Best War Movies - Part Two

We have chosen movies that focus on twentieth-century wars.

Feb 4, 2023 - 15:26
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Best War Movies - Part Two

The Deer hunter

The Deer Hunter is a striking message about the fragility of the human soul and the psychological toll that war has on its participants. It's an excellent picture that was nominated for nine Academy Awards and won five of them: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Christopher Walken), Best Editing, and Best Sound.

Michael (Robert De Niro), Steven (John Savage), and Nick (Christopher Walken) are three young Russian-American steel mill workers in Pennsylvania. They fall into the hands of the Viet Cong after joining the Vietnam War. They wind themselves in a hostage situation where they are forced to play Russian roulette.

It's a somber and dismal movie about surviving in conditions of harsh treatment and psychological hardship that can shatter even the toughest. It's also a declaration about the strength of friendship, dedication, and unashamed heroism.

The terrific cast, in addition to the excellent direction, considerably contributes to the overall quality of the film. It is not your conventional war film about heroics, but rather about what war is and what its effects are.

  • Original title: The Deer Hunter
  • Directed by: Michael Cimino
  • Starring: Robert De Niro, John Cazale, John Savage, Christopher Walken, Meryl Streep, George Dzundza, Chuck Aspegren
  • Origin and premiere: USA, 1978
  • Duration: 182 minutes

Apocalypse Now

The riveting existential drama depicts the war as a bizarre and melancholy surreal journey into the depths of the human brain. Although the picture was met with skepticism at its initial release, it is now regarded as one of the most powerful anti-war works ever made. Apocalypse won the Cannes Film Festival's Palme d'Or and was nominated for eight Academy Awards, winning two for cinematography and sound.

The plot is loosely based on Joseph Conrad's work Heart of Darkness. Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) is assigned to a top-secret operation. Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando), who has fled and established his own kingdom in the isolated forest, is meant to be eliminated. He transformed the publicly declared ideology of war into a grotesque, inhuman form in it.

Colonel Kurtz, the insane and demonic, elevated himself to the status of God and established a cult around himself, which the jungle savages worshiped.

The film was directed by Francis Ford Coppola, who earned financial independence from Hollywood after the success of both The Godfathers. However, production dragged on interminably, and the original budget of $12 million ballooned to a then-astronomical 31 million. The intended six-week filming schedule was extended to sixteen months.

  • Original title: Apocalypse Now
  • Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
  • Starring: Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Laurence Fishburne, Sam Bottoms, Frederic Forrest, Albert Hall
  • Origin and premiere: USA, 1979
  • Length: 153 minutes

Dunkirk

The film depicts the events surrounding the evacuation of encircled French, British, and Belgian soldiers from the northern French port city of Dunkirk at the end of May and beginning of June 1940.

The massive German onslaught was designed to divide the Allied forces in two. Then a huge evacuation began, lasting eight days and evacuating 338,226 troops to England.

In this low-key thriller, director Christopher Nolan's main weapon is intensity and a frontal assault on the viewer's senses. A compelling historical theme is handled in an unusual thriller style that will take your breath away. At the same time, the filmmaker did not rely solely on synthetic trickery, but also on real cruisers, planes, and fighters from WWII. This is how old-world yet modern quality should seem.

  • Original title: Dunkirk
  • Directed by Christopher Nolan
  • Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard
  • Origin and premiere: Great Britain, 2017
  • Duration: 107 minutes

All Quiet on the Western Front

The famous novel by Erich Maria Remarque has been adapted for film multiple times. The black-and-white version from 1930 is widely regarded as great, but only a later version from 1979 was able to properly replicate the original onto canvas. If you haven't read the book, this is an excellent film adaptation.

In the video, we may follow the fates of a group of young boys who, on the advice of their teacher, decide to join the battle right from their school desks. They quickly discover that ideals and beliefs have little bearing on reality. Under the burden of war's atrocities, young boys, those who survive, grow into stern men. The trench fighting of World War I is depicted authentically here, including the bleakness and resignation, the automatic murder, and hopelessness.

Surprisingly, this is a TV movie starring mostly unknown performers. Delbert Mann, who won an Oscar for Marty, directed the film. After all, the picture was nominated for a Golden Globe in 1980.

  • Original title: All Quiet on the Western Front
  • Directed by: Delbert Mann
  • Cast: Richard Thomas, Ernest Borgnine, Donald Pleasence, Ian Holm, Patricia Neal, Paul Mark Elliott, David Bradley
  • Origin and premiere: USA, 1979
  • Duration: 123 minutes

Saving Private Ryan

With the opening nearly half-hour lifelike scene of the assault on Omaha Beach, the story of the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944, was carved in the minds of film audiences. It is told from the perspective of military veteran James Francis Ryan (Matt Damon), who recalls the fight and the operation that led to his rescue over Captain John G. Miller's grave (Tom Hanks).

Captain Miller is tasked with finding a soldier whose three brothers have already fallen in earlier fights and returning him to his mother after securing Omaha Beach. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards, including best picture and best director.

The film depicts what the Second World War involved in terms of direct combat conflicts and how it was reflected in the lives of Allied soldiers through a solid tale, masterful editing, and great acting. Although the plot is imaginary, the scenes of the war are shockingly accurate, and some sequences delve far into the memory.

  • Original title: Saving Private Ryan
  • Directed by Steven Spielberg
  • Cast: Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore, Dennis Farina, Max Martini, Harvey Presnell, Matt Damon, Edward Burns
  • Origin and premiere: USA, 1998
  • Length: 169 minutes

Post by Bryan C.