Liked War Dogs? Then Check Out These 10 Similar Films

War Dogs‘ is a gripping comedy-drama directed by Todd Phillips, known for his work on ‘The Hangover‘ trilogy. Based on a true story, the film follows the unlikely rise of two ambitious young men, David Packouz and Efraim Diveroli, who exploit a little-known government initiative to bid on military contracts during the Iraq War.

Starring Jonah Hill and Miles Teller as the dynamic duo, the movie offers a compelling blend of humor, drama, and suspense as it explores the moral complexities of profiteering from war. With its fast-paced narrative and standout performances, ‘War Dogs’ sheds light on the underbelly of the military-industrial complex and the allure/façade of the American Dream. If you crave more rags to riches stories where the methods involved weren’t exactly legal or ethical, have a look at these 10 films like ‘War Dogs.’

10. Gold (2016)

Directed by Stephen Gaghan, ‘Gold’ is a catchy adventure-drama that parallels the themes of ambition and greed depicted in ‘War Dogs.’ Inspired by true events, the film follows Kenny Wells (Matthew McConaughey), a struggling businessman who teams up with a geologist (Edgar Ramirez) to search for gold in the uncharted jungles of Indonesia. As they encounter both fortune and peril, their partnership is tested by betrayal and the allure of wealth. With its riveting storyline and stellar performances, ‘Gold’ delves into the complexities of the pursuit of wealth and the consequences of unchecked ambition, resonating with the moral ambiguity explored in ‘War Dogs.’

9. The Last Thing He Wanted (2020)

In ‘The Last Thing He Wanted,’ directed by Dee Rees, the narrative unfolds with a tale of intrigue and betrayal, presenting a departure from the themes of ‘War Dogs.’ Adapted from Joan Didion’s novel, the film follows journalist Elena McMahon (Anne Hathaway) as she becomes embroiled in an unexpected conspiracy while investigating the Iran-Contra affair. With its suspenseful plot and atmospheric cinematography, ‘The Last Thing He Wanted‘ taps into themes of political corruption and personal sacrifice, offering an eye-opening exploration of power and morality. Though distinct in its subject matter, the film shares with ‘War Dogs, ‘ a raw portrayal of individuals floating the murky waters of ambition and moral compromise.

8. Blow (2001)

‘Blow,’ directed by Ted Demme, ventures into the gritty world of drug trafficking, providing a stark contrast to the themes explored in ‘War Dogs.’ Based on the true story of George Jung (Johnny Depp), the film chronicles Jung’s rise to become one of the most notorious cocaine smugglers in American history. The story revolves around themes of addiction, crime, and the allure of easy money, making ‘Blow’ a harrowing depiction of the consequences of pursuing wealth through illicit means. Despite its darker tone, the film shares with ‘War Dogs’ a fascination with the addiction of ambition and the moral compromises made in the pursuit of success.

7. Jackie Brown (1997)

In Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Jackie Brown,’ the narrative unfolds with a stylish blend of crime and drama, offering a departure from the themes explored in ‘War Dogs.’ Starring Pam Grier in the titular role of Jackie, the film follows the eponymous flight attendant who becomes embroiled in a complex plot involving smuggling money for a gunrunner and the ATF. With its sharp dialogue, nonlinear storytelling, and richly drawn characters, ‘Jackie Brown’ immerses viewers in a world of deception, betrayal, and unexpected alliances. While distinct in its genre and tone, the film shares with ‘War Dogs’ a fascination with the layers of criminal enterprise and the moral greyness inherent in pursuing wealth and power.

6. Lethal Weapon 3 (1992)

‘Lethal Weapon 3’ shares thematic similarities with ‘War Dogs,’ particularly in its exploration of the complications of partnership amidst high-stakes action. Directed by Richard Donner, the film follows the iconic duo of Riggs and Murtaugh (Mel Gibson and Danny Glover) as they tread the dangerous world of law enforcement in Los Angeles. Like the protagonists in ‘War Dogs,’ Riggs and Murtaugh must confront moral dilemmas and navigate the blurred lines between right and wrong while combating crime. Brimming with adrenaline-fueled action, buddy cop dynamics, and moments of levity, ‘Lethal Weapon 3’ resonates with fans of ‘War Dogs’ who appreciate thrilling narratives grounded in the web of human relationships and moral ambiguity.

