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What's your favorite war movie and why?
I don't always think of World War II when it comes to war movies, so my favorite "war movie" is Ridley Scott's "Gladiator" (2000). I love the story of this movie. I love the characters and the actor's performances. I love the visuals. ( the opening battle scene is both shocking an breathtaking ) I am also amazed that this really is a big CGI movie, but the CGI is done so well that you really don't notice it while you're watching it. For me this movie shows Russell Crowe at his best. He certainly deserved to with the Oscar for his performance.
March 15, 2015 at 12:20PM, Edited March 15, 12:20PM
My favorite shoot em up bang bang war movie is Enemy At The Gates.
My favorite sticks and stones war movie is Troy.
March 15, 2015 at 5:31PM
Easy for me David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia.
March 16, 2015 at 7:32PM
Band of brothers. No doubt.
March 17, 2015 at 5:52AM
Band of Brothers is a TV show.
March 19, 2015 at 6:45AM
Most favored is "Black Book" by Verhoeven. About a Jewish woman surviving in Nazi occupied Holland, with a lot of small battles, power grabs, betrayal and revenge.
March 17, 2015 at 8:11AM
Sam Peckinpah's Cross of Iron, also reckoned by Orson Welles to be the best war movie ever made since All Quiet on the Western Front (1930 version).http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross_of_Iron#Reception
March 17, 2015 at 1:08PM
Mine favourite is
BLACK HAWK DOWN
a true story told perfect (cinematically).
March 17, 2015 at 1:30PM
true story told perfectly? they shot the film in Morocco, Rabat looks nothing like Mogadishu, and they used Nigerian actors that look nothing like Somalis. The story was 2-dimensional and boring, and wasn't a reflection of anything "true" besides true emotional blackmailing.
Emotion for the sake of emotion isn't good filmmaking...This film's dis-information bordered on what I'd consider a harmful level.
Not everyone goes to the movies to learn something, but I don't think people go to the movies to be lied to, either.
March 20, 2015 at 9:57AM
Thanks Matthew for sharing about actual shooting location for this movie, and about using Nigerian actors rather than Somalis.
I watched this movie many times and then one day I watched a documentary/program on discovery channel about this mission where Black Hawk helicopter was shot down and how all the trouble began. They gave a v similar account of the events that preceded as in this movie.
Personally I believe it is must for a good film to have justified emotions.
You also commented 'Story is boring and 2-dimensional'. I believe this is an actual account on basis of documentary shown on discovery channel(I am not a historian otherwise).
I regret the word BORING to be used for story of soldiers/innocent people who sacrificed their lives or injured in this mission.
Favorite movies depends upon our own instinct, or analysis of film components and what we feel after watching a movie, which may differ from person to person.
There are many extraordinarily good war movies, Hurt locker, Saving Private Ryan, Schindlers list, Inglorious Bastards, Behind enemy lines, Glory,Full Metal jacket, Fury, Braveheart, Gladiator,Der Untergang(The Downfall) and many others. But one has to be your favorite.
March 20, 2015 at 1:49PM
I'm not so harsh on Black Hawk Down. Yeah, it sweeps all sorts of details under the rug in order to get to the point of telling a rousing story, like many movies do. The true part is a chopper going down, soldiers choosing to attempt rescue, and people dying in battle. That is then glorified. http://www.theguardian.com/film/2009/jul/01/black-hawk-down-reel-history
If you could change a thing or two about the movie, what would it be? Add something or take it away. What do you think the filmmakers should have focused on? It is an interesting incident.
As far as film settings and honesty, if a person wants to smile, think of John Ford and Monument Valley. For Texas? Geez
March 23, 2015 at 2:31PM
It is an interesting question, Daniel. I generally prefer watching war films that don't reinforce or regurgitate the mythology that American military industrial complex is a force acting on behalf of a greater good. I like films that make me question and consider, or push me to understand a point of view that is a subversive or alternative one to the powerful or the mainstream.
The fact of the matter is that the events that occurred on that day in Mogadishu were much, much more complicated than what ended up in the film. I'm not even referring to the larger geopolitical context that Operation Restore Hope occurred within, though this was only marginally referenced; let's just consider what happened within the existing narrative structure Ridley Scott presents to us. 50% of the story of what happened that day is just completely absent.
