The Movieforums Top 100 War Movies Countdown

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I'm GLAD to see Dr. Strangelove make it. A personal favorite but one I didn't include. I figured it would be on here but I didn't go with as I (sort of) stuck with movies that do have actual combat in them (except for one comedy/drama that I'm pretty sure won't make it).

#2 Platoon "Barnes been shot seven times and he ain't dead. Does that mean anything to you, huh? Barnes ain't meant to die. The only thing that can kill Barnes is Barnes." #16
#4 1917 "Look, its just a bit of bloody tin. It doesn't make you special. It doesn't make any difference to anyone." #31
#5 Saving Private Ryan "I just know that every man I kill the farther away from home I feel." #8
#6 Das Boot "They're drinking at the bar, celebrating our sinking! Not yet, my friends. Not yet!" #9
#7 The Longest Day "In this darkest hour, in the gloom of night, we must not despair. For each of us, deliverance is coming!" #36
#8 Hacksaw Ridge "Please Lord, help me get one more. Help me get one more." #67
#9 We Were Soliders "If any of you sons of bitches calls me grandpa, I'll kill you." #104 DNP
#10 The Hurt Locker "The rush of battle is often a potent and lethal addiction, for war is a drug."#58
#11 Full Metal Jacket "You best unf*** yourself or I will unscrew your head and s### down your NECK!" #7
#12 Dunkirk "Seeing home doesn't help us get there, Captain." #47
#15 Patton "Rommel, you magnificent bastard, I read your book!" #28
#17 The Best Years of Our Lives “I had a dream. I dreamt I was home. I've had that same dream hundreds of times before. This time, I wanted to find out if it's really true. Am I really home?” #21
#18 The Dirty Dozen "Killin' generals could get to be a habit with me." #32
#20 The Steel Helmet "First we'll eat; then we'll bury 'em," DNP
#21 Tora! Tora! Tora! "It looks good on paper, but for God's sake... that's not a paper fleet sitting out there." #63
#23 The Deer Hunter "Stanley, see this? This is this. This ain't something else. This is this. From now on, you're on your own." #25
"Miss Jean Louise, Mr. Arthur Radley."

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Yep, that's my #2. Dr. Strangelove (1964)

And yes, I do agree it is not a war movie, that's why I downgraded it from #1 to # 2 on my list. During the preliminary discussions, I saw that this film will be in rotation so I've decided to give it a max help. Moreover, my avatar insists it.

Discovered Dr. Strangelove in the late 00's and I've seen it about 10 times since then. Can't stop watching some scenes over and over again. It presents absolute perfection in acting, cinematography and lines.
No doubt Peter Sellers is great here but I'm so much into this mostly because of George C. Scott and Sterling Hayden, both even greater.



My Ballot

1. Empire of the Sun (1987) [#40]
2. Dr. Strangelove (1964) [#6]
3. The Pianist (2002) [#23]
5. Underground (1995) [#43]
6. The Deer Hunter (1978) [#25]
8. Ivan's Childhood (1962) [#56]
9. Platoon (1986) [#16]
10. The Great Dictator (1940) [#22]
11. The Thin Red Line (1998) [#17]
13. Ice Cold In Alex (1958) [#119]
14. Enemy at the Gates (2001) [#88]
15. The Hill (1965) [#94]
18. The Hurt Locker (2008) [#58]
20. Hair (1979) [DNP]
21. Saving Private Ryan (1998) [#8]
22. Catch-22 (1970) [#116]
24. Black Book (2006) [DNP]
25. The Book Thief (2013) [DNP]

"Population don't imitate art, population imitate bad television." W.A.
"You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." M.T.

I'm not sure what to make of that? Are you saying of course it's a war film because the cold war was real? Or should I read your post at face value? Honestly asking as I'm not sure how to parse that?
What I mean is: While the Cold War was essentially just a series of tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, Dr. Strangelove counts as a war film as it paints a picture where the tensions actually did erupt into violence.

Full Metal Jacket was my #1.
Dr. Strangelove didn't make my ballot because it seemed questionable as a war film, especially with Kubrick having three others (two masterpieces, one unintentionally comical schlock - that I kind of still enjoyed) - and just also, there was already a good amount of Kubrick representation on my ballot. And I think there's the element of, "it feels like a movie about what happens if our current political tensions explode," rather than an actual war, which maybe I would have made room for if I didn't have another Kubrick on my ballot.

