A Guide to the Most Entertaining/Engaging War Films of All Time

War is one of my favorite movie genres. Here is a list of all war films that I’d give a rating of 7/10 or higher to in the entertainment/engagement department, listed in alphabetical order. It should be noted that some fall into the so-bad-it’s-good category. Documentaries are not included here.

  • Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012) – American Civil War – Vampire Horror-Comedy
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) – Fictional Saxon rebellion in medieval England – Swashbuckling Action-Adventure/Legend of Robin Hood
  • All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) – World War I – Anti-War Drama set on the Western Front
  • All Quiet on the Western Front (1979) – World War I – Anti-War Drama set on the Western Front
  • All the Young Men (1960) – Korean War – Unit Picture
  • American Sniper (2014) – American-led Invasion and Occupation of Iraq – Sniper Picture/Biography of Chris Kyle
  • Amigo (2010) – Philippine-American War – Unit Picture
  • And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself (2003) – Mexican Revolution – Biography of Francisco “Pancho” Villa/War-Time Filmmaking/Western
  • Andersonville (1996) – American Civil War – Prisoners-of-War
  • Apocalypse Now (1979) – Vietnam War – Surreal Adventure
  • Atomic Blonde (2017) – Cold War – Espionage Action-Thriller
  • Attack (1956) – World War II – Unit Picture set on the Western Front
  • Bad Company (1972) – American Civil War – Western/Draft Dodgers
  • Band of Brothers (2001) – World War II – Unit Picture set on the Western Front
  • Bataan (1943) – World War II – Unit Picture set in the Pacific Theater
  • Battle of the Bulge (1965) – World War II – Recreation of the Battle of the Bulge
  • The Battleship Potemkin (1925) – Russian Revolution of 1905 – Communist Propaganda
  • The Beast (1988) – Soviet-Afghan War – Tank Unit Picture
  • Beau Geste (1939) – Rif War – Unit Picture/French Foreign Legion
  • Behind Enemy Lines (2001) – Bosnian Civil War – Action Behind Enemy Lines
  • Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia (2009) – Colombian Civil War – Action
  • Beneath Hill 60 (2010) – World War I – Mining Operations on the Western Front
  • The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) – Aftermath of World War II – Readjustment to Civilian Life
  • The Big Red One (1980) – World War II – Unit Picture set in North Africa and on the Italian and Western Fronts
  • Biggles: Adventures in Time (1986) – World War I – Time-Traveling Action-Adventure on the Western Front
  • Black Book (2006) – World War II – Resistance in the Netherlands
  • Black Hawk Down (2001) – Somali Civil War – Recreation of the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu
  • Blockade (1938) – Spanish Civil War – Melodrama
  • Born on the Fourth of July (1989) – Vietnam War – Anti-War Drama/Biography of Ron Kovic
  • The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008) – World War II – Genocide Drama/Children on the Nazi German Home Front
  • Braddock: Missing in Action III (1988) – Aftermath of the Vietnam War – Action
  • Braveheart (1995) – First Scottish War of Independence – Biography of William Wallace
  • ‘Breaker’ Morant (1980) – Second Anglo-Boer War – Courtroom Drama
  • Breakheart Pass (1975) – Indian Wars – Western/Murder Mystery
  • The Bridge (1959) – World War II – Unit Picture set on the Western Front
  • A Bridge Too Far (1977) – World War II – Recreation of Operation Market Garden
  • Bullet in the Head (1990) – Vietnam War – Heroic Bloodshed Action
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) – World War II – Superhero Action-Adventure
  • Casablanca (1942) – World War II – Romance in North Africa
