50 Best American War Movies

Throughout history, war has been processed, glorified, and protested through art. Ancient battle scenes stand as among the earliest artistic depictions in civilized society, used at the time for documenting wars won and for intimidating enemies. Since then, myriad impressions of wartime have been shared throughout every civilization and from virtually every perspective. Classic books like Ernest Hemingway's Farewell to Arms stand as celebrated examples of anti-war works, while pieces like Diego Rivera's The Nightmare of War and Dream of Peace incited controversy.

Among the most powerful mediums artists have found to transmit and better understand the effects of war is film. To determine the best American war movies, Stacker compiled data on all American war movies to come up with the Stacker score—a weighted index split evenly between IMDb and Metacritic scores. To qualify, the film had to have an IMDb user score and Metascore, be American-made, and deal explicitly with the United State's involvement in a war. Ties were broken by Metascore, and further ties were broken by IMDb user votes. These are the women and men of Hollywood who have stepped into the shoes of the greatest heroes in American history, both real and fictional.

Keep reading to see which war movies have made the list, how many came from Clint Eastwood, and which Stanley Kubrik titles crested the top 20.

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Fury movie
Pierre Suu/Getty Images

50. 'Fury' (2014)

- Director: David Ayer
- Stacker score: 77.3
- Metascore: 64
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 134 minutes

Brad Pitt leads an ensemble cast in this World War II drama about a U.S. tank unit deep in Nazi territory during the final days of the war. Shia LaBeouf, Jon Bernthal, Logan Lerman, and Michael Peña round out the tank's crew.

49. 'Good Morning, Vietnam' (1987)

- Director: Barry Levinson
- Stacker score: 77.3
- Metascore: 67
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 121 minutes

In Good Morning, Vietnam, comedic genius Robin Williams stars as irreverent DJ Adrian Cronauer, host of the country's Armed Forces Radio Service station during the war. Laugh-out-loud funny, and occasionally soberingly realistic, Roger Ebert said that the role was "far and away the best work Williams has ever done in a movie." It also remains one of the few examples of war-comedy on this list.

48. 'Flying Leathernecks' (1951)

- Director: Nicholas Ray
- Stacker score: 77.3
- Metascore: 75
- IMDb user rating: 6.5
- Runtime: 102 minutes

A group of U.S. Marines falls under new command in the lead-up to the battle of Guadalcanal in Flying Leathernecks. Blatantly pro-war, it has often been said that the 1951 film was assigned to director Nicholas Ray, a known liberal who disagreed with the film's political stance, so that he could essentially prove his loyalty during the Red Scare.

47. 'The Americanization of Emily' (1964)

- Director: Arthur Hiller
- Stacker score: 77.9
- Metascore: 68
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 115 minutes

As much a love story as it is a war movie, The Americanization of Emily sees Lt. Cmdr. Charles Edward Madison, an easy-living American soldier played by James Garner, fall for an Englishwoman, played by Julie Andrews, only to have their newly blossoming romance thrown into turmoil when he gets sent on a dangerous and senseless mission. Set in the time period just before D-Day, the film is based on a novel of the same name by William Bradford Huie.

Catch 22
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46. 'Catch-22' (1970)

- Director: Mike Nichols
- Stacker score: 77.9
- Metascore: 70
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Runtime: 122 minutes

An adaptation of Joseph Heller's classic novel of the same name, Catch-22 is a satirical, anti-war movie set during World War II. It follows a desperate pilot's mission to be declared certifiably insane so that he can be discharged from combat. Released around the same time as M.A.S.H.—No. 20 on the list—Catch-22 was not a commercial or critical success upon its debut, but has since found itself a cult following.

45. 'Tropic Thunder' (2008)

- Director: Ben Stiller
- Stacker score: 77.9
- Metascore: 71
- IMDb user rating: 7
- Runtime: 107 minutes

War and comedy are not often words heard in the same sentence, unless, of course, you are speaking about Ben Stiller's Tropic Thunder. The late '00s movie follows a group of actors who head out into the jungle to make a film about the Vietnam War only to find that they must become the soldiers they're pretending to be. The cast is packed with some of Hollywood's biggest names, including Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr., Tom Cruise, and Matthew McConaughey.

