Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Favorite films about war

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 through that crazy hell as part of a larger purpose.

Whereas, an anti-war film is more about the toll of war. 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


philbert said...

I absolutely love Breaker Morant. "A slice off a cut loaf is never missed." Truer words never spake...

Mark Twain said...

"The barbarities of war are seldom committed by abnormal men. The tragedy of war is that these horrors are committed by normal men in abnormal situations."

An excellent piece of celluloid.

Rebecca said...

Surely Saving Pvt. Ryan belongs here somewhere. The first 30 mins. or so of that film [the most violent on film, yet a simple reflection of the reality that was Omaha Beach] gives us both an "anti-war" and "heroic" war film. Perhaps that is the ultimate irony of all war: that only in our supreme attempt to trivialize life do we most clearly see our collective humanity, both its value and fragility.