There are thousands of military films produced over the years. The great majority are worthless because they depict war as a simple conflict between good and evil, rather than a human tragedy. Most are unrealistic in their depictions of human behavior, military life, and combat situations. Many are government inspired propaganda flicks in which morally pure Americans conquer evil foes with guts and determination. The opinions of film critics are usually worthless since they have no military experience. One critic labeled the movie "STARSHIP TROOPERS" as anti-war because it showed graphic violence.
Some military men label excellent films "anti-war", because they depict men slaughtering each other for dubious causes. This often occurs in movies about the foreign adventures of the US military, which has not been involved in "National Defense" since 1812. Of the thousands of military movies, the following list represents the best military films ever made, in historical order:
G2mil's Great Military Films
BRAVEHEART - The Scottish rebel against English rule.
THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS - The British and French fight in America.
THE BOUNTY - (not to be confused with "Mutiny on the Bounty") English sailors make history in Tahiti.
PATRIOT - The American revolution was also a bloody civil war.
ONE MAN'S HERO - The US Army fights Irishmen in Mexico.
GLORY - The American civil war proves complex.
BREAKER MORANT - Australians are accused of war crimes in the Boer War.
PATHS OF GLORY - French infantrymen lose faith during World War I.
THE SAND PEBBLES - A US Navy patrol boat in China.
TORPEDO RUN - Daring American submariners stalk the Japanese.
ENEMY AT THE GATES - bloody fighting in Stalingrad during World War II.
MEMPHIS BELLE - A bomber crew does its job.
MIDWAY - The U.S. Navy wins its greatest battle.
SAVING PRIVATE RYAN - A ranger company is bloodied in France.
COMMAND DECISION - American pilots fight the Nazis, and politics.
CROSS OF IRON - Germans fight a losing effort against the Russians.
THE CAINE MUTINY - A paranoid officers takes command of a Navy ship.
PATTON - An Army general seeks glory.
HALLS OF MONTEZUMA - U.S. Marines are bloodied by the Japanese.
THE BATTLE OF SAN PIETRO - Real infantry combat.
THE BOAT "DAS BOOT" - A German U-boat fights the allies (both versions are great)
KELLEY'S HEROES - Enlisted soldiers organize their own offensive.
A BRIDGE TOO FAR- An allied offensive into German goes too far.
HELL IS FOR HEROES - Infantrymen in realistic situations.
A SOLDIER'S STORY - American Negroes begin integration.
NO TIME FOR SERGEANTS - A farm boy is drafted into the Air Force.
THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES- Servicemen adjust to civilian life after World War II.
SEVEN DAYS IN MAY - Generals plot to overthrow the President of the United States.
FIELD OF HONOR - Dutch soldiers fight in Korea.
BRIDGES AT TOKO-RI - Dangerous bombing missions test the resolve of Navy pilots.
SNIPER'S RIDGE - Demoralized soldiers wait for the end of the Korean war.
FAIL SAFE - Confusion threatens nuclear war.
THE GREAT SANTINI - A tough Marine fighter pilot battles his family.
FOG OF WAR - a documentary about lessons from war
GO TELL THE SPARTANS - Army advisors do their best in 1964 Vietnam.
84 CHARLIE MOPIC - A recon unit runs into trouble in Vietnam.
TRIBES - A tough Marine DI shows his soft side.
PLATOON - An Army platoon is divided by loyalty.
HANOI HILTON - American POWs survive.
HEAVEN AND EARTH - A Vietnamese family deals with war.
AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN - A tough Navy brat wants to fly jets.
THE BEAST - A Russian tank becomes lost in Afghanistan.
TOP GUN - Navy fighter pilots do their thing.
EXTREME PREJUDICE - An anti-drug mission turns ugly.
A FEW GOOD MEN - A Marine is killed, and someone must pay.
THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER - Russian officers attempt to defect.
JARHEAD - US Marines are stuck in the desert.
THREE KINGS - Three American soldiers steal Iraqi gold after the Persian Gulf war.
CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER - The politics of the drug war.
CRIMSON TIDE - The threat of nuclear war is not over.
TRAFFIC - The drug war in Mexico.
It's impossible to make a purely realistic military film because they are stories. This forces directors to take dramatic license and transform a military story into 100 minutes of entertainment. Unfortunately, this turns most military films into fast-paced, action-packed --TRASH. The films listed here are reasonably realistic, educational, and entertaining. While professional reading has become fashionable in the US military, the value of professional viewing can be appreciated by watching these films.