Top 10 War Movies – The Guardian List

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This year I want to move back to what this blog was initially meant to be. A place where I would write about war movies and related themes, and not so much a blog, which is limited to reviews. As you may have noticed I was less and less present, not only because I was not so lucky with my movie choices  but also because I didn’t feel like writing as many reviews as before.

So, in order to kick off the new year, I’d thought I’d share with you this top 10 war movies list that I found on The Guardian website. It was published on October 28, 2013.

The top 10 war movies are

10. Where Eagles Dare

9. Rome, Open City

8. La Grande Illusion

7. The Deer Hunter

6. Three Kings

5. Come and See

4. Ran

3. The Thin Red Line

2. Paths of Glory

1. Apocalypse Now

It’s an interesting list and I’d say, they are all worthy movies, however there is only one among these that also makes my personal Top 10. Guess which one.

How about you? What do you think about this list?

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Movies on the Spanish Civil War: A List

Spirit of the Beehive

When I think of movies on the Spanish Civil War, Land and Freedom comes to mind. And Pan’s Labyrinth. And the abominable There Be Dragons. I was surprised to see that there are quite a lot and some of them seem to be well-worth watching. 

Do you have a favourite?

I might be watching one of these soon

12 Best War Movies of 2012

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I just noticed yesterday that I didn’t write a post on the Best War Movies I’ve seen in 2012 and thought I’d remedy that immediately. Obviously the list consists of the movies I’ve watched this year and not the movies which came out this year. And it also consists only of the movies which I have seen for the first time that’s why you will neither find Platoon nor Tigerland on the list.

And here goes:

Captain Conan

Agora

Waltz With Bashir

The African Queen

The Dam Busters

The Battle of Algiers

Soldier of Orange

North Face

317th Platoon

Stalingrad or Dogs, do you want to live forever?

The Duellists

Mephisto

War Movies Based on Novels – A Thursday Thirteen

A common feature on blogs is the so-called Thursday Thirteen in which you can share a list of thirteen things, books, movies and what not. I’ve never done this so far but since I’ve hit a dry movie-watching patch and don’t want to stop blogging entirely I thought, why not?

While a great many war movies are based on original screenplays, many, and even some of the best and most famous, are based on novels. Here are thirteen war movies based on novels:

  1. The Thin Red Line (1998) – based on the novel by James Jones
  2. Catch 22 (1970) – based on the novel by Joseph Heller
  3. 300 (2006) – based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller
  4. Ben Hur (1959) – based on the novel by Lewis Wallace
  5. Enigma (20019 – based on the novel by Robert Harris
  6. Behind the Lines aka Regeneration (1997) – based on the novel by Pat Barker
  7. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) – based on the novel by Erich Maria Remarque
  8. Schindler’s List (1993) – based on the novel by Thomas Keneally
  9. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) – based on the novel by Pierre Boulle
  10. Dances with Wolves (1990) – based on the novel by Michael Blake
  11. Cold Mountain (2003) based on the novel by Charles Frazier
  12. War Horse (2011) – based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo
  13. Slaughterhouse Five (1972) based on the novel by Kurt Vonnegut

I have only read three of the books (Regeneration aka Behind the Lines, All Quiet on the Western Front and Cold Mountain) but seen almost all of the movies. Is there a book among my thirteen I shouldn’t miss or another novel/movie pair which is worth mentioning?

Canadian War Movies? or A Failed Attempt to Write a List

One  aim of this blog is to raise awareness of all the many conflicts that have been fought on this planet and another one to introduce people to movies from many different countries. My war movie lists are one of the means to achieve this. I’ve done a few lists on movies from different countries like Australia, France and Russia and thought it would be interesting to make such a list for Canada. Canadian soldiers are often depicted in WWI and WWII movies but I couldn’t think of a lot of Canadian movies.

I have been looking really hard but all I came up with are three movies, two of which I have reviewed. I haven’t seen the third, War Witch aka Rebelle, as it’s from 2012 but it looks interesting.

