Army movies are vastly popular in Hollywood as well as World Cinema not only due to the action and thrill but because they show how humans behave in extreme conditions. Being surrounded by bullets, bombs, and men hungry to kill you can very well reveal the true nature of a person. When you have to make new friends every day because the last ones are dead, life becomes very short and your vision broad. We have garnered a list of top Army movies ever that are a must watch not only for your weekend entertainment but also for knowing about the other side of the human condition. You can watch some of these army movies on Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Prime.
15. Behind Enemy Lines (2001)
Chris, an air force navigator, has been conspiratorially left behind enemy border to cover up an unsanctioned mission. The officer in charge thought it would be better to let him die than to extract him. Contrary to everybody’s belief, Chris survives due to his intellect and sheer willpower. Wading through the horde of enemies thirsty for his blood he returns alive and well from behind the enemy lines. In this movie, Owen Wilson shows a very different and versatile role as compared to his regular funny image.
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14. Atonement (2007)
Robbie Turner (James Mcavoy) is a young and poor man, in love with his master’s daughter Cecilia (Keira Knightley). Caught red-handed during in a secluded place the younger daughter Briony (Saoirse Ronan) out of jealousy frames Robbie for her cousin’s rape. The star-crossed lovers are separated, and Robbie joins the army to redeem himself. The perils of war, the inescapable guilt of killing a total stranger, and being separate from his only love drives Robbie close to insanity as he tries to reach back to Cecilia. Wading through the dangerous terrains of France and struggling to avoid the German army on the beaches of Dunkirk, will Robbie be able to return home before the war snuffs out the flame of innocence inside him.
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13. Pearl Harbour (2001)
Based on the famous or rather infamous story of Japan bombing the Pearl Harbour in Hawaii during the Second World War, the movie focuses on three friends and how their lives are affected by this atrocity. Rafe (Ben Affleck) and Danny are childhood friends who become pilots in the U.S. Airforce. After witnessing the Pearl Harbour incident Danny and Rafe are sent on a secret mission to avenge the lost lives, leaving behind Danny’s pregnant fiancée Evelyn (Kate Beckinsale). Fighting on foreign grounds with an enemy which seems to be invisible and avoiding death at each step, Rafe must make sure that Danny returns to be the dad he never had. Battling with his affection for Evelyn will he be able to do so?
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12. A Few Good Men (1992)
Not exactly a war movie this film tells about the atrocities that are committed in the name of war. In the Guantanamo Naval base of U.S. Army, a soldier has been apparently killed by his fellow Marines for being unable to perform his duties. But when Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) gets the case, he realises there is more to the story than what meets the eye. The murder was evidently followed under the order of a man who is high up the food chain and is out of Kaffee’s reach. What will happen when the seemingly unbeatable lawyer is stuck between a cliff and a hard place. Must see for a fan of army films and courtroom dramas.
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11. Rescue Dawn (2006)
The ultimate tale of survival, Rescue Dawn is about Dieter Dengler, (Christian Bale) a U.S. Navy pilot whose plane gets shot down in Laos 1966 during a secret mission. Captured by the local guerrilla fighters, he is continuously tortured alongwith other Prisoners of War to condemn America. However, standing resolutely to accept only freedom or martyrdom Dieter makes an escape plan to be free of his tormentors. An unexpected betrayal and the onset of a chain of events makes him realize that more than his body, his soul has been held captive by the war.
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10. Black Hawk Down (2001)
Based on the best-selling book about a U.S. extraction mission that took place in October 1993, this is Black Hawk Down. Deep into the capital city of Mogadishu, a team of U.S. Army Rangers have been tasked with extracting two Somalian warlords. However, the Rangers receive more than what they bargained for when an entire army of angry and crazy Somalian shooters attack the convoy and – surprise surprise – take down two Black Hawks. A heroic effort ensues in which the U.S. Army not only completes its mission but also saves the prisoners.
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9. Enemy at the Gates (2001)
Welcome to World War II, the battle of Stalingrad. Vassili Zaitsev (Jude Law) an expert marksman and a member of Russia’s Red Army is in the dead centre of the action. He is becoming famous in Stalingrad for his stupendous shooting skills and his ability to eliminate enemy generals. To take down the mythic shooter, a master sniper Major Konig is called down by the German Army. What will Vassili do when he meets his match amidst a war that can change not only theirs but the future of the world?