Great movies, that are what I think of when I think of "war movies", I went over every other consideration to see if there was anything I'd consider putting above this, and the only non-documentary, fictional narrative movies would have been parts of The Human Condition trilogy, and honestly I like FMJ more (though I did have to think about it).

I think it was in conversation with Spielberg where Kubrick once said, "I'd like to make a movie about war does to people."
- "But you've already made Paths of Glory."
- "That was an anti-war film. I'd like to make a movie about war does to people."

Maybe that's apocryphal, but I do see in FMJ Kubrick wrestling with what causes people to kill other people. An interest that carried over from his interest in the Holocaust, and in the training camp sequence you see the socialization process of forming a group of people around the concept of us (and what happens to those who don't fit into that group), and the Vietnam segments a sequence of the other, that the "us" is okay with killing. One that goes along the line of being able to shoot at from far away, to gradually coming closer and closer, until the character is more than ready to shoot the enemy in the face. Both play out a good deal like the very "not actually sociology introductory classes briefly covering socialization" (so I don't know how social-psychology courses would cover the subjects) that I remember getting back in college. And it's kind of why I love the movie. I think one difference between this and say, The Human Condition Road to Eternity, is Kubrick was really interested in the social dynamics at play, and the Road to Eternity felt like a man wrestling with why the social structure from the Japanese army was so messed up. One whose conclusions flatly state, "the army is the real enemy." I can understand why one's mileage may vary on which they prefer (and which style).

After watching FMJ so many times, I can find weaknesses in the film (which was why I did checklist of other movies I might place over it. And looking at my ballot now, only one other non-documentary made it over any Human Condition entries on my ballot and that was the bottom one), but that "first half vs second half" division isn't really it. When I hear that complaint, I think it's a phenomenon of two things, one of which is R. Lee Ermey has a magnetic presence that is lost in the second half, and, possibly, the recipient of the damage of the "us" group are unnamed people offscreen, where-as in the first half, you directly see Pyle.

Just my two cents.

What I mean is: While the Cold War was essentially just a series of tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, Dr. Strangelove counts as a war film as it paints a picture where the tensions actually did erupt into violence.
Ah, I see thanks. BTW have you ever seen Fail Safe? One of my favorite Cold War films that erupts literally into a really bad situation.

Dr. Strangelove was my #10. It's a film that I liked on first viewing, but didn't really click with me. However, it kinda stuck in the back of my mind, so I've gone and rewatched it a couple of times and it has grown on me a lot. It is currently my #5 favorite Kubrick and I would say one of my favorite comedies overall. Here is my full review, but here's also a brief excerpt of it:

"The film is so pointedly funny and sharp in its critique, without losing the focus of what it is. The way that Kubrick manages to satirize and make fun of the incompetence of both sides is masterful, and the film is full of quotable lines."
What makes the film for me is George C. Scott. I think he is hilarious on his own, but to add the backstory of how Kubrick pulled that performance off of him just makes it all the more hilarious So glad it made it Top 10.

Seen: 47/95
Ballot: 17/25

My ballot:  
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Ah, I see thanks. BTW have you ever seen Fail Safe? One of my favorite Cold War films that erupts literally into a really bad situation.
Not yet, but I'll keep an eye out for it.

Women will be your undoing, Pépé

6. Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
Beneath the comedy, which is very spot on, it is played with a seriousness that creates comedy out of a dark place with incredible design and innovation. Like with so many of his films, Kubrick should be applauded for that creative talent and insight. Even more so for doing it at such a precarious time of history as well as remaining equally poignant over fifty years later.

