Top 5 War Movies
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Top 5 War Movies Of All Time
List Of The Top 5 War Movies Of All Time

Over the past thirty years or so, movie lovers have been blessed to see some of the greatest war movies to come out of Hollywood. I believe it is important for war movies to portray what life (and death) was like for the soldiers involved in each conflict. It is equally important for good war films to show how war effects the country were the battles are fought as well as the turmoil it brings to the soldiers loved ones at home.

All of the old John Wayne war movies will always have a special place in my heart as will the other great war movies of the past like, “From Here To Eternity”, “Midway” and “Tora Tora Tora”.

But, during the past few decades, war films have taken on a whole new metamorphosis. The advancement in technology, especially in special effects, along with the easing of restrictions on what can and cannot be shown to the public has certainly changed the modern day war movie.

With that said, many movie goers believe that the gory graphics and realism of today’s war movies leave a lot less to our imagination and some believe the acting has gone downhill. Some think that war movies have moved into the realm of horror films. Others believe it is for the better. They say that the war films of today are far more realistic as they show you what war is really like, Hell!

I am of the camp who think the war movies over the past few decades are better than their predecessors as long as the acting is strong. Here is my list of the Top 5 War Movies Of All Time:

Neil Gerstein is an expert author who writes about multiple topics. You can read some of his articles here:
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To many people, Platoon was the film that brought us into the modern day of war movies. Directed by Oliver Stone and released in 1986, Platoon is considered by movie lovers and critics alike to be the best war movie ever made.  Starring Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, William Dafoe and the little known actor Johnny Depp. In Platoon, you follow the thoughts of what guerilla warfare was like for Chris (Sheen), a new recruit who just arrived in war torn Vietnam only to find out members of his Platoon were just as deadly as the Viet Cong. Platoon was one of the first war films to show what war was truly like. In fact, Platoon reached such a depth of realism that unless you had actually been in a war zone or experienced the Vietnam War you would probably fail to fully understand exactly what the film tried to depict. Platoon was highly applauded by many Vietnam veterans. Platoon’s superb acting, beautiful scenery and complete realism makes it number one on our list of the top 5 war movies of all time.
Apocalypse Now

Directed by Francis Ford Coppolla and released in 1979 as Apocalypse Now and released again in 2001 (with 49 minutes of additional footage) as Apocalypse Now Redux. Starring Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall and Harrison Ford this war movie certainly enjoys a superb cast of actors that is to die for. Apocalypse Now is not only a fantastic war story with beautiful scenic splendor, but is also considered by many to represent the darker side of humanity. Like Platoon, Apocalypse Now takes place during the Vietnam War. The story follows Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) as he is sent on a secret mission into war torn Cambodia to assassinate an American Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando) who has apparently gone bad. Robert Duvall who portrays the gung-ho Lt. Colonel Kilgore say’s one of the great lines in Hollywood history, “I love the smell of Napalm in the morning!” Apocalypse Now’s magnificent and unique storyline and it’s group of finely crafted characters places it second on our list of the top 5 war movies of all time. 
Saving Private Ryan

The 1998 war film was directed by Steven Spielberg, the movie received critical acclaim by receiving multiple Academy Awards including Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Sound, Best Editing and Best Sound Editing. Saving Private Ryan was also nominated for six other Oscars, including Best Picture. This excellent war film offers a superb cast of actors, including Tom Hanks, Edward Burns, Tom Sizemore, Matt Damon, Jeremy Davies and Vin Diesel. The beginning 20 minutes of Saving Private Ryan gives us the most memorable and realistic wartime footage ever filmed in the history of Hollywood war movies. It was the portrayal of the Normandy invasion when our soldiers were landing on Omaha Beach. It was 20 minutes of pure Hell and something I will never forget! Taking place during WWII, Saving Private Ryan follows an elite squad of Army Rangers led by Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) on a special mission behind German lines to rescue a Private Ryan (Matt Damon). Of the four brothers who entered the war, Private Ryan’s is the only one to survive. The Rangers mission is to find him somewhere behind enemy lines and send him home to his mother. The graphic realism and special effects of the movie are truly lifelike and special. The acting is incomparable with Tom Hanks doing what he does best, act.  The realistic war footage in the films beginning is reason enough to put Saving Private Ryan at number 3 on our list of the top 5 war movies of all time.
We Were Soldiers

Released in 2002, We Were Soldiers was directed by Randall Wallace and stars Mel Gibson, Madeleine Stowe, Gregg Kinnear, Barry Pepper, Sam Elliott and Don Duong. We Were Soldiers is one of the first war movies to depict the thoughts, feelings, actions and perspectives of soldiers on both sides of the battle. Based on a novel written by a Lieutenant General Hal Moore (Mel Gibson) and a civilian reporter Joseph Galloway (Barry Pepper) that were at the Battle of Ia Drang (called The Valley of Death), one of the Vietnam Wars most terrible battles in which 400 American troops were ambushed by over 2000 North Vietnam troops. We Were Soldiers takes a close personal look into the lives of the soldiers who fought that dreadful battle, their families at home and events that took place at the time. This excellent war movie also gave us the thoughts and perspective of the enemy commander, Lieutenant General Nguyen Huu An (Don Duong) which was seldom done in war movies. Of the old war films I remember, only “Tora Tora Tora” gave the enemies thoughts to some extent. The fact that We Were Soldiers takes into account the thoughts and perspective of the soldiers on both sides of a bloody battle and the effects the war has on the family members of the American soldiers makes it our 4th choice on our list of the top 5 war movies of all time.

Glory, which was released in 1989, stars Denzel Washington, Matthew Broderick and Morgan Freeman. This war movie which takes place during the American Civil War tells the heart wrenching and riveting story of the coming of age of the 54th Regiment of Massachusetts, a troop of black soldiers who were placed on the battlefield for the first time. The movie follows the inexperienced Colonel Shaw (Matthew Broderick) as he attempts to mold the troop into a battle ready fighting force. At first the privileged white Colonel is shown resentment and resistance from the troops, especially from Private Trip (Denzel Washington), but having to live, work and fight together soon brings them closer together. And on July 18, 1863 they will need all of the camaraderie they can get as they must lead the charge against the enemy stronghold at Ft. Wagner which means almost certain death for the troop. Glory’s all too realistic portrayal of the brutality and horrors of battles during the American Civil War along with the strong acting of a wonderful cast is the reason Glory is number 5 on our list of the top 5 war movies of all time.

Each of these heart wrenching war movies stirs our thoughts and emotions while putting the viewer on the battlefield. Each of these films shows us the physical, mental, and emotional toll war inflicts on soldiers as they undergo wartime training and while on the battlefield. As war movies become more realistic, we can only hope that enough people watch them and witness what the horrors of war can do to our world. When enough people have seen what war can do then we can hope that they join together in protest to discourage any future destructive wars. I hope you have enjoyed reading my list of the top 5 war movies of all time.
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