That said, please understand that Gallipoli will not tug at your heart: It will flat out break it. A group of young men from rural Australia enlist in the Army during WWI and are sent to the Gallipoli peninsula in present-day Turkey to participate in the campaign that culminates in the tragic Battle of the Nek in This is a story about idealistic young men-primarily Archie Hamilton Mike Lee and Frank Dunne Mel Gibson losing their innocence about the real meanings and purposes of war. In this film that emotional investment cruelly underlines the devastation of war. All the while, the more interesting rivalry is happening within the American sub, where Richardson has to contend with his ambitious younger XO Bledsoe Burt Lancaster , in a reflection of the very real discord between fading star Gable and Lancaster.
Off-screen struggle proved grimly advantageous: Gable, then a chronic alcoholic, delivers a suitably exhausted performance as the obsessed Richardson, while the clash of egos between Gable and Lancaster seeps into the power balance enmity between their characters. Hell in the Pacific Director: John Boorman. Amidst the borderline schlocky battle scenes and Middle-Eastern politics, Scott and screenwriter William Monahan ask big questions about faith, class and destiny that somehow strongly resonate some plus years on from when their story takes place.
While it dawns on the two half-cocked nomads just what kind of horror has engulfed the country and to what extent the U.
And still, Boyle wanders the increasingly war-scarred country, like Max von Sydow in The Seventh Seal , finding nothing but pain and violence bereft of meaning, but committed to a duty: to capture what was going on, or simply to satisfy the same degree of American-bred ego that Stone was condemning in trying to witness such atrocities at all. Those conflagrations are the result of a conflict between government and revolutionary forces, the specifics of which the film, like its precise locale, leaves more or less vague.
For the French-speaking portion of the film, there is an espionage mini-thriller and a thunderous Commando assault on a seaside town. And for the German-speaking segments, a surprisingly even-handed and occasionally even lighthearted portrayal of ill-prepared officers, out-of-their-depth Luftwaffe and the ordinary soldiers who from that point on would be forever in retreat. Kanal Director: Andrzej Wajda. Aware of their slim chances of survival with the German army tightening its grip all the time, the remaining men and women of Lt. But the confusion and strange terror down there, in the foul winding tunnels of an underground maze of waste, make them a pitiful few last hours.
Based on the true story of one escalating firefight—that which emerged when the American plan to capture warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid in went awry— Black Hawk Down allows Scott to focus in beautifully rendered detail on what happens when the cold, regimented modern military machine of the West meets a multitudinous foreign enemy on home turf. In this film, the schoolboys of a rural Bavarian town curse school, interact awkwardly with girls, learn from inspiring teachers, and fantasize about killing for the Fatherland. The Guns of Navarone Director: J. Lee Thompson. Guess what? The Train Director: John Frankenheimer.
Men in War Director: Anthony Mann. Men in War is a peculiar amalgam: part action movie, part psychological thriller and part existential odyssey. Benson Robert Ryan and his platoon make to take a hill deep in North Korean territory. MASH is a still-effective example of a film that finds humor in some of the least expected places, making us laugh in order to not cry. Battleground Director: William Wellman.
Plenty of WWII films made during the war and in the immediate post-war period were, if not nakedly propagandistic, then at least psychologically simplistic, artificial and lopsidedly patriotic. The equipment and uniforms look worn. There are no major stars to confuse the audience into thinking that any of the characters are individually heroic or special. In this movie, hot food is the real victory, and a man is as likely to be killed reaching for his boots in a firefight as he is making a glorious run against the enemy.
The pointlessness of man murdering his fellow man is noted in a whimper of a finale, a melancholic stroke that caps off one of the more entertaining men-on-a-mission movies. The Dam Busters belongs to a class of British film that no longer exists—straitlaced yet charming, formal yet with bursts of cinematic invention, epic in scope yet intimately felt. The Ascent Director: Larisa Shepitko. Down to the bones, it moves and enraptures. The kind of movie that lazy weekends are made of, Where Eagles Dare -concerning a crack team of Allied troops, disguised as German soldiers and tasked with rescuing a U.
Schaffer mows through a ceaseless line of Nazis with a pair of submachine guns. Waltz with Bashir Director: Ari Folman. Downfall Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel. Black Book Director: Paul Verhoeven. Leave it to Paul Verhoeven to puncture standard good-versus-evil sanctimonies during wartime, and to do it in as vulgar and trashy a manner as possible. Not that his epic Black Book is another Showgirls.
