What War Movies had the biggest impact on you?

gorfias

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What war movies had the biggest impact on you? My top 5:

Saving Private Ryan had a friend tell me he isn’t sure if, had he been in and survived D Day? He’s not sure if he could have held back and not killed every enemy soldier around, surrendered or not.


Kelly’s Heroes, supposedly very loosely based upon a true story (“looters” tended to be hung) but what a fun hoot this movie is and how motivating being self-serving can be:


Path’s Of Glory crystalized for me the self serving nature of war as much as any other. Based upon a true story, nearly a thousand men went on a suicide run as their commanding officer thought it might lead to a promotion and pay raise for himself.


I was on my way to basic training in the USAF when I first saw Apocalypse Now. It reminded me that joining the service was not just a career option. I had signed up for something that made me a piece of property for whatever the powers that be had in store for me. A friend said he thought he saw me changing just watching this movie.


Most recently, 1917. I’ve never seen WWI like this before. Apparently, more civilians than soldiers were killed in the “war to end all wars.”


Yours? Plenty not on this list.
 

Ezekiel

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Not a big fan of Saving Private Ryan. There are like five Spielberg movies I prefer over it. But it gave us the much better Band of Brothers, so that's something.
 
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stroopwafel

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Probably Born on the 4th of July. A young man who gave his all in a dubious conflict no one wants to be reminded of. An indifferent bureacracy that leaves him to his own devices. A family that suffers in silence. Corrupt politicians that send young men to die over pride and arrogance.

Really I feel like you could make this movie about any returning veteran and it would be painfully accurate.
 
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Samtemdo8

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There Shall Not Grow Old:


The actual fighting weren't even the worse things in No Man's Land.

Having to drink water from fucking Petrol/Gas containers was enough for me to say "fuck War"

And even then sometimes you have to drink water from the mud and have to boil it, and even then that method of drinking water gave one soldier dysentery.
 

Ezekiel

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Come and See, man. Never liked most of the American ones. But that movie is a fucking masterpiece. Everyone should see it.

View attachment 1157
I was trying to remember the name of another psychologically devastating WWII movie, a Russian black and white one. Took several minutes to look through my list and find it. It's called The Ascent.

I'm just gonna list a bunch I found really good, since I had to scroll over them anyway to find The Ascent.

The Bridge on the River Kwai
Apocalypse Now
Full Metal Jacket (I wanna watch FMJ one more time before I decide if I like Apocalypse Now or FMJ better. I'm just waiting on a discount on the new 4K/UHD. Kubrick has gotten some pretty nice representation on the new format.)
The Best Years of Our Lives
Das Boot
The Cranes Are Flying
Lawrence of Arabia
A Man Escaped
Paths of Glory
The Hill (1965, with Sean Connery. Not well known for some reason.)
Schindler's List
Stalag 17
Au revoir les enfants

TV shows:
Heimat (This would actually be near the very top of my list if TV shows were included. Goes over much more than WWII, though. Follows a family over three generations, before, during and after the war.)
Band of Brothers (This would also be near the top of my list.)
And Ken Burns' documentaries. The War, The Vietnam War, The Civil War.

Oh, and Shoah! Which is really a very long film. It's a French holocaust documentary mostly using accounts from the survivors and some of the perpetrators. Top of my list as well.
 
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stroopwafel

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Thinking about it one of the most impressive war movies I've seen is probably Son of Saul. It really shows the inhumane cruelty mankind is capable of. The camera is in constant close up of Saul as he walks around in a daze as he cleans up after new arrivals at the camp as they think they are getting a shower. You've never heard a hundred people throw up at the exact same time. There is no sentimentality here just cruelty and profound confusion. Most of all it shows how the systematic destruction of an entire people was just really hard work. From constantly cleaning up the bodies, waste and hair in the gas chambers to the literal mountains of ash that needed to be shoved in the river every day. Truly, this movie is a profound warning if there ever was one.
 
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happyninja42

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None of them really. Though I do find, now that I've worked in a job that deals with veteran's benefits, that I wince at some of the outcomes for various military characters, based on discharge and other factors.