Passchendaele (2008) (My review)

Incendies (2010) (My review)

War Witch aka Rebelle (2012)

Additionally I found two War Romances for which Canada is one of several co-producing countries. I’ve seen Closing the Ring and as far as War Romances go it’s not bad at all. It’s a Richard Attenborough movie starring Shirley Mac Laine and Christopher Plummer and some other interesting actors. I might review it one of these days.

Head in the Clouds (2004)

Closing the Ring (2007)

But is that possible? Are there not more Canadian war movies?

Yahoo! Users’ Top-Rated War Movies

It’s really hot today and to cheer myself up I thought of something rather less serious for a change. If you are like me you like to read lists. The Yahoo! User’s Favourite Top-Rated War Movies is a list I’ve seen before but forgot about it. The complete list consists of a total of 31 movies as you can see here.

It contains 31 war movies from all sub-genres. I agree with quite a few of their choices from 31 – 11, some of those movies are outstanding, but when we look at the top 1o, apart from a few exceptions, I find the choices highly questionable. Especially position 3 – 1. The fact that it contains only American movies is dubious too.

Let’s’ look at the list.

No. 10 – Glory (1989) I can agree with this choice, It’s a very good movie and although I liked it far less the second time I watched it, I don’t mind that it’s among the top 10 but would personally not include it anymore.

No.   9 – Patton (1970) This is a truly excellent biopic but considering how many movies have been left out, I don’t think it should be among the top 10.

No.  8 – Full Metal Jacket (1987) I have two Vietnam war movies in my personal top ten but Full Metal Jacket is not among them. Maybe it’s superior from a purely cinematographic point of view but apart from that I think Hamburger Hill is much better.

No. 7 – Hotel Rwanda (2004) This looks like some sort of “political correctness choice”. It’s not a bad movie but certainly not top ten material and not even as good as Shooting Dogs, another movie on the genocide in Rwanda,

No. 6 – The Pianist (2002) Very good but not top ten material.

No. 5 – Platoon (1986) Yes, that’s definitely among my top ten for many reasons.

No. 4 – Black Hawk Down (2001) This one too.

No.  3 – Schindler’s List (1993) If you like to be emotionally manipulated and go for tacky story telling, this is a good movie. In my book this is one of the highly overrated blockbusters. I really like the score though. It has a funereal appeal.

No.  2 – Braveheart (1995) Position no 2? For a movie that made me laugh from the beginning to end because Mel Gibson looks just too silly in it? No way. Not even top 100!

No. 1 – Saving Private Ryan (1998) I know this is a personal favourite of many but I’m not to keen on it. It has way too many corny elements and I’m not a Tom Hanks fan. Maybe in a top 50 because of its impact but certainly not among the top ten and even less as number 1.

I have moaned that this list is so heavy on US productions but even if we chose to make a top 10 US war movies list, I’m sure we could do better than this.

What do you think? Is it a good list? Which movies shouldn’t be on this list at all? Which would need to be included.

Movies on the American Civil War: A List

Quite a long time ago I have written a post with a list on the American Indian Wars, now is finally the turn of the American Civil War. In a few weeks you can expect a list of movies on the war of Independence. Like with most of my earlier lists, I haven’t seen all of he movies and I may very well have forgotten some. Do, as always, tell me which are the ones you like best and add those I have forgotten. I still need to review Ride With the Devil, which is together with Glory my favourite. I had a hard time watching Gettysburg and really needed the subtitles. I could hardly understand the accents. Gone with the Wind is an epic I’ve seen more than once as a child. It was one of those movies that was always on TV around Christmas. I’m curious to know whether Gods and Generals and Andersonville are any good. If you have seen them, let me know.

