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Last night's movie choice: Dr. Strangelove. Easily one of the best anti-war movies ever.
General "Buck" Turgidson: Mr. President, about, uh, 35 minutes ago, General Jack Ripper, the commanding general of, uh, Burpelson Air Force Base, issued an order to the 34 B-52's of his Wing, which were airborne at the time as part of a special exercise we were holding called Operation Drop-Kick. Now, it appears that the order called for the planes to, uh, attack their targets inside Russia. The, uh, planes are fully armed with nuclear weapons with an average load of, um, 40 megatons each. Now, the central display of Russia will indicate the position of the planes. The triangles are their primary targets; the squares are their secondary targets. The aircraft will begin penetrating Russian radar cover within, uh, 25 minutes.
President Merkin Muffley: General Turgidson, I find this very difficult to understand. I was under the impression that I was the only one in authority to order the use of nuclear weapons.
General "Buck" Turgidson: That's right, sir, you are the only person authorized to do so. And although I, uh, hate to judge before all the facts are in, it's beginning to look like, uh, General Ripper exceeded his authority.
I love anti-war movies. No one is more opposed to war than the American GI, so we know a good anti-war movie when we see one. Not everyone does. Ever notice that most movie critics' lists of "best war movies" are made up predominantly of anti-war movies?
I'm opening the comments on this post up to all Mudville readers - military or not - to nominate films for the all time greatest anti-war films of all time award. Tell us your choices. If not, give us your picks for best war movie ever. We'll do both.
Winners get a Muddy. It's like an Oscar or a Grammy, but less shiny and completely imaginary.
M*A*S*H - the movie, not the series.Posted by Allium at April 12, 2005 05:13 PM
I've got to go with "The Green Berets" starring John Wayne. It's both anti-war, and pro-soldier. It doesn't glorify war, showing it as a "clean" adventure, yet still shows the attitude, devotion, and the realities of a proffessional soldier's life. Oh sure, Wayne's uniforms were always a little too neat, and the camo-paint was a joke, but I've always been impressed with the portrayal of the realities of torture, rape, and the general behavior of the BGs in this movie. It wasn't the usual "only remote secondary characters" get killed, several of the key players were killed and wounded to achieve the group's missions. Since "The Green Berets" was the only movie about the "Vietnam Conflict" that was produced DURING that war, I'd say it's probably got the most validity. My second choice would have to be "We Were Soldiers" for many of the same reasons.Posted by Chad at April 12, 2005 05:13 PM
I was always partial to Zulu.Posted by blogRot at April 12, 2005 05:32 PM
Twelve O'Clock High. Actual story based on true story written by two screenwriters who actually few with the 8th Air Force in '42 and '43 when the daylight bombing concept was being tested and the US build-up was just getting started. Excellent leadership examples in the face of prohibitive casualties for the flight crews at the time. Not an antiwar film per se, but you are left with the understanding that many lives were lost and the effects of combat deeply effect the psyche. Dean Jagger does an outstanding job as Major Stovall, the Group Adjutant. Yeah, it is dated but still one of the greats. Jagger won an Oscar. And I believe the film won best picture for 1949.Posted by GreyEagleO6 at April 12, 2005 05:35 PM
All Quiet on the Western Front--the old B&W one
Paths of Glory
Thin Red Line
This might be a stretch for anti-war but I'd say Sgt. York. Reluctant, religious, good ol' boy goes to war after deeply considering the reasons why he must. Although conflicted about taking anothers life, he does so because he feels a deeper need to help his friends, his country, and ironically to help save lives in the end. He looses friends in the war and comes home the reluctant hero simply for doing what he believed was his duty. He returns to his sweetheart a changed man, even perhaps a better man, to do the only thing he ever wanted to do in the first place - live in peace.Posted by JMan at April 12, 2005 05:47 PM
"A Bridge Too Far," portraying Operation Market Garden. Obviously it doesn't end happily. The operation is almost saved from its fatal foulups (some just bad luck, some criminally negligent) by some truly brave fighting, in many cases against hopeless odds.
Some scenes are as harrowing as anything in the Omaha Beach sequence of Saving Private Ryan, without relying on splatter to get the fear across.Posted by JPS at April 12, 2005 05:51 PM
Though it isn't really the thrust of the movie, "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" has to be one of these. When the anti-heroes come into contact with the war, being waged all around them by better men than they, they encounter suffering, sacrifice, nobility, misery.
