IMDb user rating: 7.6
    IMDb user votes: 8,481
    Release year: 1957
    Director: Dick Powell

    It’s an underwater battle for international glory as American actor Robert Mitchum goes head-to-head with German star Curt Jurgens in this submarine drama. Based on a book by Denys Rayner, this cat-and-mouse tale details an American destroyer ship on the hunt for a German U-boat.

  • #34. MASH
    13/ Aspen Productions

    #34. MASH

    IMDb user rating: 7.6
    IMDb user votes: 60,941
    Release year: 1970
    Director: Robert Altman

    One of the most celebrated war films of all time, this dark comedy won the top award at the 1970 Cannes Film Festival, earned Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Director, and was a box office smash for 20th Century Fox. Donald Sutherland, Sally Kellerman, Elliott Gould, Robert Duvall, and Tom Skerritt led the all-star cast—and the film’s TV adaptation famously became one of the most popular programs of the 1970s.

  • #33. The Thin Red Line
    14/ 20th Century Fox

    #33. The Thin Red Line

    IMDb user rating: 7.6
    IMDb user votes: 154,224
    Release year: 1998
    Director: Terrence Malick

    At nearly three hours long, Terrence Malick’s adaptation of James Jones’s autobiography takes viewers deep into the South Pacific’s Guadalcanal Campaign in World War II. Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, and Jim Caviezel starred, with smaller parts played by George Clooney, John Cusack, and Woody Harrelson. “The Thin Red Line” marked Malick’s first return to film since 1978’s “Days of Heaven” and he wound up with Academy Award nominations for both writing and directing.

  • #32. Fury
    15/ Columbia Pictures

    #32. Fury

    IMDb user rating: 7.6
    IMDb user votes: 359,084
    Release year: 2014
    Director: David Ayer

    Brad Pitt leads an ensemble cast in this World War II drama about a U.S. tank unit deep in Nazi territory during the final days of the war. Shia LaBeouf, Jon Bernthal, Logan Lerman, and Michael Peña round out the tank’s crew.

  • #31. The Hurt Locker
    16/ Voltage Pictures

    #31. The Hurt Locker

    IMDb user rating: 7.6
    IMDb user votes: 374,374
    Release year: 2008
    Director: Kathryn Bigelow

    The Hurt Locker” director Kathryn Bigelow made history when she became the first female director to ever win the Academy Award for Best Director in 2010. The film also won for Best Picture and made lead actor Jeremy Renner a bona fide star. “The Hurt Locker” is about a bomb squad soldier in the Iraq War who breaks from standard Army protocol in bomb-diffusing situations, alienating himself from his fellow soldiers.

  • #30. Wings
    17/ Grub Street Productions

    #30. Wings

    IMDb user rating: 7.7
    IMDb user votes: 9,459
    Release year: 1927
    Directors: William A. Wellman, Harry d'Abbadie d'Arrast

    One of the earliest war movies in history, “Wings” became the very first film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. 1920s mega-star Clara Bow played the love interest of two air combat pilots (Richard Arlen and Buddy Rogers) in World War I. The film impressed audiences for its unbelievable aerial sequences, a major feat for the earlier days of cinematic technical prowess. Gary Cooper played a small role in the film, which led to him becoming one of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

  • #29. The Sand Pebbles
    18/ Argyle Enterprises

    #29. The Sand Pebbles

    IMDb user rating: 7.7
    IMDb user votes: 11,505
    Release year: 1966
    Director: Robert Wise

    While most war movies of the '60s focus on the two World Wars, “The Sand Pebbles” went a completely different direction. Steve McQueen and Richard Attenborough star as Navy men on a gunboat in 1926 China, members of a crew sent to rescue a group of missionaries on the Yangtze River. Nominated for Best Picture at both the Oscars and the Golden Globes, the film was a huge commercial and critical success.

  • #28. Gettysburg
    19/ TriStar Television

    #28. Gettysburg

    IMDb user rating: 7.7
    IMDb user votes: 23,549
    Release year: 1993
    Director: Ron Maxwell

    This Civil War film about the famous North-South battle in Gettysburg, Pa. lasted a whopping 4 hours and 31 minutes. Tom Berenger, Jeff Daniels, and Martin Sheen led the cast of what was originally supposed to be a cable TV mini-series. A prequel, “Gods and Generals,” also written and directed by Ron Maxwell, was released in 2003 with some of the cast reprising their roles from the original film.

