Best war movies in of all time – Part 1

The first part of the subjective review of the best war movies in the history of cinema.

Image source: Saving Private Ryan, director: Steven Spielberg

1. Lone Survivor

The 2013 war drama, telling the story of the failed Red Wings Operation, conducted by American Special Forces in Afghanistan in June 2005. The film focuses on the figure of Marcus Lutrell (played by Marek Wahlberg), the only survivor of Navy SEALs team, which was forced to desperately defend against a significantly large enemy force (rumored to be anywhere from 8 to 10 or 80-100 depending on source). The operation resulted in the tragic death of the 16-person rescue unit and three out of four members of the Lutrell’s team – including the commander, Michael P. Murphy, who dedicated his life by exposing himself to the enemy’s fire during a satellite phone call for help. Lutrell survived thanks to the help of the inhabitants of a small Afghan village and was saved six days after the clash.

The film is praised for its realistic battle scenes, faithful display of the culture, training and combat tactics of elite Navy SEALs, as well as for its music and beautiful set design. The production showed the bravery and sacrifice of the protagonists in a moving way.

Interestingly enough, Markus Lutrell appears in “Lone Survivor”, who plays there a member of the rescue team sent to help the fighting soldiers.


2. Black Hawk Down

The double Oscar winning “Black Hawk Down” tells the story of an American intervention in Somalia, culminating in the bloody Battle of Mogadishu. 160 American soldiers (operators of Delta Force and the Ranger Battalion) were supposed to capture Mohamed Farram Aidid, a Somali warlord hiding in Mogadishu. The action, which was to last less than an hour, turned into a bloody battle lasting several hours, culminating in the death of 19 Americans and over 1000 killed Somali militiamen. Two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters were also shot down, hence the title.

The film is characterized by historical fidelity, excellent representation of battle scenes, solid acting and memorable music composed by Hans Zimmer.


3. Saving Private Ryan

Classic of the genre – a war drama released on 1998, awarded with five Oscars. The action of the film takes place in 1944 during Operation Overlord, i. e. the Allied landing in Normandy. A group of Rangers is sent to find a soldier who lost three brothers during the war and should return to his widowed mother, for whom he is the last surviving family member. After heavy fighting, the unit reaches the lost soldier while losing almost all of the original search party, including the commander.

The film is characterized by incredible fidelity to the imaging of armaments, great battle scenes (including the Normandy landing) and intelligent, captivating storyline.


4. Band of Brothers

Great HBO series presenting the fate of Easy Company of the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division on the western front during World War II. The realism and effects of the battle scenes of the “Band of Brothers” have become a model for films and series for many years, which is confirmed by some of the movies listed here. Despite the passage of time, it is still one of the most popular productions showing the history of World War II. It also has numerous accolades showing the success of the series.


5. The Pacific

“Pacific” is a 10-part series produced, by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg. It tells the story of three US infantry troops during the Second World War in the Pacific. its is often compared to “Band of Brothers”, in part due to brutal combat scenes and excellent special effects. Every detail has been taken care of – on the screen you can see original or reconstructed military equipment from those times. It is all complemented by atmospheric music.


6. Restrepo

Restrepo is a feature-length documentary depicting 15 months of a US Army infantry platoon fighting in Death Valley, a very dangerous part of Afghanistan. Specifically, its a place where most Americans died during the war in Afghanistan. The film genuinely shows us the real lives of soldiers in the midst of war.


7. Das Boot

Historical drama showing the history of the German U-Boot receiving a dangerous mission during the war on the Atlantic during World War II. The film masterfully shows the hardships of service on a submarine and the realities of clashes between Kriegsmarine and the allied convoys in the Atlantic.


8. A Bridge Too Far

An American movie from 1977 depicting the history of the famous Operation Market Garden conducted by the Allies in 1944. There is a strong Polish accent there – Gene Hackman himself played the role of General Sosabowski.


9. Gettysburg

The film revolves around the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, one of the most important battles of the American Civil War. It focuses on both sides of the conflict. Depicting the Confederates and the Union’s soldiers as honourable men, patriots and defenders of their land and families, “Gettysburg” is an outstanding production from every angle – both cinematography and acting games, music and the creation of the main characters. Interestingly, the film was originally supposed to be a TV series, because it lasts more than 4 hours!


10. The Hurt Locker

Winner of as many as 6 Oscars, “The Hurt Locker” tells the story of an American elite Explosive Ordinance Disposal unit deployed in Iraq. The main character is the unit commander, Senior Staff Sergeant William James, an adrenaline-addict, whose reckless attitude and risk-taking actions expose the lives of his subordinates to unnecessary risk. This leads to a conflict between soldiers, who are forced to participate in increasingly difficult and more dangerous missions. War is shown here as not only a terrible and devastating thing, but also as a drug that can be addicting.

The film is keeps the audience in suspense the entire – there’s no shortage of exciting scenes depciting EOD work and great combat scenes to complement it.

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