44. 'Judgment at Nuremberg' (1961)

- Director: Stanley Kramer
- Stacker score: 78.5
- Metascore: 60
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 179 minutes

Stanley Kramer directed this fictionalized retelling of one of the Nuremberg trials in which four Nazi judges were held accountable for their crimes against humanity. A number of Old Hollywood stars, including Marlene Dietrich, Judy Garland, Spencer Tracy, and Burt Lancaster star in the black-and-white film. However, it was a relative newcomer, Maximilian Schell, who walked away with an Oscar for his performance, reprising his role as Hans Rolfe from the story's original Playhouse 90 TV broadcast.

43. 'A Private War' (2018)

- Director: Matthew Heineman
- Stacker score: 78.5
- Metascore: 75
- IMDb user rating: 6.7
- Runtime: 110 minutes

Rosamund Pike stars as Marie Colvin, an American journalist who devoted her life to covering the civil wars of some of the world's most dangerous countries, in A Private War. The film does well what Colvin tried so hard to do in her reporting—that is, highlights the plight of the innocent victims of conflict—while also giving audiences an idea of the considerable risk war reporters put themselves in to bring them the truth.

42. 'Courage Under Fire' (1996)

- Director: Edward Zwick
- Stacker score: 79
- Metascore: 77
- IMDb user rating: 6.6
- Runtime: 116 minutes

One of the first war movies to tackle the Gulf War, Courage Under Fire follows an army officer who is tasked with determining whether or not a posthumous Medal of Honor should be awarded to a downed helicopter commander, all while dealing with his own demons. It stars Denzel Washington and Meg Ryan, who plays the fictional Capt. Karen Emma Walden, who, in the film, became the first woman to win the honor for valor in combat.

Bradley Cooper
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41. 'American Sniper' (2014)

- Director: Clint Eastwood
- Stacker score: 80.1
- Metascore: 72
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 133 minutes

Clint Eastwood brought the story of America's deadliest sniper, Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, to the big screen in 2014's American Sniper. Starring Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller, the movie not only underlines the impressiveness of Kyle's life and wartime accomplishments, but also examines the way war can change even its toughest players.

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40. 'Cold Mountain' (2003)

- Director: Anthony Minghella
- Stacker score: 80.1
- Metascore: 73
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Runtime: 154 minutes

An all-star cast and the seven Oscar nominations for Cold Mountain secured its place as one of the best war movies of all time. The early '90s movie follows a Confederacy deserter, played by Jude Law, as he journeys home to reunite with the woman he loves, played by Nicole Kidman. A sort of early American Odyssey, the film is surprisingly historically accurate and deeply emotional.

39. 'Sands of Iwo Jima' (1949)

- Director: Allan Dwan
- Stacker score: 80.7
- Metascore: 75
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Runtime: 100 minutes

Few battles have captured the American imagination like the one that took place on Iwo Jima during World War II. Dwan's Sands of Iwo Jima is among the many retellings of the event, following a Marine platoon led by John Wayne from basic training through that iconic raising of the American flag. One Variety magazine critic complained the saga was too sentimental and superficial; judging by the film's IMDb user rating, fans seem to disagree.

38. 'Casualties of War' (1989)

- Director: Brian De Palma
- Stacker score: 80.7
- Metascore: 75
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Runtime: 113 minutes

The Washington Post called Casualties of War "one of the most morally complex movies about men at war ever made." The film, which is about how war drags men down into barbarism, is a tough watch. Set during the Vietnam War, it tells the story of the incident on Hill 192, in which an American squad kidnapped, raped, and killed a young Vietnamese woman despite the vehement objections of one of their own.

37. 'Hell Is for Heroes' (1962)

- Director: Don Siegel
- Stacker score: 80.7
- Metascore: 76
- IMDb user rating: 7
- Runtime: 90 minutes

Hell Is for Heroes recalls an incident from World War II in which the 95th Infantry Division was tasked with holding off an entire German company for two days while awaiting reinforcements. Steve McQueen stars in the movie, and rumor has it that his excellent performance was a real reflection of his anger at having to appear in the movie at all.

Tom Cruise
Universal Pictures/ Archive Photos/Getty Images

36. 'Born on the Fourth of July' (1989)

- Director: Oliver Stone
- Stacker score: 81.2
- Metascore: 75
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Runtime: 145 minutes

Tom Cruise stars in Born on the Fourth of July as Ron Kovic, a paralyzed Vietnam War veteran who becomes an anti-war activist after being disenchanted with the country he literally laid down his body for. Based on the memoirs of the real-life Kovic, the film was a commercial and critical success and took home several major awards including Golden Globes and Oscars.