  • Castle Keep (1969) – World War II – Surreal Unit Picture set on the Western Front
  • Casualties of War (1989) – Vietnam War – American Atrocities
  • Centurion (2010) – Roman colonization of Great Britain – Action-Adventure
  • China (1943) – Second Sino-Japanese War/World War II – Action-Adventure
  • Come and See (1985) – World War II – Nazi German Atrocities on the Eastern Front
  • Commandos (1968) – World War II – Commando Action
  • Companeros (1970) – Mexican Revolution – Western/Mercenary Action-Adventure
  • El Condor (1970) – Franco-Mexican War – Western/Heist Picture
  • Courage Under Fire (1996) – Persian Gulf War – Mystery
  • Crimson Tide (1995) – Fictional Russian civil war – Nuclear Submarine Picture
  • The Crossing (2000) – American Revolution – Recreation of the Battle of Trenton
  • Cross of Iron (1977) – World War II – Unit Picture set on the Eastern Front
  • Dark of the Sun (1968) – Congolese Civil War – Mercenary Action-Adventure
  • The Dawn Patrol (1938) – World War I – Aerial Warfare over the Western Front
  • Days of Glory (1944) – World War II – Partisan Warfare on the Eastern Front
  • The Delta Force (1986) – Lebanese Civil War of 1975-1990 – Commando Action
  • Desperate Journey (1942) – World War II – Action-Adventure Behind Enemy Lines
  • The Dogs of War (1980) – Fictional mercenary raid in Africa – Mercenaries
  • Downfall (2004) – World War II – Last Days of Adolf Hitler
  • Duck Soup (1933) – Fictional war between Freedonia and Sylvania – Comedy
  • Duck, You Sucker (1971) – Mexican Revolution – Western
  • Dunkirk (2017) – World War II – Recreation of the Evacuation of Dunkirk/Survival Thriller
  • The Eagle Has Landed (1976) – World War II – Commando Action-Adventure in Great Britain
  • Eagles Attack at Dawn (1970) – War of Attrition – Commando Action
  • Eagles Over London (1969) – World War II – Commando Action in Great Britain
  • Eastern Condors (1987) – Aftermath of the Vietnam War – Martial Arts Action
  • Escape from Sobibor (1987) – World War II – Genocide Drama
  • Fail-Safe (1964) – Cold War – Countdown to Nuclear War
  • Fantasy Mission Force (1983) – World War II – Surreal Martial Arts Action-Comedy
  • Farewell to the King (1989) – World War II – Going Native in the Pacific Theater
  • FDR: American Badass! (2012) – World War II – Comedy
  • 55 Days at Peking (1963) – Boxer Rebellion – Recreation of the Siege of the Peking Legations
  • The Final Countdown (1980) – World War II – Time-Traveling Adventure in the Pacific Theater
  • First Blood (1982) – Aftermath of the Vietnam War – Action
  • Fixed Bayonets! (1951) – Korean War – Unit Picture
  • Flags of Our Fathers (2006) – World War II – Unit Picture set in the Pacific Theater
  • Flyboys (2006) – World War I – Aerial Warfare over the Western Front
  • Forbidden Games (1952) – World War II – Children on the French Home Front
  • The Four Feathers (1978) – Mahdist War – Adventure
  • Friendly Persuasion (1956) – American Civil War – Union Home Front
  • From Here to Eternity (1953) – World War II – Melodrama set in the Pacific Theater
  • Full Metal Jacket (1987) – Vietnam War – Unit Picture
  • Fury (2014) – World War II – Tank Unit Picture set on the Western Front
  • Gallipoli (1981) – World War I – Anti-War Drama set during the Dardanelles Campaign
  • Gangs of New York (2002) – American Civil War – Gangsters on the Union Home Front
  • Gettysburg (1993) – American Civil War – Recreation of the Battle of Gettysburg
  • Glory (1989) – American Civil War – Unit Picture
  • Go for Broke! (1951) – World War II – Unit Picture set on the Italian and Western Fronts
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) – American Civil War – Western
  • Go Tell the Spartans (1978) – Vietnam War – Unit Picture
  • Grave of the Fireflies (1988) – World War II – Children on the Japanese Home Front