While not a war movie directly, A Few Good Men's outcome, for the 2 marines that were dishonorably discharged from the service....that one gets me. Yeah it's cute that Tom salutes him and says "you don't need a uniform to have honor" or whatever it was he said specifically. Yes yes, that's cute, blah blah. But, I mean that guy is fucked. Marines put their soldiers through the fucking wringer compared to the other branches. Between the macho culture of it, to just suck up all injuries and not complain (all branches have this really, but damn the marines are bad), and the fact that they send them into the more hostile situations, it's REALLY easy for a marine who only served like, 3-4 years, to come out completely fucked from head to toe. Physically and mentally. And these will be young guys, like in their 20s. But they at least have the benefit of a significant amount of benefits to help them, as compensation for their service...if you can convince the stubborn fuckers to actually ask for help. Buuuuuut, you can't get ANY of that stuff, if you are dishonorably discharged. No education benefits, no medical care, no financial support for the injuries to offset your loss in wages due to your disabilities....nothing. And that guy is the poster boy for a "gung ho" marine, so he willingly fucked himself up to "be the best" at every opportunity.

The actual war movies themselves? Eh, not too much. The aftermath stuff of them, yeah that tends to hit me more.
 

Trunkage

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I remember Black Hawk Down. Everyone is struggling to survive, barely holding on. Then they fast forward 12 hours. I'm like, Jesus Christ that's epic. But also, why did you skip it?

Gallipoli particularly the ending
Grave of the Fireflies. Yeah, I'm including it
(Also maybe Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and Life is Beautiful but there is no conflict in them. But someone put on Schindlers List and Life is Beautiful is a way better version.)
 
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Mister Mumbler

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Flags of Our Fathers/Letters From Iwo Jima: the twin movies from director Clint Eastwood, showing the battle of Iwo Jima from both the American and Japanese perspectives respectively (with Letters being shot almost entirely in Japanese). I like them both, but I do wish Flags hadn't gone for a pseud-Pulp Fiction type narrative and just had the first half (or, if we're being bold, third) being the standard 'war movie' on Iwo, and then have the rest of the movie deal with the ramifications of their actions and the toll the war took on them psychologically. Letters is great.

Hacksaw Ridge: it's fucking great when the climax of your war movie is basically just one long string of your guy literally walking through hell, unarmed, to save wounded soldiers (from both sides even).

Generation Kill: another HBO war series like Band of Brothers, but following a group of Force Recon Marines (and their imbedded Rolling Stones reporter, who wrote the book this series is based on) during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
 

Dalisclock

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There Shall Not Grow Old:


The actual fighting weren't even the worse things in No Man's Land.

Having to drink water from fucking Petrol/Gas containers was enough for me to say "fuck War"

And even then sometimes you have to drink water from the mud and have to boil it, and even then that method of drinking water gave one soldier dysentery.
And then they came back and found nobody really wanted to hire them and/or the jobs were gone.

One of the things that stood out to me was at the end when they talked about how there was nobody they could really talk about it with except other people who were there, because nobody else understood. The civilians who didn't go apparently thought it was some massive glorious battle so there wasn't even the same frame of reference for talking about what it was really like.

I can only imagine that was perhaps worse then much of what they went through.
 

Gordon_4

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And then they came back and found nobody really wanted to hire them and/or the jobs were gone.

One of the things that stood out to me was at the end when they talked about how there was nobody they could really talk about it with except other people who were there, because nobody else understood. The civilians who didn't go apparently thought it was some massive glorious battle so there wasn't even the same frame of reference for talking about what it was really like.

I can only imagine that was perhaps worse then much of what they went through.

There's a verse in this song, that alludes to that very concept:
And the Anzac legends didn't mention mud and blood and tears
And the stories that my father told me never seemed quite real
I caught some pieces in my back that I didn't even feel
God help me
I was only nineteen
The song refers to an Aussie Digger in Vietnam, for context. As for war movies, well, I've watched a fair few. As examples of as close to the savagery of the whole affair go, Saving Private Ryan and Black Hawk Down are probably the front runners. But, I really find it hard to appreciate American war movies. There's just an approach to the whole thing that more often than not seems to curdle my blood. And the weird way the US treats its returned servicemen. Like, respect is one thing but there's a weird sycophantic fawning to it that just comes across as gross to me. I mean I doubt its universal, but its a very popular projection in US Media.

That does remind me though, I need to sit down and watch Danger Close, its a rare beast of an Australian war movie, about the Battle of Long Tan.
 

