Top 25 Greatest War Movies of All Time (The Ultimate List)

by ChrisWalczyk55 | created - 24 Dec 2012 | updated - 09 May 2017 | Public

The war movies on this list are ranked according to their success (awards & nominations), their popularity, and their cinematic greatness from a directing/writing perspective. To me, accuracy when making a Top 10/Top 100 all time list is extremely important. My lists are not based on my own personal favorites; they are based on the true greatness and/or success of the person, place or thing being ranked. In other words, a film's commercial success (Oscars & BAFTA Awards), and greatness in direction, screenwriting and production, is how I ranked the films on this list. If you guys would like to view my other Top 10/Top 100 lists, feel free to check out my YouTube page and/or my IMDb page at *ChrisWalczyk55*.

Thanks guys and don't forget to LIKE & comment! :)

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1. Apocalypse Now (1979)

R | 147 min | Drama, Mystery, War

94 Metascore

A U.S. Army officer serving in Vietnam is tasked with assassinating a renegade Special Forces Colonel who sees himself as a god.

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

Votes: 599,306 | Gross: $83.47M

Oscars: 2 Oscar Nominations: 8 BAFTA Awards: 2 BAFTA Nominations: 8 Golden Globes: 3 Golden Globe Nominations: 4

2. Schindler's List (1993)

R | 195 min | Biography, Drama, History

94 Metascore

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

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

Votes: 1,198,741 | Gross: $96.90M

***** Oscars: 7 Oscar Nominations: 12 BAFTA Awards: 6 BAFTA Nominations: 12 Golden Globes: 3 Golden Globe Nominations: 6

3. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

PG | 161 min | Adventure, Drama, War

87 Metascore

British POWs are forced to build a railway bridge across the river Kwai for their Japanese captors, not knowing that the allied forces are planning to destroy it.

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

Votes: 201,319 | Gross: $44.91M

Oscars: 7 Oscar Nominations: 8 BAFTA Awards: 4 BAFTA Nominations: 4 Golden Globes: 3 Golden Globe Nominations: 4

4. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Approved | 228 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

100 Metascore

The story of T.E. Lawrence, the English officer who successfully united and led the diverse, often warring, Arab tribes during World War I in order to fight the Turks.

Director: David Lean | Stars: Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins

Votes: 264,898 | Gross: $44.82M

***** Oscars: 7 Oscar Nominations: 10 BAFTA Awards: 4 BAFTA Nominations: 5 Golden Globes: 4 Golden Globe Nominations: 7

5. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

R | 169 min | Drama, War

91 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: 1,219,885 | Gross: $216.54M

***** Oscars: 5 Oscar Nominations: 11 BAFTA Awards: 2 BAFTA Nominations: 8 Golden Globes: 2 Golden Globe Nominations: 5

6. Full Metal Jacket (1987)

R | 116 min | Drama, War

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: 667,293 | Gross: $46.36M

Oscars: 0 Oscar Nominations: 1 BAFTA Awards: 0 BAFTA Nominations: 2 Golden Globes: 0 Golden Globe Nominations: 1

7. Patton (1970)

GP | 172 min | Biography, Drama, War

91 Metascore

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

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

Votes: 93,147 | Gross: $61.70M

*****

Oscars: 7 Oscar Nominations: 10 BAFTA Awards: 0 BAFTA Nominations: 2 Golden Globes: 1 Golden Globe Nominations: 3

8. Platoon (1986)

R | 120 min | Drama, War

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: 377,389 | Gross: $138.53M

***** Oscars: 4 Oscar Nominations: 8 BAFTA Awards: 2 BAFTA Nominations: 3 Golden Globes: 3 Golden Globe Nominations: 4

9. Das Boot (1981)

R | 149 min | Adventure, Drama, Thriller

86 Metascore

The claustrophobic world of a WWII German U-boat; boredom, filth and sheer terror.

Director: Wolfgang Petersen | Stars: Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Klaus Wennemann, Hubertus Bengsch

Votes: 229,330 | Gross: $11.49M

***** Oscars: 0 Oscar Nominations: 6 BAFTA Awards: 0 BAFTA Nominations: 1 Golden Globes: 0 Golden Globe Nominations: 1

10. Paths of Glory (1957)

Approved | 88 min | Drama, War

90 Metascore

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: 175,681

***** Oscars: 0 Oscar Nominations: 0 BAFTA Awards: 0 BAFTA Nominations: 1 Golden Globes: 0 Golden Globe Nominations: 0

11. Braveheart (1995)

R | 178 min | Biography, Drama, History

68 Metascore

Scottish warrior William Wallace leads his countrymen in a rebellion to free his homeland from the tyranny of King Edward I of England.

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

Votes: 950,404 | Gross: $75.60M

Oscars: 5 Oscar Nominations: 10 BAFTA Awards: 3 BAFTA Nominations: 5 Golden Globes: 1 Golden Globe Nominations: 4

12. The Great Escape (1963)

Approved | 172 min | Adventure, Drama, History

86 Metascore

Allied prisoners of war plan for several hundred of their number to escape from a German camp during World War II.