  • The Great Escape (1963) – World War II – Prisoner-of-War Escape
  • Green for Danger (1946) – World War II – Murder Mystery on the British Home Front
  • ‘Gung Ho!’: The Story of Carlson’s Makin Island Raiders (1943) – World War II – Recreation of the Makin Island Raid
  • Guns at Batasi (1964) – Unrest in a fictional African country – Unit Picture
  • Guns for San Sebastian (1968) – Indian Wars – Western
  • The Guns of Navarone (1961) – World War II – Commando Action-Adventure in the Aegean Sea
  • Guns of the Magnificent Seven (1969) – Fictional Mexican rebellion – Western
  • Hacksaw Ridge (2016) – World War II – Biography of Desmond Doss
  • Hell Is for Heroes (1962) – World War II – Unit Picture set on the Western Front
  • High Road to China (1983) – Third Anglo-Afghan War/Chinese Warlord Era – Romantic Action/Adventure
  • Hostiles (2017) – Aftermath of the Indian Wars – Western
  • Hotel Rwanda (2004) – Rwandan Civil War – Genocide Drama
  • The Imitation Game (2014) – World War II – Biography of Alan Turing/Code-Breakers
  • The Inglorious Bastards (1978) – World War II – Action Behind Enemy Lines
  • Invasion U.S.A. (1985) – Fictional communist terrorist invasion of the United States – Action
  • Jarhead (2005) – Persian Gulf War – Unit Picture
  • Johnny Got His Gun (1971) – World War I – Anti-War Drama
  • Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) – Aftermath of World War II – Courtroom Drama
  • Kanal (1957) – World War II – Partisan Warfare on the Eastern Front
  • Kelly’s Heroes (1970) – World War II – Comedy/Heist Picture/Unit Picture set on the Western Front
  • Khartoum (1966) – Mahdist War – Recreation of the Siege of Khartoum
  • King Arthur (2004) – Roman colonization of Great Britain – Legend of King Arthur
  • The Kingdom (2007) – Islamist rebellion in Saudi Arabia – Action
  • The King’s Speech (2010) – World War II – Biography of George VI
  • The Last Drop (2006) – World War II – Action
  • The Last Emperor (1987) – Chinese Revolution/Chinese Warlord Era/Chinese Civil War of 1927-1937/Japanese Invasion of Manchuria/Second Sino-Japanese War/World War II – Biography of Pu Yi
  • Lawrence of Arabia (1962) – World War I – Going Native in the Middle Eastern Theater/Biography of T. E. Lawrence
  • Legends of the Fall (1994) – World War I – Family Melodrama
  • Legionnaire (1998) – Rif War – Unit Picture/French Foreign Legion
  • Let’s Go with Pancho Villa (1936) – Mexican Revolution – Unit Picture
  • Lifeboat (1944) – World War II – Survival at Sea
  • The Lighthorsemen (1987) – World War I – Cavalry Unit Picture set on the Palestinian Front
  • Lincoln (2012) – American Civil War – Last Days of Abraham Lincoln
  • Lion of the Desert (1980) – Second Italo-Senussi War – Biography of Omar Mukhtar
  • The Living Daylights (1987) – Soviet-Afghan War – Secret Agent Action-Adventure
  • Lone Survivor (2013) – American-led Invasion and Occupation of Afghanistan – Commando Action
  • The Longest Day (1962) – World War II – Recreation of the D-Day Landings at Normandy
  • Lord of War (2005) – Cold War/Aftermath of the Cold War – Gunrunning
  • The Lost Battalion (2001) – World War I – Unit Picture set on the Western Front
  • Lost Command (1966) – French Indochina War/Algerian War of Independence – Unit Picture
  • The Lost Patrol (1934) – World War I – Unit Picture set in the Middle Eastern Theater
  • MacArthur (1977) – World War II/Korean War – Biography of Douglas MacArthur
  • The Man Who Would Be King (1975) – Fictional Kafiristani civil war – Swashbuckling Adventure
  • March or Die (1977) – Rif War – Unit Picture/French Foreign Legion
  • A Matter of Life and Death (1946) – World War II – Afterlife Fantasy
  • Max Manus (2008) – World War II – Resistance in Norway
