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The 75 Best War Movies Since 1975 – Part 3

The Hurt Locker (2008) backdrop
34 – The Hurt Locker (2008)
 The Hurt Locker
(2008) on IMDb

Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow

Forced to play a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse in the chaos of war, an elite Army bomb squad unit must come together in a city where everyone is a potential enemy and every object could be a deadly bomb.

Enemy at the Gates (2001) backdrop
33 – Enemy at the Gates (2001)
 Enemy at the Gates
(2001) on IMDb

Directed by: Jean-Jacques Annaud

Vassili (Jude Law) is a young Russian sharpshooter who becomes a legend when a savvy polical officer (Joseph Fiennes) makes him the hero of his propaganda campaign. Their friendship is threatened when both men fall in love with a beautiful female soldier (Rachel Weisz). As the battle for the city rages, Vassili faces the ultimate challenge when the Nazi command dispatches its most elite marksman (Ed Harris) to hunt down and kill the man who has become the hope of all Russia.

Fury (2014) Backdrop
32 – Fury (2014)
 Fury
(2014) on IMDb

Directed by: David Ayer

In April 1945, the Allies are making their final push in the European theater. A battle-hardened Army sergeant named Don “Wardaddy” Collier (Brad Pitt), leading a Sherman tank and a five-man crew, undertakes a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Hopelessly outnumbered, outgunned and saddled with an inexperienced soldier (Logan Lerman) in their midst, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds as they move to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.

Gettysburg (1993) backdrop
31 – Gettysburg (1993)
 Gettysburg
(1993) on IMDb

Directed by: Ronald F. Maxwell

In the summer of 1863, General Robert E. Lee leads the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia into Gettysburg, Pennsylvania with the goal of marching through to Washington, D.C. The Union Army of the Potomac, under the command of General George G. Meade, forms a defensive position to confront the rebel forces in what will prove to be the decisive battle of the American Civil War.

The Thin Red Line (1998) backdrop
30 – The Thin Red Line (1998)
The Thin Red Line (1998) on IMDb

Directed by: Terrence Malick

In 1942, Private Witt (Jim Caviezel) is a U.S. Army absconder living peacefully with the locals of a small South Pacific island. Discovered by his commanding officer, Sgt. Welsh (Sean Penn), Witt is forced to resume his active duty training for the Battle of Guadalcanal. As Witt and his unit land on the island, and the American troops mount an assault on entrenched Japanese positions, the story explores their various fates and attitudes towards life-or-death situations.

Black Hawk Down (2001) backdrop
29 – Black Hawk Down (2001)
 Black Hawk Down
(2001) on IMDb

Directed by: Ridley Scott

The film takes place in 1993 when the U.S. sent special forces into Somalia to destabilize the government and bring food and humanitarian aid to the starving population. Using Black Hawk helicopters to lower the soldiers onto the ground, an unexpected attack by Somalian forces brings two of the helicopters down immediately. From there, the U.S. soldiers must struggle to regain their balance while enduring heavy gunfire.

Black Book (2006) backdrop
28 – Black Book (2006)
Original title: Zwartboek (Dutch)
Black Book (2006) on IMDb

Directed by: Paul Verhoeven

After narrowly escaping death, young Rachel Rosenthal (Carice van Houten) becomes part of the Jewish resistance, assuming the name Ellis de Vries. Her superiors order her to seduce a Gestapo officer named Ludwig (Sebastian Koch). Ellis is successful in her mission but soon finds herself falling in love with her mortal enemy.

The Winter War (1989) backdrop
27 – The Winter War (1989)
Original title: Talvisota (Finland)
The Winter War (1989) on IMDb

Directed by: Pekka Parikka

Russia attacked Finland in late November 1939. This film tells the story of a Finnish platoon of reservists from the municipality of Kauhava in the province of Pohjanmaa/Ostrobothnia who leave their homes and go to war. The film focuses on the farmer brothers Martti and Paavo Hakala.

Empire of the Sun (1987) backdrop
26 – Empire of the Sun (1987)
 Empire of the Sun
(1987) on IMDb

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Jamie Graham, a privileged English boy, is living in Shanghai when the Japanese invade and force all foreigners into prison camps. Jamie is captured with an American sailor, who looks out for him while they are in the camp together. Even though he is separated from his parents and in a hostile environment, Jamie maintains his dignity and youthful spirits, providing a beacon of hope for the others held captive with him.

