Sunday, August 13, 2006

Best War/Anti-War Movies

War movies are another cup of tea, when it comes to making a list. Most of the best war movies, in my book, have at least a hint of anti-war sentiment in them. Some might call it sanity; war isn’t just hell, it’s crazy hell. Still, to me a traditional war movie is about the quest to bravely fight out of that crazy hell as part of a larger purpose.

Whereas, an anti-war film is more about the toll of war, the absurdity. Some of the best anti-war flicks don’t have many battle scenes. Thus, two different sets of five faves must be made on the war front. By the way “Dr. Strangelove...” isn’t on my anti-war list because I’m only counting real wars, as opposed to an imaginary war.

Five Favorite Heroic War Films

Breaker Morant” (1980): Directed by Bruce Beresford; Cast: Edward Woodward, Jack Thompson, Bryan Brown
Das Boot” (1981): Directed by Wolfgang Petersen; Cast: Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Klaus Wennemann
The Deer Hunter” (1978): Directed by Michael Cimino; Cast: Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, John Cazale
The Great Escape” (1965): Directed by John Sturges; Cast: Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough
Thin Red Line” (1998): Directed by Terrence Malick; Cast: Sean Penn, Adrien Brody, James Caviezel

Five Favorite Anti-War Films

Forbidden Games” (1952): Directed by René Clément; Cast: Brigitte Fossey, Georges Poujouly, Amédée
Grand Illusion” (1937): Directed by Jean Renoir; Cast: Jean Gabin, Dita Parlo, Pierre Fresnay
King of Hearts” (1966): Directed by Philippe de Broca; Cast: Alan Bates, Geneviève Bujold, Pierre Brasseur
Paths of Glory” (1957): Directed by Stanley Kubrick; Cast: Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou
Seven Beauties” (1975): Directed by Lina Wertmüller; Cast: Giancarlo Giannini, Fernando Rey, Shirley Stoler


spankthatdonkey said...

Not being a "fan" of anti war movies, I have to mention that "All's quiet on the Western Front" is billed as anti war, and supposedly has been banned in some countries.

I never got that drift, although I watched it as late as three weeks ago. Maybe I just don't get it, because I have accepted war as necesary human tragedy....

The best War Movies that have influenced me personally.

The earliest I remember was the movie MASH. I was young, and I mostly remember the scene where they pulled the tent down, while "hot lips" holihan was taking a shower... (war movie, I dont know, but it had impact)

Patton, Tora, Tora, Tora, Kelly's Heroes, Midway, Fighting See Bees.

Modern movies: Full Metal Jacket, Black Hawk Down, We Were Soldiers, Saving Private Ryan, Brave Heart, Master and Commander, Gladiator, Aliens....

Triscula said...

Thin Red Line
Saving Private Ryan
The Deer Hunter
Apocalypse Now
Memphis Belle

Triscula said...

Oh. And 'Band of Brothers' is an excellent HBO miniseries.

Triscula said...

Damn, I keep remembering more good ones after I've already posted my comment. :)

My favorite anti-war film is
'Grave of the Fireflies'
I think it would be great in a double feature with 'Forbidden Games'

F.T. Rea said...


Well, some would say that a movie set during/about war is a war movie, whether it’s a comedy, or an action film, or a bitter anti-war film, or merely thinly-disguised propaganda. I can see that point. War movies of all types are popular because such movies draw from the most extreme circumstances most people will/could ever face.

The irony that the strongest sense of camaraderie most people can ever feel frequently comes in the midst of the worst of ordeals is not lost on storytellers of all stripes.

The story of what movies get banned where is always interesting.