10 Best War Movie Scenes Of All Time

War! What is it good for? Absolutely amazing movies that nailed their combat scenes.

Apocalypse Now Robert Duvall
United Artists

One of the most difficult film genres to get right is the war genre. For anyone who has experienced combat, they know that a war movie only works when it gets a lot right. Everything from the interpersonal relationships between the characters to the frustrations of the rank structure and the nature of the enemy plays a part.

More than that, combat sequences that don't appear real can take the viewer out of the experience of watching the movie, so the explosions, the sounds bullets make, and the horrible horror that is the reality of combat must be done precisely right, or the movie simply won't work.

Mankind has been killing one another for a couple of hundred thousand years, so moviemakers have quite a bit to draw from in making their movies appear realistic. As it happens, because so much time and attention is put into making a war movie just right, there are thousands of amazing examples.

That makes it difficult to narrow down the top 10 war movie scenes of all time, seeing as so many are done so well. Still, there are some key scenes in some of the most respected and favored war films, that truly stand out above the rest.

10. Apocalypse Now - Ride Of The Valkyries

Apocalypse Now is easily one of the greatest war movies ever made. Francis Ford Coppola managed to shoot some of the best combat scenes ever put to film, and the one that stands above the rest is the "Ride of the Valkyries" scene.

The scene begins with a squadron of UH-1 Hueys flying towards a Vietcong stronghold at the mouth of the NĂ¹ng River. As they approach, The commander orders the playing of Richard Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries," which serves to embolden the troops moving in for the attack.

An unsuspecting village hears the music approach while children run out to see what's coming. Adults move them to safety as the choppers approach. The tension is palpable as the Viet Cong troops prepare their defenses, but they are no match for the rocket and machine-gun fire that rains down upon them.

Explosions rip people apart as the true horror of the Vietnam War blasts onto the screen. Men fire from the protection of their aircraft, slaughtering the enemy. A gunner takes out a single chopper while the rest continue to strafe the ground in cinema's most glorious airborne assault scene ever.


Jonathan is a graphic artist, illustrator, writer, and game designer. Jonathan retired from the U.S. Army in 2017 and enjoys researching and writing about history, science, theology, and many other subjects. He writes for ScreenRant, CBR, NerdBastards, Listverse, Ranker, WhatCulture, and many other sites online. You can check out his latest on Twitter: @TalkingBull or on his blog: jonathanhkantor.com