Advertisement

10 Most Important War Films Ever Made

From the earliest talkies to the nuclear pie-fights to the psychedelic nightmares of Vietnam...

Orion Pictures

There are few genres as contested and contentious amongst film fans as the war movie. Since the birth of cinema as a medium and up to as recently as this year's 1917, the naturally dramatic spectacle of war has been a favourite focus of filmmakers from across the political spectrum.

As a result, war films have evolved over time from shameless pieces of glossy propaganda promoting US interests, into virulent anti war screeds from filmmakers embroiled in protest movements, to trippy psychedelic re-imaginings of real life conflicts as psychological head f***s.

To this day, a great many war films are essentially paid advertisements for the US empire (cough cough Kathryn Bigelow's acclaimed propaganda piece Zero Dark Thirty), but every once in a while a war movie is released which reshapes public perceptions of real life conflicts.

Many of the films on this list may be dated, but its testament to their extraordinary achievements that the changes they made to the war film genre have become commonplace in the decades since.

Whether it's Kubrick deconstructing the image of heroic American soldiers, Coppola delving inside the mind to offer a stranger vision of war, or Spielberg reframing the Holocaust as one man's struggle, these films changed how war films were made, and how audiences viewed war as a result, for good.

Advertisement
Contributor

Cathal Gunning hasn't written a bio just yet, but if they had... it would appear here.