The 30 greatest war movies of all time
Just in time for memorial day, in a tribute to all the veterans out there,  we're bringing you some of the most memorable war movies of all time. 


Best War Movies

The terror and the triumph of combat make for great drama, which is why it's no coincidence that life on the battlefield has inspired an arsenal of incredible movies. 

(At left, Jeremy Renner in "The Hurt Locker," Gary Cooper in "Sergeant York.")

(Summit Entertainment/Warner Bros.)

(Summit Entertainment/Warner Brothers)


'Saving Private Ryan'

Spielberg’s popular 1999 film features great performances from the likes of Tom Hanks, plus incredible, realistic World War II scenes.


Tora! Tora! Tora!

'Tora! Tora! Tora!'

This 1970 film focuses on the events of Pearl Harbor from the vantage points of both Americans and Japanese.

(20th Century Fox)


'Full Metal Jacket'

Matthew Modine and Vincent D’Onofrio star in this chilling 1987 Vietnam War film, directed by Stanley Kubrick.

(Warner Bros.)


'All Quiet on the Western Front'

This 1930 adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s classic novel was the first film to portray war in a negative light.




Robert Altman made a movie about the Vietnam War using the Korean War (though Korea wasn’t mentioned outright) as a surrogate in this classic 1970 film.

(20th Century Fox)


'Letters to Iwo Jima'

Clint  Eastwood’s 2006 film, set during World War II, is the superior companion to “Flags of Our Fathers.”

(Warner Bros.)


'The Dirty Dozen'

This 1967 film about U.S. convicts taking on Nazis inspired the 1981 cult classic "Inglorious Bastards," which in turn inspired Tarantino’s "Inglourious Basterds."

It's also one of the few war movies not based on actual events.




Denzel Washington plays a fugitive slave turned soldier in this 1989 Civil War movie.

(TriStar Pictures)


'The Hurt Locker'

Katheryn Bigelow’s Iraq War film recently cleaned up at the 82nd Academy Awards, and for good reason. The powerful film follows a US Army Explosives Ordnance Disposal team.

(Summit Entertainment)


'A Bridge Too Far'

This 1977 World War II flick features an all-star cast: Laurence Olivier, Gene Hackman, Michael Caine, Anthony Hopkins and Robert Redford.

(United Artists)



The first film in Oliver Stone’s Vietnam War trilogy, the 1986 Oscar-winner stars Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe, and Charlie Sheen.

(Orion Pictures)


'Das Boot'

In this 1981 U-boat drama/thriller, the focus is on German soldiers during World War II.

(Columbia Pictures)


'Black Hawk Down'

Set in 1993 during the U.S. raid on Mogadishu, Somalia, this 2001 movie focuses on a band of U.S. soldiers fighting for their lives when their choppers are shot down. Eric Bana and Josh Hartnett star.

(Columbia Pictures)


'Sergeant York'

Gary Cooper plays a drafted pacifist who becomes a hero in this 1941 movie, which is inspired by a true story.

(Warner Bros.)


'The Deer Hunter'

Robert De Niro, John Savage and Christopher Walken play steelworker pals fighting in Vietnam in this 1978 Best Picture Oscar winner.

(Universal Pictures)


'Paths of Glory'

Kirk Douglas stars in this 1957 Stanley Kubrick film, depicting the politics of combat during World War I.

(United Artists)


'Apocalypse Now'

Frances Ford Coppola expertly depicts the insanity of Vietnam in this 1979 masterpiece, with help from a script inspired by Joseph Conrad’s novella “Heart of Darkness.”



'The Longest Day'

He’s known for Westerns, but John Wayne is also superb in combat flicks. This 1962 World War II film is often considered the best war movie of all time.

(20th Century Fox)

(Collection Christophel)

Schindler's List

'Schindler's List'

Spielberg’s film about a reluctant Nazi hero had audiences weeping in 1993. It also earned the director his first Oscar.

(Universal Pictures)


'The Bridge on the River Kwai'

Alec Guinness won a Best Actor Oscar for his work in this 1957 World War II classic.

(Columbia Pictures)



This 1970 biographical film about US general George S. Patton is simply great.

(20th Century Fox)


'The Great Escape'

In this 1963 film (based on the true story), Steve McQueen and his fellow POWs are held captive in a Nazi prison camp. 

(United Artists)



Charleton Heston and Henry Fonda head up this 1976 film chronicling the Battle of Midway, a turning point in World War II. 



'The Green Berets'

John Wayne stars in this 1968 classic, portraying a Green Beret who gives a journalist first-hand experience about American involvement in the Vietnam War. 

(Warner Bros.)

Kelly's Heroes

'Kelly's Heroes'

This 1970 war caper movie follows a group of WWII soldiers gone AWOL to rob a bank behind enemy lines. 



'The Patriot'

Mel Gibson and the late Heath Ledger play father and son in this 2000 film, set during the Revolutionary War. 



'Hamburger Hill'

This 1987 ‘Nam film showcases American heroism and soldier solidarity. The movie is based on the actual 1969 assault on Ap Bia Mountain. 




One of the best movies of all time, the 1942 romantic drama is set during WWII and follows the struggles of a love-stricken American (Humphrey Bogart) in Morocco. 

(Warner Bros.)


'We Were Soldiers'

Another Mel pick! Gibson stars in this 2002 flick, portraying a Lieutenant Colonel in Vietnam during the first Indochina War. 



'The Sands of Iwo Jima'

In this 1949 classic, John Wayne leads a group of US Marines from training to WWII’s Battle of Iwo Jima. 

(Republic Pictures)

The 30 greatest war movies of all time

Just in time for memorial day, in a tribute to all the veterans out there,  we're bringing you some of the most memorable war movies of all time. 

More From Our Sponsors