Friday, May 28, 2021

Greatest War Movies Of All Time


The Art Of Manliness site has proposed their list of the 10 Greatest War Movies Of All Time.

We refuse to link to it, because they fucked it up. But we will post their list, in order.

And then correct them, with all the tenderness it deserves.

Their list (from their apparent top choice to the last of the ten):

The Bridge On The River Kwai

Allegedly per AoM, "may very well be the best war movie ever made".

Um, no. Maybe "The best war movie David Lean ever made in 1957".

But for even putting this one on the Top Ten list, AoM can start cranking out pushups until I get tired.

The Longest Day

Because it's got a lot of stars. So do the joint Chiefs Of Staff, but they both rate as sucky.

Continue the push-ups, bitchez.


Because Sam Mendes, and one-long-take. 

Waitwaitwait. Jarhead Sam Mendes?? The guy who punked and fusterclucked the entire James Bond franchise, and Daniel Craig, with SPECTRE? The one with the least convincing movie villains since Mini-Me and Knickknack?

Switch to mountainclimbers. At doubletime pace.


Finally, a correct pick. You may rest.

The Thin Red Line

GAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!! What the actual Fuck?!?!?!?  Resume the mountain climbers. With leg weights, and a full pack. In a MOPP suit.

Apocalypse Now

Not just no, but Hell No. Put on your gas mask, and continue the mountain climbers.


Nope. But we like Denzel, and the movie, though it isn't among the ten best. So you may take off the MOPP gear and mask, and drop your pack. Bends and thrusts. Begin.

Das Boot

Another correct pick. Remove the leg weights. Rest.

The Great Escape

Two in a row! Stand at ease.

Saving Private Ryan

Good, but it still doesn't make the cut, despite the Normandy beach landing scene being among the best scenes ever filmed in motion picture history. Loses out because the rest of the movie, while ranging from good to great, is pure fairytale.

And they say "you can't fix stupid". Ha! You just needed motivation. Three right, out of ten tries. 30%. F+ grade. Get out of my sight, maggots. Go away!


Now for the correct list, in the correct order.

1. ZULU!

Period. Origination of the Zulu Rule for community TVs:

If ZULU! comes on, ZULU! stays on. Even if it's a 24-hour ZULU! marathon.

And introducing some new guy named Michael Caine.

The Great Escape

"What were you doing by the wire?"

"Well, like I told Max...I was trying to cut my way through your wire, because I want to get out."


"Ten days isolation, Hiltz."

"Captain Hiltz."

"Twenty days."

"Right. ... Oh, uh, you'll still be here when I get out?"

3. Patton

And it just gets better from there.

4. Lawrence Of Arabia

The actual Best War Movie David Lean Ever Made, Ever.

And probably among the Top Ten Greatest Movies Of All Time.

5. Blackhawk Down

This was when the GWOT started. We just didn't know it yet.

6. Hamburger Hill

Not bong-fueled dreams from Oliver Stone or the acid flashbacks of Stanley Kubrick.

Just the 'Nam, man.

7. Das Boot

8. Gettysburg

Bonus: Worth it just to see Ted Turner take it in the chest during Pickett's Charge.

9. Braveheart

10. A Bridge Too Far

A much better version of a Cornelius Ryan novel about WWII than The Longest Day. And with more stars too.

We could have picked another twenty not mentioned, and so could you, before having to descend to some of the execrable picks of AoM, and anyone that would pick The Thin Red Line for anything but "Screenwriter Most Deserving A Firing Squad" should be fed to wild hogs while on fire, and then have the pigs nuked from orbit. Just to be sure. Some TV shows are shot in front of a live audience. Some movie directors should be as well.

Nota bene that nothing made in the last twenty years even makes the cut.

And I've lost track of how many defeatist, anti-hero, anti-American, anti-everything-that's-honorable incomprehensible piles of shit pretending to be "epic" films just make me want to infiltrate a sound stage and choke the living shit out of some asshole twentysomething never-served wannabe film producers and directors, and pin their still-beating hearts to a wall with a rusty bayonet.

At least once a year I find myself having to remind myself not to do it, no matter how needful it is, and how deserved it remains.

Bonus: Stars from the above Top Ten flicks who actually served under arms, in combat (not just "did military service"):

Michael Caine

Jack Hawkins

James Garner

Richard Attenborough

Charles Bronson

Donald Pleasence

Alec Guinness

Anthony Quayle

Claude Rains

Denholm Elliot

Dirk Bogarde


Mark said...

Can't argue.

My personal honorable mentions, in no particular order:

We Were Soldiers
The Sand Pebbles (probably the least known on the list, but well worth a watch)
Heartbreak Ridge
Anything starring John Wayne
Where Eagles Dare
The Guns of Navarone
Memphis Belle (which I like even better than the next)
12 O'Clock High

Mark D

Hawkin'Gal said...

I'm embarrassed that I've only seen half of this list. I'll be hitting the library for the rest this week. Thanks

ruralcounsel said...