  • #27. From Here to Eternity
    20/ Columbia Pictures Corporation

    #27. From Here to Eternity

    IMDb user rating: 7.7
    IMDb user votes: 37,743
    Release year: 1953
    Director: Fred Zinnemann

    The second James Jones story to make the listsee #33, “From Here to Eternity” starred Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, and Frank Sinatra as soldiers stationed in Hawaii in the months before the Pearl Harbor attack. It ended up winning eight Oscars in 1954 and has since been added to the National Film Registry for its tremendous cultural significance. It was Sinatra’s only Academy Award win for his acting work.

  • #26. Kelly's Heroes
    21/ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

    #26. Kelly's Heroes

    IMDb user rating: 7.7
    IMDb user votes: 39,347
    Release year: 1970
    Director: Brian G. Hutton

    Is it a war movie or a heist film? Both. “Kelly’s Heroes” tells the story of U.S. soldiers who sneak past enemy lines in order to steal millions of dollars worth of Nazi gold. Clint Eastwood leads the charge in this war comedy that also stars Telly Savalas, Don Rickles, Carroll O’Connor, and Donald Sutherland in his World War II comedy of 1970the first was “MASH”.


  • #25. Where Eagles Dare
    22/ Gershwin-Kastner Productions

    #25. Where Eagles Dare

    IMDb user rating: 7.7
    IMDb user votes: 45,127
    Release year: 1968
    Director: Brian G. Hutton

    The second Brian G. Hutton-directed picture to make the list, “Where Eagles Dare” stars Clint Eastwood and Richard Burton as an American soldier and his British counterpart. The pair are tasked with the rescue of a U.S. military commander who’s being held in a fortress by Nazis. The film received a positive review in The New York Times from reviewer Vincent Canby.

  • #24. Black Hawk Down
    23/ Revolution Studios

    #24. Black Hawk Down

    IMDb user rating: 7.7
    IMDb user votes: 324,822
    Release year: 2001
    Director: Ridley Scott

    The evolution of “Black Hawk Down” is fairly extensive. It began as a 29-part series of articles in the Philadelphia Inquirer, became a best-selling book by Mark Bowden, and then a Ridley Scott movie. The story follows a 1993 raid in Somalia as Army Rangers attempt to capture two rogue militia commanders, with Josh Hartnett and Ewan McGregor leading an impressive ensemble cast.

  • #23. The Last Samurai
    24/ Warner Bros.

    #23. The Last Samurai

    IMDb user rating: 7.7
    IMDb user votes: 352,851
    Release year: 2003
    Director: Edward Zwick

    In “The Last Samurai,” Tom Cruise plays an American ex-Army captain who travels to Japan to help train soldiers—and winds up in the middle of a samurai insurrection against the new emperor. Thanks mainly to foreign sales, the film was a box office success. Japanese actor Ken Watanabe was nominated for a Supporting Actor Oscar for his work in the film.

  • #22. Twelve O'Clock High
    25/ Twentieth Century Fox

    #22. Twelve O'Clock High

    IMDb user rating: 7.8
    IMDb user votes: 11,063
    Release year: 1949
    Director: Henry King

    Adapted from a 1948 novel, “Twelve O’Clock High” stars Gregory Peck as a no-nonsense Army general who leads a group of bomber pilots to victory over the Axis forces in Germany and France. The film was nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards—Peck was nominated for Best Actor, but it was co-star Dean Jagger who took home a statue for Best Supporting Actor.

  • #21. Sergeant York
    26/ Warner Bros.

    #21. Sergeant York

    IMDb user rating: 7.8
    IMDb user votes: 13,502
    Release year: 1941
    Director: Howard Hawks

    Gary Cooper leads in this tale of an incredible sniper, Alvin C. York, who becomes a World War I hero when his marksmanship forces a German platoon to surrender. Cooper’s acclaimed performance not only won the Oscar for Best Actorand earned 11 total nominations including Best Pictureit led to the American Film Institute naming York as the 35th greatest hero in American film history.

