Brutal, violent… and yet we enjoy them. There’s something about war movies that makes us watch them over and over again, and every time we do, we do it with delight. Sometimes we literally cry over the sad fates of people affected by a state of war, as, you have to admit, wars are synonyms for destruction. And that’s the common motif in movies of this kind.
Why should you know which are the best war movies? Because it’s a genre that doesn’t ever go out of style. Because of their tremendous quality, and because they’re simply rocking the awards seasons for years. If none of these works for you, maybe you should know that some of the best war movies have already become cult classics. They’re exciting and emotional, based on real events and with some truly great performances.
If you’re wondering where to watch 1917 and the rest of the movies (except The Last Full Measure, which hasn’t been released yet), you can easily find some of them on Netflix with zero effort, or you can try with some great streaming websites like TheVore. Take your time and enjoy these masterpieces.
Top 7 Best War Movies
1. 1917 (2019)
Without making too much noise, Sam Mendes has signed one of the best war movies in history. Not surprisingly, it’s sweeping the awards season. The history goes back to World War I, specifically, to the spring of 1917, to northern France. That’s where we’re told a story about how hard a single day in the life of two young British soldiers is. Their mission is to deliver a message to an allied battalion, cancelling the attack on a German squad, as they have prepared an ambush.
Just one glance at the cast seems enough to captivate anyone’s attention – with Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, Richard Madden, Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch among them. The only thing that remains is waiting to find out the answer to the question: can 1917 win an Oscar? We’ll find out soon.
2. Beasts of no nation (2015)
Released in October 2015, Beasts of no nation tells about Agu (Abraham Attah), a young man who loses his family in one of many civil wars on the African continent and has since been forced to be part of one of the rebel defence lines. It’s clear that the production isn’t as powerful as others that we might see on this list, the ones with much larger budgets, but it deals well with the conflict of child soldiers. And, in addition, it has a spectacular sound and magnificent photography. It’s a tough one, leaves no one indifferent and is much more personal than other war movies that we can see.
Not everyone can cope with it – not because of the images, but because of its theme. What is clear is that we could say with all the confidence that it’s one of the best Netflix war movies. Stars to be seen here: Emmanuel Affadzi, Ricky Adelayitor and many more.
3. The siege of Jadotville (2016)
The siege of Jadotville is another of Netflix’s original war movies that tells us the true story. Full of adrenaline, with so much intense action, as well as suspense (if you’re not familiar with the real facts, of course). It’s another film whose plot is centred around the conflict in Africa, but in this case, it’s the Congo of 1961. The UN sends a group of Irish soldiers, only 150 troops, to try to stop what could land in a huge world war. However, they are soon beset by 3,000 Congolese soldiers who are under the command of French mercenaries.
It’s much more modest than many other pieces of the same kind, but still has spectacular moments and Richie Smyth, who was, until then, director of music videos, demonstrates his good work behind the cameras. Starring: Jamie Dornan, Danny Sapani, Andrew Stock, etc.
4. 1898: Our Last Men in the Philippines (2016)
Let’s now move to Spanish cinematography, one of the highest-ranking during recent years. Of course, it’s a film as well produced as controversial, since any resemblance to reality is pure coincidence.
The movie is about a Spanish garrison in the village of Baler besieged for almost a year by Filipino revolutionaries. It narrates the facts of this detachment during the signing of the agreement between Spain and the United States whereby Spain ceded the sovereignty of the Philippines to the US.
Apart from being well recorded, 1898: Our Last Men in the Philippines is characterized by impeccable photograph and script. The problem is that, historically, it’s not even close to reality – which came to the point where it aroused some really bad critics from historians. Even so, it’s a thing worth seeing if you like war cinema since it has some truly good moments thanks to a great cast led by fantastic Luis Tosar, Javier Gutiérrez and many more.
5. The Photographer of Mauthausen (2018)
With very few means, Mar Targarona signs one of the best Spanish-made war films. Again, it’s a story based on real events and seems quite similar to Schindler’s list, but without the resources, or the Spielberg, in it, as some critics say.
Mario Casas plays Francesc Boix, a photographer who was interned in the Nazi concentration camp in Mauthausen. During his stay there, he manages to take thousands of photographs that served to blame several senior Nazi army officials. At the production level, it has a great soundtrack, a carefully performed photograph taking (with very well-chosen colours) and thrilling moments, although you shouldn’t expect great action scenes, as this is not that kind of movies – it’s something else.
6. The Last Full Measure (2020)
The Vietnam War continues to inspire movies in the United States – in this case, this one focuses on Willian H. Pitsenbarger, a young soldier who died in combat, but it took him 34 years to receive honours for his services to the country. Despite this, he’s one of the capital figures in American military schools. The Last Full Measure combines drama and warfare masterfully and also simply deserves to be among the best war movies, partially because of its cast: Ed Harris, William Hurt, Christopher Plummer, Samuel L. Jackson, Sebastian Stan or Alison Sudol.
7. Outlaw King (2018)
Scotland, 1304. William Wallace, forced into battle to save his family, his people and his country from the tyrannical English occupation, was executed. Robert the Bruce seizes the crown of medieval Scotland and leads a group of insurgent men to face the wrath of the strongest army in the world led by the ruthless King Edward I and his weak son, the Prince of Wales.
As it happens, Outlaw King basically starts where Braveheart ended, so you’re going to read quite a few comparisons between the Oscar-winning film by Mel Gibson and David Mackenzie’s new work. However, the coincidences don’t go beyond the plot connection, since Outlaw King opts for a drier and dirtier style, far removed from the heroism of William Wallace.
Here, the tendency to establish a drastic differentiation between heroes and villains is avoided, bringing the film closer to a moral grey that finds accommodation in the different actions of each side. All this makes it come up as two great hours of footage performed in a really satisfactory way. Starring: Chris Pine, Stephen Dillane, Rebecca Robin, etc.