The Best War Films

by gorkcetinkaya | created - 05 May 2011 | updated - 15 Jun 2013 | Public
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1. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

R | 153 min | Adventure, Drama, War

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
69 Metascore

In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a plan to assassinate Nazi leaders by a group of Jewish U.S. soldiers coincides with a theatre owner's vengeful plans for the same.

Directors: Quentin Tarantino, Eli Roth | Stars: Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger, Eli Roth, Mélanie Laurent

Votes: 1,019,097 | Gross: $120.54M

2. The Hurt Locker (2008)

R | 131 min | Drama, History, Thriller

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
94 Metascore

During the Iraq War, a Sergeant recently assigned to an army bomb squad is put at odds with his squad mates due to his maverick way of handling his work.

Director: Kathryn Bigelow | Stars: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Guy Pearce

Votes: 367,693 | Gross: $17.02M

3. Rescue Dawn (2006)

PG-13 | 120 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
77 Metascore

A U.S. fighter pilot's epic struggle of survival after being shot down on a mission over Laos during the Vietnam War.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Christian Bale, Steve Zahn, Jeremy Davies, Zach Grenier

Votes: 90,818 | Gross: $5.49M

4. Kingdom of Heaven (2005)

R | 144 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

7.2
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63 Metascore

Balian of Ibelin travels to Jerusalem during the Crusades of the 12th century, and there he finds himself as the defender of the city and its people.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Liam Neeson, Martin Hancock

Votes: 237,250 | Gross: $47.40M

5. Downfall (2004)

R | 156 min | Biography, Drama, History

8.2
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82 Metascore

Traudl Junge, the final secretary for Adolf Hitler, tells of the Nazi dictator's final days in his Berlin bunker at the end of WWII.

Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel | Stars: Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Maria Lara, Ulrich Matthes, Juliane Köhler

Votes: 279,962 | Gross: $5.51M

6. Hotel Rwanda (2004)

PG-13 | 121 min | Biography, Drama, History

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
79 Metascore

Paul Rusesabagina was a hotel manager who housed over a thousand Tutsi refugees during their struggle against the Hutu militia in Rwanda.

Director: Terry George | Stars: Don Cheadle, Sophie Okonedo, Joaquin Phoenix, Xolani Mali

Votes: 292,605 | Gross: $23.47M

7. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)

PG-13 | 138 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

7.4
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81 Metascore

During the Napoleonic Wars, a brash British captain pushes his ship and crew to their limits in pursuit of a formidable French war vessel around South America.

Director: Peter Weir | Stars: Russell Crowe, Paul Bettany, Billy Boyd, James D'Arcy

Votes: 181,204 | Gross: $93.93M

8. The Last Samurai (2003)

R | 154 min | Action, Drama, History

7.7
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55 Metascore

An American military advisor embraces the Samurai culture he was hired to destroy after he is captured in battle.

Director: Edward Zwick | Stars: Tom Cruise, Ken Watanabe, Billy Connolly, William Atherton

Votes: 347,296 | Gross: $111.11M

9. The Pianist (2002)

R | 150 min | Biography, Drama, Music

8.5
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85 Metascore

A Polish Jewish musician struggles to survive the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto of World War II.

Director: Roman Polanski | Stars: Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Frank Finlay, Emilia Fox

Votes: 576,676 | Gross: $32.57M

10. No Man's Land (I) (2001)

R | 98 min | Drama, War

8.0
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84 Metascore

Bosnia and Herzegovina during 1993 at the time of the heaviest fighting between the two warring sides. Two soldiers from opposing sides in the conflict, Nino and Ciki, become trapped in no man's land, whilst a third soldier becomes a living booby trap.

Director: Danis Tanovic | Stars: Branko Djuric, Rene Bitorajac, Filip Sovagovic, Georges Siatidis

Votes: 40,259 | Gross: $1.06M

11. Black Hawk Down (2001)

R | 144 min | Drama, History, War

7.7
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74 Metascore

160 elite U.S. soldiers drop into Somalia to capture two top lieutenants of a renegade warlord and find themselves in a desperate battle with a large force of heavily-armed Somalis.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore, Eric Bana

Votes: 320,189 | Gross: $108.64M

12. Three Kings (1999)

R | 114 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
82 Metascore

In the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War, four soldiers set out to steal gold that was stolen from Kuwait, but they discover people who desperately need their help.