A Few Good Men (1992) backdrop
25 – A Few Good Men (1992)
A Few Good Men (1992) on IMDb

Directed by: Rob Reiner

Lt. Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) is a military lawyer defending two U.S. Marines charged with killing a fellow Marine at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. Although Kaffee is known for seeking plea bargains, a fellow lawyer, Lt. Cdr. JoAnne Galloway (Demi Moore), convinces him that the accused marines were most likely carrying out an order from a commanding officer. Kaffee takes a risk by calling Col. Nathan R. Jessep (Jack Nicholson) to the stand in an effort to uncover the conspiracy.

City of Life and Death (2009) backdrop
24 – City of Life and Death (2009)
Original title: Nanjing! Nanjing! (Chinese)
City of Life and Death (2009) on IMDb

Directed by: Lu Chuan

Japanese forces invaded Nanjing, the former capital of the Republic of China on December 9th 1937. Throughout the following six weeks, soldiers raped thousands of women and annihilated hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians – with mass executions, crowds mown down by firing squads and victims digging their own graves.

Beasts of No Nation (2015) backdrop
23 – Beasts of No Nation (2015)
Beasts of No Nation (2015) on IMDb

Directed by: Cary Joji Fukunaga

A drama based on the experiences of Agu, a child fighting in the civil war of an unnamed, fictional West African country. Follows the journey of Agu as he’s forced to join a group of soldiers. While Agu fears his commander and many of the men around him, his fledgling childhood has been brutally shattered by the war raging through his country, and he is at first torn between conflicting revulsion and fascination. Depicts the mechanics of war and does not shy away from explicit, visceral detail, painting a complex, difficult picture of Agu as a child soldier.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008) backdrop
22 – The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008)
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008) on IMDb

Directed by: Mark Herman

During World War II, 8-year-old Bruno (Asa Butterfield) and his family leave Berlin to take up residence near the concentration camp where his father (David Thewlis) has just become commandant. Unhappy and lonely, he wanders out behind his house one day and finds Shmuel (Jack Scanlon), a Jewish boy of his age. Though the barbed-wire fence of the camp separates them, the boys begin a forbidden friendship, oblivious to the real nature of their surroundings.

Unknown Soldier (2017) backdrop
21 – Unknown Soldier (2017)
Original Title: Tuntematon sotilas (Finland)
Tuntematon sotilas (2017) on IMDb

Directed by: Aku Louhimies

In June 1941, a Finnish machine gun company is deployed from its barracks to prepare an invasion of the Soviet Union. Crossing the border, the band of men engage in guerilla tactics as their advance on Soviet positions spills into local cities.

Glory (1989) backdrop
20 – Glory (1989)
 Glory
(1989) on IMDb

Directed by: Edward Zwick

Following the Battle of Antietam, Col. Robert Gould Shaw (Matthew Broderick) is offered command of the United States’ first all-African-American regiment, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. With junior officer Cabot Forbes (Cary Elwes), Shaw puts together a strong and proud unit, including the escaped slave Trip (Denzel Washington) and the wise gravedigger John Rawlins (Morgan Freeman). At first limited to menial manual tasks, the regiment fights to be placed in the heat of battle.

The Killing Fields (1984) backdrop
19 – The Killing Fields (1984)
The Killing Fields (1984) on IMDb

Directed by: Roland Joffé

New York Times reporter Sydney Schanberg (Sam Waterston) is on assignment covering the Cambodian Civil War, with the help of local interpreter Dith Pran (Haing S. Ngor) and American photojournalist Al Rockoff (John Malkovich). When the U.S. Army pulls out amid escalating violence, Schanberg makes exit arrangements for Pran and his family. Pran, however, tells Schanberg he intends to stay in Cambodia to help cover the unfolding story — a decision he may regret as the Khmer Rouge rebels move in.

Dunkirk (2017) backdrop
18 – Dunkirk (2017)
 Dunkirk
(2017) on IMDb

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

In May 1940, Germany advanced into France, trapping Allied troops on the beaches of Dunkirk. Under air and ground cover from British and French forces, troops were slowly and methodically evacuated from the beach using every serviceable naval and civilian vessel that could be found. At the end of this heroic mission, 330,000 French, British, Belgian and Dutch soldiers were safely evacuated.

