Few topics in cinema are as riveting as war movies. They offer a unique perspective on one of the most complex and intense situations humans can find themselves in. From the early days of film-making, directors have been drawn to the power and drama of war stories. Here are five of the best war movies ever made:
1: Apocalypse Now (1979)
Set during the Vietnam War, Apocalypse Now follows Captain Willard (played by Martin Sheen) on a mission to kill Colonel Kurtz (played by Marlon Brando), who has gone rogue and set up his kingdom in the Cambodian jungle. The film is a masterclass in tension, with outstanding performances from both Sheen and Brando.
2: The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
Set in a Japanese POW camp in Burma during World War II, The Bridge on the River Kwai tells the story of Colonel Nicholson (played by Alec Guinness), whose captors order to build a bridge that the Japanese army will use. Nicholson and his men decide to make the bridge to the best of their abilities, despite the conditions they are forced to work in.
3: Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Directed by Steven Spielberg, Saving Private Ryan tells the story of a group of soldiers who are sent into enemy territory during World War II to rescue Private Ryan (played by Matt Damon), who is the only surviving son of a family that has already lost two sons in the war. The film is notable for its graphic depiction of the D-Day landings at Normandy.
4: Platoon (1986)
Platoon is an autobiographical film about Vietnam War veteran Oliver Stone, who also directed the film. It tells the story of a group of soldiers caught in the middle of a battle between two commanding officers who must choose which one to follow. The film is brutal and unflinching in its portrayal of the horrors of war.
5: Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Full Metal Jacket is another film about the Vietnam War, this time focusing on training a group of Marines before they are sent into battle. The film follows the recruits from their first day of boot camp to their last days in Vietnam. It is a gritty and realistic portrayal of the horrors of war and its effects on those who fight in it.
War movies offer a unique and powerful perspective on one of the most complex situations humans can find themselves in. They can be brutal and unflinching, or they can offer a more nuanced view of the complexities of war. Either way, they are always fascinating to watch.