  • Memorial Day (2012) – American-led Invasion and Occupation of Iraq/World War II – Family Drama
  • The Mercenary (1968) – Mexican Revolution – Western/Mercenary Action-Adventure
  • Michael Collins (1996) – Easter Rising/Irish War of Independence/Irish Civil War – Biography of Michael Collins
  • A Midnight Clear (1992) – World War II – Unit Picture set on the Western Front
  • Missing in Action 2: The Beginning (1985) – Aftermath of the Vietnam War – Action/Prisoner-of-War Escape
  • No Man’s Land (2001) – Bosnian Civil War – Anti-War Drama
  • The Pacific (2010) – World War II – Unit Picture set in the Pacific Theater
  • Panic in Year Zero (1962) – Fictional World War III – Post-Apocalyptic Drama
  • Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) – Aftermath of the Spanish Civil War – Fantasy-Horror
  • Passchendaele (2008) – World War I – Unit Picture
  • Paths of Glory (1957) – World War I – Courtroom Drama
  • The Patriot (2000) – American Revolution – Backwoods Revenge Action
  • Pearl Harbor (2001) – World War II – Romance in the Pacific Theater/Recreation of the Pearl Harbor Raid
  • The Pianist (2002) – World War II – Genocide Drama/Biography of Wladyslaw Szpilman
  • Platoon (1986) – Vietnam War – Unit Picture
  • Pork Chop Hill (1959) – Korean War – Unit Picture
  • Posse (1993) – Aftermath of the Spanish-American War – Western
  • The Professionals (1966) – Mexican Revolution – Western/Mercenary Action-Adventure
  • Rambo (2008) – Burmese Civil War – Action
  • Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) – Aftermath of the Vietnam War – Action
  • Rambo: Last Blood (2019) – Aftermath of the Vietnam War – Action
  • Rambo III (1988) – Soviet-Afghan War – Action
  • The Real Glory (1939) – Moro Rebellion – Swashbuckling Action-Adventure
  • The Red Badge of Courage (1951) – American Civil War – Unit Picture
  • Red Dawn (1984) – Fictional World War III – Partisan Warfare in Colorado
  • Robin Hood (1991) – Fictional Saxon rebellion in medieval England – Swashbuckling Action-Adventure/Legend of Robin Hood
  • Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) – Fictional Saxon rebellion in medieval England – Swashbuckling Action-Adventure/Legend of Robin Hood
  • Romero (1989) – Salvadoran Civil War – Biography of Oscar Romero
  • Rough Riders (1997) – Spanish-American War – Unit Picture set during the Cuban Campaign
  • Sahara (1943) – World War II – Unit Picture set in North Africa
  • Sahara (1995) – World War II – Unit Picture set in North Africa
  • Sahara (2005) – Fictional Malian civil war – Action-Adventure
  • Saints and Soldiers (2003) – World War II – Unit Picture set on the Western Front
  • Salvador (1986) – Salvadoran Civil War – War Journalism
  • The Sand Pebbles (1966) – Chinese Warlord Era – Life Aboard an American Gunboat
  • Santiago (1956) – Cuban War of Independence – Gunrunning Action-Adventure
  • The Savage (1952) – Indian Wars – Western
  • Saving Private Ryan (1998) – World War II – Unit Picture set on the Western Front
  • Savior (1998) – Bosnian Civil War – Anti-War Drama
  • Schindler’s List (1993) – World War II – Genocide Drama/Biography of Oskar Schindler
  • The Sea Wolves (1980) – World War II – Commando Adventure in India
  • The Second Civil War (1997) – Fictional Second American Civil War – Comedy/War Journalism
  • Second in Command (2006) – Unrest in a fictional Eastern European country – Embassy Siege
  • Sergeants 3 (1962) – Indian Wars – Western
  • Sergeant York (1941) – World War I – Biography of Alvin C. York
  • Seven Angry Men (1955) – Bleeding Kansas/John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry – Biography of John Brown
  • Seven Days in May (1964) – Cold War – Political Thriller
  • Shake Hands with the Devil (2007) – Rwandan Civil War – Genocide Drama/Biography of Romeo Dallaire
