10 Most Intense War Movies Ever Made

With heart palpitations a guarantee, get ready to cry, scream, or both.

Black Hawk Down 2001
Sony Pictures

Intensity in a film isn't for everyone. Some just want to unplug and unwind at the end of a long day.

For those that want that rush, that feeling of awe, that nail-biting fire-fighting excitement? There's a whole brand of movies that will provide exactly what you're looking for.

A war film is the breeding ground of intensity. With bullets flying past your favourite character's heads, bombs dropping everywhere, numerous no-name extras kicking the bucket and high-risk high-reward battles, they are positively custom-built for the thrill-seekers.

And rather wonderfully, sometimes it's the quieter moments that are just as if not more intense. Lurking through dark alleyways, hiding from an enemy that vastly outnumbers you or characters spiralling into hopelessness as they break down will keep you on the edge of your seat as much as any all-out action segment.

But which war movies are the most intense of all?

10. Saving Private Ryan

Black Hawk Down 2001
Paramount Pictures

Saving Private Ryan opens with the D-Day landings, specifically on the events on Omaha Beach. As Tom Hank's Captain John Miller leads his men onto the beach they are assaulted with heavy fire. Bodies are dropping, people are screaming and the audience is in complete awe.

For context of how incredible this opening was, many veterans have applauded this scene for its realism.

The US soldiers must advance up the beach neutralising the German machine-gun positions. Their voices can barely be heard above the constant gunfire. Half of the conversations they have with other marines are cut short by a bullet catching one of the participants.

After taking the beach, the men are in pieces, some breaking down in tears.

What follows is a journey through unknown enemy territory to find Private Ryan. Along the way, Private Carpazo and Medic Wade are killed.

Eventually, they locate Ryan, but before they can extract him, they must help defend a key bridge in Ramelle.

In this final battle, the American soldiers realise they are heavily outnumbered as German Panzer tanks role into the small town. In this intense skirmish, Miller is killed alongside several others from his unit and Ryan's paratroopers.

Rarely is there a quiet moment in this wartime epic.


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