5 War Movies that Make Guys Cry

Firefilm

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5 War Movies that Make Guys Cry

Think a grim war movie can't be a tearjerker? Think again.

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Comrade_Beric

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May 10, 2010
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The slow-stabby-death in Saving Private Ryan was about a machinegun nest, not the sniper tower. The sniper tower, which held the sniper and his protection guy, got the shit blown out of them by an HE round from tank-hunter. Worst part of that is that the Sniper saw the tank hunter aiming at them and screamed for his protection guy to run, but it was too late. Bam. The Jewish guy the article talks about was either the gunner or the loader for the machinegun nest, not his protection. The problem with the machinegun nest was that they ran out of ammo because Corporal Coward, to use the article's term, was slow in getting there with fresh belts for the MG. They heard footsteps outside and, after calling out to see if it was Corporal Coward and getting no response, they shot the wall with their personal weapons, killing one German on the stairs. But, that shit works both ways and the other German shot back through the wall, one bullet catching the non-Jewish American in the throat. He bled out on the floor during the knife fight between the the Jewish Guy and the SS soldier. Corporal Coward was outside slowly walking up the steps and hearing fighting inside, but he was too timid to charge in and save them. Eventually, the SS trooper comes out, having won the fight with the poor jewish guy, sees Corporal Coward, immediately realizes this guy really isn't a threat to him and just leaves. Neither the Jewish guy nor his partner gave up without a fight and unless the sniper's protection guy could stop tank shells he doesn't deserve any blame either. Basically, the writers decided that a well-rounded group of characters need flaws, but instead of spreading them out, they basically just piled every flaw they could think of on Corporal Upham and called it good enough.

TL;DR: The article writer's memory of Saving Private Ryan is faulty and Corporal Upham (The Coward) deserves the blame that is getting lumped on the machinegun loader the writer assumed was a "protection" guy.
 

Sniper Team 4

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Oh man, I HATE that scene in Private Ryan. I don't even watch it. I fast forward through it because yeah, it is waaaaaay too personal for me. I know that's how it goes down when combat gets up close and personal like that, but still. Just...shit.

The only good thing about that is that the Corporal eventually finds that German and shoots him. Once the battle is won and the Germans are retreating, he storms their position and tells them all to surrender. That German is there and smiles, saying something like, "Hey, remember me? We're friends." The Corporal gives him one look and shoots him without a second thought, then tells the rest of the Germans to get the hell out of there.
The whole reason this happened is because earlier, the Unit came across a dug in MG-42 position. They could have flanked around and bypassed it, but Hanks' character said it wasn't right because then the Germans could end up killing other men. They storm the nest, lose a guy, and that German is the only survivor. All the other Americans make him dig his friends' graves and then dig his own. They were going to execute him, but the Corporal stepped in and told them it wasn't right. After a tense stand off, they let the German go. It's actually a very touching scene because the Americans look like the monsters because that German is scared out of his mind.
Alas, as we see later, it was a mistake sparring him. Not only does he kill those two, but we later see him gleefully picking off retreating Americans at the bridge. Such is war.
 

Redlin5_v1legacy

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This is a very American list but that's not terribly unexpected.

Passchendaele, for all the disappointment I felt about the story, hit me hard with its battle scenes. Besides, its the only Canadian war film so I've got to throw it a bone here.


The single most effective war movie I've watched so far was Stalingrad (1993). A look at the 'rat war' from the German perspective had the best ending illustrating the futility of war as a means of making 'a man' out of anyone. There was no glory for anyone in that city, the hunger, cold and bullets almost claimed every character you see during the run time.


The men you've watched for the duration of the film have been put in a penal battalion for demanding their friend get medical attention at gunpoint. They've been ordered to hold a Russian attack in the hope of keeping a lane clear for a breakout force that would never come. With a single gun and with whatever they have on hand, they manage to win this battle only to later realize that it was all in vain. No help is coming. No food is available. Their officers are either incompetent yes-men or savage fascist inciters. They've come to realize that they cannot possibly win and that they themselves are partly to blame for the situation they find themselves in.

I will not spoil the ending of it for you but the German filmmakers who made this film painted this moment in history in the bleak terms a man serving there would face. If there ever was a movie to make me feel terrible for the German soldier in WWII, this would be it. The cast were not Aryan supermen but men who came from towns and farms across their country to join the army after the worst unemployment situation Germany ever suffered through.


