It is one thing to study war
And another to live the warrior`s life.
Telamon of Arcadia,
mercenary of the fifth century B.C.
I do believe that all the good war movies are essentially anti-war movies. My interest in this topic has nothing to do with glorifying the event. On the very contrary. I’m glad and thankful I never had to experience it. Still it is a fact, something whose existence we cannot deny. Something that has horrible consequences for everyone enduring it.
My father fought in one of the lesser known wars. Being French he was drafted as an 18 year old and sent to Algeria where he stayed for three years as a simple private. He told me a lot about it. I heard the most unimaginably horrible things. Things that I haven’t even seen depicted in the most gruesome war movies. I knew he suffered nightmares and still does. I knew he carried wounded comrades on his back for whole days to find when he put them down that they had died in the meantime. He saw his best friend mutilated and butchered.
I wanted to understand. Not only on an intellectual level but on an emotional one as well. Isn’t it one of the worst experiences for returning soldiers to face the fact that no one really understands what they have been through?
Apart from this I always enjoyed movies as an art form. And I do believe, considering so many outstanding producers, film directors, composers and actors participate in war movies, that they have their own very special appeal.
I still close my eyes sometimes when very gruesome events take place on the screen but one may also witness sheer beauty. Comradeship, bravery, courage.
In the end they remind us of live’s utter fragility.
Like the quote you listed at the top of this page. I too love studying movies as art and as an aspiring artist. Love your topic!
Thanks. I’m glad when someone is interested and especially when people don’t take offense in the topic. Got many a biased reaction on telling people that this is one movie genre I’m particularly interested in. I keep on repeating a good war movie is essentially a good anti-war movie.
[…] one of the hardest movies to watch for me for very personal reasons. All those who have read the About page on this blog, know why. For everyone else here´s a quick explanation. My father fought in this […]
“I still close my eyes sometimes when very gruesome events take place on the screen but one may also witness sheer beauty. Comradeship, bravery, courage.
In the end they remind us of live’s utter fragility.”
I agree. I think war movies when done well expose real human emotions. I prefer the ones that are true to human nature.
I haven’t seen it yet, but what are your thoughts on “The Battle of Algiers”. It’s really highly thought of.
I watched the beginning and could see that it might get into my top 20 but I do have a problem watching the movies on the war in Algeria as I heard so many first-hand accounts. And it was ugly as hell. You could try Intimate Enemies if you haven’t already done so. It shows exactly what my father and uncle went through. I got into an almost ugly discussion with someone on amazon fr saying the French did not torture. My father is an eye witness. They did. And my uncle, I never liked the guy, nor did my father, was an officer and he did torture. So, these are my problems. The Algerians did horrible things but then so did the French. It is like watching The wind that Shakes the Barley or Bloody Sunday for British people…
Thanks for being open about this. “Battle of Algiers” is #24 on the list so I will not be getting to it for a while. Thanks for the recommendation on “Intimate Enemies”.
I might watch it before you get to it. Just needs to be the right moment for it.
Since you have a section on books:
may I recommend a very good novel entitled “The four horsemen of the Apocalypse” by Vicente Blasco Ibanez? (written in Spanish, but it can probably be found in English, at least in a good library).
Read it, remembering that it was published in 1916.
Thanks for the recommendation. I will look it up. I do read Spanish, if it is not too archaic. I will try and find the Spanish version.
It’s free for the kindle
Mosfilm just announced that they are going to release 5 films a week WITH SUBTITLES on youtube. The problem is that the titles are in syrillic, but if you google youtube mosfilm, you may churn some war titles. If not, I’ll send some links asap.
Thanks, Guy, I’ll have a look.
Thanks. I had a look. It’s great. The movies are in the original language. The titles are in Russian but that’s OK, I don’t speak Russian but I can read the alphabet.
I think the English subtitle versions are coming soon. The annoucement was just made a couple of days ago.
ast month on this tv there was a war movie based on a true story there w
as a guy flying a chopper that crashed over in samalia. he ended up being captured and where he was held there was other American pows him and other guys escaiped all of them were killed except him the us sent a chopper to pick him up and he went to walter reed hodpital and some way the cia got involed but he escaped from them and in the end the us picked him up, and in the end it said he went up 3 more times and he retireed. what was the name of the movie? please help.
The only war movie set in Somalia and based on a true story I know is Black Hawk Down but this sounds different.
I’m really not sure.
You should watch Le Crabbe Tambour, a truly great movie
That’s true. I’ve heard about it and really should watch it.
There isn’t a lot of action but there are few movies which examine the ethos of the code of the warrior better than Crabbe
I’ll be watching it soon, I hope. I’m very curious.
Hi, love your site! I have a question and I feel like you’re the only person that can help me, so here it is… When I was a child a came across a war movie on cable with a cast of children who were living through a war with constant air raids, and the only 2 scenes I can remember is one scene where one of the older girls in the movie allowed the younger boys to take a peak into her panties, another scene I remember is the boys discharging bullets they found by placing it into a vice grip and hitting it with a nail and hammer. Can you help me locate the name of this film? Thanks.
I’m glad you like my site.
Did you see my post on CHildren in War Movies?
Maybe you’ll find it here. I’m not sure I have seen the movie you mention. I would need more information. Was it American? British? Black and White? Do you remember what year it was made? The more you remember, the better.
I have a question for everyone…. I subscribed to this site a couple years ago but since lost this site but now found it again. I am currently sitting here watching a good WWII movie called Black Book which is based on true events . Anyway to the point I have watched many German Austrian and other international war movies and continuously noticed that the Nazi patches and rank and insignias are all not shown or removed from the uniforms in many movies …. can someone please explain this to me. Also I am a second generation U.S citizen . My grandparents and great grand parents and all my great uncles came here from Germany with my father who was only a couple years old and his little brother at the end of the war. All fought in the German Army except my grandfathers oldest brother he was in the German Air Force. Anyway I’m in my late 40’s and I love military history with a passion and I admit I been and lived in Germany for many years and feel it to be my home like I’m drawn to it. I have heard many war stories from all of them over the years from their “side of things” and they were all just common soldiers who knew NOTHING of the Nazi horrors going on . Sad to say one great uncle was an SS officer over a prison camp. He remained in Germany. Anyway if anyone could answer my question I wold greatly split thank you so much.
Thank you for your long and interesting comment. I never even noticed. I’m not familiar with patches at all. I might post a “question” post and let’s see if someone knows the answer.
Here is my “Question Post”. Hopefully someone knows.
[…] All About War Movies […]
When it comes to romance in war films you forgot to list The americanization of Emily with James Garner and Julie Andrews from 1964. The theme is anti-war, James Garner character questions war. The film is set during world war II.
Thank you very much for your suggestion. I haven’t seen it but might give it a try.
Before they sail is a romance film set in New Zeeland during world war II. American soldiers come to NZ while soldiers fight abroad. The film was made in 1957. It is an American film. It is about sisters, and some of them have flings with soldiers. The cast is Joan Fontaine, Piper Laurie, Jean Simons, Sandra Dee and Paul Newman. I have not seen it, only a trailer on Youtube.
Sounds interesting. Thank you.