Monday, May 31, 2010

Favorite films about war

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 through that crazy hell as part of a larger purpose. Most of the time such stories are set in wars that actually took place.

Whereas, an anti-war film is usually more about the toll of war, or the sheer folly. Some of the best anti-war flicks don’t have many battle scenes. Some aren't set in what were real wars. Thus, two different sets of five favorites must be made on the war front.

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

"Dr. Strangelove ..." (1964): Directed by Stanley Kubrick; Cast: Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden
Forbidden Games” (1952): Directed by René Clément; Cast: Brigitte Fossey, Georges Poujouly, Amédée
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


James Young said...

All good defensible choices. Tough categories, with films like "Patton," "Stalag 17," and "Saving Private Ryan." And what do you do with a film like "Inglorious Basterds"?

Frank said...

Beach Red is one of the best war movies I have ever seen.

It was based on a blank verse poem of the same name:

Paul said...

Das Boot is one of my favorites. Last weekend's TV selections included its spiritual ancestor, The Enemy Below.