Director: David O. Russell | Stars: George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube, Spike Jonze

Votes: 147,084 | Gross: $60.65M

13. The Thin Red Line (1998)

R | 170 min | Drama, War

7.6
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78 Metascore

Adaptation of James Jones' autobiographical 1962 novel, focusing on the conflict at Guadalcanal during the second World War.

Director: Terrence Malick | Stars: Jim Caviezel, Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Elias Koteas

Votes: 151,795 | Gross: $36.40M

14. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

R | 169 min | Drama, War

8.6
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90 Metascore

Following the Normandy Landings, a group of U.S. soldiers go behind enemy lines to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns

Votes: 1,007,978 | Gross: $216.54M

15. Land and Freedom (1995)

Not Rated | 109 min | Drama, War

7.6
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David is an unemployed communist that comes to Spain in 1937 during the civil war to enroll the republicans and defend the democracy against the fascists. He makes friends between the soldiers.

Director: Ken Loach | Stars: Ian Hart, Rosana Pastor, Icíar Bollaín, Tom Gilroy

Votes: 8,700 | Gross: $0.23M

16. Braveheart (1995)

R | 178 min | Biography, Drama, History

8.4
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68 Metascore

When his secret bride is executed for assaulting an English soldier who tried to rape her, Sir William Wallace begins a revolt against King Edward I of England.

Director: Mel Gibson | Stars: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan, Angus Macfadyen

Votes: 828,144 | Gross: $75.60M

17. Schindler's List (1993)

R | 195 min | Biography, Drama, History

8.9
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93 Metascore

In German-occupied Poland during World War II, Oskar Schindler gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazi Germans.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley, Caroline Goodall

Votes: 985,473 | Gross: $96.07M

18. Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

R | 145 min | Biography, Drama, War

7.2
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75 Metascore

The biography of Ron Kovic. Paralyzed in the Vietnam war, he becomes an anti-war and pro-human rights political activist after feeling betrayed by the country he fought for.

Director: Oliver Stone | Stars: Tom Cruise, Raymond J. Barry, Caroline Kava, Josh Evans

Votes: 84,411 | Gross: $70.00M

19. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Not Rated | 89 min | Animation, Drama, War

8.5
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A young boy and his little sister struggle to survive in Japan during World War II.

Director: Isao Takahata | Stars: Tsutomu Tatsumi, Ayano Shiraishi, Akemi Yamaguchi, Yoshiko Shinohara

Votes: 167,726

20. Full Metal Jacket (1987)

R | 116 min | Drama, War

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
76 Metascore

A pragmatic U.S. Marine observes the dehumanizing effects the Vietnam War has on his fellow recruits from their brutal boot camp training to the bloody street fighting in Hue.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Matthew Modine, R. Lee Ermey, Vincent D'Onofrio, Adam Baldwin

Votes: 553,558 | Gross: $46.36M

21. Empire of the Sun (1987)

PG | 153 min | Drama, History, War

7.8
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62 Metascore

A young English boy struggles to survive under Japanese occupation during World War II.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Christian Bale, John Malkovich, Miranda Richardson, Nigel Havers

Votes: 99,037 | Gross: $22.24M

22. Platoon (1986)

R | 120 min | Drama, War

8.1
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92 Metascore

A young soldier in Vietnam faces a moral crisis when confronted with the horrors of war and the duality of man.

Director: Oliver Stone | Stars: Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe, Keith David

Votes: 325,019 | Gross: $138.53M

23. Salvador (1986)

R | 122 min | Drama, History, Thriller

7.5
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An American photojournalist gets caught in a political struggle at El Salvador in 1980.

