The 75 Best War Films since 1975
Films about wars can be the most action packed or heart wrenching thing you may watch all year, and we love ’em! so we compiled a list of all the modern war films from 1975 onwards, and filtered out the top 75 based on their IMDb ratings, Rotten Tomatoes user score and Letterboxd ratings…. and here they are…
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Jeremy Irvine, Tom Hiddleston, Emily Watson, David Thewlis
Follows a young man named Albert and his horse, Joey, and how their bond is broken when Joey is sold to the cavalry and sent to the trenches of World War One. Despite being too young to enlist, Albert heads to France to save his friend.
74 – When Trumpets Fade (1998)
Directed by: John Irvin
Stars: Ron Eldard, Zak Orth, Frank Whaley, Dylan Bruno, Dan Futterman
In WWII Western Germany, Private David Manning reluctantly leaves behind a mortally wounded fellow soldier and searches for survivors from his platoon, only to learn from commanding officer Captain Pritchett that they have all been killed in action. Despite requesting a discharge on the grounds of mental disability, Manning is promoted to sergeant and assigned to lead a new platoon of young inductees.
73 – The Siege of Jadotville (2016)
Directed by: Richie Smyth
Stars: Jamie Dornan, Guillaume Canet, Mark Strong, Jason O’Mara
Irish Commandant Pat Quinlan leads a stand off with troops against French and Belgian Mercenaries in the Congo during the early 1960s.
72 – Memphis Belle (1990)
Directed by: Michael Caton-Jones
Stars: Matthew Modine, Eric Stoltz, Tate Donovan, D.B. Sweeney
The “Memphis Belle” is a World War II bomber, piloted by a young crew on dangerous bombing raids into Europe. The crew only have to make one more bombing raid before they have finished their duty and can go home. In the briefing before their last flight, the crew discover that the target for the day is Dresden, a heavily-defended city that invariably causes many Allied casualties
71 – The Boys in Company C (1978)
Directed by: Sidney J. Furie
Stars: Stan Shaw, Andrew Stevens, Michael Lembeck, Craig Wasson
Disheartened by futile combat, appalled by the corruption of their South Vietnamese ally, and constantly endangered by the incompetence of their own company commander, the young men find a possible way out of the war. They are told that if they purposely lose a soccer game against a South Vietnamese team, they can spend the rest of their tour playing exhibition games behind the lines.
70 – Midway (2019)
Stars: Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson, Woody Harrelson, Luke Evans
The story of the Battle of Midway, and the leaders and soldiers who used their instincts, fortitude and bravery to overcome massive odds.
69 – The Outpost (2020)
Directed by: Rod Lurie
A small unit of U.S. soldiers, alone at the remote Combat Outpost Keating, located deep in the valley of three mountains in Afghanistan, battles to defend against an overwhelming force of Taliban fighters in a coordinated attack. The Battle of Kamdesh, as it was known, was the bloodiest American engagement of the Afghan War in 2009 and Bravo Troop 3-61 CAV became one of the most decorated units of the 19-year conflict.
68 – The Tuskegee Airmen (1995)
Directed by: Robert Markowitz
During the Second World War, a special project is begun by the US Army Air Corps to integrate African American pilots into the Fighter Pilot Program. Known as the “Tuskegee Airman” for the name of the airbase at which they were trained, these men were forced to constantly endure harassement, prejudice, and much behind the scenes politics until at last they were able to prove themselves in combat.
67 – Casualties of War (1989)
Directed by: Brian De Palma
During the Vietnam War, a soldier finds himself the outsider of his own squad when they unnecessarily kidnap a female villager.
66 – The Patriot (2000)
Stars: Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Joely Richardson, Jason Isaacs
After proving himself on the field of battle in the French and Indian War, Benjamin Martin wants nothing more to do with such things, preferring the simple life of a farmer. But when his son Gabriel enlists in the army to defend their new nation, America, against the British, Benjamin reluctantly returns to his old life to protect his son.
65 – Rescue Dawn (2006)
Directed by: Werner Herzog
Stars: Christian Bale, Steve Zahn, Toby Huss, François Chau, Marshall Bell
A US Fighter pilot’s epic struggle of survival after being shot down on a mission over Laos during the Vietnam War.