35. 'Da 5 Bloods' (2020)

- Director: Spike Lee
- Stacker score: 81.2
- Metascore: 82
- IMDb user rating: 6.5
- Runtime: 154 minutes

Spike Lee tackles the experience of Black Vietnam War veterans in Da 5 Bloods. His epic follows four 60-something men who return to the South Asian country in search of the body of their fallen leader (Chadwick Boseman) and the bars of gold they buried alongside him. Originally intended as a straightforward action caper, Lee retooled the movie to address the tension Black soldiers have faced fighting for America's freedom while not being able to fully experience that freedom themselves.

34. 'The Big Red One' (1980)

- Director: Samuel Fuller
- Stacker score: 81.8
- Metascore: 77
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Runtime: 113 minutes

A semi-autobiographical film by director Samuel Fuller, The Big Red One follows a group of sharpshooters as they fight their way across Europe during World War II. Fuller, a veteran of the 1st Infantry Division, independently produced the film, which he largely shot in Israel and completed on a minuscule budget. Despite not being a box office hit or a major award winner, the film managed to attract a small, but devoted, following that has ensured its continued success.

33. 'The Messenger' (2009)

- Director: Oren Moverman
- Stacker score: 81.8
- Metascore: 77
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Runtime: 113 minutes

In Oren Moverman's The Messenger, Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson are tasked with delivering next-of-kin notifications to fallen soldiers' families. The film was nominated for Academy, Golden Globe, and SAG awards.

'Mister Roberts'
Warner Brothers/ Archive Photos/Getty Images

32. 'Mister Roberts' (1955)

- Directors: John Ford, Mervyn LeRoy, Joshua Logan
- Stacker score: 82.3
- Metascore: 72
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 123 minutes

Mister Roberts features one of the most notable war movie casts in history. Henry Fonda plays Doug Roberts, a Navy cargo ship lieutenant stationed far from the action of World War II, who takes care of his crew while trying to get transferred to an active post—away from the overbearing commander of his ship. James Cagney plays the hated captain, William Powell plays the ship's doctor in his final cinematic role, and Jack Lemmon earned an Oscar for his work as a reluctant sailor.

31. 'Flags of Our Fathers' (2006)

- Director: Clint Eastwood
- Stacker score: 82.3
- Metascore: 79
- IMDb user rating: 7
- Runtime: 135 minutes

Flags of Our Fathers tells the story of the World War II Battle of Iwo Jima from the perspective of the Marines, focusing particularly on the six who raised the American flag on the small island. The film stars Ryan Phillippe, Paul Walker, Jesse Bradford, Adam Beach, John Slattery, and Jamie Bell.

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30. 'Johnny Got His Gun' (1971)

- Director: Dalton Trumbo
- Stacker score: 82.9
- Metascore: 71
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 111 minutes

Johnny Got His Gun is much more of an anti-war film than it is a war film. The plot follows Timothy Bottoms, an 18-year-old who enlists during World War I only to lose his arms, legs, sight, hearing, and ability to speak. The grim tale didn't attract legions of fans, and likely would have been widely forgotten if not for its presence in the music video for Metallica's song "One."

29. 'The Dirty Dozen' (1967)

- Director: Robert Aldrich
- Stacker score: 82.9
- Metascore: 73
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 150 minutes

The standard war movie gets a criminal twist in The Dirty Dozen. Twelve of the Army's worst convicts are brought together in World War II, forming a ragtag unit charged with parachuting into a French chateau. Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, and John Cassavetes are just a small sampling of the film's star-studded cast, and it's been lauded on a number of American Film Institute's best-of lists—including America's Most Heart-Pounding Movies.

28. 'Rescue Dawn' (2006)

- Director: Werner Herzog
- Stacker score: 82.9
- Metascore: 77
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 120 minutes

Christian Bale stars as Dieter Dengler, one of only seven American soldiers who managed to escape from Vietnamese prisoner-of-war camps and survive, in Rescue Dawn. The drama was based on one of Herzog's own films, Little Dieter Learns to Fly, a documentary he completed several years earlier about the same subject. While not a box office hit by any stretch of the imagination, the film was Herzog's highest-grossing picture to date, pulling in $5.5 million in the United States.

