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Responses to: Tell us your favourite war movie, even if it's an anti-war film
The best war movie made is "The Dam Busters", a British film from 1954. It tells, in an intelligent and understated way, the story of the technical development of a novel weapon, and the men who fly to attack the German dams with that weapon. It is a true story, and one of the most courageous feats of arms in World War 2. It is interesting that the movie "Star Wars" borrowed the dramatic premise of this movie, along with even a few lines of dialogue copied almost exactly into the later film.
Das Boot by Wolfgang Peterson
"Threads" was a British mini-series produced around the same time as "The Day After." Like "The Day After", "Threads" follows the lives of several characters in the months and years following WWIII. Unlike "The Day After", "Threads" was extremely graphic and deeply chilling.
"A Midnight Clear": Presents a very human view of the experiences of a small band of soldiers on the front lines. It provides a glimpse of the camaraderie, brutality and tragedy of war, without relying on sensationalized violence or jingoistic nonsense to give it substance. Brilliant.
It's got to be Dr. Strangelove for sheer goofiness, second only to any Jerry Brochimemer movie(which aren't meant to be funny) but are such a wacky angle on reality that they defy reason.
My favourite war movie is Apocalypse Now!
It would have to be 'The Cross of Iron'. It does not glamorize war, but neither does it try to preach. Also interesting in that it shows the war (WW II) from the perspective of some German troops.
All Quiet on the Western Front shows enthusiasm for war turn to despair as Industrial methods of killing destroy all hope.
I remember "Objective Burma" as being one of the best with its two parts. The first had to do with the mission and the second with the evacuation. It was done marvelously and still holds up while watching it today. Errol Flynn was just as much the hero in the Asian front as he had been in the European areas. That is my vote for the best of Second World War movies, and I saw them all, Wake Island where I was scared to death with its killing the radio operator, Pledge To Bataan with Robert Taylor and the machine gun closing.
Amazingly you forgot two of the best stories from Second World War - Midway, and The Longest Day, if you are going to compile a list of war movies, these 2 need to be in it.
John D. Macdonald
According to my late father who was an aviator in WWI, "All Quiet on the Western Front" (the Remarque version) accurately depicted his experiences. No Hollywood heroes in this film - just blood, mud and a deeper understanding.
2. Hunt for Red October
Casablanca and Mr. Miniver were both brilliant, and each had effect as a morale booster. I cannot understand why they were omitted from your list of movies from/about World War 2. Could the reason have anything to do with the fact that they showed courage by people who were not American? If your own selection people are dazzled by all that is American, then it makes the comments in the article rather ironic. Perhaps it is time for Canadian journalists to examine their own assumptions.
"All Quiet on the Western Front"
This was a very difficult decision to make. I have to say that I narrowed it down to three instead of one. Dr. Stangelove, Coming Home and Apocalypse Now. All very prophetic for different reasons
"Fires on the Plain" (Japanese war film). Bleak and unrelenting. No feel-good-Rambo stuff.
Thin Red Line. To hell with the people who say it's too arty and totally pointless, they didn't really get it. It's understandable as TRL appeared in the wake of Saving Private Ryan, blagh, which earned it criticism in comparison. It is NOT a typical war film, and in that lies the brilliance. It's beautiful, with the exception of one or two cameos, it's got exceptional performances, the score is outstanding, and the story has depth. War is _not_ just bombs and guns; it has effects on the men and environment that are hard-pressed to be captured on film, but TRL comes closer than any I've seen before.
The Deer Hunter
Saving Private Ryan by a hair over Full Metal Jacket. The opening scenes in both are incredible. The Private Ryan D-Day opening was arguably the best pure camerawork I've ever seen. As some veterans from that battle have stated, the only element missing was the "smell" of death. As for Kubrick's classic in Full Metal Jacket, the boot camp sequences are absolutely riveting.
All Quiet on the Western Front
A Piece of Cake
2. Battle of Britain
4. Memphis Belle
Cross of Iron, with James Coburn. Excellent.
Pete Di Gangi
Casablanca is my favourite war movie... not to mention that it's simply my favourite film. It is realistic, romantic, personal, but it keeps the big view.... that the many matter more than the few, that life - while exquisitely pleasurable from time to time - is not "about" pleasure.
Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan" is haunting and unforgettable in its treatment of a theme all to familiar to us now: the failure of words to communicate the enormity of horror and the vastness of suffering that comes with mass destruction. At the end of the now-legendary D-Day landing scene, Captain Miller, played by Tom Hanks and his sergeant, Tom Sizemore, survey the desolation of the Normandy beaches. The sergeant says sardonically "it's quite a view." Miller agrees and the camera zooms in for a close-up of his mud-spattered, deeply shadowed face. Hanks is almost unrecognizable here.
Instead, we see a face impossibly old, almost a death's head of sobering experience and endless sorrow that belies the easy cynicism of Miller's words. Later, in the correspondence area of a war office, typists hammer out letter after letter of condolence. The words are read aloud in voice over by numerous actors, so many the indvidual words are soon lost. Later, when the mother of the Ryan brothers who have died in combat sees the Army official and the chaplain arriving at her doorstep, no words are spoken. She slowly sits down on the porch as the two men approach. She knows the men are there to tell of the fate of her sons and she does not need to hear an explanation. All three figures are silhouetted against the bright light of a day in the rural US Midwest, but most memorable is the form of the mother slumped on the porch. Her wordless anguish is almost unbearable to see. General Marshall justifies the mission to rescue the one surviving Ryan brother by reading a letter by Abraham Lincoln to a grieving mother who lost five sons in a Civil War battle. The general can't find his own words to express his feelings and even Lincoln himself admits in the letter to the failure of words to "beguile" the mother from her grief.
Never before has a movie conveyed such powerful feeling through images, transmitted states of mind well beyond the compass of words. I'll never forget the shot of the car carrying the chaplain and the US Army official along a country road to the Ryan house. The car seems to float dream-like with a cloud of dust trailing behind it. The shot is soft-focused so it almost seems like the car is being seen through tear-filled eyes and the dreamy weightlessness approximates the unreality the physical world sometimes takes on when people are in shock. Also memorable are the shots of the Stars and Stripes at the beginning and end of the movie. Sunlight shines through the flag so it seems transparent and its light and shade are inverted like a photographic negative. The image seems to ask is patriotism a true value, or is it a mirage? A startling image that neatly sums up the themes of moral ambiguity in war, fate and even divine will that run through the entire movie. All too often Private Ryan is remembered, and sometimes derided, for its graphic combat scenes. Other images in the movie tell much, much more. Those who complain about the vacuity of the dialogue in places should remember that in this movie, words often deceive, "beguile" and are not to be trusted. These are the words of men in the grip of historical forces they cannot comprehend and their words are dim pinpoints of light in an overpowering darkness. This movie's truest eloquence and most profound insight is in its telling use of images. Cultural purists may dislike this, but let's face it: this is a movie, consequently a visual, not a literary, storytelling medium. All in all, "Private Ryan" is a great movie, not just a great war movie.
1)Saving Pte Ryan
2)A Bridge Too Far
3) Kanal (dir. A.Wajda)
"Oh, What a lovely war". Captures the appalling ease with which young men the world over march off to be slaughtered because someone told them it was the thing to do. It applies to the Taliban, the WTC bombers and the PPCLI just as easily.
Apocalypse now, without a doubt
Three words.. Catch Twenty Two!!!!! The humour and the horror.
Sgt. York - Gary Cooper Good balanced theme true story provoking thought for war , religion , and finally greed when the Hero chooses to return to farming vs. fame.
"The Winter War"