15 Most Underrated War Movies Of All Time

Heroin-selling soldiers, animated nightmares in the Lebanon, and Vietnam. So much Vietnam...

Jarhead Jake Gyllenhaal

Nothing gets a cinephile’s heart pumping quite like a good war movie.

Whether it’s a slow, thoughtful meditation on the nature of violence and humanity like Terrence Malick’s portentous epic The Thin Red Line, a horrifying reminder of war’s human cost like Oliver Stone’s operatic Vietnam tragedy Platoon, or even a weepy tragedy filled with jaw dropping depictions of battlefield horrors like Steven Spielberg’s uncharacteristically brutal Saving Private Ryan, there’s a war film for every viewer.

As a medium, film has proven successful during wartime as a tool of both protest and propaganda. In WWII many British and American citizens derived hope during the dark days of war by turning to the silver screen’s heroic fantasies, whilst during America’s bloody misadventure in Vietnam filmmakers of all stripes used film to protest the actions of their government overseas in masterpieces such as Godfather helmer Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now.

That said, not every war flick gets its due the first time around, so we’ve collected a massive list of fifteen war films which deserve far more recognition than they’ve so far received.

15. Full Metal Jacket

Jarhead Jake Gyllenhaal
Warner Bros.

Not only an underrated war film but likely the single most underrated entry into The Shining helmer Stanley Kubrick’s CV, this unforgettable Vietnam flick benefits from a pair of career best performances courtesy of Vincent D’Onofrio and R Lee Erney as the gradually unravelling Sergeant “Gomer Pyle” and his heartless drill sergeant respectively.

The first half of the flick is unbearably tense and eventually as blackly hilarious as it is pointlessly tragic, whilst the meandering second section is alternately pointless, hopeless, and brutal—not unlike the conflict which the film is attempting to convey.

Winding viewers up to boiling point before leaving them lost in an aimless firefight, Kubrick reflects the American experience of the Vietnamese invasion on film and leaves audiences as lost, confused, and uncertain as the public felt after its eventual bloody end.


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