Watch the film again and try to count how many Somali men, women and children were likely killed on that day. You'll lose count at some point, at other points you will have to estimate (accounting for stray bullets, ricochets, or collateral damage from rockets and missiles). What were they doing that day, Daniel? Who are these people who our protagonists casually refer to as "skinnies"? Wouldn't understanding their motivations create a slightly more thoughtful, nuanced retelling of a major world event?
Here's my producer's bottom line: Ridley, go make your war movie about American blind arrogance and willful ignorance and whatever other issues you may feel you're snarkily bringing to the table, please just recognize you're taking a real cheap shot at an enormous community of innocent people who've already been dealt a pretty shit card. And if you are going to completely ignore the Somali side to this story and write them as one-dimensional gun-fodder to be mowed down by that .50cal, if you still feel that best serves the purposes of your film and you want to go ahead with this, well I think the very least you could do is cast actual Somalis and give them a paycheck.
April 8, 2015 at 1:56PM
So you would have turned it into something other than a movie intended to make money. I don't take movies like it so seriously.
June 30, 2015 at 9:05PM
Probably The Thin Red Line. Remember seeing it in the cinema and being in tears at the sheer beauty of it all. The whole Malick thing of 'sun coming through tree branches' has become a bit of a cliché now, but at the time it felt incredible to have this film contrast the worst of man alongside the best of nature. Plus the sequence where the US troops take a hillside bunker is just incredible, visceral filmmaking.
For what it's worth, a friend of mine was in the army and comes from a military family - including a brother who's done two tours in Afghanistan. Apparently they all love Full Metal Jacket, reckon it's the closest any film's come to capturing what it's actually like to be a soldier - the p*ss-taking, bullying, laughing; being bored one minute and terrified the next; the way they have their own language, their own way of interacting. I don't know if that's because of the emphasis on the boot camp, but I'm happy to defer to their knowledge...
March 17, 2015 at 3:24PM
Thin Red Line blew my mind. Apocalypse Now is also up there. I think aesthetically, IMO my favorite would have to be Saving Private Ryan. That opening scene still drops my jaw every time!
March 17, 2015 at 4:16PM
Starship troopers ......JK Private Ryan for sure, though I do like starship troopers lol
March 17, 2015 at 5:34PM
I love starship troopers
March 19, 2015 at 3:54PM
Lots of great movies listed. One of my favorites is Platoon. Great story and excellent cast. Best sticks and stones movie would be Braveheart, the battle scenes in that movie were amazing.
March 17, 2015 at 10:21PM
all time fave Saving Private Ryan
March 17, 2015 at 10:52PM, Edited March 17, 10:52PM
March 18, 2015 at 3:53PM
Just watched this the other day... hell of a performance
March 22, 2015 at 3:31AM
Saving Private Ryan!
I agree with All Quiet on the Western Front. Even the later version is good. Any novel to get Hitler so wound up gets my vote. For all you peeps in the New World, what about the British films Dunkirk, Ice Cold in Alex or even Batlle of Britain?
If you wanted to make a true story war film what about this guy? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Cyril_Jackson. He should not have been on the bomber as he had completed 30 raids, but went with the crew on what was their final 30th. His wife was due to give birth that night. Although wounded by a night fighter attack he crawls out onto the wing to put a fire out. Burnt and wounded, he is shot again by the fighter, he falls with a burning parachute but survives. On his second escape attempt from a POW camp, he meets up with the Americans. Write a fictional plot like that and you would be a laughing stock.
March 18, 2015 at 6:53PM
The boot montage and the hands stuck on the barbwire fence are permanently etched in my brain. All Quiet is a great movie.
March 23, 2015 at 2:58PM
I think I most enjoy WWII films when they're foreign productions.
Days of Glory (Indigènes) is a great French film about Algerians in the Free French Army. The Counterfeiters is a Austrian title about Operation Bernhard, the Nazi's use of skilled concentration camp inmates to forge fake allied money. Downfall is up there too, easily the best and grittiest on-screen portrayal of Hitler. Ever.