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8. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Quentin Tarantino is known for his suspenseful and unpredictable cinema, bordering on the slasher genre. In this movie about the World War II, Tarantino presents a fictional account of an assassination attempt on Adolf Hiter, done by a bunch of U.S. Jew soldiers. As always, many stories are running in parallel making this a cocktail of entertainment. One of these stories is of a girl Shosanna who wants revenge for her family from a German Colonel and is planning a murder of her own. What follows is a funny, enriching, and enticing plot which not only touches upon the themes of war but also shows how humans change their tac in the face of grave danger, however loyal they might be to the current regime.
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7. The Imitation Game (2014)
Starring Academy Award-nominated Benedict Cumberbatch and Kiera Knightley, The Imitation game tells the fabulous yet sorrowful story of World War II and the man who won it for the Allied Forces. A master mathematician and scientist Alan Turing is considered to be the father of computer science, who devised the concepts of artificial intelligence and machine learning long before anyone else. The movie tells how a handful of scientists including Alan Turing broke the famed Enigma code of the Germans and the problems that they faced while doing so. Most importantly how the British government repaid Alan Turing for his patriotism.
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6. Fury (2014)
Rather than focusing on the broader effects of war, Fury concentrates on a petty tank regiment consisting of five people who have been given the assignment to hold the enemy. Seeming a routine task in Nazi Germany, the crew of the tank ‘Fury’ tries to live with the terrors of war while surviving the endless attack from Germans. Wardaddy (Brad Pitt) a battle-hardened commander and his three mates give the new recruit Norman (Logan Learman), a lesson about life in the army and how to survive it. The question is with every third person trying to kill them will they survive the all-pervasive ordeals of the human condition, while the lesson goes on?
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5. Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
From Mel Gibson, comes the Oscar-nominated Hacksaw Ridge; an unforgettable true story of Private Desmond T. Doss (Andrew Garfield) who won the Medal of Honour in World War II without firing a single shot. Yes, you read that right. Despite being ridiculed and ostracised by his fellow mates and the military leadership for being a conscientious objector, Desmond stood by his promise to never touch a weapon. Wha his entire regiment though to be a weakness turned out to be his greatest strength when he saved 75 people in the Battle of Okinawa without ever holding a weapon. The fabulous and inspiring story of Desmond Doss has been portrayed on the silver screen by Andrew Garfield with excellence.
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4. American Sniper (2014)
The epic story of Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper), the famous American Sniper who has the highest confirmed kills in U.S. Military history. Based on his real-life, it tells about how a simple man became a legend by just following his instincts and doing what he knew best: killing. The movie turns the table and speaks about how it feels when our soldiers come home; unable to face the country and loved ones they are saving out there. Battling the enemy on the battlefield is comparatively easy for these warriors as compared to facing their families back home. A brilliant war movie with a message that shakes you to the core.
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3. The Hurt Locker (2008)
Sergeant William James (Jeremy Renner) is a bomb disposal expert in the U.S. Army. When James is instructed to train the bomb disposal unit stationed in Baghdad during the Iraq War, his new team realises that they may be serving under a maniac. With a reckless behaviour and unorthodox approach when it comes to dealing with life-threatening situations, he seems intent on putting everyone in jeopardy. The lack of faith in James’ ability slowly decreases as his team comes to know the reason for him being so careless and daring in his approach towards death and his utter disregard for his mortality.
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2. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks), a teacher-turned-soldier and his team are assigned to a covert and crucial task during the Normandy Invasion of World War II. When the army realises that three brothers of a certain Private Ryan (Matt Damon) have been ‘Killed in Action’, they decide to pull out Ryan from the battlefield safe and sound so that her mother can at least have her one son back. In this jest of Saving Private Ryan, John and his team deal with the horrors of war all the while facing their personal demons. In a soul-shattering fight, these people who have been instructed to save just one person where millions have perished, they constantly struggle to believe if it’s all worth it.
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1. Dunkirk (2017)
Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece brings you the reality of saving thousands of British soldiers from the beach of Dunkirk during the Great War with Germany. Stuck on a beach few miles away from bloodthirsty German forces, British and French troops are awaiting an extraction that might not come. Amidst the frenzy, three stories are running in parallel. Two soldiers trying to survive against all the odds, three ordinary seamen on the orders of British navy going to save the British troops from Dunkirk, and a Navy pilot fighting against a ghost plane trying his best to thwart the enemy’s plans to sink their forces. Who will win in this dark battle between evil and humanity?
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