War films often give suspenseful action sequences of gruesome war scenes, but aside from that, they also give a day in the life of a soldier and what they endured. These films often are good depictions of the horror that is combat during the war, but most are well worth the watch.
‘Saving Private Ryan’ (1998)
“Saving Private Ryan” is one of the best films to watch if you are just getting into the war genre. The film has major stars in the industry including Tom Hanks, Matt Damon and Vin Diesel. People may stay away from movies without serious star power and if this is the case, you’re all clear here considering this film has actors with a strong résumé of achievements. The film is based on events of World War II and depicts scenes for the Normandy landings in extreme detail. The film’s plot revolves around a hunt for soldier James Ryan, who is the last surviving brother of his family, is ordered by U.S.General George Marshall to be brought home. The film goes on a wild goose chase that lies ahead for the soldiers as they search for Ryan.
“Platoon” is another classic war film that was given an all-star cast. The film is roughly based on the experiences of director Oliver Stone during his time in Vietnam. The film follows the life of Chris Taylor, a college dropout (played by Charlie Sheen), who decides he wants to serve for his country instead of go to school. While the film does have many action packed war scenes, it also shows the life of an average soldier during the Vietnam Era and what their day-to-day lives looked like. The film also includes actors William Dafoe, Tom Berenger, Forest Whitaker and Johnny Depp. The film follows the troops through the Cambodian jungle as they try to outwit the Vietnamese soldiers and deal with conflicts within their own infantry. This is a great film to begin your journey into the war genre.
‘Hacksaw Ridge’ (2016)
Hacksaw Ridge might be one of the best examples of films that could help you ease into the war genre. The film opens with a powerful scene with a young soldier during World War II being carried away on a stretcher explaining why the lord is the everlasting god. The opening scene elevates the film because it makes people want to know more about the soldier. The film is based on the life of Desmond Doss, a young soldier, who recently joined the military despite being a conscientious objector. In the beginning of the film, Doss’s superiors don’t want him on their infantry because they think a man who won’t hold a gun is useless. Doss later shows it doesn’t take a gun to have courage and the men within his infantry were lucky to have a man with as much of it. The film has a twist to your average war film and is well worth the watch.
‘Full Metal Jacket’ (1987)
When people think of war films, “Full Metal Jacket,” is often one that may come to mind. This film, another Vietnam War based film, directed by Stanley Kubrick, follows soldiers through their excruciating journey in boot camp. A large portion of the film takes place showing the mental and physical effects boot camp and the drill instructor can have on an average soldier. Some aspects are too much for certain soldiers, as the ones that make it out tend to be a little hot-headed. The film later follows the soldiers in their everyday lives in Vietnam and what it was like interacting with the Vietnamese for months on end. The film, while managing to stay extremely serious, has some very hilarious and crude scenes of soldiers being harassed by their drill instructor that make the film a pretty smooth and easy watch.
‘Pearl Harbor’ (2001)
As depicted in the title, “Pearl Harbor” follows the brutal attacks of the titular U.S. military base On Dec. 7, 1941. Starring Ben Affleck and John Hartnett, it follows the lives of two childhood friends, who later become U.S. Air Force pilots, in the days leading up to the tragic event and how Americans reacted to the “Day of Infamy” speech given by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, played by Jon Voight. After the speech is given, the two friends go through months of intense training with B-25 Bombers as they begin to take on a secret mission led by General Jimmy Doolittle. The film gives vivid detail of what the soldiers on that tragic day experienced and is well worth the watch.