  • #20. Mister Roberts
    27/ Warner Bros.

    #20. Mister Roberts

    IMDb user rating: 7.8
    IMDb user votes: 13,855
    Release year: 1955
    Directors: John Ford, Mervyn LeRoy, Joshua Logan

    With one of the most notable war movie casts in history, it seems like “Mister Roberts” was always destined for greatness: It was originally a book, then a play, and became a TV series after the success of the film. Henry Fonda plays Doug Roberts, a Navy cargo ship lieutenant stationed far from the action of World War II, who takes care of his crew while trying to get transferred to an active postaway from the overbearing commander of his ship. James Cagney plays the hated captain, William Powell plays the ship’s doctor in his final cinematic role, and Jack Lemmon earned an Oscar for his work as a reluctant sailor.

  • #19. The Caine Mutiny
    28/ Columbia Pictures Corporation

    #19. The Caine Mutiny

    IMDb user rating: 7.8
    IMDb user votes: 21,778
    Release year: 1954
    Director: Edward Dmytryk

    Herman Wouk won the Pulitzer Prize for “The Caine Mutiny,” a play that soon became this Hollywood adaptation starring Humphrey Bogart, José Ferrer, Van Johnson, and Fred MacMurray. An Oscar-nomination magnet, the film details the contentious events aboard a U.S. Navy destroyer and the court-martial that occurs after the mutiny. Adding to its legacy, world-class actor Michael Caine actually took his stage name from the film.

  • #18. The Longest Day
    29/ Twentieth Century Fox

    #18. The Longest Day

    IMDb user rating: 7.8
    IMDb user votes: 47,191
    Release year: 1962
    Directors: Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton, Bernhard Wicki, Gerd Oswald, Darryl F. Zanuck

    There are almost too many stars in the cast of this massive World War II epic, which tells the story of D-Day from both the Allied and Axis perspectives. Richard Burton, Sean Connery, John Wayne, and Robert Mitchum are just a few of the biggest names in the black-and-white classic, which is notorious for its extensive roster of extras and unique storytelling—told from multiple perspectives in native tongues with subtitles.

  • #17. The Dirty Dozen
    30/ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

    #17. The Dirty Dozen

    IMDb user rating: 7.8
    IMDb user votes: 58,778
    Release year: 1967
    Director: Robert Aldrich

    The standard war movie gets a criminal twist in “The Dirty Dozen.” Twelve of the Army’s worst convicts are brought together in World War II, forming a ragtag unit charged with parachuting into a French chateau. Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, and John Cassavetes are just a small sampling of the film’s star-studded cast, and it’s been lauded on a number of AFI’s best-of lists—including “America’s Most Heart-Pounding Movies.” 

  • #16. Glory
    31/ TriStar Pictures

    #16. Glory

    IMDb user rating: 7.9
    IMDb user votes: 109,840
    Release year: 1989
    Director: Edward Zwick

    Denzel Washington won his first Oscar for his role in this Civil War film about one of the first all-black regiments in American history. Matthew Broderick plays Captain Robert Shaw, a white colonel in charge of a group of black volunteers for the Union Army. The group deals with racism and prejudice within their own army as they fight against the Confederacy and the evils of slavery on the other side. The film enjoyed massive critical success: New York Times film critic Vincent Canby called the cast “superior” and correctly predicted that Washington was “on his way to a major screen career.”

  • #15. To Have and Have Not
    32/ Warner Bros.

    #15. To Have and Have Not

    IMDb user rating: 8.0
    IMDb user votes: 26,401
    Release year: 1944
    Director: Howard Hawks

    Loosely based on the 1937 Ernest Hemingway story, “To Have and Have Not” introduces Lauren Bacall in her film debut as a young American vagabond on the French Caribbean island of Martinique. She meets a charismatic American expat fisherman (Humphrey Bogart) who is helping to smuggle a French resistance fighter onto the island—ultimately getting entangled with the politics of the Nazi-friendly Vichy French government that controls Martinique. While Hemingway wrote the original story on which the film is based, fellow novelist legend William Faulkner got co-screenwriting credit for his work in the movie.

