Articles: Top Ten War Flicks




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Samantha Ofole-Prince

War continues to be one of the most frequently occurring subjects in cinematic history. While the criteria for what classifies a film a war flick can be tough to determine at times, they are usually characterized by pivotal battle scenes, bloody war zones and solidarity among soldiers. All thrilling and heroic and sometimes unbearably tragic, there are far too many good war movies to list, but here are my picks for the top ten that shouldn’t be missed. They range from movies on both World Wars, the Civil War to the Vietnam War.

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1) Glory
Cast: Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman
The true story of the first black army to serve in the Civil War, it explores racial politics during that era. With great cinematography, battle scenes and stellar acting, "Glory" offers a jolt of emotional reality.

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2) Apocalypse Now
Cast: Marlon Brandon, Martin Sheen
An Army Counter-intelligence Officer is sent to Cambodia to assassinate an insane Colonel. Featuring a very young Laurence Fishburne, "Apocalypse Now" is an unflinching look into the horrors of Vietnam and has a very climatic ending.

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3) Hamburger Hill
Cast: Courtney B. Vance, Don Cheadle
One of the bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War which lasted 10 days, "Hamburger Hill" is the true story of the 101st Airborne’s battle to gain a hill on Ashau Valley in 1969 and offers a truly sympathetic portrayal of the Americans fighting in Vietnam.

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4) Platoon
Cast: Charlie Sheen, Forest Whitaker
Winner of four Academy Awards, this flick is an intense and brutally realistic look at a young soldier's tour of duty in Vietnam.

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5) Saving Private Ryan
Cast: Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore
A colonel leads his men during WW II to bring home a private whose three brothers were killed in action. Winner of five Academy Awards, "Saving Private Ryan" is a powerful depiction of the atrocities of war.

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6) We were Soldiers
Cast: Mel Gibson, Sam Elliot
The realism is overwhelming in this flick which shows the impact of war on families. This story of one of the first battles of the Vietnam War is told without the usual plethora of Hollywood filmmaking gimmicks.

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7) Black Hawk Down
Cast: Josh Hartnett, Orlando Bloom
This movie is based on Mark Bowden’s book which details the near-disastrous mission of Army Rangers deployed to Mogadishu in 1993 to capture two top lieutenants of a Somali warlord. An excellent war flick, the confusion and mayhem of combat is very well depicted.

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8) The Tuskegee Airmen
Cast: Laurence Fishburne, Cuba Gooding Jr.
The story of the African-American pilots who fought the Germans in WW II, it focuses on how the all black squadron had to fight for the right to be recognized amongst the predominantly white army air corp.

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9) Gettysburg
Cast: Tom Berenger, Martin Sheen
This classic Civil War movie details one of the most important battles of American History and is one few civil war movies that examines the causes of the war as seen through the eyes of those fighting it.

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10) Tora! Tora! Tora!
Cast: Martin Balsam, Sô Yamamura
Named for the Japanese phrase that signals the start of an attack, "Tora! Tora! Tora!" tells both the American and Japanese versions of the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor, which catapulted the United States into World War II. With spectacular battle scenes, there is that infamous quote uttered by the Japanese Admiral after the bombing. "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."

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