27. 'Black Hawk Down' (2001)

- Director: Ridley Scott
- Stacker score: 83.4
- Metascore: 74
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 144 minutes

Black Hawk Down began as a 29-part series of articles in the Philadelphia Inquirer, became a bestselling book by Mark Bowden, and then a Ridley Scott movie. The story follows a 1993 raid in Somalia as Army Rangers attempt to capture two rogue militia commanders, with Josh Hartnett and Ewan McGregor leading an impressive ensemble cast.

Inglourious Basterds
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26. 'Inglourious Basterds' (2009)

- Director: Quentin Tarantino
- Stacker score: 84
- Metascore: 69
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 153 minutes

While it's not rooted in reality, per se, this impactful Quentin Tarantino movie tells the story of a revenge plot against the Nazis with Jewish soldiers taking the lead. Brad Pitt stars, with Christoph Waltz stealing the show as a Nazi colonel trying to stop the soldiers from achieving their goals. The film did extremely well at the box office and earned a variety of Oscar nominations for best motion picture, best director, and more.

25. 'Hacksaw Ridge' (2016)

- Director: Mel Gibson
- Stacker score: 84
- Metascore: 71
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 139 minutes

Hacksaw Ridge tells the story of a pacifist American Army medic in World War II who serves without a weapon and vows to never hurt or kill an enemy soldier. Andrew Garfield plays the lead in the movie, which is based on the 2004 documentary The Conscientious Objector. While it didn't win any major awards, the movie was nominated for Best Motion Picture at both the Oscars and Golden Globes.

24. 'The Longest Day' (1962)

- Directors: Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton, Gerd Oswald, Bernhard Wicki, Darryl F. Zanuck
- Stacker score: 84.5
- Metascore: 75
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 178 minutes

This massive World War II epic tells the story of D-Day from both Allied and Axis perspectives. Richard Burton, Sean Connery, John Wayne, and Robert Mitchum are just a few of the biggest names in the black-and-white classic, which is notorious for its extensive roster of extras and unique storytelling told from multiple perspectives in native tongues with subtitles.

23. 'Three Kings' (1999)

- Director: David O. Russell
- Stacker score: 84.5
- Metascore: 82
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Runtime: 114 minutes

George Clooney, Spike Jonze, Mark Whalberg, and Ice Cube star in this film about four soldiers who, in the immediate aftermath of the Gulf War, set out to find a trove of gold that's been hidden by Saddam Hussein's troops. Three Kings was a box office smash, earning more than $107 million worldwide.

Lifeboat
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22. 'Lifeboat' (1944)

- Director: Alfred Hitchcock
- Stacker score: 85.1
- Metascore: 78
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 97 minutes

Tallulah Bankhead stars in this mid-career experiment from Alfred Hitchcock about a group of survivors trapped in a lifeboat with the German U-boat captain who sank their freighter. Novelist John Steinbeck wrote the original version of the story, refined by Hitchcock before production began. The finished story panned for appearing too sympathetic to the German character.

21. 'The Thin Red Line' (1998)

- Director: Terrence Malick
- Stacker score: 85.1
- Metascore: 78
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 170 minutes

At nearly three hours long, Terrence Malick's adaptation of James Jones' autobiography takes viewers deep into the South Pacific's Guadalcanal Campaign in World War II. Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, and Jim Caviezel starred, with smaller parts played by George Clooney, John Cusack, and Woody Harrelson. The Thin Red Line marked Malick's first return to film since the 1978 film Days of Heaven, and he wound up with Academy Award nominations for writing and directing.

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20. 'M.A.S.H.' (1970)

- Director: Robert Altman
- Stacker score: 85.1
- Metascore: 80
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 116 minutes

One of the most celebrated war films of all time, this dark comedy won the top award at the 1970 Cannes Film Festival, earned Oscar nominations for best picture and best director, and was a box office smash for 20th Century Fox. Donald Sutherland, Sally Kellerman, Elliott Gould, Robert Duvall, and Tom Skerritt led the all-star cast—and the film's TV adaptation famously became one of the most popular programs of the 1970s.

19. 'The Quiet American' (2002)

- Director: Phillip Noyce
- Stacker score: 85.1
- Metascore: 84
- IMDb user rating: 7
- Runtime: 101 minutes

The Quiet American is at once a story of a love triangle and an examination of the way Americans set the stage for their involvement in the Vietnam War. A young CIA operative played by Brendan Fraser arrives in the South Asian country in order to conduct what essentially amounts to a terrorist attack that is designed to sway public opinion about the country's involvement in the fighting. Along the way, he falls in love with a Vietnamese woman who is also involved with an English journalist, played by Michael Caine, who then acts on his own jealousy to alter the course of the trio's lives forever.