  • The Battle of Gettysburg (US 1913) directed by Charles Giblyn, starring Willard Mack, Charles K. French, Herschel Mayall
  • Birth Of A Nation (US 1915) directed by David W. Griffith, starring Lillian Gish, Mae Marsh, Henry B. Walthall
  • The General (US 1926) directed by Buster Keaton & Clyde Bruckman, starring Buster Keaton, Marion Mack, Charles Henry Smith
  • Gone With The Wind (US 1939) directed by Victor Fleming, starring Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Olivia de Havilland
  • They Died with Their Boots On (US 1941) directed by Raoul Wals, starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Anthony Quinn
  • The Red Badge Of Courage (US 1951), directed by John Huston, starring Audie Murphy, Bill Mauldin
  • The Great Locomotive Chase aka Andrews’ Raiders (US 1956) starring Fess Parker, Jeffrey Hunter
  • Friendly Persuasion (US 1956) directed by William Wyler, starring Gary Cooper, Dorothy McGuire, Anthony Perkins
  • The Horse Soldiers (US 1959) directed by John Ford, starring John Wayne, William Holden, Constance Towers
  • Major Dundee (US 1965) directed by Sam Peckinpah, starring Charlton Heston, James Coburn, Richard Harris
  • Shenandoah (US 1965) directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, starring James Stewart, Doug McClure
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (US/IT/SP 1966) directed by Sergio Leone, starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Eli Wallach, John Bartha
  • Alvarez Kelly (US 1966) directed by Edward Dmytryk, starring William Holden, Richard Widmark, Janice Rule, Patrick O’Neal
  • The Undefeated (US 1966) directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, starring John Wayne, Rock Hudson, Antonio Aguilar
  • The Andersonville Trial (US 1970, TV) directed by George C. Scott, starring William Shatner, Cameron Mitchell
  • The Beguiled (US 1971) directed by Don Siegel, starring  Clint Eastwood, Geraldine Page, Elizabeth Hartman, Jo Ann Harris
  • The Outlaw Josey Wales (US 1976) directed by Clint Eastwood, starring Clint Eastwood, Chief Dan George, Sondra Locke
  • The Blue and the Gray (US 1982, TV mini-series) directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, starring  Stacy Keach, Lloyd Bridges, John Hammond, Rip Torn, Warren Oates, Gregory Peck
  • North and South (US 1985–1986 mini-series)  starring Patrick Swayze, James Read, Kirstie Alley
  • Glory (US 1989) directed by Edward Zwick, starring Matthew Broderick, Cary Elwes, Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington
  • Dances with Wolves (US 1990) directed by Kevin Costner, starring Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnel, Graham Greene
  • Ironclads (US 1991, TV) directed by Delbert Mann, starring Virginia Madsen, Alex Hyde-White, Reed Diamond, Philip Casnoff
  • Gettysburg (US 1993) directed by F. Maxwell, starring Tom Berenger, Jeff Daniels, Martin Sheen, Stephen Lang
  • Heaven & Hell: North & South, Book III (US 1994 TV mini-series) directed by Larry Peerce, starring Philip Casnoff, Kyle Chandler, Terri Garber, Lesley-Anne Down, Jonathan Frakes, Genie Francis, Terri Garber, Mariette Hartley
  • Andersonville (US 1996, TV) directed by John Frankenheimer, starring Jarrod Emick, Frederic Forrest, Ted Marcoux
  • The Hunley (US 1997, TV) directed by John Gray, starring Armand Assante, Donald Sutherland
  • Ride with the Devil (US 1999) directed by Ang Lee, starring Tobey Maguire, Skeet Ulrich, James Caviezel
  • Gods and Generals (US 2003) directed by Ronald F. Maxwell, starring Stephen Lang, Robert Duvall, Jeff Daniels
  • Cold Mountain (US 2003) directed by Anthony Minghella, starring Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Renée Zellweger, Ray Winstone, Brendan Gleeson, Natalie Portman
  • The Battle of Gettysburg (US 2008, TV) directed by Michael S. Ojeda, starring Allen Brenner, Michael L. Colosimo

Something which really surprised me when I linked the titles to the IMDb page was the fact that none of these movies has a rating which is lower than 7+. That’s quite amazing. Most movies are rated 7.5 – 8.2. Usually when I compile such lists I have quite a few with 5* ratings. Are they really all that good or were some die-hard Civil War fans voting?