Letters from Iwo Jima (2006) backdrop
17 – Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)
 Letters from Iwo Jima
(2006) on IMDb

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

Long-buried missives from the island reveal the stories of the Japanese troops who fought and died there during World War II. Among them are Saigo (Kazunari Ninomiya), a baker; Baron Nishi (Tsuyoshi Ihara), an Olympic champion; and Shimizu (Ryô Kase), an idealistic soldier. Though Lt. Gen. Tadamichi Kuribayashi (Ken Watanabe) knows he and his men have virtually no chance of survival, he uses his extraordinary military skills to hold off American troops as long as possible.

Jojo Rabbit (2019) backdrop
16 – Jojo Rabbit (2019)
 Jojo Rabbit
(2019) on IMDb

Directed by: Taika Waititi

Jojo is a lonely German boy who discovers that his single mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their attic. Aided only by his imaginary friend — Adolf Hitler — Jojo must confront his blind nationalism as World War II continues to rage on.

The Imitation Game (2014) backdrop
15 – The Imitation Game (2014)
 The Imitation Game
(2014) on IMDb

Directed by: Morten Tyldum

In 1939, newly created British intelligence agency MI6 recruits Cambridge mathematics alumnus Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) to crack Nazi codes, including Enigma — which cryptanalysts had thought unbreakable. Turing’s team, including Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley), analyze Enigma messages while he builds a machine to decipher them. Turing and team finally succeed and become heroes, but in 1952, the quiet genius encounters disgrace when authorities reveal he is gay and send him to prison.

Tae Guk Gi- The Brotherhood of War (2004) backdrop
14 – Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War (2004)
Original title: Taegukgi hwinalrimyeo (Korean )
Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War (2004) on IMDb

Directed by: Kang Je-gyu

Jin-tae (Dong-Kun Jang) has always looked out for his little brother, Jin-seok (Won Bin), even shining shoes to raise funds for his college education. When the Korean War flares up and both brothers are drafted, Jin-tae decides he has to protect his younger sibling. Jin-tae makes a bargain with his commander: He’ll take the riskiest missions if it will help shield Jin-seok from battle. In time, Jin-tae becomes a war hero — with a growing blood lust that shocks his younger brother.

Hacksaw Ridge (2016) backdrop
13 – Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
 Hacksaw Ridge
(2016) on IMDb

Directed by: Mel Gibson

The true story of Pfc. Desmond T. Doss (Andrew Garfield), who won the Congressional Medal of Honor despite refusing to bear arms during WWII on religious grounds. Doss was drafted and ostracized by fellow soldiers for his pacifist stance but went on to earn respect and adoration for his bravery, selflessness and compassion after he risked his life — without firing a shot — to save 75 men in the Battle of Okinawa.

Platoon (1986) backdrop
12 – Platoon (1986)
 Platoon
(1986) on IMDb

Directed by: Oliver Stone

Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen) leaves his university studies to enlist in combat duty in Vietnam in 1967. Once he’s on the ground in the middle of battle, his idealism fades. Infighting in his unit between Staff Sergeant Barnes (Tom Berenger), who believes nearby villagers are harboring Viet Cong soldiers, and Sergeant Elias (Willem Dafoe), who has a more sympathetic view of the locals, ends up pitting the soldiers against each other as well as against the enemy.

The Deer Hunter (1978) backdrop
11 – The Deer Hunter (1978)
 The Deer Hunter
(1978) on IMDb

Directed by: Michael Cimino

In 1968, Michael (Robert De Niro), Nick (Christopher Walken) and Steven (John Savage), lifelong friends from a working-class Pennsylvania steel town, prepare to ship out overseas following Steven’s elaborate wedding and one final group hunting trip. In Vietnam, their dreams of military honor are quickly shattered by the inhumanities of war; even those who survive are haunted by the experience, as is Nick’s hometown sweetheart, Linda (Meryl Streep).

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Written by DeathByFilms

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The 75 Best War Movies Since 1975 – Part 2

The 75 Best War Movies Since 1975 – Part 4