Since the dawn of modern film, the War Movie has been a centric pillar of popular cinema. Acting not only to entertain profusely with action both endless and intense, War Movies strike their own specific chord with most- portraying the heartbreak and grief of this truly human institution. As one of the most saturated genres, highlighting a mere 10 standout offerings is in itself, a tremendous tragedy.
10. The Hurt Locker
The most recent movie on my list, The Hurt Locker is an adventure into the most modern of world conflicts. Concentrating on the exploits of a Baghdad based US Explosive Ordinance Disposal team and their danger hungry commander; it is an insight into the daily plagues faced by service men and women serving in the Middle East- some of which are more obvious than others. Although featuring less combat action than others further down the list, this six Oscar winning piece does remarkably well to keep viewers both enthralled and horrified.
9. Gods and Generals
The second in a two part Civil War epic, Gods and Generals is based mostly on Confederate General Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson (portrayed by Stephen Lang) and the role played by him and his famous ‘First Brigade’. Capturing this most brutal of wars with a mixture of lengthy authentic dialogue and equally endowed realistic battle scenes, the movie follows the conflict from its conception in 1861 all the way through to the eve of Gettysburg in the summer of 1863. Based on a novel by Jeffrey Shaara, the film also features Jeff Daniels and Robert Duvall (as General Lee) and runs for a lengthy 214 minutes.
8. Master and Commander: The far side of the World
Gripping historical drama centred on the captain and crew of HMS Victory circa 1805. At the height of Napoleons power/madness, the French are in pursuit of domination over the world’s oceans- the only thing in their way being the grit and determination of British Naval crews. In this case personified by Captain Jack Aubrey (Russel Crowe), an experienced and well respected commander, Jack and his lads are charged with the pursuit of a French privateer named ‘Acheron’- with orders to ‘Sink, Burn, or take her a prize’. However, the Acheron soon proves to be a worthy opponent- a revelation which leads to an intense game of cat + mouse, but with cannons and swords. Great fun.
7. Black Hawk Down
Furious fire-fighting drama based on the events leading up to and encompassing the Battle of Mogadishu, following a team of Delta Force Rangers tasked with a snatch and run mission in the heart of a civil war torn Somalia capital. Based on true events, the film depicts some of the most bloody and helpless scenarios in modern war- as the mission goes wrong leaving many Rangers not only cut off from base, but from each other. Ridley Scott directs an all-star cast including Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Eric Bana and Tom Sizemore to capture one of the most notable disasters in recent US military practice.
Loosely (very loosely) based on some of the events of the first war of Scottish independence in the early middle ages (1296-1328 I believe..) Mel Gibson’s modern masterpiece documents the life of Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace. From an opening 30 minutes which shows a young William lose his father and brother as a result of their rebellion towards English crown and rule, to some of the most epic battle scenes of all time featuring a fully grown William (Gibson) slicing Englishmen clean in half with a giant sword, the film hardly lets up. Of course there are the tangents of love, loyalty and inevitably betrayal, however these subplots merely act to supplement the passion of the rousing battle scenes, at least in my opinion.