From a human perspective, all of Stalingrad was hell for both sides. As fun as Enemy at the Gates is in its portrayal, I've come to prefer this one because of its tragic ending. A warning if there ever was one about letting your ambitions come before the lives of others.
 

Razorback0z

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All good movies but Flags of our Fathers easily trumps them for tear jerking. For me though the scene where Tom Cruise returns home in a wheelchair in Born on the Fourth of July and his Mom basically ignores him.... gets me every time.
 

ChupathingyX

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Sniper Team 4 said:
The German soldier [http://savingprivateryan.wikia.com/wiki/Steamboat_Willie] Upham befriends and later shoots and the soldier [http://savingprivateryan.wikia.com/wiki/Waffen_SS_Soldier] that stabs Mellish (The Jewish-American) are two different characters.
 

Rufus Shinra

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Redlin5 said:
The single most effective war movie I've watched so far was Stalingrad (1993). A look at the 'rat war' from the German perspective had the best ending illustrating the futility of war as a means of making 'a man' out of anyone. There was no glory for anyone in that city, the hunger, cold and bullets almost claimed every character you see during the run time.
Yep, that movie was fantastic.

If you want great war movies outside the usual US-centric perspectives, you've got The 317th Platoon or Dien-Bien-Phu, from Sch?nd?rffer. No need for monumental special effects to show the reality of war. And if you want to talk about US war movies, there are "Flag of our Fathers" and "Red Sun, Black Sand"/"Letters from Iwo Jima", which are just orders of magnitude more terrifying and traumatising that the ones in this list.

As for personal taste... "Is Paris Burning?". The Liberation of Paris was a chaotic stuff, with many people doing what they could, what they thought was right for themselves, for their countries (both German, French and other Allies). One of those movies that shows the small people doing what they can more than the badass soldiers winning the day. Everyone wasn't heroic, some did deeply wrong choices, but these people still existed and should not be forgotten.
 

Dying_Jester

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Oh man, now these are the movies that get me crying. Forget every other list, it's this genre right here. If I could add Enemy at the Gates, Beneath Hill 60(this one is WWI), and The Red Baron.
 

Comrade_Beric

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Sniper Team 4 said:
Alas, as we see later, it was a mistake sparring him. [...]we later see him gleefully picking off retreating Americans at the bridge. Such is war.
Flip the nationalities for a minute, or imagine it somewhere else with other armies entirely. Imagine it was Germans holding you prisoner and having you dig your own grave. One of them bravely stands up to them and guilts them into letting you go on the agreement that you find a German unit and turn yourself in as a POW as soon as you are able... But the US army finds you first. Are you saying that you, as an American soldier, wouldn't rejoin the Army? And if you got into combat with Germans who were doing a fighting withdrawal, killing many Americans as they advance, then pulling back to avoid being flanked, you wouldn't shoot at them while they reposition to a fresh foxhole? If the enemy were surrendering, then maybe you'd be a bad guy, but preserving your company's strength by giving up ground when flanked is a standard tactic of the day and the way to attack it is to shoot the enemy while they're falling back to their next defensive line.

In my opinion, that soldier did nothing "wrong" that you wouldn't see as good or heroic if he'd been on your side of the war. The ultimate trick of war movies is that, through the magic of dialog and uniforms, they teach us that actions are either heroic or villainous based exclusively on which side of the war they're on. You can watch a hundred movies about Americans mowing down wave after wave of Germans, Japanese, Vietnamese, etc, but spare not one thought for those nameless hordes whom we've so happily murdered. Such is not war. Such is war films.
 

Sniper Team 4

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ChupathingyX said:
Sniper Team 4 said:
The German soldier [http://savingprivateryan.wikia.com/wiki/Steamboat_Willie] Upham befriends and later shoots and the soldier [http://savingprivateryan.wikia.com/wiki/Waffen_SS_Soldier] that stabs Mellish (The Jewish-American) are two different characters.
Oh wow. I had no idea. Oops. I guess I fall into the group that commonly mistakes them as the same person. I wonder why they chose to make it two different people. Now that scene is even harder to deal with.