Director: Oliver Stone | Stars: James Woods, Jim Belushi, Michael Murphy, John Savage

Votes: 16,673

24. Come and See (1985)

Not Rated | 142 min | Drama, War

8.2
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After finding an old rifle, a young boy joins the Soviet resistance movement against ruthless German forces and experiences the horrors of World War II.

Director: Elem Klimov | Stars: Aleksey Kravchenko, Olga Mironova, Liubomiras Laucevicius, Vladas Bagdonas

Votes: 33,992

25. The Killing Fields (1984)

R | 141 min | Biography, Drama, History

7.9
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A journalist is trapped in Cambodia during tyrant Pol Pot's bloody 'Year Zero' cleansing campaign, which claimed the lives of two million 'undesirable' civilians.

Director: Roland Joffé | Stars: Sam Waterston, Haing S. Ngor, John Malkovich, Julian Sands

Votes: 45,254 | Gross: $34.70M

26. Gallipoli (1981)

PG | 110 min | Adventure, Drama, History

7.5
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65 Metascore

Two Australian sprinters face the brutal realities of war when they are sent to fight in the Gallipoli campaign in Turkey during World War I.

Director: Peter Weir | Stars: Mel Gibson, Mark Lee, Bill Kerr, Harold Hopkins

Votes: 32,226 | Gross: $5.73M

27. The Big Red One (1980)

R | 113 min | Drama, War

7.2
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77 Metascore

The story of a sergeant and the inner core members of his unit as they try to serve in and survive World War II.

Director: Samuel Fuller | Stars: Lee Marvin, Mark Hamill, Robert Carradine, Bobby Di Cicco

Votes: 16,606

28. Apocalypse Now (1979)

R | 147 min | Drama, War

8.5
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94 Metascore

During the Vietnam War, Captain Willard is sent on a dangerous mission into Cambodia to assassinate a renegade Colonel who has set himself up as a god among a local tribe.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Frederic Forrest

Votes: 503,498 | Gross: $83.47M

29. The Deer Hunter (1978)

R | 183 min | Drama, War

8.2
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81 Metascore

An in-depth examination of the ways in which the U.S. Vietnam War impacts and disrupts the lives of people in a small industrial town in Pennsylvania.

Director: Michael Cimino | Stars: Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, John Cazale, John Savage

Votes: 260,998 | Gross: $48.98M

30. A Bridge Too Far (1977)

PG | 175 min | Drama, History, War

7.4
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Operation Market Garden, September 1944: The Allies attempt to capture several strategically important bridges in the Netherlands in the hope of breaking the German lines. However, mismanagement and poor planning result in its failure.

Director: Richard Attenborough | Stars: Sean Connery, Ryan O'Neal, Michael Caine, Laurence Olivier

Votes: 44,140 | Gross: $50.80M

31. The Ascent (1977)

111 min | Drama, War

8.3
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In a freezing cold World War II winter, two pro-Soviet partisans - Sotnikov and Rybak - head off to find food for themselves and their compatriots. They find a goat at the home of a German ... See full summary »

Director: Larisa Shepitko | Stars: Boris Plotnikov, Vladimir Gostyukhin, Sergey Yakovlev, Lyudmila Polyakova

Votes: 4,528

32. Cross of Iron (1977)

R | 119 min | Drama, War

7.5
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A German commander places a squad in extreme danger after its Sergeant refuses to lie for him.

Director: Sam Peckinpah | Stars: James Coburn, Maximilian Schell, James Mason, David Warner

Votes: 22,225

33. Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)

G | 144 min | Action, Drama, History

7.5
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In 1941, following months of economic embargo, Japan prepares to open its war against the United States with a preventive strike on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor.

Directors: Richard Fleischer, Kinji Fukasaku, Toshio Masuda | Stars: Martin Balsam, Sô Yamamura, Jason Robards, Joseph Cotten

Votes: 27,389 | Gross: $29.55M

34. MASH (1970)

R | 116 min | Comedy, Drama, War

7.6
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80 Metascore

The staff of a Korean War field hospital use humor and high jinks to keep their sanity in the face of the horror of war.