  • Shout at the Devil (1976) – World War I – Swashbuckling Action-Adventure in the East African Theater
  • Sicario (2015) – Mexican Drug War – Law Enforcement
  • The Siege of Firebase Gloria (1989) – Vietnam War – Unit Picture
  • The Siege of Jadotville (2016) – Congolese Civil War – Recreation of the Siege of Jadotville
  • Slaughterhouse-Five (1972) – World War II – Surreal Science-Fiction Dramedy
  • South Sea Woman (1953) – World War II – Comedy
  • Spartacus (1960) – Third Servile War – Biography of Spartacus
  • Springfield Rifle (1952) – American Civil War – Western
  • Stalingrad (1993) – World War II – Unit Picture set on the Eastern Front
  • The Steel Helmet (1951) – Korean War – Unit Picture
  • Stosstrupp 1917 (1934) – World War I – Unit Picture set on the Western Front
  • Stripes (1981) – Cold War – Comedy
  • They Came to Cordura (1959) – Mexican Revolution – Western
  • Thirteen Days (2000) – Cold War – Political Thriller set during the Cuban Missile Crisis
  • 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (2016) – Aftermath of the Libyan Civil War of 2011 – Action/Recreation of the 2012 Benghazi Attacks
  • 300 (2006) – Greco-Persian Wars – Recreation of the Battle of Thermopylae
  • Three Kings (1999) – Shi’ite rebellion in Iraq – Heist Picture
  • Tigerland (2000) – Vietnam War – Bootcamp
  • To Hell and Back (1955) – World War II – Biography of Audie Murphy
  • Tropic Thunder (2008) – Aftermath of the Vietnam War – Show Business Comedy
  • 12 Strong (2018) – American-led Invasion and Occupation of Afghanistan – Unit Picture
  • Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970) – Franco-Mexican War – Western
  • Ulzana’s Raid (1972) – Indian Wars – Western
  • Unbroken (2014) – World War II – Biography of Louis Zamperini/Prisoners-of-War
  • Uncommon Valor (1983) – Aftermath of the Vietnam War – Action
  • Vera Cruz (1954) – Franco-Mexican War – Western
  • Verdun: Looking at History (1928) – World War I – Recreation of the Battle of Verdun
  • Von Ryan’s Express (1965) – World War II – Prisoner-of-War Escape
  • Walker (1987) – William Walker’s filibustering in Nicaragua – Surreal Biography of William Walker/Mercenary Adventure
  • The Walls of Hell (1964) – World War II – Unit Picture set in the Pacific Theater
  • War Horse (2011) – World War I – Animal Picture set on the Western Front
  • War Machine (2017) – American-led Invasion and Occupation of Afghanistan – Nation-Building Dramedy
  • The Water Diviner (2014) – World War I/Greco-Turkish War – Family Melodrama
  • Waterloo (1970) – Napoleonic Wars – Recreation of the Battle of Waterloo
  • Went the Day Well? (1942) – World War II – Combat on the British Home Front
  • When Eagles Strike (2003) – Islamist rebellion in the Philippines – Commando Action
  • When Trumpets Fade (1998) – World War II – Unit Picture set on the Western Front
  • Where Eagles Dare (1968) – World War II – Commando Action-Adventure in the Alps
  • The Wild Bunch (1969) – Mexican Revolution – Western
  • The Wild Geese (1978) – Fictional mercenary raid in Africa – Mercenary Action-Adventure
  • Wilson (1944) – World War I – Biography of Woodrow Wilson
  • The Wind and the Lion (1975) – Fictional war sparked by real-life Perdicaris Incident – Swashbuckling Action-Adventure
  • Wings (1927) – World War I – Aerial Warfare over the Western Front
  • The Winter War (1989) – World War II – Unit Picture set during the Winter War
  • Witchfinder General (1968) – English Civil War – Horror
  • Wonder Woman (2017) – World War I – Superhero Action-Adventure
  • The Year of Living Dangerously (1982) – Indonesian Coup d’État – War Journalism
  • Zulu (1964) – Anglo-Zulu War – Recreation of the Battle of Rorke’s Drift

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