There are several breathtaking scenes: the hospital in the monastery, with amputees; the prisoner-of-war camp, with its routine brutality and men crying for torture unseen but known; the assault on the bridge in the face of artillery; the dying soldier given a last smoke.
There are also a number of points at which the pain of the war is in the background, but still very much present. The collapse of Confederate resistance under Gen. Sibley is a background event, but the soldiers' misery is evident. The final scene, in a massive graveyard, is another. When Tuco is trying to pry the name of the grave out of Blondie, and he says, "But you know how many graves there are there???" we all get the point.Posted by Grim at April 12, 2005 06:23 PM
"Patton". George C. Scott was great in the title role.Posted by Stehen Suttles at April 12, 2005 06:23 PM
red badge of courage
the scenes where audy murphy finds that others ran from battle also is true acting.....not like this crap we have today.
Posted by louielouie at April 12, 2005 06:26 PM
regarding the dr. strangelove transcript....
how about mr. & mrs. greyhawk transcipting the exchange between "ol' buck" & his secretary prior to "buck" going to the war room.
oh, sorry, forgot, this is a family website.
My favorite movies that depict fighting men with the reverence they deserve:
1. We Were Soldiers--be sure to watch all the features on the DVD, with deleted scenes and a wonderful commentary by Director Randy Wallace. If my life ever gets made into a movie, I want Randy to do it. Read the book, too, but the movie is better.
2. Memphis Belle - B-17 crew completes 25 missions over Germany
3. Glory - Wonderful, reverent, heartbreaking. Great performance by--of all people--Matthew Broderick as Robert Gould Shaw
Try "when trumpets fade". It's pretty good.Posted by Chad at April 12, 2005 06:29 PM
Nothing really tops "Dr. Strangelove", but here are a couple of foreign takes on war.
"Stalingrad" - German 1993 It's just about Soldiers.
"No Man's Land" - Yugoslav 2001 Insanity and UNsanityPosted by Timothy McKenzie at April 12, 2005 06:35 PM
"Duck Soup" for anti-war. Funniest war movie ever.
I also love "A Bridge Too Far" for good-war movie.Posted by LynnGunn at April 12, 2005 06:39 PM
The best anti-war movie is "Pork Chop Hill." It shows the absolute frustration of the Infantry units and the lack of appreciation of the situation by the headquarters units during the Korean War.
The best War movie is "Black Hawk Down." It is the most realistic movie about war that I've ever seen! No showboating and no propaganda! Just courage, determination, competance, integrity and unit pride. It really reinforces my appreciation of the 75th Rangers.
1941, LOL, tongue in cheek
Posted by James at April 12, 2005 06:54 PM
When Hollis Wood's pocket contents are inventoried by the Japanese we hear Hollis ('Slim Pickens' ) saying, "One genuine American rabbit's foot; one genuine American Hara Kiri knife." This is a parody of Slim Pickens' inventory dialogue as Major Kong in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
They were Expendable. A good war flick with the Duke. About PT boats in the Philipines and how they were used to evac Gen Macarthur. True story!
"The Sands of Iwo Jima" The Duke again but a true classic war flick!
Let's see; Up Periscope, The Enemy Below, Midway
and it's been mentioned already but, Zulu.
Two more quickies not specifically war movies but more about the consequences:
Outlaw Josie Wales: a southerner whose life is turn apart by war as he watches his wife and son brutally murdered by Union troops. He can never surrender because he can never forgive.
Gone with the Wind: the famous scene when the camera pans back to show more and more dead and wounded laying outside is unforgettable for it's scope. Shows how war destroyed so many lives and nearly this country.Posted by JMan at April 12, 2005 06:58 PM
"The Big Red One"
Lee Marvin in WWI and WWII... And he delivers a BABY!!! All in a days work.
How could you go wrong with that as a choice?Posted by Mike T at April 12, 2005 07:23 PM
For best war movie, either Patton, with George C. Scott, or Black Hawk Down, for the reasons mentioned by Jim.
There are many good choices for best anti-war movie, but I thought I'd throw a few more in.