  • #14. Stalag 17
    33/ Paramount Pictures

    #14. Stalag 17

    IMDb user rating: 8.0
    IMDb user votes: 46,483
    Release year: 1953
    Director: Billy Wilder

    "Stalag 17" was originally a hit Broadway play, but it found a much wider audience when Billy Wilder turned it into a film starring William Holden. The plot revolves around a group of American pilot prisoners-of-war being held in a German prison camp. Holden won the Academy Award for his role as J.J. Sefton, the camp’s resident wheeler-and-dealer who’s happy to barter with anyone—including the German guards.

  • #13. Patton
    34/ Twentieth Century Fox

    #13. Patton

    IMDb user rating: 8.0
    IMDb user votes: 84,521
    Release year: 1970
    Director: Franklin J. Schaffner

    American war hero Gen. George Patton is the subject of this award-winning film that cleaned up at the Oscars in 1971—with statues going to the film for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Actor for George C. Scott’s role as the general. Scott actually rejected the award in one of the Oscars’ biggest scandals. The film follows Patton’s rise to legendary status as he takes on larger and larger military theaters, emerging victorious in all of them.

  • #12. The Best Years of Our Lives
    35/ Samuel Goldwyn Company

    #12. The Best Years of Our Lives

    IMDb user rating: 8.1
    IMDb user votes: 50,388
    Release year: 1946
    Director: William Wyle

    Although still a war movie, “The Best Years of Our Lives” tackles the difficulty of soldiers returning to their everyday lives. Myrna Loy and Fredric March topline the cast in a story that tells of the horrors of war—and how soldiers find their way home—by following the struggles of three American servicemen. While the movie was nominated in all of the major categories at the Oscars, it failed to win, but it did secure Best Picture at the 1947 Golden Globes.

  • #11. The Deer Hunter
    36/ Universal Pictures

    #11. The Deer Hunter

    IMDb user rating: 8.1
    IMDb user votes: 269,925
    Release year: 1978
    Director: Michael Cimino

    The Deer Hunter” is another film about the ravages of war on a soldier’s psyche after the battle is over. This time it’s Vietnam, with Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, and John Savage playing three deeply scarred men. AFI named it one of the best movies in American history, and Academy Awards voters agreed: They named the movie Best Picture in 1979 and gave Meryl Streep her first Oscar nomination.

  • #10. Platoon
    37/ Hemdale

    #10. Platoon

    IMDb user rating: 8.1
    IMDb user votes: 334,456
    Release year: 1986
    Director: Oliver Stone

    Oliver Stone first made his mark as a major director with this story of an ill-prepared platoon during the Vietnam War. The first of Stone’s Vietnam trilogy“Heaven & Earth” and “Born on the Fourth of July” round out the trio“Platoon” is an anti-war movie that shows the horrific side of combat. The cast features Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe, and Charlie Sheen; the movie went on to win Best Picture and Best Director at the Oscars. 

  • #9. The General
    38/ Buster Keaton Production

    #9. The General

    IMDb user rating: 8.2
    IMDb user votes: 66,833
    Release year: 1926
    Directors: Clyde Bruckman, Buster Keaton

    Back in 1926, Buster Keaton co-wrote and co-directed this Civil War silent film, based on a true story about Union spies who steal a man’s locomotive. The film was based on a memoir about an 1862 raid in Georgia when Northern soldiers commandeered a train. AFI has named the film in many of its “best of” lists, including a nomination on their list of America’s Greatest Movies.

  • #8. The Great Escape
    39/ Mirisch Company

    #8. The Great Escape

    IMDb user rating: 8.2
    IMDb user votes: 194,175
    Release year: 1963
    Director: John Sturges

    While it didn’t pick up any major awards, “The Great Escape” has been recognized as one of the greatest war movies of all time. Set in a German POW camp in Poland, it tells a story of a multinational group of high-level military prisoners that make a concerted effort to escape. Steve McQueen leads the international cast filled with amazing actors like James Garner, James Coburn, and Richard Attenborough.