Good picks. But I'd like to suggest "Fury" wasn't bad either. Not that I know anything about armored ops.

Divemedic said...

We were soldiers?

Tschifty Mccoy said...

Band of Brothers.

Dirty Dozen bc Telly Savalas.

David Stanley said...

You Yanks.....everyone knows " The Battle of Britain" should be in there if only for the music and models.

Angantyr said...

What? No "Tora, Tora, Tora"?

Granted, probably can't break into the top 10 given that illustrious list.

Borepatch said...

It seems that the sing off before the charge didn't happen which is sad, because it is such an amazing scene.

IA Brooks said...

What'd you think of 'The Outpost'?

ASM826 said...

The GWOT didn't start in 1993, it started in 1983. In September. In Beirut.

Miguel GFZ said...

The Big Red One and The Wild Geese would enter my list

Unknownsailor said...

Did you see Act of Valor? Released in 2012. Some shootout scenes used actual live ammo, and most of the cast was active duty SEALs.

tweell said...

I'd suggest The Guns of Navarone as a honorable mention.

Jonathan H said...

An epic film becomes an epic over time - it isn't one because the pre release advertising claims it is one.

Bear Claw Chris Lapp said...

Correct me if I'm wrong number 10 has Michael Caine as well, and I believe Sean Connery

Jonathan H said...

Forgot to add: AoM doesn't impress me. They try hard but oversell themselves.
I see them more as Metrosexuals trying to be what they think men are without looking into what real are and do.

T-Rav said...

Gettysburg is just okay in my book. Dialogue increasingly sappy as it goes on, but I will give it credit for some awesome battle sequences.

What about We Were Soldiers? I wouldn't call it Top 10, necessarily, but certainly Top 20.

Tripwire said...

What? No Cross of Iron?
The first movie I ever saw in which they changed magazines.
The mud, the stink.
Yes, flawed by the scenes with Russian women interludes,
but hey, an actual T-34/85.

Noveske's Rock said...

Feel free to disagree but "Kelly's Heroes" always had the right "feel" to me for what the real world was like. There was the official goal and there were the goals of the guys - which often coincided. "Lord of War" is another movie that rang home with my experiences along the way. I always had to remind my guys to NEVER do a deal with any of Victor Bout's people.

AC47Spooky said...

Good heavens man, you didn't mention:
Sands of Iwo Jima - The Duke!
30 Seconds Over Tokyo
From Here to Eternity
Hell Is For Heroes - okay it's campy but c'mon man it's Hollywood.

Borepatch said...

Peter O'Toole was robbed from the Best Actor Oscar that year.

Frosty the Bear said...

Good list.

1chota said...

I am reminded of the (supposed) last words of General Gordon at the battle of Khartoum:
"I say Reggie, the beggars seem to be coming over the walls!"

Aesop said...

Rest assured, one and all, almost every one of your suggestions would make the Top Thirty. I've seen them all, and they're found wanting. I could easily go to the Top Fifty. But this list was the Top 10.

And Johnathan H nailed AoM on the first try.

@ASM: Not so much GWOT, as sticking our noses in where we didn't belong. Always a bad idea. Beirut was just gravity, working. And there's no movie of it. ;)

@ Borepatch,
The scene excerpted from ZULU! was from the opening charge, not the final one. No sing off for about another hour or so.

tsquared said...

Sand Pebbles needs to be in that list.

Roy said...

These are all good picks. I have no real quibble with any of them. But for me, I pick Das Boot as #1. The reason why is purely personal. I was a submariner, and Das Boot is just about the only movie I've ever seen that even came close to depicting life on a submarine correctly.

What amazes me about military pictures in today's Hollywood is that they no longer even try to get it right. Just having the actors get a haircut would add to the realism.

Sentenza said...

The Lost Battalion, the Horse Soldiers, the Enemy Below, and Letters from Iwo Jima at least deserve honorable mentions, IMHO.

Lost Battalion, Horse Soldiers, and Letters are based on actual events, even if somewhat loosely.

I put The Enemy Below on this list because of their use of a US WWII destroyer escort to play Robert Mitchum's ship.

Night driver said...

Going to open with an apology for ignorance.

Perhaps could someone give me the 4 indicated in the 4 pic set??

Not been an avid movie hunter for WAY too much of my 70 yrs.

Aesop said...

Clint Eastwood, Lee Ermey, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Christopher Walken.

Old NFO said...

The only one I'd argue is Braveheart vs. Band of Brothers (granted it was a TV serial) but it was more realistic, IMHO.

Aesop said...

BoB didn't make the cut, because it wasn't a movie.
It's also what Saving Private Ryan could have been if Spielberg had made a movie based on reality, instead of a realistic fictional tale.

Old NFO said...

Point Aesop. :-)

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Aesop, I would not disagree with your list - I think one of the issues with it is that it wsa almost completely WW II focused.

