Saving Private Ryan is an iconic war movie whose excellence is unparalleled. Directed by none other than Steven Spielberg and based on a true story, the movie is about how a group of soldiers who make their way in deep France to find private Ryan. Ryan, who had already lost his three brothers in the war field, finds himself in an emotional dilemma when he finds out that he has to leave the war in between.
One of the best things about Saving Private Ryan is its emotional intensity, that one can feel during the entire movie. From the starting war massacre scene, and when the team is out in search of Ryan, and the ending scene, everything will keep you on the edge of the seat the entire time.
There are very few movies which are as great as Saving Private Ryan, but here we are with top 10 war movies like Saving Private Ryan that you can watch tonight.
Best War Films like Saving Private Ryan
1. Apocalypse Now
The movie is one of the best war movies that you should watch after Saving Private Ryan. Apocalypse Now starts after America left Vietnam and Ben Willard (Martin Sheen) is sent in search of Colonel Kurtz. Colonel Kurtz is a commander who has turned crazy and is now ruling over a small village in Cambodia. Willard’s journey to the village and the dark moments he faces is what makes this movie one of the best war movie ever made.
The movie plays along very close to the original war and the scenes give a good idea how deadly the things would have been off screen. Apocalypse Now is based on ‘Heart of Darkness’ by Joseph Conrad and the movie brings it to life by some reinventions. In addition to that, it is really interesting and hard to see what a soldier would have faced in those war times. If you really want to watch something intense, dark and emotional, this should be the next movie you watch.
2. The Hurt Locker
The Hurt Locker is directed by Kathryn Bigelow which won the Academy award for the best movie as well. The movie is about an Explosives Ordinance and Disposal expert (EOD), William James, an Army Sargent First Class in Iraq. Through the series of various events and issues like IED (Improvised Explosive Device), which becomes the main problem for foot soldiers in Iraq as well as in Afghanistan, the movie takes you through the character of a soldier and his addiction to the combat environment.
There are a lot of scenes which are going to make you sweat due to tension and a lot more powerful scenes that are definitely going to stay around in your mind for a couple of days.
3. Lone Survivor
Lone Survivor, unlike many other war movies, is a survival or final showdown movie. Lone Survivor is also one of the best action movies in which a team of four SEALs is trapped in between the enemies. Enemy forces are present on all sides and there is no other choice except to fight. It is interesting to see how the SEALs make their way through hundreds of enemy soldiers and this movie will definitely send shivers down your spine.
4. Schindler’s List
No war movie list can be complete without this move. In 1993, Steven Spielberg brought out the true story of a Polish manufacturer, Oskar Schindler, at the time of World War II. Oskar begins his career as a capitalist but then his emotions grow towards the Jews working in his factory and ultimately he ends up saving around 1100 Jews by employing them in his factory. The movie beautifully represents the human connection as well as the cruelty that occurred in the concentration camps. It is one of the greatest war movies ever made and will definitely bring tears to your eyes.
Platoon is another academy award winner on the list directed by Oliver Stone. Chris Taylor (played by Charlie Sheen) is a new recruit who is sent in the jungle of Vietnam. Very soon he finds himself between the politics and crimes within the platoon and is ultimately left with a choice to go with either of the sergeants: Sergeant Barnes (Tom Berenger) and Sergeant Elias (William Dafoe). The emotional element is so perfectly embedded with the war story that it bagged Oscars for Best Director, Best Sound, Best Film Edition and Best Picture.
Glory is one great war movie that not many have watched. It is the true story of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry and stars Morgan Freeman, Matthew Broderick, and Denzel Washington. This Infantry was actually the first infantry that was made up of African-American soldiers. The movie starts and focusses on the early days of this infantry, their training and then their part in the Civil War. The movie touches the sensitive issue of racism by pointing out some common practices of that time. The dark toned soldiers were paid less than fair skin soldiers, were provided sub-standard artillery etc. However, the movie picks only few portion from the original history but perfectly portrays the courage and heroism by the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry showed and their contribution in the Civil War.
7. Grave of the Fireflies
Grave of the Fireflies is a special entry to the list. It is an animated movie that I am sure not many of you would have watched. The movie shows the dirty and ugly reality of the wars and the tragedies hidden behind them.
Grave of the Fireflies is a story about two siblings that were taken away from the home and were forced to live with their aunt. The aunt abuses them and ultimately they are forced to live on the streets and to survive on whatever they can find by begging. Soon the war starts and then the movie turns even more intense. It is very hard to see what a war can do to a beautiful relationship.
8. Paths of Glory
Paths of Glory is one of the best films if you wish to get an idea about the politics behind World War I. The first World War was a lot more imperialistic, fought for national supremacy, and because of which millions of soldiers and people were forced into a bloodshed against other nation’s soldiers. The movie focuses on the unwillingness of the officers and soldiers who were forced into this war and to their deaths. This movie by Stanley Kubrick throws light at the political bureaucracy behind the war. If you love war movies with political touch, Paths of Glory is one of the best you can find.
9. Full Metal Jacket
Full Metal Jacket is another masterpiece by Stanley Kubrick and is a war movie which presents two different scenarios in a single film. The first half of the movie focuses on a boot camp where the camp sergeants abuse an underperforming recruit resulting in their death. The first half shows the real face how the soldiers are treated inhumanly so that they can fight for the country. The second half, on the other hand, the second half of the movie is the journey of Private Joker through city and jungles on Vietnam.
10. All Quiet on the Western Front
Well, this is a very old movie, released in 1930. All Quiet on the West Front focuses on small children who are alluded to enlist their names for fighting in World War I. The high school teacher who convinces them, shows them a vision of appreciation, patriotism and heroism and the movie later show us how different things are in real life. The visions were all face and what they found were death and horror. It was a visionary film which was undoubtedly way ahead of its time.