Director: Robert Altman | Stars: Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, Tom Skerritt, Sally Kellerman

Votes: 60,148 | Gross: $81.60M

35. Catch-22 (1970)

R | 122 min | Comedy, Drama, War

7.2
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A man is trying desperately to be certified insane during World War II, so he can stop flying missions.

Director: Mike Nichols | Stars: Alan Arkin, Martin Balsam, Richard Benjamin, Art Garfunkel

Votes: 18,619 | Gross: $24.91M

36. Patton (1970)

GP | 172 min | Biography, Drama, War

8.0
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91 Metascore

The World War II phase of the career of the controversial American general, George S. Patton.

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner | Stars: George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Stephen Young, Michael Strong

Votes: 83,354 | Gross: $61.70M

37. Army of Shadows (1969)

Not Rated | 145 min | Drama, War

8.2
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99 Metascore

An account of underground resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied France.

Director: Jean-Pierre Melville | Stars: Lino Ventura, Paul Meurisse, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Simone Signoret

Votes: 16,523 | Gross: $0.74M

38. The Dirty Dozen (1967)

Not Rated | 150 min | Action, Adventure, War

7.8
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During World War II, a rebellious U.S. Army Major is assigned a dozen convicted murderers to train and lead them into a mass assassination mission of German officers.

Director: Robert Aldrich | Stars: Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, John Cassavetes

Votes: 57,960 | Gross: $45.30M

39. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

R | 178 min | Western

8.9
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90 Metascore

A bounty hunting scam joins two men in an uneasy alliance against a third in a race to find a fortune in gold buried in a remote cemetery.

Director: Sergio Leone | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef, Aldo Giuffrè

Votes: 566,438 | Gross: $6.10M

40. The Battle of Algiers (1966)

Not Rated | 121 min | Drama, War

8.1
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95 Metascore

In the 1950s, fear and violence escalate as the people of Algiers fight for independence from the French government.

Director: Gillo Pontecorvo | Stars: Brahim Hadjadj, Jean Martin, Yacef Saadi, Tommaso Neri

Votes: 43,308 | Gross: $0.06M

41. The Hill (1965)

Approved | 123 min | Drama, War

7.9
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In a North African military prison during World War II, five new prisoners struggle to survive in the face of brutal punishment and sadistic guards.

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Sean Connery, Harry Andrews, Ian Bannen, Alfred Lynch

Votes: 10,326

42. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

PG | 95 min | Comedy, War

8.5
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96 Metascore

An insane general triggers a path to nuclear holocaust that a war room full of politicians and generals frantically tries to stop.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn

Votes: 383,422 | Gross: $0.28M

43. Zulu (1964)

Not Rated | 138 min | Drama, History, War

7.8
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Outnumbered British soldiers do battle with Zulu warriors at Rorke's Drift.

Director: Cy Endfield | Stars: Stanley Baker, Jack Hawkins, Ulla Jacobsson, James Booth

Votes: 31,498

44. The Longest Day (1962)

G | 178 min | Action, Drama, History

7.8
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The events of D-Day, told on a grand scale from both the Allied and German points of view.

Directors: Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton, Bernhard Wicki, Gerd Oswald, Darryl F. Zanuck | Stars: John Wayne, Robert Ryan, Richard Burton, Henry Fonda

Votes: 46,615 | Gross: $39.10M

45. Hell Is for Heroes (1962)

Approved | 90 min | Drama, War

7.0
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Small squad must hold off German attack.

Director: Don Siegel | Stars: Steve McQueen, Bobby Darin, Fess Parker, Harry Guardino

Votes: 5,522

46. Spartacus (1960)

PG-13 | 197 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

7.9
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87 Metascore

The slave Spartacus leads a violent revolt against the decadent Roman Republic.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton

Votes: 106,726 | Gross: $30.00M

47. The Human Condition I: No Greater Love (I) (1959)

Not Rated | 208 min | Drama, War

8.6
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A Japanese pacifist, unable to face the dire consequences of conscientious objection, is transformed by his attempts to compromise with the demands of war-time Japan.

