The 19 War Movies, War Adventures and War Romances that Won the Academy Award for Best Film

A while back one of my readers, Cliff, suggested to do a post on war movies that won the Academy Award for Best Film. I finally collected them and am going to share the list with you. I must say I was amazed to see how many there are. There are of course a few I have never seen, but many are very familiar. Out of my Top 10 there is only one, Platoon. The posters I added for you are from the first and the last so far to win the award, Wings and The Hurt Locker. The list shows the year when the movie won which is not always identical with the year it was produced. You will see easily that there are not many infantry combat movies on that list, that’s probably why there is only one of my Top 10 List (that you can see here) as I chose mainly combat movies. Still it is an interesting list and it puts me in the mood to re-watch some of them. It seems to be as if the 90ies were THE war movie decade. I wonder why. Any ideas?

Wings (1928)

All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

Cavalcade (1933)

Casablanca (1943)

The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

From Here to Eternity (1953)

Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

Ben Hur (1959)

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Patton (1970)

The Deer Hunter (1978)

Platoon (1986)

Dances with Wolves (1990)

Schindler’s List (1993)

Forrest Gump (1994)

Braveheart (1995)

The English Patient (1996)

Gladiator (2000)

The Hurt Locker (2009)

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12 thoughts on “The 19 War Movies, War Adventures and War Romances that Won the Academy Award for Best Film

  1. warmoviebuff says:

    I am surprised how many war movies are on the list. How many of them are not as good as “Saving Private Ryan”? “Paths of Glory”? “Glory”?
    At least three on the list – “Forrest Gump”, “Ben Hur”, and “Gladiator” are not war movies by any logical definition of a war movie.
    Here are a few nominees that should have won: “Henry V” was better than “The Best Years of Our Lives”. “Dr. Strangelove” was better than “My Fair Lady”. “Apocalypse Now” should have beaten “Kramer vs. Kramer”. And the classic WTF: “Shakespeare in Love” over SPR?!
    Where did you get that poster for “The Hurt Locker”? It has nothing to do with the movie!

    • Yeah, The Hurt Locker Poster is odd. I was bored of the others and had used them in previous posts and my review of the movie so I chose this one…It could be the German rental version. I have my problems with Academy Awards in general. I can see why some movies win but others? I gave the post a somewhat broader title as I know some people would include Gladiator and Forrest Gump, others like you and myself would be reluctant to do so. The number sure surprised me. I think Apocalypse Now was too controversial. Glory would have been a good winner. Go and compare Shakespeare in Love and Saving Private Ryan? How do you do that?

  2. Novroz says:

    I’m joining in this rant. I agree with both of you that Academy Awards sometimes did unbelieveable thing.

    After I saw that Shakespear won over SPR, I was so curious and watched the movie…and my reaction was “WTH?”

    Not just the movie, the actors/actresses also unbeliveable…Christian Bale should at least get a nomination. We Bale Fan are hoping for his luck in The Fighter now.

    • Christian Bale might win one sooner or later. I don’t know how big his role in The Fighter is. I thought Mark Wahlberg was the main role. It is really pointless to compare two movies like Saving Private Ryan and Shakespeare in Love. I was really surprised the chose The Hurt Locker over Avatar. Would have been so typical.

      • Novroz says:

        Yup, Mark is the leading actor, but I’ll walk to the cinema to see the supporting role.
        Well if they choose Avatar, I’ll the one who feel dissapointed…the CG is breathtaking but the story is too predictable and boring. I haven’t watched Hurt Locker tho.

        From your list, I have watched those from year 1986 to 2000.

      • I wrote a review on The Hurt Locker and called it A War Movie Gone Thriller. It is very gripping but is ii a real war movie? Those you saw are the best I think.

      • Novroz says:

        My friend told me that hurt locker was okay…not good not bad. an Okay movie is something I would watch only when local TVstation airs it

      • Yes, it is quite accurate, not too good but not bad. It really felt like a thriller to me. It is not bad on its own but compared to other war movies… If you have never seen one on Iraq, Battle for Haditha is one of the best apart from the mini-series Generation Kill.

      • Novroz says:

        Is it European movie or Hollywood?
        European movies are really difficult to find here.

      • They are both American. Generation Kill is a HBO mini-series.

  3. warmoviebuff says:

    I definitely consider it a war movie. I do not think it is even debatable. There are many movies on the “100 Greatest” list that are further from being war movies than THL.

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