18. 'Fail Safe' (1964)

- Director: Sidney Lumet
- Stacker score: 85.6
- Metascore: 75
- IMDb user rating: 8
- Runtime: 112 minutes

Set during the Cold War, Fail Safe is a high-stakes tale about an accidentally ordered U.S. thermonuclear strike on the Soviet Union that must be stopped at all costs, lest a full-blown war break out. The Sidney Lumet film is based on a novel of the same name by Eugene Brudick and Harvey Wheeler that was serialized in the Saturday Evening Post throughout the Cuban Missile Crisis. The film, which exudes a sense of panic from open to close that is amplified by its lack of musical score, was a box office flop in the '60s but has since become something of a cult classic.

17. 'Glory' (1989)

- Director: Edward Zwick
- Stacker score: 86.2
- Metascore: 78
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 122 minutes

Denzel Washington won his first Oscar for his role in this Civil War film about one of the first all-Black regiments in American history. Matthew Broderick plays Capt. Robert Shaw, a white colonel in charge of a group of Black volunteers for the Union Army. The group deals with racism and prejudice within its ranks while fighting against the Confederacy.

16. 'They Were Expendable' (1945)

- Directors: John Ford, Robert Montgomery
- Stacker score: 87.3
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Runtime: 135 minutes

Released on the fourth anniversary of Pearl Harbor, They Were Expendable tells the loosely based-on-real-life tale of a PT boat squadron that is tasked with the near-impossible act of protecting the Philippines from Japanese invasion during World War II. A grim picture, the movie stars John Wayne—infamous for his own lack of service—along with Robert Montgomery, and Donna Reed. The film was a critical success but not a box-office hit, perhaps because its realistic depiction of events hit too close to home for too many.

Full Metal Jacket
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15. 'Full Metal Jacket' (1987)

- Director: Stanley Kubrick
- Stacker score: 87.8
- Metascore: 76
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 116 minutes

The penultimate film of Stanley Kubrick's career, Full Metal Jacket details the process of a Marine from boot camp through his combat deployment in Vietnam. As opposed to the war movies of the mid-20th century, this film paints war as an excruciating ordeal that can barely be survived. Matthew Modine stars alongside Vincent D'Onofrio, Adam Baldwin, and R. Lee Ermey.

14. 'Lincoln' (2012)

- Director: Steven Spielberg
- Stacker score: 87.8
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 150 minutes

One of America's most beloved presidents gets the Spielberg treatment in this sprawling two-and-a-half-hour biopic that tracks Abraham Lincoln's presidency during the final days of the Civil War. Daniel Day-Lewis won the Oscar for his work as the commander in chief; the rest of the cast featured big names including Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones.

13. 'From Here to Eternity' (1953)

- Director: Fred Zinnemann
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 118 minutes

From Here to Eternity stars Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, and Frank Sinatra as soldiers stationed in Hawaii in the months before the Pearl Harbor attack. It won eight Oscars in 1954 and was added to the National Film Registry for its tremendous cultural significance.

Stalag 17
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12. 'Stalag 17' (1953)

- Director: Billy Wilder
- Stacker score: 90.6
- Metascore: 84
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 120 minutes

Stalag 17 was originally a hit Broadway play, but it found a much wider audience when Billy Wilder turned it into a film starring William Holden. The plot revolves around a group of American pilot prisoners-of-war being held in a German prison camp. Holden won the Academy Award for his role as J.J. Sefton, the camp's resident wheeler-and-dealer who's happy to barter with anyone—including the German guards.

11. 'The Deer Hunter' (1978)

- Director: Michael Cimino
- Stacker score: 92.3
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 183 minutes

The Deer Hunter is another film about the ravages of war on a soldier's psyche after the battle is over. This time it's Vietnam, with Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, and John Savage playing three deeply scarred men. The American Film Institute named it one of the best movies in American history, and Academy Awards voters agreed. They named the movie best picture in 1979 and gave Meryl Streep her first Oscar nomination.

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10. 'The Great Escape' (1963)

- Director: John Sturges
- Stacker score: 92.8
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 172 minutes

While it didn't pick up any major awards, The Great Escape has been widely recognized as one of the greatest war movies of all time. Set in a German prisoner-of-war camp in Poland, it tells the story of a multinational group of high-level military prisoners that makes a concerted effort to escape. Steve McQueen leads the international cast, which includes James Garner, James Coburn, and Richard Attenborough.