5. White Boy Rick (2018)

In ‘White Boy Rick,’ directed by Yann Demange, thematic parallels with ‘War Dogs’ emerge through the lens of crime and ambition. Set in 1980s Detroit, the film tells the true story of Richard Wershe Jr. (Richie Merritt), a teenager who becomes an undercover informant for the FBI and eventually a notorious drug dealer. Injecting a gritty portrayal of the criminal underworld and the allure of wealth, ‘White Boy Rick’ is all about falling prey to the dark side of ambition and moral compromise. Through Richard’s journey, the film offers an eye-opening exploration of the consequences of pursuing success through illicit means, resonating with the themes of ambition and moral ambiguity depicted in ‘War Dogs.’

4. American Made (2017)

In ‘American Made,’ directed by Doug Liman, thematic parallels with ‘War Dogs’ emerge through the lens of illicit enterprise and moral ambiguity. Starring Tom Cruise as Barry Seal, the film is based on the true story of a pilot turned drug smuggler who becomes involved with both the CIA and the Medellín Cartel. As Seal juggles the dangerous world of drug trafficking and government intrigue, the film looks into the monovalent side of ambition and the blurred lines between right and wrong. ‘American Made’ paints a vivid picture of the repercussions of pursuing wealth and influence through unlawful channels, drawing thematic parallels with ‘War Dogs.’

3. Pain & Gain (2013)

In ‘Pain & Gain,’ directed by Michael Bay, the story bursts onto the screen with all the intensity of a high-octane action flick. With Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson leading the cast, the film follows a group of bodybuilders who embark on a scheme to achieve the American Dream through a series of violent and increasingly absurd crimes. As their ambitions spiral out of control, ‘Pain & Gain’ explores the dark underbelly of the pursuit of success and the lengths some will go to in order to achieve it.

With Bay’s trademark explosive style and the charismatic performances of its leads, the film draws in audiences with its murky portrayal of ambition, greed, and the consequences of unchecked desire. In this adrenaline-fueled rollercoaster ride, ‘Pain & Gain’ mirrors the themes of ambition and moral ambiguity depicted in ‘War Dogs,’ making it a great pick for fans of intense, character-driven narratives.

2. Lord of War (2005)

In ‘Lord of War,’ directed by Andrew Niccol, the screen lights up with the glint of metal and the whispers of intrigue as Nicolas Cage leads an ensemble cast in a riveting tale of arms dealing. This cinematic gem dances along the razor’s edge of morality, drawing close parallels to the enthralling narrative of ‘War Dogs.’ As Cage’s character Yuri Orlov, treads the treacherous world of international arms trafficking, audiences are treated to a thrilling spectacle of ambition, betrayal, and the relentless pursuit of power. With its gritty realism and unflinching portrayal of the human cost of war, ‘Lord of War’ stands as a testament to the lengths individuals will go to for fortune and fame. In its raw depiction of the darker side of the American Dream, ‘Lord of War’ offers a great companion piece to the themes explored in ‘War Dogs.’

1. Deal of the Century (1983)

‘Deal of the Century’ is a satirical comedy film directed by William Friedkin, known for his work on ‘The French Connection’ and ‘The Exorcist.’ The movie stars Chevy Chase, Sigourney Weaver, and Gregory Hines, all giving standout performances. Set during the Cold War era, the plot revolves around a slick arms dealer who finds himself caught up in a web of international intrigue when he tries to sell a revolutionary new weapon system to both sides of the conflict.

For fans of ‘War Dogs,’ ‘Deal of the Century’ offers a similar exploration of the morally ambiguous world of arms dealing, albeit with a comedic twist. Both films dive headfirst into the murky waters of international arms trade, highlighting the risks and consequences of chasing wealth and power through illicit means. With its witty satire and sharp humor, ‘Deal of the Century’ provides an entertaining and mind-boggling take on the themes of ambition, greed, and moral compromise, making it a must-watch for fans of ‘War Dogs’ seeking another glimpse into the world of high-stakes deals and dangerous alliances.

Read More: Is War Dogs Based on a True Story?