Director: John Sturges | Stars: Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson

Votes: 222,239 | Gross: $12.10M

Oscars: 0 Oscar Nominations: 1 BAFTA Awards: 0 BAFTA Nominations: 0 Golden Globes: 0 Golden Globe Nominations: 1

13. The Pianist (2002)

R | 150 min | Biography, Drama, Music

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: 718,890 | Gross: $32.57M

*****

Oscars: 3 Oscar Nominations: 7 BAFTA Awards: 1 BAFTA Nominations: 5 Golden Globes: 0 Golden Globe Nominations: 2

14. Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

R | 141 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

89 Metascore

The story of the battle of Iwo Jima between the United States and Imperial Japan during World War II, as told from the perspective of the Japanese who fought it.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Ken Watanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Ryô Kase

Votes: 153,107 | Gross: $13.76M

***** Oscars: 1 Oscar Nominations: 4 BAFTA Awards: 0 BAFTA Nominations: 0 Golden Globes: 1 Golden Globe Nominations: 2

15. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

Passed | 152 min | Drama, War

91 Metascore

A German youth eagerly enters World War I, but his enthusiasm wanes as he gets a firsthand view of the horror.

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

Votes: 56,859 | Gross: $3.27M

*****

Oscars: 2 Oscar Nominations: 4 BAFTA Awards: N/A BAFTA Nominations: N/A Golden Globes: N/A Golden Globe Nominations: N/A

16. The Deer Hunter (1978)

R | 183 min | Drama, War

86 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: 308,045 | Gross: $48.98M

***** Oscars: 5 Oscar Nominations: 9 BAFTA Awards: 2 BAFTA Nominations: 9 Golden Globes: 1 Golden Globe Nominations: 6

17. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

R | 153 min | Adventure, Drama, War

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.

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

Votes: 1,248,462 | Gross: $120.54M

Oscars: 1 Oscar Nominations: 8 BAFTA Awards: 1 BAFTA Nominations: 5 Golden Globes: 1 Golden Globe Nominations: 4

18. The Dirty Dozen (1967)

Not Rated | 150 min | Action, Adventure, War

73 Metascore

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: 66,589 | Gross: $45.30M

***** Oscars: 1 Oscar Nominations: 4 BAFTA Awards: 0 BAFTA Nominations: 0 Golden Globes: 0 Golden Globe Nominations: 1

19. From Here to Eternity (1953)

Passed | 118 min | Drama, Romance, War

85 Metascore

In Hawaii in 1941, a private is cruelly punished for not boxing on his unit's team, while his captain's wife and second-in-command are falling in love.

Director: Fred Zinnemann | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed

Votes: 42,932 | Gross: $30.50M

Oscars: 8 Oscar Nominations: 13 BAFTA Awards: 0 BAFTA Nominations: 1 Golden Globes: 2 Golden Globe Nominations: 2

20. Stalag 17 (1953)

Not Rated | 120 min | Comedy, Drama, War

84 Metascore

When two escaping American World War II prisoners are killed, the German P.O.W. camp barracks black marketeer, J.J. Sefton, is suspected of being an informer.

Director: Billy Wilder | Stars: William Holden, Don Taylor, Otto Preminger, Robert Strauss

Votes: 50,731

Oscars: 1 Oscar Nominations: 3 BAFTA Awards: 0 BAFTA Nominations: 0 Golden Globes: 0 Golden Globe Nominations: 0

21. Sergeant York (1941)

Passed | 134 min | Biography, Drama, History

A marksman is drafted in World War I and ends up becoming one of the most celebrated war heroes.

Director: Howard Hawks | Stars: Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Joan Leslie, George Tobias

Votes: 15,254 | Gross: $16.40M

***** Oscars: 2 Oscar Nominations: 11 BAFTA Awards: 0 BAFTA Nominations: 0 Golden Globes: 0 Golden Globe Nominations: 0

22. The Longest Day (1962)

G | 178 min | Action, Drama, History

75 Metascore

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

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

Votes: 51,811 | Gross: $39.10M

***** Oscars: 2 Oscar Nominations: 5 BAFTA Awards: 0 BAFTA Nominations: 0 Golden Globes: 1 Golden Globe Nominations: 2

23. The Thin Red Line (1998)

R | 170 min | Drama, War

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, Kirk Acevedo

Votes: 171,076 | Gross: $36.40M

Oscars: 0 Oscar Nominations: 7 BAFTA Awards: 0 BAFTA Nominations: 0 Golden Globes: 0 Golden Globe Nominations: 0

24. Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

R | 139 min | Biography, Drama, History

71 Metascore

World War II American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people, and becomes the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot.

Director: Mel Gibson | Stars: Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, Teresa Palmer

Votes: 427,131 | Gross: $67.21M

Oscars: 0 Oscar Nominations: 6 BAFTA Awards: 1 BAFTA Nominations: 5 Golden Globes: 0 Golden Globe Nominations: 3

25. The Hurt Locker (2008)

R | 131 min | Drama, Thriller, War

95 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: 417,769 | Gross: $17.02M

Oscars: 6 Oscar Nominations: 9 BAFTA Awards: 5 BAFTA Nominations: 7 Golden Globes: 0 Golden Globe Nominations: 3



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