9. 'Letters From Iwo Jima' (2006)

- Director: Clint Eastwood
- Stacker score: 92.8
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 141 minutes

A companion piece to Flags of Our Fathers, Letters From Iwo Jima is a Japanese-language film about the World War II battle of Iwo Jima, told from the perspective of the Japanese soldiers who fought it. The Clint Eastwood picture stands apart from the war movie crowd because it's not a story of hard-fought victory, but rather one of inevitable defeat, the type of story rarely seen on the big screen. It was clearly a take that resonated with critics and audiences alike, as demonstrated by the film's box office success and nomination for several prestigious awards including Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

8. 'Zero Dark Thirty' (2012)

- Director: Kathryn Bigelow
- Stacker score: 93.4
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 157 minutes

Zero Dark Thirty chronicles America's decade-long hunt for Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda terrorist leader who is believed to have been the instigator behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Upon its release, some viewers criticized the film for its gruesome depiction of torture while others defended the scenes' inclusion on the basis that the events in question were factual. The film was praised for the realism of its concluding scenes of the Navy SEAL unit's raid on bin Laden's compound, derived from top-secret information revealed by former CIA Director Leon Panetta at a ceremony in 2011.

7. 'Patton' (1970)

- Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
- Stacker score: 93.9
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 172 minutes

American war hero Gen. George Patton is the subject of this award-winning film that cleaned up at the Oscars in 1971 with statues going to the film for best picture, best director, best screenplay, and best actor for George C. Scott's role as the general. Scott actually rejected the award in one of the Oscars' biggest scandals. The film follows Patton's rise to legendary status as he takes on larger and larger military theaters, emerging victorious in all of them.

6. 'The Hurt Locker' (2008)

- Director: Kathryn Bigelow
- Stacker score: 93.9
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 131 minutes

The Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow made history when she became the first woman to win the Academy Award for best director in 2010. The film also won for Best Picture and made lead actor Jeremy Renner a bona fide star. The film is about a bomb squad soldier in the Iraq War who breaks from standard Army protocol in bomb-diffusing situations, alienating himself from his fellow soldiers.

Platoon
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5. 'Platoon' (1986)

- Director: Oliver Stone
- Stacker score: 95.6
- Metascore: 92
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 120 minutes

Oliver Stone first made his mark as a major director with this story of an ill-prepared platoon during the Vietnam War. The first of Stone's Vietnam trilogy—Heaven & Earth and Born on the Fourth of July round out the trio—Platoon is an anti-war movie that shows the horrific side of combat. The cast features Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe, and Charlie Sheen.

4. 'Saving Private Ryan' (1998)

- Director: Steven Spielberg
- Stacker score: 97.8
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Runtime: 169 minutes

Saving Private Ryan stars Tom Hanks as the leader of a World War II Army unit on a search and rescue mission. The group—played by a top-notch ensemble cast that includes Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore, and Ed Burns—is tasked with going behind enemy lines to save a soldier whose brothers have already lost their lives to the war. The film earned five Academy Awards.

3. 'Apocalypse Now' (1979)

- Director: Francis Ford Coppola
- Stacker score: 98.3
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Runtime: 147 minutes

The cast alone is reason enough to watch this dark war film, with Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper, and Marlon Brando all taking turns wowing the audience. Coppola had already earned acclaim as the director of The Godfather; Apocalypse Now solidified his reputation as an A-list director. Based on Joseph Conrad's novella Heart of Darkness, but set during the Vietnam War, the film involves an Army captain who's sent to Cambodia to remove a rogue officer who has taken over a local tribe.

2. 'Gone With the Wind' (1939)

- Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Sam Wood
- Stacker score: 98.3
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 238 minutes

At almost four hours long, Gone With the Wind is a sprawling Civil War epic about the downfall of a well-to-do Georgia family. The adaptation of Margaret Mitchell's 1936 novel stars Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh and took home 10 Oscars.

Dr. Strangelove
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1. 'Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb' (1964)

- Director: Stanley Kubrick
- Stacker score: 100
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Runtime: 95 minutes

This Kubrick classic is a satire on war and nuclear oblivion. Peter Sellers and George C. Scott star in the rare comedy of Kubrick's canon. While it didn't win any Academy Awards, it was nominated in all of the major categories.

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