Thaluikhain

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Going to add "Breaker Morant" to that, Australian soldiers in the Boer War have been up to somewhat morally grey stuff in a very morally grey war and the British decide they are politically expendable and put on a show trial.

But, I really find it hard to appreciate American war movies. There's just an approach to the whole thing that more often than not seems to curdle my blood. And the weird way the US treats its returned servicemen. Like, respect is one thing but there's a weird sycophantic fawning to it that just comes across as gross to me. I mean I doubt its universal, but its a very popular projection in US Media.
Yeah there's a weird thing that crops up there.
 

gorfias

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Writing of documentaries, this one had a profound effect upon me. The whole thing can be viewed on youtube

 

Samtemdo8

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No love for more ancient history warfare it seems.

From Troy to War of the Roses.
 

Ezekiel

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No love for more ancient history warfare it seems.

From Troy to War of the Roses.
Intentionally avoided them, because then I'd also have to go to the distant future and it would just get too broad.
 

Dalisclock

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There's a verse in this song, that alludes to that very concept:


The song refers to an Aussie Digger in Vietnam, for context. As for war movies, well, I've watched a fair few. As examples of as close to the savagery of the whole affair go, Saving Private Ryan and Black Hawk Down are probably the front runners. But, I really find it hard to appreciate American war movies. There's just an approach to the whole thing that more often than not seems to curdle my blood. And the weird way the US treats its returned servicemen. Like, respect is one thing but there's a weird sycophantic fawning to it that just comes across as gross to me. I mean I doubt its universal, but its a very popular projection in US Media.

That does remind me though, I need to sit down and watch Danger Close, its a rare beast of an Australian war movie, about the Battle of Long Tan.
Yeah, being a Navy Vet and having done military recruiting, you see this whole "You're all heros" thing in certain quarters and it's really wierd and off putting at times. I did 9 years but I never saw actual combat despite being in a combat zone(the Persian Gulf/Northern Arabian Sea) because Aircraft Carriers are positioned well out of the danger zone and have a ring of bodyguards(er, escort ships). I did my job because it was a job that needed doing and a lot of the people I worked with had the same feeling. The closest we ever saw of the Iraq/Afghan war were planes taking off/coming back and every so often the Captain would do his little morning spiel over the PA and tell us how many bombs we dropped and such.

And movies like Black Hawk Down, despite being very well filmed, have these moments where the character suddenly strike up the "Why we fight" in the middle of a combat zone. Maybe the army was different(they were Rangers and Delta so maybe the espirt de corps is a bit more ingrained) but somehow it strikes me as very contrived in the film because the Pentagon helped them make it, but most of our random conversations were the same lines as you'd have in normal life, with the occasional "What are you planning to do when we hit the next port?"

Back on topic, I honestly really like the Dam Busters, particularly the end of the film where they show the almost empty mess hall(is it called that in the UK?) after the raid and that alone speaks more than a bunch of speeches about how awesome we are because we're the good guys.
 
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happyninja42

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I did my job because it was a job that needed doing and a lot of the people I worked with had the same feeling
Yeah, it's really funny to me, seeing how the civilian population in the US, lionizes the military, picturing them all walking in slow motion with an american flag fluttering behind them at all times, regardless of angle.....and yet most of the vets I work with, it was just a job. Hell half of them tell me it was their best option to get out of a bad home life, or because they had very little in the way of education so "They figured they'd just join the army like their dad and granddad did. They always told me they'd take care of teaching me anything I needed to know for my job. So why go to college?"
 

Dalisclock

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Yeah, it's really funny to me, seeing how the civilian population in the US, lionizes the military, picturing them all walking in slow motion with an american flag fluttering behind them at all times, regardless of angle.....and yet most of the vets I work with, it was just a job. Hell half of them tell me it was their best option to get out of a bad home life, or because they had very little in the way of education so "They figured they'd just join the army like their dad and granddad did. They always told me they'd take care of teaching me anything I needed to know for my job. So why go to college?"
That's a big thing I noticed recruiting(and I joined up because I needed to get out of the house, among other things) that a lot of people are there for something better or the means to get something better. Oh, and getting the military to pay for college is a big thing. Getting a degree without the student debt is a big selling point across the board, especially since even if your 4/5 year experience sucked and you got out, well, now you've got 4/5 years to put on a resume and a degree paid for.

But even with other vets pretty much none of them have the "oh-rah" thing going once out, no matter what branch they were in.