First, a couple of foreign films: The Bridge, with German teenagers defending a worthless bridge, and Unit 999, about a German penal unit thrown into hopeless situations on the Eastern Front (I think it was done by the same guys who did Stalingrad).
Another choice would be Cold Mountain. Yes, I know its a sappy love movie, but it captures the pointlessness, lonliness, and destruction of war rather well.Posted by Mike at April 12, 2005 07:39 PM
What about "The Caine Mutiny"? A truly great movie about leadership and followership, and the responsibilities of both. A stretch as an anti-war movie, maybe, but a great military movie nonetheless.Posted by Tom at April 12, 2005 07:54 PM
Gardens of Stone - Very dated but an interesting perspective. Having been involved in many memorial services I appreciated how they treated the fact that your point of view changes when you know who it is under the flag. Unfortunately the action portion of the movie stunk.Posted by SSG K at April 12, 2005 08:09 PM
Best Anti-war movie
Full Metal Jacket after Pyle blows his head off. 1st 22 min. of movie funniest DI on earth "who's the slimy little twinkle toes communist co*****er who just signed his own death warrant?"
Best War Movie
Band of Brothers even though it's a seriesPosted by Uncle Jimbo at April 12, 2005 08:15 PM
How about Das Boot. The German movie about uboats.Posted by sgus at April 12, 2005 08:26 PM
The Longest DayPosted by jay at April 12, 2005 08:28 PM
Shenendoah with Jimmy Stewart. It exemplifies what I think most people think: they don't want war to touch them in any way (whether for noble or ignoble purposes), but they will do what they must when the reality of war hits them. As Jimmy Stewart says to the grave of his wife,
There's not much I can tell you about this war. It's like all wars, I guess. The undertakers are winning. And the politicians who talk about the glory of it. And the old men who talk about the need of it. And the soldiers, well, they just wanna go home.I think Greyhawk might agree with that.
Then there's this from Stewart's character:
Now let me tell you something Johnson, before you get on my wrong side. My corn I take seriously, because it's mine. And my potatoes and tomatoes and my fence I take note of because they're mine. But this war is not mine and I don't take note of it.Of course, though, he has to take note of it when his son is taken. Isn't this the basis of all those who support those who go to war: something of ours is at stake? Posted by slarrow at April 12, 2005 08:56 PM
The category is anti-war movies. I hardly think Patton qualifies. :)
A very good choice that I haven't seen mentioned yet is Enemy at the Gates, with Joseph Fiennes, Jude Law, and Ed Harris. Very well produced movie, and one of the very few English-language and/or Hollywood-produced movies done from the Russian point of view.
That's an anti-war movie... ;)
I can see a few movies listed I will have to check out.
I was always partial to Glory and Morgan Freeman's speech to Denzel Washington ..."You gotta ante up and kick in."
What, no one has yet mentioned Catch-22 or Slaughterhouse 5?Posted by 74 at April 12, 2005 10:28 PM
"Hell to Eternity" from 1960, the (relatively) true story of Marine Guy Gabaldon. The plot as stated in IMDB:
"True life story of Guy Gabaldon, a Los Angeles Hispanic boy raised in the 1930s by a Japanese-American foster family. Later, during the war, as his foster parents are interned at a camp for Japanese Americans, Gabaldon's ability to speak Japanese helps him become a lone-operating Marine hero. During the bloody capture of the island of Saipan, he convinces 800 Japanese to surrender after their general commits suicide."
I'm sure this movie could be classified as pro- and anti-war, but the issues with his Japanese family, his fellow Marines and the hilarious "action" on leave with the dancers and straight-laced writer were not the typical fare of a war movie from that era.
I'd nominate "johnny got his gun". Metallica uses some of its scenes in a video they did. Here's a link to a dvd review that sums it up pretty well. http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/content.php?contentid=5233Posted by kaos at April 12, 2005 11:55 PM
"Das Boot" and "The Enemy Below". Both are WWII submarine movies.Posted by Rey Dominguez, Jr. at April 13, 2005 12:01 AM
Best "anti-war" movie....
THE BEAST - 1988
w/Jason Patric, Steven Bauer, George Dzundza, Stephen Baldwin
Nothing like soviet armor getting spanked by a bunch of rock-chucking Afghani's with someone they left for dead showing them the way.
Clearly from the Soviet point of view, best "Viet Nam/why the "F' are we here?" movie.
