Best War Movies of All Time

One of the most dominating factors in human history since ever has been war. Not only can it fascinate everyone, but it can also terrify people. There are lots of stories of heroes and perseverance and brutality and carnage. TechTrends put together a list of the best war movies of all time. Keep reading to find out what they are.

Hollywood has plenty of war movies that intend to inspire and educate. Army films can depict the height of humanity’s goodness with people gathering together to go against tyrannical rules and aim for a better tomorrow. Wars can show the true brutality that men can commit against one another. Moreover, it destroys lives, countries and cultures. Stories about war can reveal the true nature of humanity when they are having their darkest times. Since these movies often deal with the military, soldiers, victories and losses. In this article, we have put together a list of the best war movies of all time, including some of the classics. Without further ado, let’s get to it.

Best War Movies of All Time

War movies a hard genre to tackle as they are inherently political, with a perspective, but TechTrends made a list of the best war films of all time. There are fundamentally two types of war movies, anti-war films and propaganda. However, film critic and French director Francois Truffaut said: “there’s no such thing as an anti-war film.” In other words, cinema cannot help buy glorify what it shows. Here are the best war movies of all time.

13. Michael Collins 1996

  • Genre: Drama/War
  • Director: Neil Jordan
  • Stars: Julia Roberts, Liam Neeson, Aidan Quinn, Alan Rickman, Stephen Rea, Brendan Gleeson
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 78%, IMDb 7.1

The ninth one on the list of the best Julia Roberts movies of all time is Michael Collins, which is a historical biopic of Irish revolutionary. Julia Roberts plays the role of Kitty Kierman. Despite it not being her best performance, her endeavor is eye-catching. Her character is the fiancé of the well-known Irish revolutionary commander and hero, portrayed by Liam Neeson. His character is quite vengeful. In addition, Roberts’ Irish and American accents could be heard mixed together throughout the movie. If you are a fan of historical movies, this is the one for you.

Read more: Best Julia Roberts Movies of All Time

12. Three Kings

  • Genre: War/Action
  • Director: David O. Russell
  • Stars: George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Spike Jonze, Ice Cube, Cliff Curtis, Judy Greer
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 94%, IMDb 7.1

In the movie Three Kings, George Clooney plays the role of Sgt. Major Archie Gates, who is a man teaming up with another two soldiers looking for Iraqi gold that is hidden in the Saudi desert at the end of the 1991 Gulf War. During their pursuit, they come across refugees that escaped from Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guard. They make a deal to escort them in exchange for their help to save Troy from Iraqi intelligence. The movie earned a lot of critical acclaim and is among the best war movies of all time.

Read more: Best Mark Wahlberg Movies of All Time

11. All Quiet on the Western Front 2022

  • Genre: War/Action
  • Director: Edward Berger
  • Stars: Felix Kammerer, Daniel Bruhl, Albrecht Schurch, Aaron Hilmer, Edin Hasanovic, Devid Striesow
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 90%, IMDb 7.8

All Quiet on the Western Front is based on the novel of the same name by German writer Erich Maria Remarque. It tells the tale of was breaking out in Germany in 1914. Paul Baumer and his classmates go into the army pretty quickly to serve for their country in times of need. They are then shown the reality of the war, with their hopes of becoming heroes shattering. This is yet another one of the best war movies of all time that came out in 2022. We highly recommend it.

10. Dunkirk 2017

  • Genre: War/Action
  • Director: Christopher Nolan
  • Stars: Harry Styles, Fionn Whitehead, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Jack Lowden
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 92%, IMDb 7.8

Dunkirk is a war movie of 2017, which was written, directed, and produced by Christopher Nolan. This spectacular movie illustrates the Dunkirk evacuation in World War II through the earth, sea, and air. The movie has so many stars among its actors, including Fionn Whitehead, Harry Styles, Tom Hardy, Jack Lowden, Barry Keoghan, and so many more. Dunkirk shows this evacuation with the least dialogue, and instead, Nolan looks to make suspension in cinema and music more, which he could make successfully. The movie is narrated from three viewpoints and reconstructs the invasion of Germans to Dunkirk. While Belgium, Britain, and France attempt to prevent the invasion, Nolan follows his narration inter the earth, sea, and sky battle.

By doing so, he offers you the experience of a memorable feeling, which drowns spectators in a particular moment of the war. It is undoubtedly one of the best war movies of all time to consider watching.

Read more: Best Christopher Nolan Movies of All Time

9. 1917 2019

  • Genre: War/Drama
  • Director: Sam Mendes
  • Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Richard Madden, Claire Duburcq, Mark Strong
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 88%, IMDb 8.2

One of the most anticipated WWI movies was 1917, and critics praised the film, naming it one of the best. It also impressed audiences quite largely. Benedict Cumberbatch plays the supporting role of Colonel Mackenzie. However, most of the movie focuses on two young soldiers who try to get a message to him. 1917 is one of the best war films of all time. Make sure you add it to your watchlist if you haven’t already.