My #25 Missing In Action:

Shoulders Arms (1918)

Born and bred with this delightful man, I have only seen one pre-Tramp character. A top-hat-wearing rich man, drunk, and here is almost a pre-birth to the Tramp in manner and demeanor. So, very, VERY delighted to see this one. I loved the flooded barracks bit. The opening drilling made me think of Abbott & Costello's scene in Buck Privates. Great little short and a wonderful discovery.
This was TOOO delightful NOT to put as my One Pointer, and I was even more delighted that one other person, or more thought so too. yay

Countdown List Watched 53 out of 95 (55.78%)
1. The Great Escape (1963) (#28)
2. Rome, Open City aka Roma città aperta (1945) (1945) (#37)
3. Stalag 17 (1953) (#35)
4. All Quiet on the Western Front (2022) (#66)
5. Patton (1970) (#28)
6. Grave of Fireflies (1988) (#12)
7. MIA
8. MIA
9. l'armee des ombres aka Army of Shadows (1969) (#29)
11. M*A*S*H (1970) (#39)
12. The Dirty Dozen (1967) (#32)
13. Glory (1989)) (#38)
14. Johnny Got His Gun (1971) (#97)
15. Platoon (1986) (#16)
17. Braveheart (1995) (#25)
18. MIA
19. Saving Private Ryan (1988) (#8)
20. Downfall (2004) (#13)
21. Das Boot aka The Boat (1981) (#9)
22. 1917 (2019) (#31)
23. Mrs. Miniver (1942) (#85)
24. MIA
25. Shoulders Arms (1918) (MIA)

One-Pointers Watched 5 out of 24 (20.83%)
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~Mr Minio

I forgot the opening line.
6. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb - My streak has ended. A lot of the reason I didn't include Dr. Strangelove on my ballot is that I see it more as a comedy than a war film, although it's certainly the latter as well, and I knew it would show up on this countdown. Peter Sellers is a legend, and became one of the very rare actors that shone so brightly in a Stanley Kubrick film (Lolita) that he returned to play multiple roles in his next film. How funny is he here? Eternally. Age hasn't done anything to fade just how infectious his various characters are in a comedic sense - Lionel Mandrake, President Muffley and Dr. Strangelove. Muffley's conversation on the phone with the Russian Premier is one of the funniest scenes in film history. Improvised, and his very own. George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden and Slim Pickens all play perfectly measured straight parts that accentuate the finely tuned comedy. I've seen this a few times, and find it a curious combination of something horrifying but awfully funny.

Seen : 73/95
I'd never even heard of :12/95
Movies that had been on my radar, but I haven't seen yet : 10/95

Since I won't get many chances with the films remaining, I may as well unveil my #25, which was an ill-directed attempt at a 1-pointer. I chose 2015 film Eye in the Sky, because of it's interesting focus on ultra-modern warfare. Drones of all sorts survey the action in Nairobi, Kenya which is being surveyed and acted upon by military personnel in the U.K. (Norwood and another undisclosed location), and the U.S.A. (Nevada and Pearl Harbor). The fact that warplanes are flown so remotely, and the action watched and guided in locations so far away, creates an interesting sense of both distance and close proximity. Taken into account is the issue of civilian casualties, and how much pressure is brought to bear when it comes to acting despite the fact that innocents (including children) might die. I was fascinated with the various ways today's technology have changed the battlefield, and the various moral questions which arise when many eyes - civilian and military - are attuned to the front lines. Someone else had this on their ballot, so I wasn't as alone as I thought I'd be highlighting this war film.

My ballot so far :

2. The Ascent (1977) - #33
3. Schindler's List (1993) - #11
4. The Human Condition III: A Soldier's Prayer (1961) - #34
6. The Boat (1981) - #9
7. The Human Condition II: Road to Eternity (1959) - #51
8. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) - #10
9. Grave of the Fireflies (1988) - #12
10. Saving Private Ryan (1998) - #8
11. The Thin Red Line (1998) - #17
12. Downfall (2004) - #13
14. The Caine Mutiny (1954) - #70
15. The Human Condition I: No Greater Love (1959) - #27
16. Shoah (1985) - #74
17. The Cranes are Flying (1957) - #20
18. Full Metal Jacket (1987) - #7
19. The Big Red One (1980) - DNP
20. 1917 (2019) - #31
21. Inglourious Basterds (2009) - #15
23. Glory (1989) - #38
24. The Guns of Navarone (1961) - #49
25. Eye in the Sky (2015) - DNP
My movie ratings often go up or down a point or two after more reflection, research and rewatches.

