The War Movies of Mel Gibson: A List

There are several actors who have returned more than once to the war movie genre, Mel Gibson is one of them.

While I didn’t always like his characters or had a problem to forget the obnoxious man behind them, some of them are very good. Watching them all you can go chronologically through almost every major war. That’s why I didn’t order them according to the year they were filmed in but according to the year they were set in.

Two of my favourite war movies star Mel Gibson, one is the WWI movie Gallipoli, the other one the Vietnam movie We Were Soldiers. The latter, as good as it is, is also a problematic movie but I will look into that in a future post. I haven’t seen all of those mentioned below and am afraid that some, like Attack Force Z, aren’t exactly memorable. I tried to give them a star rating which is, of course, purely personal.

Braveheart (1995) 13th century Scotland. Inspired by the true story of William Wallace a Scottish rebel. 4*****

The Patriot (2000) American Revolution. An epic drama. A farmer leads the Colonial Militia after his son has been murdered by a British officer. 3.5***

Gallipoli (1981) WWI. Story of two Australian friends who volunteer and fight in the trenches of Gallipoli. 5*****

Attack Force Z (1982) WWII. Secret mission against the Japanese. Not seen probably 2**

The Year of Living Dangerously (1982) Indonesia. Story of a reporter and a photographer. Not seen. Probably 3***

Air America (1990) Laos during the Vietnam war. A pilot is recruited by a corrupt CIA organization. Not seen. Probably 2**

We Were Soldiers (2002)  Gritty infantry combat and portrayal of home front. A bit glorifying but overall too gruesome to not be called anti-war. 5*****

Which ones have I forgotten? Which are the ones you like? Should The Bounty be included?

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10 thoughts on “The War Movies of Mel Gibson: A List

  1. warmoviebuff says:

    I can never forgive him for “Braveheart” (my bete noire), but he has done some good work. However, after “Braveheart”, the Mel came out in the screenplays and you get the ridiculous church burning scene in The Patriot and the feel good bullshit at the end of We Were Soldiers which marred an otherwise outstanding movie. He almost made it to the end of that one before he screwed things up. (I am assuming he had say over the script – he obviously insisted on the religious elements in that movie). I am not as big a fan of Gallipoli as most are (try Breaker Morant and The Lighthorsemen instead), but at least he did not have creative control over it.

    I would not call The Bounty a war movie.

    I have not seen The Year of Living Dangerously in decades.

    • Thanks for your input. I really agree in the case of We Were Soldiers. It had his name written all over that script. The religious elements were too much. I was really not sure about The Bounty. I think Gallipoli is outstanding but the others you mention are equally good. I think of them as a trilogy as they are all part of the Australian New Wave. I will re-watch Braveheart shortly.

  2. warmoviebuff says:

    I HAD to watch it a second time for my blog. It was not voluntary.

  3. TBM says:

    Mel Gibson is a fascinating person. He is like watching a train wreck. I’ve liked some of his movies and when he wants to, he knows how to act. I try to ignore his personal life, but it is hard sometimes. I still haven’t seen Gallipoli. Everyone says I should watch that one.

    • Gallipoli is great but it’s another case of “wrong music”.
      It’s one of those actors where you can hardly think of his private life. A lot of his convictions go into his movies.

  4. Attack Force Z was a better movie than Air America, although it could be argued that Air America was not properly a war movie but rather a comedic vehicle. Not very memorable, I agree but it does give the Aussies some commando cred.

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