  • #7. Gone with the Wind
    40/ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

    #7. Gone with the Wind

    IMDb user rating: 8.2
    IMDb user votes: 250,340
    Release year: 1939
    Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Sam Wood

    At almost four hours long, “Gone with the Wind” is a sprawling epic film about the downfall of a well-to-do southern family. Set in Georgia during the Civil War, the adaptation of Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 novel set all kinds of box office records. Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh starred in the picture that eventually took home 10 Oscars in 1940, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Writing, and Best Actress in a Leading Role. AFI listed it as #6 on a list of best American movies of all time.

  • #6. Hacksaw Ridge
    41/ Cross Creek Pictures

    #6. Hacksaw Ridge

    IMDb user rating: 8.2
    IMDb user votes: 321,804
    Release year: 2016
    Director: Mel Gibson

    Gibson’s “Hacksaw Ridge” tells the story of an pacifist American army medic in World War II—who serves without a weapon and vows to never hurt or kill an enemy soldier. Andrew Garfield plays the lead in the movie, which is based on the 2004 documentary “The Conscientious Objector.” While it didn’t win any major awards, the movie was nominated for Best Motion Picture at both the Oscars and Golden Globes.

  • #5. Full Metal Jacket
    42/ Warner Bros.

    #5. Full Metal Jacket

    IMDb user rating: 8.3
    IMDb user votes: 570,689
    Release year: 1987
    Director: Stanley Kubrick

    The penultimate film of Stanley Kubrick’s career, “Full Metal Jacket” details the process of a Marine from boot camp through his combat deployment in Vietnam. As opposed to the war movies of the mid-20th century, this film paints war as an excruciating ordeal that can barely be survived. Matthew Modine stars alongside Vincent D’Onofrio, Adam Baldwin, and R. Lee Ermey.

  • #4. Inglourious Basterds
    43/ Universal Pictures

    #4. Inglourious Basterds

    IMDb user rating: 8.3
    IMDb user votes: 1,046,261
    Release year: 2009
    Directors: Quentin Tarantino, Eli Roth

    While it’s not rooted in reality, per se, this impactful Quentin Tarantino movie tells the story of a revenge plot against the Nazis with Jewish soldiers taking the lead. Brad Pitt stars, with Christoph Waltz stealing the show as a Nazi colonel trying to stop the soldiers from achieving their goals. The film did extremely well at the box office and earned a variety of Oscar nominations for Best Motion Picture, Best Director, and more.

  • #3. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
    44/ Columbia Pictures Corporation

    #3. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

    IMDb user rating: 8.4
    IMDb user votes: 394,181
    Release year: 1964
    Director: Stanley Kubrick

    Considered one of the best films of all time, this Kubrick classic is a satire on war and nuclear oblivion—and the only film on this list to focus on the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Peter Sellers and George C. Scott star in the rare comedy of Kubrick’s canon. While it didn’t win any Academy Awards, it was nominated in all of the major categories in 1965.

  • #2. Apocalypse Now
    45/ Zoetrope Studio

    #2. Apocalypse Now

    IMDb user rating: 8.5
    IMDb user votes: 517,202
    Release year: 1979
    Director: Francis Ford Coppola

    The cast alone is reason enough to watch this exotically dark war film, with Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper, and Marlon Brando all taking turns wowing the audience. Coppola had already earned acclaim as the director of “The Godfather,” and “Apocalypse Now” solidified his reputation as an A-list director. Based on Joseph Conrad’s novella “Heart of Darkness,” but set during the Vietnam War, the film involves an Army captain that’s sent to Cambodia to remove a rogue officer who has taken over a local tribe.

  • #1. Saving Private Ryan
    46/ Amblin Entertainment

    #1. Saving Private Ryan

    IMDb user rating: 8.6
    IMDb user votes: 1,034,061
    Release year: 1998
    Director: Steven Spielberg

    The second Spielberg film to make the list, “Saving Private Ryan” stars Tom Hanks as the leader of a World War II Army unit on a search and rescue mission. The group—played by an top-notch ensemble cast that includes Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore, and Ed Burns—is tasked with going behind enemy lines to save a soldier whose brothers have already lost their lives to the war. The film went on to earn five Academy Awards, including Spielberg’s most recent Best Director honor.

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