13. Saving Private Ryan: I place it at the bottom of the list because frankly, after seeing it again as an adult, it doesn't really hold up as well as it did when it first came out. Sure, the scene where Capt. Miller is shell shocked is still incredibly well done, as is the whole opening but the story itself and the characters, while interesting, is just slightly above okay. Also, this movie has one of my least favorite film cliches: The token character of a minority group who is just there to be the token character of a minority group. Now, variety in your protagonists races, nationalities, religions, and sexual orientations is fine as long the character isn't just there to make a point and good God, not fall under any stereotypes of said minority groups. In this case, it was the Jewish soldier. It seemed like he was only made Jewish for that one scene where he's mocking the captured German soldiers.
12. Full Metal Jacket: R. Lee Ermey's performance is amazing. Other than that, what you see in the movie is the cold-hearted truth. It doesn't take anybody's side, Kubrick showed the training of Marines at the time and the Vietnam war for what it was. He also had you laughing at some points and then in the next second, you sit there shocked at a heart-wrenching scene, notably before Gomer Pyle kills himself and before Joker shoots the sniper. The ending part where the Marines sing the Mickey Mouse Club theme after the battle was brilliant writing. It's as if they wanted to be reminded of a more innocent time.
11. Patton: This is another movie that doesn't take sides, it just shows the absolute truth. It was a biographical film about George S. Patton and his style of command. I also love anything George C. Scott is in.
10. Grave of the Fireflies: Described by a friend of mine as one of the greatest movies you'll ever see and you'll never want to see it again. My God, this is one of the saddest movies you could ever watch and I sat through all five hours of Schindler''s List. It shows how the Japanese civilians suffered during the war yet at the same time, doesn't antagonize the Americans. I loved the tender moments between the brother and the sister and the fact that you couldn't hate the brother entirely for his pride streak. In fact, you sympathized with him. Only watch the anime though, the live action one doesn't have that same effect.
9. The Deer Hunter: This was the first psychological war movie I've ever seen. One of the hardest movies to watch.
8. Letters from Iwo Jima: Ken Watanabe is an acting god. This movie really gave him a chance to shine rather than the Last Samurai. As for the movie itself, this and its companion piece (which will be next) shows both the good and the bad of both the US Marines and the Japanese Army. That is something I like, movies that show that war isn't black and white.
7. Flags of our Fathers: I believe this to be stronger than "Letters" because it focuses more on the psychological affect of the battle and the actual flag raisers. It's funny how the Marines never intended to make a big deal of the flag raising yet it became such an iconic photo.
6. Der Untergang: Yup, the one all those Hitler parodies are based on. It shows the Hitler and the Nazis as human beings. Terrible human beings but human beings nonetheless. Hitler's rants are hilarious but on the other hand, you feel the tension in the bunker. The hardest part to watch was Magda Goebbels poisoning her children because she didn't want them to grow up in a world without National Socialism and the scene where that general grenades his own apartment, killing himself and his family.
5. Apocalypse Now: The epitome of psychological anti-war movies. It doesn't blame any side, it just focuses on the affect the Vietnam war had and could have had on our hero and villain. Martin Sheen's character could easily have become as fucking insane as Marlon Brando's.
4. Stalingrad: This was a great movie from the point of view of the Germans. It didn't show them all as brutal killers but as men doing their jobs. My favorite scene has to be when they sing "O Tannenbaum".
3. Taegukgi: For years I've waited for a movie about the Korean War that wasn't a comedy (I love MASH but I want something serious). It's about two brothers from South Korea who are drafted to fight against the North. The main focus of this movie was the older brother's devotion to his younger one and how he goes insane when he thinks his brother died and then goes on to fight for the North.
2. The Pacific: This miniseries is really more like a 10 hour film. It focuses on three Marines: John Basilone, Robert Leckie, and Eugene Sledge. You get invested in what they experience in the Pacific War and you're hooked in the battle scenes.
1. Band of Brothers: Oh my God, this one is simply amazing. Here is a miniseries (but truly is a 10 chapter film) focusing on a single unit in the European Theater of World War II. There's no main character, but I guess if I had to pick the primary protagonist, it would be Major Winters. We get to know all these guys from the training to the final scene where they play baseball and learn that the Japanese surrender and they don't need to go to the Pacific. We get to know each soldier, what makes them tick, who's friends with who, etc. I like that we get to know the soldiers as individuals rather than soldiers All in all, Band of Brothers is an absolutely perfect war story and definitely one I'll see again.