This is the fifth MoFo List for Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. It was #27 on the original MoFo Top 100, #12 on the MoFo Top 100 Reboot, #4 on the MoFo Top 100 of the 1960s, and #2 on the MoFo Top 100 Comedies.
"Film is a disease. When it infects your bloodstream it takes over as the number one hormone. It bosses the enzymes, directs the pineal gland, plays Iago to your psyche. As with heroin, the antidote to Film is more Film." - Frank Capra

Unsurprisingly Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb was on my ballot. In the second position, twenty-four of its 430 points. Don't think I have to say much about one of the greatest films ever made. But I will weigh in on the "War Movie" thing. It is clear many people - not just MoFos, but in general - think War Movie means a) soldiers and officers in combat and b) in an identifiable and named conflict. That's a pretty narrow and uninspired definition, but that's the way some folks roll their tanks. In the case of Strangelove of course there is combat in it, both the defense/siege of Burpelson Air Force Base and the mission of the B-52 bomber. If the Cold War wasn't enough of a "shooting war" for some, I say thank goodness and that is likely the only reason we are here for you to debate it. Over 473,00 Allied troops were killed in the Battle of Normandy in WWII. At the end of Dr. Strangelove the majority of life on earth is wiped out. Are those stakes not high enough for your "War Movie" meter?

1. The Thin Red Line (#17)
2. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to
2. Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
4. Casablanca (#14)
7. Fires on the Plain (#59)
9. Army of Shadows (#29)
10. Waltz with Bashir (#45)
11. The Pianist (#23)
13. Full Metal Jacket (#7)
14. MASH (#39)
15. Rome, Open City (#37)
16. Letters from Iwo Jima (#60)
17. The Battle of Algiers (#24)
18. The Great Escape (#19)
19. The Ascent (#33)
20. The Big Red One (DNP)
21. The Killing Fields (#69)
22. Catch-22 (DNP)
23. Joyeux Noël (DNP)
24. Coming Home (DNP)
25. The Wind That Shakes the Barley (DNP)

Oh good, more Kubrick. Actually, this is good news, as I expected this to be #1 or 2, so #6 feels a bit like a win.
5-time MoFo Award winner.

It is clear many people - not just MoFos, but in general - think War Movie means a) soldiers and officers in combat and b) in an identifiable and named conflict. That's a pretty narrow and uninspired definition, but that's the way some folks roll their tanks.
I don't think that way at all. For me it's what the spirit of the movie is through my eyes. For instance, I would never consider Blazing Saddles to be a western, nor would I consider Stripes a war film. What is the intent of these films? Opinions will vary, but I have to vote with my conscience. It's rare that I don't leave favorites off my ballot even if they are technically eligible. If I have to look up if a film is eligible, then it's not eligible for my ballot.

Welcome to the human race...
Dr. Strangelove was my #12. Once, I might've called it my favourite Kubrick of them all but such a thing is always changing. Regardless, as one of his shorter and more pointed works it naturally proves a very accessible vehicle for his particularly half-empty view of humanity and its capacity for conflict (not least because of its outsized characters and exaggerated tone).
I really just want you all angry and confused the whole time.
Iro's Top 100 Movies v3.0

I think Holden's points on whether it's a war movie more than covers it for me. Dr. Strangelove is one of my favourite films ever but I just had it at #1 on my comedy list so I dropped it to 11 for this one. I've got the top 5 in my 25. Double David Lean eh.

1. The Battle of Algiers (1966)
4. The Thin Red Line (1998)
5. The Human Condition I: No Greater Love (1959)
8. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
9. Shoah (1985)
10. The General (1926)
11. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
12. Ran (1985)
15. Army of Shadows (1969)
16. Schindler's List (1993)
17. Das Boot (1981)
18. Waltz with Bashir (2007)
19. Rome, Open City (1945)
20. The Great Escape (1963)
21. Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)
23. Three Kings (1999)
24. Underground (1995)
25. La Commune (Paris, 1871) (2003)
"Don't be so gloomy. After all it's not that awful. Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."

Dr. Strangelove was my #3. I'm a little surprised at how many people don't think of this as a war movie--yes, sure, it's a comedy, but it's a comedy about war. It's the quintessential movie about the absurdities of war. It even has combat in it! (When the U.S. Army attacks Burpleson's battalion.) It has an H-bomb! (Pretty war-ry, imo.) (Holden covered this ground already, I'm just reinforcements.)

But look, I don't want to fight about this. Not in here, the war movie room.