Although the two Cornelius Ryan adaptations (Longest Day and Bridge Too Far) are classics too. It's nice to see historical films not straying too far from the facts, even if they do cast Gene Hackman as a Polish General... *sigh*
March 18, 2015 at 7:48PM
Of course! Downfall. Where would YouTube be without it? I love the Hitler parodies but what I have noticed is that when the Downfall Hitler phones any of the other Hitlers, is just how poor those other portrayals are in comparison even when very good actors are playing him. Downfall seems to be the only film portrayal of Hitler that is not cartoonish.
March 19, 2015 at 5:53AM
Which is ironic when you realize the actor who played him also was the innocent angel in "Wings of Desire" (Rudolf Ganz)
Speaking of that and Cornelius Ryan, THIS also should have been adapted to the big screen: http://fardreamersblog.blogspot.ca/2012/09/cornelius-ryans-last-battle-b...
Wouldn't that have been great? The perfect film trilogy.
March 19, 2015 at 10:34PM, Edited March 19, 10:34PM
I can see all the heat coming... but I actually really found that Fury explored war psychology well - maybe better than The Thin Red Line or Saving Private Ryan, minus the "We Americans are the Good Guys" propaganda twist you found in SVP or every other American War movie.
War is a horrible phenomenon, and Fury managed to dive deep in such horror. It's just that the last scene was way too utopian...
March 19, 2015 at 6:49AM
That's an interesting perspective on it. It reminded me of Full Metal Jacket in a way... the main character becomes "the machine" and devotes himself to destruction.
March 22, 2015 at 3:34AM
Come and See (Klimov) is probably the best representation of the chaos and brutality of war. Though my favourite is probably Paths of Glory by Kubrick.
March 19, 2015 at 8:00AM
Paths of glory is amazing in the fact it shows the stupidity and double think of politics and warfare so clearly. I don't think I've ever felt in a movie as angry as when I first watched the trial scene.
March 22, 2015 at 3:37AM
Black Hawk Down for me as well, but scene from Forest Gump(Vietnam) always plays in my head.
March 19, 2015 at 3:56PM, Edited March 19, 3:56PM
Im a big fan of Kurosawa and i think he captured war so beautifully in many movies.
My fav's are Kagemusha, Throne of Blood and Ran
March 19, 2015 at 7:30PM
March 20, 2015 at 1:28AM
I like Apocalypse Now. It's just seems so set on an L.A. type of nihilism. Really apparent in the Redux version which fleshes out the playboy bunnies more.
March 23, 2015 at 1:51PM
March 20, 2015 at 2:21AM
One great film that hasn't been listed is Jean-Pierre Melville's "Army of Shadows." It's a brilliant humanist portrayal of life in Vichy France, a life under occupation.
Another is "Battle of Algiers".
"Thin Red Line" has got to win for shock value, though. What I expected and what I got were two vastly different things. I walked out of that film pretty shaken.
March 20, 2015 at 9:48AM
As a military history buff - Josef Vilsmaier's "Stalingrad" (1992) set the stage for the realistic portrayal of battle action that Spielberg borrowed for "SPR".
"Paths of Glory" is one of Kubrick's best. 'nuff said.
"Come and see" is an incoherent mess but Klimov's wife Larissa Shepitko's made "The Ascent" - Golden Bear Award/ best film, Berlin IFF, 1977 - and it is a work of genius.
Mikhail Kalatozov's "The Cranes are Flying" won the Golden Palm (best film) at Cannes'1958 and shows off the partnership between Kalatozov and his cinematographer Sergey Urusevsky that also resulted in "I am Cuba" half a decade later.
I am also a bit partial to "Wild Honey", a 1965 Soviet film.
March 21, 2015 at 2:43AM
Mine are kind of different,
1. "Inglourious Basterds (2009)" that have a very unique way of tell a fiction WWII story.
2. "Turtles can fly (2004)" one of the first movies that hit the screens after Saddam Hussein fall it´s a power punch of reality.
March 23, 2015 at 2:44AM
And I really like the movie- The 300 Spartans.
September 11, 2018 at 4:37AM