With its irreverent tone and populist idiom, this would have fit quite nicely in mainstream U. Underneath its unabashedly crowd-pleasing surface, however, is a dark vision of the moral complexities World War II brought out on both sides. It has the eye for detail and human drama of a former journalist; the tough economy of an ex-pulp novelist; the casual ingenuity and resourcefulness of a B filmmaker of more than 30 years; and the been-there verisimilitude of a decorated WWII veteran. William James Jeremy Renner , a devil-may-care maverick who not only has a knack for disarming bombs, but loves doing it to a reckless degree.
When, in its quiet epilogue, James finds himself immediately bored by suburban life and itches to return to the adrenalized theater of war, after nearly two hours of relentless nerve-wracking tension, we in the audience feel the same sense of stagnation he does. In The Hurt Locker , Bigelow makes us understand that perspective in the most visceral way possible, to truly revelatory effect. It was the most unusual of creative marriages: Steven Spielberg , then best known as a director of family fare, and J. Ballard, controversial author of macabre social horror novels. Absent judgmental parents and teachers, prison is a place for an imaginative young boy to run wild.
Sneaking into the neighboring Japanese airfield is a game of hide and seek, while the flash of the atomic bomb is the soul of a fellow prisoner ascending up to heaven. This band of POWs work together as a film ensemble as well as they work together to execute their impossible escape-each character bringing a different skill set and a different viewpoint to an effort that can only succeed if they all accept their differences and work together.
Despite its laconic pacing in the first half which one could argue is a thematic underscoring of the frustrating and frightening suspension of being a POW, only diffused and channeled into action when they see a potential path to freedom , it remains a masterpiece of the action genre. It was also the film that put Steve McQueen on the map. Ngor are making names for themselves bagging scoops on the overspill of the Vietnam War into Cambodia, until Viet Cong offshoot the Khmer Rouge takes control of Cambodia and Sydney flees, leaving the native Pran trapped behind.
What follows—a systematic slaughter that claimed a quarter of the Cambodian population—is shockingly depicted, with the level of human cruelty and like totalitarianism on display lending the film an unreal, almost dystopian science fiction vibe. But does it qualify as a war movie?
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Cross of Iron Director: Sam Peckinpah. What pity that Sam Peckinpah made just one war movie proper in his lifetime. This explorer of masculinity, fascinated by male camaraderie and by gunplay, obsessed with mortality and the concept of heroism, always seemed a perfect fit for the genre. The crushing absurdity of war has hardly been better summarized on film. Three Kings Director: David O. Three Kings is a war movie which, as it goes along, attempts to figure out what a war movie even is anymore. Set at the butt-end of the Gulf War, the film begins as an odd bacchanalia of boredom, contorting through a handful of genres and Desert Storm misadventures to arrive, inevitably, at the conclusion that Oh, Yeah, Actually Turns Out War Is Never Boring.
Director David O. So, as four soldiers George Clooney , Mark Wahlberg, Spike Jonze and Ice Cube embark on a Kuwaiti gold heist based on information found within an ass map, Russell explores what the responsibilities of these men could be when their only responsibilities—occupying, defending and killing—are no longer all that urgent. Patton Director: Franklin J. Watching Patton , Franklin J. Patton is a war movie, make no mistake, but it uses the war movie blueprint for housing a character study of its protagonist. The results, almost half a century later, remain completely singular in the genre.
Ice Cold in Alex Director: J. Overcoming the natural coolness of the monochrome image, the fierce heat of the desert is felt in its every frame, of bright sand-paved landscapes and sweating bodies. In its final minutes, this thriller reveals itself as a touching ode to friendship, as our unremarkable heroes sink their ice cold lagers in a long-awaited moment of release, and one of their number is forgiven in a rebuke to military protocol—another minor, humanist gesture which Thompson somehow manages to make massive.
The film takes great pleasure in old ways: it luxuriates in the myths and salty humor of Georgian mariners, gets swept up in the pre-WWI mentality of war as a flag-waving lark and, in a brief excursion to the Galapagos Islands, pines for the days of analog exploration. A match this good deserved a sequel, but the one movie we got is good enough to savor.
Fires on the Plain Director: Kon Ichikawa. A platoon of Japanese soldiers clamber over each other in the night like bugs, lit up by the enemy tanks about to decimate them; a dying soldier hungrily eats a handful of mud. Almost everything, from the dread-heavy score to the frighteningly dazed performance by Funakoshi the actor reportedly ate so little in preparation that filming halted for two months while he recovered , tells us to abandon this savage epic.
Yet its perverse beauty is hard to turn away from.
Though fictional, the work is based on the construction of the Burma Railway in , and was filmed on location in Sri Lanka then Ceylon. The ranking British officer, Lt. Colonel Nicholson Guinness is so by-the-book that he philosophizes about whether his men have a duty to try to escape, and nearly starves to death in a stand-down with Saito over adherence to the Geneva Convention.
