Tom Cruise’s War Movies

This post could also have been a quiz. How many war movies or/and war related movies starring Tom Cruise do you know? I have counted 9. That seems quite a lot. Although I’m not exactly a Tom Cruise fan but he is very good in some of the movies below.

Valkyrie (2008) This is a must-see movie based on a true event. Cruise plays von Stauffenberg, the man who attempted to assassinate Hitler. Too bad it didn’t work. It’s suspenseful despite that we know the outcome, interesting and tragic.

Tropic Thunder (2008) Bad taste and hilarious, in this movie nothing is sacred. A parody of war movies (especially Vietnam/Platoon), the film industry and a few other things. Cruise is extremely funny in this. He’s the ruthless greedy producer who is willing to send a film crew to certain death if success is guaranteed. (Here is my review)

Lions for Lambs (2007) Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep and Robert Redford in a movie that has been called great by many. I have seen it but remember zero. I think because it didn’t have a good story line, just a fairly good idea. Here is the IMdB blurb: “Injuries sustained by two Army ranger behind enemy lines in Afghanistan set off a sequence of events involving a congressman, a journalist and a professor.”

War of the Worlds (US 2005) Yes, this is stretching the genre a little bit and I haven’t seen it. No clue whether it is any good. It’s not my type of movie. Here’s another IMdB blurb: “As Earth is invaded by alien tripod fighting machines, one family fights for survival.”

Last Samurai (2003) I just watched this, so the review is upcoming. Very beautiful movie starring Tom Cruise as hardened Civil War veteran who is hired to teach combat techniques to Japanese soldiers. (See my review)

A Few Good Men (1992) This is one of my favourite guilty pleasures. A gripping court-room drama with a great cast: Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon, Kiefer Sutherland and Jack Nicholson.

Born on the 4th of July (1989) Based on Ron Kovic’s memoir. Cruise gives an outstanding performance of Kovic who volunteered to go to Vietnam, came home as a cripple and joins the Anti-Vietnam movement.

Top Gun (1986) Action and romance about aspiring fighter pilots in an elite US flying school.  A really corny movie but the favourite guilty pleasure of many.

Taps (1981) Story of some military cadets who want to save their academy at any price.

My favourite Tom Cruise movie regardless of the genre is Magnolia but my favourite Tom Cruise war movie is Valkyrie. I really liked the movie and his performance in it a great deal. And I liked him in A Few Good Men.

Which one is your favourite?

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Most Memorable Vietnam Vet in War Movies

I actually had a discussion yesterday about this topic. Which is the most memorable Vietnam vet in any movie? De Niro in Taxi Driver? Ron Kovic in Born on the 4th of July? Or even Rambo? The one I prefer is Jacknife. He is the most touching and likable. But I think not necessarily the most memorable. The most memorable for me is de Niro in Taxi Driver. Anyway, I want to hear what you think, which is the most memorable and which one did you like the most?

Here are a few to refresh your memory (and yes, indeed, Robert de Niro is certainly THE Vietnam vet actor)

Robert de Niro in Jacknife

Robert de Niro in Taxi Driver

Robert de Niro in The Deer Hunter

Sylvester Stallone as Rambo: First Blood

Tom Cruise (in one of his best roles) in Born on the 4th of July

Matthew Modine and Nicolas Cage in Birdy

James Cann in Gardens of Stone

Jack Dunne in Heroes

Tom Laughlin in Billy Jack

James Woods in The Visitors

Bruce Willis in In Country

John Lithgow in Distant Thunder

One little confession, I haven’t seen the last four… Did I miss something?

Oliver Stone: One of the Greatest Film and War Movie Directors

When I watched Savior the other day, knowing it was produced by Oliver Stone, I thought of all the outstanding anti- war movies this man has done. Many film directors have chosen to do war movies but there are just a few that we associate more with the genre than others.

His trilogy of Vietnam war movies is probably known by almost anyone. Platoon is one of my Top Ten favourite ones, but I think Born on the 4th of July is equally powerful. Heaven and Earth, the third one, may be a bit less accomplished but maybe we have to see them all together as three different points of view of one war.

His name stands for many other extremely good movies that often circle around the themes of war and violence. War movie purists would not mention Alexander when speaking about war movies, I think it is debatable. What is not debatable is that  Alexander is highly watchable.

Salvador is without any doubt a further war movie. The Doors has a look at  the Vietnam war, politicians like JFK and Nixon have to be associated with war. You could say that Wall Street is the war of the brokers and Natural Born Killers  a personal war.

And even World Trade Center could be called a war movie (actually the only one I have not seen because of the obnoxious Nicolas Cage).

For me The Doors is Oliver Stone´s only failure. As much as I normally like Val Kilmer, as Jimmy Morrison he was just sacrilegious.

Be it as it may, Oliver Stone is an interesting film director.

I posted two tributes to him, both from Film Festivals, one from Austin and the other one from Zürich.

They are a bit different in as much as the Zürich one also shows some bits of interviews with Oliver Stone whereas the Austin one is purely dedicated to his movies.

Do you have a favourite Oliver Stone movie? I must admit that apart from Platoon I have watched Alexander more than once.