Read more: Best Benedict Cumberbatch Movies of All Time

8. Inglorious Basterds 2009

  • Genre: War/Action
  • Director: Quentin Tarantino
  • Stars: Quentin Tarantino, Christoph Waltz, Brad Pitt, Eli Roth, Diane Kruger
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 89%, IMDb 8.3

The eighth one on the list of the best war movies of all time is Inglorious Basterds, directed by Quentin Tarantino. This movie needs no introduction as it is one of the greatest ever. It has two storylines; the first one is about a troop of Jewish-American soldiers who are having the time of their life eliminating all the Nazis they can. At the same time, another story shows a young Jewish that owns a theater in France plotting her vengeance against the dictatorship that killed her family. It is not difficult to see why this is among the best Tarantino movies ever, with amazing performances from Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, and Michael Fassbender. In addition, the cinematographic techniques and production designs are fascinating.

Read more: Best Brad Pitt Movies of All Time

7. Braveheart 1995

  • Genre: War/Drama
  • Director: Mel Gibson
  • Stars: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Catherine McCormack, Patrick McGoohan, Brian Cox
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 75%, IMDb 8.4

This war drama tells the story of the Scottish warrior William Wallace, starring Mel Gibson, who also directs the movie Braveheart. When seeing that his loved ones are getting slain by the English invaders, the protagonist starts a very risky mission to destroy a platoon. It then leads to a complete revolt against English rule, with William inspiring others to fight beside him. Although the movie is not perfect, the cheesy and funny scenes make it endearing for the viewers and those who are big on the genre. There are a lot of grand and brutal action sequences as well, showing the protagonist leading his men in battles.  This is indeed one of the best war movies of all time that you do not want to miss.

6. The Great Dictator 1940

  • Genre: War/Comedy
  • Director: Charlie Chaplin
  • Stars: Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Jack Oakie, Carter DeHaven, Henry Daniell
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 92%, IMDb 8.4

One of the most iconic Charlie Chaplin movies ever is The Great Dictator, which is a satirical comedy movie. He plays the role of a Jewish Barber and dictator Adenoid Hynkel. When he takes over the country of Tomania, which is fictional, everything takes a turn for The Barber. There are a lot of daring commentaries through comedy that makes fun of fascist regimes of those times, like Hitler and Mussolini’s. Chaplin shows how ridiculous these regimes are through comedy and passes this critical message. This is indeed one of the best war movies of all time. Add it to your watch list if you haven’t already.

Read more: Best Comedy Movies of All Time

5. The Pianist

  • Genre: War/Drama
  • Director: Roman Polanski
  • Stars: Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Emilia Fox, Ed Stoppard, Frank Finlay, Jessica Kate Meyer
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 95%, IMDb 8.5

The Pianist is among the best war movies of all time, directed by Roman Polanski and it won BAFTA award. The story revolves around the Holocaust survivor Wladyslaw Szpilman, portrayed by Adrien Brody. The talented pianist has to find ways to stay alive during the Nazi occupation in Warsaw. He is all alone when his family gets deported in 1942, becoming more vulnerable. The Pianist does a great job of showing the human suffering and destruction that spread when the war was happening. The devastated pianist was seeing all of it, showing it to the viewers, making us feel what people are capable of when the worst times come.

4. Casablanca 1942

  • Genre: Romance/Drama
  • Director: Michael Curtiz
  • Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 99%, IMDb 8.5

This tale of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid lights up the screen in this classic drama. When you look beyond the iconic elements that may seem cliché, you can see the romance that is unexpected, star-crossed and stirring. The story happens during World War II and the Nazi threat, with the main character fighting through his feelings for Bergman. Casablanca is still among the most rarefied and best war movies of all time.

Read more: Best Romance Movies of All Time

3. Life Is Beautiful 1997

  • Genre: War/Drama
  • Director: Roberto Benigni
  • Stars: Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Giorgio Cantarini, Horst Buchholz
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 80%, IMDb 8.6

Another one of the best war movies of all time is Life Is Beautiful, which revolves around Quido Orefice, played by Robert Benigni, and his son Giosue, portrayed by Giorgio Cantarini, who are taken to a concentration camp when the WWII was happening. In this film, the loving father does everything he can to keep his child’s mind away from the terrible reality they are in. He turns the whole thing into a game, telling his child that if he obeys the rules, he will win a prize. The movie shows how war can affect innocent families and it has a lot of tearful moments that fans will not forget.

2. Saving Private Ryan 1998

  • Genre: War/Drama
  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Stars: Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Vin Diesel, Bryan Cranston, Edward Burns
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 94%, IMDb 8.6

This amazing war movie tells the tale of soldiers in combat fighting for their lives and fulfilling their duty of finding Private Ryan and honoring their country. By doing that, they also find their own strength. Matt Damon plays the role of Private Ryan quite incredibly, and Tom Hanks plays Captain Miller, who is leading the mission of finding Ryan. Saving Private Ryan is one of the best War movies of all time.

Read more: Best Matt Damon Movies of All Time

1. Schindler’s List

  • Genre: War/Drama/History
  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Stars: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley, Embeth Davidtz, Caroline Goodall
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 98%, IMDb 9

Schindler’s List is based on the non-fiction novel named Schindler’s Ark. The movie revolves around Oskar Schindler, played by Liam Neeson, who is a German factory owner. He helps a lot of Jewish refugees when the Holocaust happens as he hires them to work in hi factory. Other stars in the movie are Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley, Embeth Davidtz, and Oskar’s real-life wife, Emilie Schindler. This is the top one on the list of the best war movies of all time. Don’t miss it.

Read more: Best History Movies of All Time

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