64 – Three Kings (1999)
Directed by: David O. Russell
Stars: George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube, Spike Jonze
A group of American soldiers stationed in Iraq at the end of the Gulf War find a map they believe will take them to a huge cache of stolen Kuwaiti gold hidden near their base, and they embark on a secret mission that’s destined to change everything.
63 – The Lighthorsemen (1987)
Directed by: Simon Wincer
Stars: Peter Phelps, Nick Waters, John Larking, Shane Briant
Palestine, 1917. The British advance has been stopped by the Turkish line running from Gaza to Beersheba. The latest attack on Gaza has failed. The attacking forces included a regiment of Australian mounted infantry, the Light Horse… Lighthorseman Frank is wounded in a skirmish with Bedouin. He is replaced by a young soldier, Dave, who proves to be a crack shot, but reluctant to fire at the enemy. Dave proves himself during a German biplane attack. Recuperating in hospital, he meets a sympathetic nurse, Anne… The regiment is called upon for a bold flanking attack on Beersheba. But how do you convince the Turks the main attack will come at Gaza? And how do you attack across a desert without water?
62 – Born on the Fourth of July (1989)
Directed by: Oliver Stone
The biography of Ron Kovic. Paralyzed in the Vietnam war, he becomes an anti-war and pro-human rights political activist after feeling betrayed by the country he fought for.
61 – 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (2016)
Directed by: Michael Bay
An American Ambassador is killed during an attack at a U.S. compound in Libya as a security team struggles to make sense out of the chaos.
60 – 84C MoPic (1989)
Directed by: Patrick Sheane Duncan
An Army cameraman is embedded with a reconnaissance patrol and charts their mission across territory controlled by the North Vietnamese.
59 – A War (2015)
Directed by: Tobias Lindholm
Stars: Pilou Asbæk, Tuva Novotny, Søren Malling, Charlotte Munck
Company commander Claus Michael Pedersen and his men are stationed in Helmand, Afghanistan. Meanwhile back in Denmark, with a husband at war and three children missing their father, everyday life is a struggle for Claus’ wife Maria. During a routine mission, the soldiers are caught in heavy Taliban crossfire. In order to save his men, Claus makes a decision that ultimately sees him return to Denmark accused of a war crime.
58 – The Last Full Measure (2020)
Directed by: Todd Robinson
The incredible true story of Vietnam War hero William H. Pitsenbarger, a U.S. Air Force Pararescuemen medic who personally saved over sixty men. Thirty-two years later, Pentagon staffer Scott Huffman investigates a Congressional Medal of Honor request for Pitsenbarger and uncovers a high-level conspiracy behind the decades-long denial of the medal, prompting Huffman to put his own career on the line to seek justice for the fallen airman.
57 – To End All Wars (2001)
Directed by: David L. Cunningham
Based on a real-life story, this drama focuses on a small group of Allied soldiers in Burma who are held captive by the Japanese. Capt. Ernest Gordon (Ciaran McMenamin), Lt. Jim Reardon (Kiefer Sutherland) and Maj. Ian Campbell (Robert Carlyle) are among the military officers kept imprisoned and routinely beaten and deprived of food. While Campbell wants to rebel and attempt an escape, Gordon tries to take a more stoic approach, an attitude that proves to be surprisingly resonant.
56 – American Sniper (2014)
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Kyle Gallner, Ben Reed
U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle takes his sole mission—protect his comrades—to heart and becomes one of the most lethal snipers in American history. His pinpoint accuracy not only saves countless lives but also makes him a prime target of insurgents. Despite grave danger and his struggle to be a good husband and father to his family back in the States, Kyle serves four tours of duty in Iraq. However, when he finally returns home, he finds that he cannot leave the war behind.
55 – A Midnight Clear (1992)
Directed by: Keith Gordon
Stars: Peter Berg, Kevin Dillon, Arye Gross, Ethan Hawke, Gary Sinise
Set in 1944 France, an American Intelligence Squad locates a German Platoon wishing to surrender rather than die in Germany’s final war offensive. The two groups of men, isolated from the war at present, put aside their differences and spend Christmas together before the surrender plan turns bad and both sides are forced to fight the other.
54 – We Were Soldiers (2002)
Directed by: Randall Wallace
Stars: Mel Gibson, Greg Kinnear, Madeleine Stowe, Sam Elliott, Chris Klein
The story of the first major battle of the American phase of the Vietnam War and the soldiers on both sides that fought it.