Complicating the mix is American Navy Commander Shears Holden , a cynic who thinks Nicholson is insane for his dogged dedication to the rules in a clearly lawless situation.
Shears escapes, only to find himself recruited by a British commando unit charged with detonating the bridge. The production ruffled a lot of feathers—the British resented their depiction in the film and many deemed it anti-British Alec Guinness included. Japanese critics resented the implication that they were incompetent engineers.
David Lean frequently clashed with his British cast members, especially Guinness. At one point Lean fell into the river and narrowly escaped drowning. Decades before Apocalypse Now , this was a war film that was beset with onion-layers of internal battle. The film remains one of the most enduring WWII films largely because it takes a layered and sympathetic look at what constitutes courage, duty and the human survival instinct, which can take a multitude of forms.
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Ah, The Deer Hunter , a movie of grand ambition and messy politics, one that critics exalt for its thoughtful depiction of working class Pennsylvanians while in the same breath condemning it for its racist one-sidedness and ponderous ambiguity. But the scenes that bookend that horror are the ones that earn it a place on this list, and ground its most ghoulish and surreal sequences in the real sense of despondency that threatened to drown many communities in the wake of the war.
All Quiet on the Western Front is ferocious, a Pre-Code deglamorization of war that, some nine decades ago, arguably made the final point on the profound horror of the trenches. Just out of the silent age, Milestone made a noise that can still be heard loud and clear. Despite its overwhelming scale, the economy of Saving Private Ryan is an astounding accomplishment of storytelling. Being forced to kill another human will collapse their soul.
An orphan whose family was executed by the Germans, a former Partisan and now a scout for the Soviet army, Ivan is coddled by the other soldiers in his unit, but they hope to nurture innocence in a child already made preternaturally old by war. Beguiling long takes force us to ponder the trees, the water, the swamps between the German and Soviet outposts, always rained on by flares in the night. No other war film looks and feels like this.
No other war film ever will. Das Boot Director: Wolfgang Petersen. Or, if you have the time, you can see it in its original uncut form, or as a five-hour miniseries. But in any version, Das Boot is the finest submarine movie in all of cinema. We the audience spend the days down there in the depths with the crew, stalking enemy vessels and tensing up under hull-busting pressure, petrified at the sound of approaching depth charges, elated at successfully escaping through into safe waters.
The film is as subdued as the phantom-like men and women fighting for reclamation of their land, visually as murky as the actions perpetrated by either side of the fight. You can boil down Platoon to a single iconic image: Willem Dafoe, hands and arms held aloft as Vietnamese soldiers gun him down, his fellow infantrymen the sole audience to his grim and lonesome demise on the ground. Is he making an act of supplication in his final moments?
Is he submitting to death itself? Or is his gesture meant to be interpreted as an acknowledgment of his helplessness, a pantomime outcry at his betrayal and abandonment? No matter how many times this scene plays out, its subtexts remain open to interpretation. Just a decade on from the first talkie, Renoir made what today appears a strikingly modern film: naturalistic performances and dialogue, smooth camera movements and, most importantly, complex character dynamics.
Every character in the film, through desperate circumstance, becomes allied with another from a walk of life they otherwise would never traverse. Most interesting is the relationship between the aristocratic de Boeldieu Pierre Fresnay and von Rauffenstein Erich von Stroheim : they are French and German, prisoner and warden, but, as if two rare creatures forced to occupy the same cage, a friendship forms through mutual recognition that they may be among the last of their kind.
The Grand Illusion kills with kindness—it fulfills its duty as an anti-war flick not by showing battlefield horrors, but simply by asking: how can we be enemies when we have so much in common? All this death, and after 90 minutes, not a lesson learned. Surely the most remarkable film ever to take inspiration from a tabloid comic strip, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp is a war movie that spans three wars yet never actually shows any combat, about two career military men on opposite sides who somehow remain lifelong friends.
Colonel Blimp is many things. Few films have ever tried to say and be so much, and succeeded in saying and doing it all with such panache, lightness and wit. Come and See Director: Elem Klimov. Visit Angkor Thom the Great City beginning by the south gate and the famous Bayon of the 12th and 13th centuries, dedicated to Buddhism and composed of 54 gigantic towers featuring smiling faces of Avalokitesvara. Then visit the Elephant Terrace and the raised Leper King Terrace, built in the 12th century, which features many beautifully sculptured Apsaras.
Transfer back to the hotel and spend the rest of the day free at your leisure. This evening, gather one final time for a farewell dinner at one of the finest restaurants in Siem Reap. Spend your last few hours by the hotel pool, or wander around Siem Reap until being transferred to the airport for your departure flight. Your room in Siem Reap is at your disposal until noon. Prefer to travel as a private group or on a different date?
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