Director: Masaki Kobayashi | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Michiyo Aratama, Chikage Awashima, Ineko Arima

Votes: 4,494

48. Paths of Glory (1957)

Not Rated | 88 min | Drama, War

8.4
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After refusing to attack an enemy position, a general accuses the soldiers of cowardice and their commanding officer must defend them.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou, George Macready

Votes: 138,775

49. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

PG | 161 min | Adventure, Drama, War

8.2
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87 Metascore

After settling his differences with a Japanese PoW camp commander, a British colonel co-operates to oversee his men's construction of a railway bridge for their captors - while oblivious to a plan by the Allies to destroy it.

Director: David Lean | Stars: William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, Sessue Hayakawa

Votes: 168,705 | Gross: $44.91M

50. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

Not Rated | 170 min | Drama, Romance, War

8.1
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92 Metascore

Three World War II veterans return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed.

Director: William Wyler | Stars: Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews, Fredric March, Teresa Wright

Votes: 45,839 | Gross: $23.65M

51. Rome, Open City (1945)

Not Rated | 103 min | Drama, Thriller, War

8.1
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During the Nazi occupation of Rome in 1944, the Resistance leader, Giorgio Manfredi, is chased by the Nazis as he seeks refuge and a way to escape.

Director: Roberto Rossellini | Stars: Anna Magnani, Aldo Fabrizi, Marcello Pagliero, Vito Annichiarico

Votes: 18,655

52. Henry V (1944)

Not Rated | 137 min | Biography, Drama, History

7.3
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In the midst of the Hundred Years' War, the young King Henry V of England embarks on the conquest of France in 1415.

Director: Laurence Olivier | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Robert Newton, Leslie Banks, Felix Aylmer

Votes: 4,899

53. Went the Day Well? (1942)

Approved | 92 min | Thriller, War

7.6
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An English village is occupied by disguised German paratroopers as an advance post for a planned invasion.

Director: Alberto Cavalcanti | Stars: Leslie Banks, C.V. France, Valerie Taylor, Marie Lohr

Votes: 2,629 | Gross: $0.02M

54. Casablanca (1942)

PG | 102 min | Drama, Romance, War

8.5
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100 Metascore

In Casablanca in December 1941, a cynical American expatriate encounters a former lover, with unforeseen complications.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains

Votes: 435,487 | Gross: $1.02M

55. Gone with the Wind (1939)

G | 238 min | Drama, History, Romance

8.2
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97 Metascore

A manipulative woman and a roguish man conduct a turbulent romance during the American Civil War and Reconstruction periods.

Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Sam Wood | Stars: Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Thomas Mitchell, Barbara O'Neil

Votes: 241,765 | Gross: $198.68M

56. La Grande Illusion (1937)

Not Rated | 113 min | Drama, War

8.1
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During the First World War, two French soldiers are captured and imprisoned in a German P.O.W. camp. Several escape attempts follow until they are sent to a seemingly impenetrable fortress which seems impossible to escape from.

Director: Jean Renoir | Stars: Jean Gabin, Dita Parlo, Pierre Fresnay, Erich von Stroheim

Votes: 29,292 | Gross: $0.17M

57. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

Not Rated | 136 min | Drama, War

8.1
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A young soldier faces profound disillusionment in the soul-destroying horror of World War I.

Director: Lewis Milestone | Stars: Lew Ayres, Louis Wolheim, John Wray, Arnold Lucy

Votes: 50,641 | Gross: $3.27M

58. The General (1926)

Not Rated | 67 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

8.2
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When Union spies steal an engineer's beloved locomotive, he pursues it single-handedly and straight through enemy lines.

Directors: Clyde Bruckman, Buster Keaton | Stars: Buster Keaton, Marion Mack, Glen Cavender, Jim Farley

Votes: 61,715

59. The Big Parade (1925)

Not Rated | 151 min | Drama, Romance, War

8.2
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A young American soldier witnesses the horrors of the Great War.

Directors: King Vidor, George W. Hill | Stars: John Gilbert, Renée Adorée, Hobart Bosworth, Claire McDowell

Votes: 5,354 | Gross: $11.00M