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50 Best War Movies Of All Time, Ranked

February 14, 20242 Mins Read

War movies are a whole lot more than a lot of sweaty guys lobbing grenades into bunkers and not ‘leaving men behind’ (the greatest cinematic war crime of them all). The best ones eschew gung-ho heroism to tackle conflicts’ moral complexities, thorny questions about patriotism and duty, and knotty depictions of life behind the lines. They’re stories of life in extremis and as such, have drawn many of the greatest filmmakers – Fellini, Spielberg, Tarkovsky, Malick and many others – to share them on the biggest possible canvas. Ridley Scott’s Napoleon is just more evidence that widescreen warfare is here to stay.

Of course, there’s a fair whack of grenade-lobbing and bunker-exploding in the canon, too. And that’s all to the good, because some of the greatest set pieces in cinema have involved storming cavalry charges, epic tank battles, and hopeless, against-the-odds sieges. Our list of the 50 greatest takes them all on their merits, spanning depictions of conflicts f​rom the Napoleon​ic Wars to the Gulf, via the Great War, World War II and Vietnam. Some even take place on planets other than our own, but they’re all visceral and thunderous.

Written by David Fear, Keith Uhlich, Joshua Rothkopf, Andy Kryza, Phil de Semlyen and Matthew Singer

🎖️ The best World War I movies
💥 The 50 best World War II movies
🔥 The 100 best movies of all-time
💣 The 101 best action movies ever made

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