Missed two of my favorites in this list.
Platoon I felt was the grittiest and made you feel the horrors of war the most (Full Metal Jacket was close).
The lost Battalion with Rick Schroder was one of the most poignant war movies, but many may not have seen it since it was an A&E movie.
The weirdest thing is watching “The Patriot” on network television. In every scene that has blood, (most noticeably in the warhawk scene when Mel Gibson and his sons are rescuing Heath Ledger) they color all of the red blood brown so that it looks like mud. Strangely, it changes the mood of the scene dramatically.
You forgot “Platoon”…Oliver Stone’s a crackpot, but that was an excellent movie. “In Harm’s Way” should probably have made your list, as should “The Sands of Iwo Jima”, “The Longest Day” and “We Were Soldiers”.
“Paths of Glory” was a nice choice…most people seem to forget that one but it was one of Kubrick’s finest films.
“Blackhawk Down” should probably have been on there as well…it was brilliant. I’d probably have struck “Schindler’s List” from your poll, not because it wasn’t a great movie (it was) but because it was more about the Holocaust than the war. Same with “The Pianist”.
My father’s war was more interesting than mine, so his favorite movies tended to be my childhood favorite’s as well. Top of the list has to be Sands of Iwo Jima. (My father was never actually on the island. He was an average of about half a mile offshore, on a minesweeper. Close enough for Japanese soldiers to occasionally run out of the caves and onto the beach to fire their rifles at him.)
Honorable Mentions go to three others that didn’t make the list. The Caine Mutiny (for which Humphrey Bogart won an Academy Award), Away All Boats, and The Red Badge of Courage.
Paths of Glory here. Beautifully shot and breathtaking. You can see the long, tracking shot that Kubrick uses in to such effect in Full Metal Jacket (when Ermey is giving the new recruits his “welcome to the Corps” brain f—).
One of the reasons why Paths of Glory doesn’t get much air/attention now is because it was black and white. There are lots of young folks who just won’t watch black and white flicks now…I guess they’ve yet to understand that a movie is a classic because it’s really good, not because a black and white movie is considered a classic just because it’s old.
I just saw “Downfall” this weekend. Excellent film, Bruno Ganz deserved all the accolades he got.
I hear you about “Paths of Glory”. I can understand why some people aren’t as interested in older films…sometimes the acting can come off really hammy (especially before method acting became the norm), sometimes the scripts aren’t on a par with today’s, and sometimes they beat you over the head with whatever moral point they’re trying to put across (often it seems the older the film, the more they love to preach). But there are a lot of older films that hold up just as well as anything today…”Paths of Glory” was definitely one of those (as was just about any film with Kirk Douglas, actually…he usually picked his roles and films very well and got the most out of them).
By the way, another film I’d probably think about adding to the poll would have been “The Guns at Batasi”…although it’s more of a film about the military than any particular war. Richard Attenborough playing the British sergeant major really nailed the air of being a non-comm (albeit a somewhat pompous one).
Voted Band of Brothers, but technically it was more of a mini-series than just 1 movie. Weren’t they supposed to make a sequel about a group fighting in the South Pacific too? I kept my HBO subscription for 3 years after BOB just waiting for it …. I’ve since given up.
The pianist was a fantastic movie. Anyone who missed it should definitely see it some time. The lead is played by a Adrien Brody, a relatively obscure, but talented actor. He’s also has notable roles in Peter Jackson’s King Kong and Hollywoodland (great movie too).
Weren’t they supposed to make a sequel about a group fighting in the South Pacific too?
Stephen Ambrose, the historian who wrote “Band of Brothers” was planning to do a book about the war in the Pacific (which was going to be adapted) but he died of lung cancer before he could write it. I think that’s what you may be thinking of.
Damnit UCrawford, now I’m depressed. Guess that explains it. I thought the book was done and they just hadn’t done the series yet.
My Grandfather is one of the few WW2 vets (hero IMO) that is still alive and fought throughout the South Pacific and I was wanting to see more of that ‘side’ of the war. Until recently, with stuff like ‘Sands of Iwo Jima’, Hollywood has been a little ‘Europe centric’ when it comes to WW2.