Honorable mentions (or at least my own), although they are not all strictly war movies:

Last of the Mohicans
The Patriot
Mosul (Movie about post-Isis Iraq, from the Arab point of view)
Tangerines (Movie about the Abkhazian war through the eyes of a farmer living between the two sides).

Agreed with Lawrence of Arabia.

Aesop said...

Four out of ten movies is hardly "almost completely WWII focused". Harumph. :p
I scattered them around historically pretty well, actually.

And I didn't do Honorable Mentions, because as I said, the list would run to 30 or 50 movies, and another handful more on top of that that never were actual movies, but still good.

I stand by my list, and it's far more accurate than the collection of drivel the wussies at AoM foisted upon the 'net. Wankers.

Angantyr said...

@ Night Driver

"Clint Eastwood, Lee Ermey, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Christopher Walken.

May 28, 2021 at 5:48 PM"

I suspect you wanted the movie titles. I'm not sure, but I think in order:
1. Heartbreak Ridge (?)
2. Full Metal Jacket
3. Commando (?)
4. No idea

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Apologies Aesop - I was referring to the original list. WW II heavy.

Aesop said...

No worries. :)

Angantyr: 3. Predator 4. Dogs Of War

Bon M said...

I did like Turner getting shot in Gettysburg, but Chamberlain's 20th Maine bayonet charges still gives me charge. The music for the movie was fantastic.

matism said...

No mention of Hacksaw Ridge???

Aesop said...

Good. Great, even.
But only ten slots, it didn't make the cut.
Look at the competition, man.

It's like Peter O'Toole never winning a Best Actor Oscar.
Look at the guys who beat him.

Hawkin'Gal said...

Watched Zulu last night. Wow. Just incredible. And instructional. We’ll have to eject a lot more undermining leftards than just the preacher and his daughter.

Aesop said...

OMG! Someone who's never seen ZULU!
How extraordinary.

Glad to help complete your cinematic education.
But like Holy Grail or Princess Bride, you have to watch it another 20-50 times to really appreciate it. ;)

Michael Powers said...

I long ago gave up on AoM....they are poseurs/posers...and they can't take criticism...nor post comments that don't agree with them.

turnkey said...

I would add "Danger Close, The Battle of Long Tan" to the Top Ten list. It's an Australian movie about Vietnam. One of the best depictions of small unit combat that I've ever seen.

ray said...

'Good picks. But I'd like to suggest "Fury" wasn't bad either.'

Very overlooked film. I couldn't believe Hellywood could still produce a pro-Christian, pro-brotherhood, fast-paced intelligent action movie. Fury somehow fell through the cracks of the Lost Angeles Crackheads. It doesn't reach for too much but accomplishes everything handily. The It's The Girl's Egg scene was subtle and memorable.

ray said...

'Good picks. But I'd like to suggest "Fury" wasn't bad either.'

Very overlooked film. I couldn't believe Hellywood could still produce a pro-Christian, pro-brotherhood, fast-paced intelligent action movie. Fury somehow fell through the cracks of the Lost Angeles Crackheads. It doesn't reach for too much but accomplishes everything handily. The It's The Girl's Egg scene was subtle and memorable.

jackalope said...

Downfall. A 2004 movie about the last days of the Third Reich. Set entirely in Berlin. The acting is spectacular. The actor that played Hitler, Swiss Bruno Granz, should have gotten the Oscar, except you can't give Hitler an Oscar. The sets are utterly realistic, uniforms and weapons are correct. And, it is done in German. You will be reading sub-titles unless you speak German. Normally, I consider this quite bothersome but, this movie effortlessly reels you in. Best WWII movie of this century.

pyrrhus said...

Zulu Dawn deserves a shot...

Michael said...

The Beast
dir: Kevin Reynolds

Out of commission, become a pillbox
Out of ammo, become a bunker
Out of time, become heroes

snuffy said...

In no particular order or rank. The Blue Max. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Stalag 17, which I'm surprised nobody mentioned, unless I missed it. Gallipoli. Casablanca. The Bridge At Remagen. Catch-22. Run Silent, Run Deep.

Hawkin'Gal said...


I haven’t seen The Great Escape either (cue Aesop’s jaw hitting floor). Will watch it tonight with Dad as I’m visiting and Tubi seems to have everything. Will pick up Zulu and a few other DVD’s for long winter evenings at the tiny house

jackalope said...

Casablanca! One of the greatest movies of all time no matter what category is being discussed.

Angantyr said...

I know Kelly's Heroes really couldn't make the list, but there was one exchange in particular that probably summed up well the average soldier's take on the war. At the beginning of the movie they are interrogating a captured German officer, who warns them of an impending German counterattack, to which Telly Savalas responds:
"Look! We’re not worried about the German army, we’ve got enough troubles of our own. To the right General Patton, to the left the British Army, to the rear our own goddamn artillery, and besides all that it’s raining. And the only good thing to say about the weather: it keeps our air corps from blowing us all to Hell because its too lousy to fly, versteh?"