Best War Movie:
We were Soldiers, Braveheart, Patton, The Longest Day, Das Boot, and Black Hawk Down
Best Anti War Movie:
Born on the 4th of July, Apocalypse Now, Crimson Tide, Good Morning, Vietnam, and Platoon.
Being a Submeriner, I liked U-571 and Hunt for Red October a lot. They may not be the best but good.Posted by Ernie at April 13, 2005 01:54 AM
I've always been partial to Kelly's Heroes as sort of an anti-war movie. As far as war movies there are lots of good ones but today Patton is my favoritePosted by Greg Bewley at April 13, 2005 03:51 AM
I am surprised no one has mentioned Kelly's Heroes or MASH.
Those are both great movies and both decidedly anti war. Kelly is just trying to line his pockets and MASH is just... MASH (squelch... That is all)
Down with the Bad Vibes!Posted by Mustang 23 at April 13, 2005 05:07 AM
oops somone had mentioned MASH. Soory!Posted by Mustang 23 at April 13, 2005 05:08 AM
I am a retired Infantry Officer:
I have trouble with the War vs Anti-War Movie split. All wars are terrible and any good war movie has to show how terrible war is. But, an anti-war film seemingly has no obligation to show why a war might be necessary or at least why rational well meaning people might see the need to fight.
Some anti-war films like "All Quiet on The Western Front" would have the viewer believe that wars happen because of some mass, irrational hysteria.
Others show the horror and absurdity of war but don't really really address the seriousness of it. Is Paths of Glory an anti-war film or an anti-officer film? It doesn't get at the essential tragedy of war only at the mendacity of the particular characters in that film. Likewise, its bookend: Full Metal Jacket by the same director Stanley Kubrik. "Jacket" does a better job, in my opinion, of presenting "war" as an absurdity...but of course it wasn't absurd for the North Vietnamese...they won.
The way I see it the best war movie is also an anti-war movie. I think "Glory" is a great, maybe, in some ways, the greatest war movie but I dont' think it is an anti-war film. It certainly shows the horror of war but clearly, I think most viewers would agree, war is preferable to slavery. Few would sympathize with the Confederacy in this film. And the film itself argues against the idea that war is futile ("someone is going to win"). Therefore the men of the 54th died in a heroic effort in a basically glorious cause.
"Put out of your mind any romantic ideas it is a way of glory. It is a life of suffering and hardship and uncompromising devotion to your oath and your duty."
On the other hand, the more I watch the John Ford-John Wayne trilogy of She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, Fort Apache and Rio Grande I see a series of films that depict two sides fighting who to some extent, are both right. That is tragedy. That is futility. The opening scene of Rio Grande shows a troop of weary, footsore, and shot up cavalry returning to the fort with wounded and dead and their wives and children searching among them for their husbands and fathers. That is war: endless fatigue, pain and endurance of discomfort. When John Wayne tells Henry Ford, in Fort Apache, that the Apaches have done what "any decent man would do" and nonetheless rides out to fight them, that is tragedy. In Rio Grande, we learn that Wayne burned his own wifes home during the Civil War and that his own son will be subject to his iron discipline on the frontier. We see Apache Scouts fighting their cousins, that is complexity of war. We also see former Confederate soldiers fighting in the US Army, that is also the complexity of war Throughout the films there is also humor, loyalty, and a perverse sense of "what is right" when felonies are tolerated (horse theft, AWOL), misdemenors are overlooked ("soldiers fight, sir" "Soldier fight, eh, carry on."), and NCO opinions are given weight over officers ("what do you make of it SGT Tyree?") and when soldiers can quote regulations back to their superiors ("Trooper York expects his salute to be returned, military regulations, sir"). Another movie in the same vein is "Ride With the Devil" a movie about the Missouri-Kansas guerillas during the Civil War. It is told from the Confederate point of view but is cognizant of the other side. It shows humanity and inhumantiy on both sides and humor, loyalyty and a sense of what is right. Most importantly it shows why both sides would fight as well as how terrible war is.
Well that is enough for now. Best: She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, Fort Apache, Rio Grande, Ride With the Devil. Honorable Mention: Glory, Das Boot, Saving Private Ryan, The Winter War, Fire on the Plains, Paths of Glory, Full Metal Jacket, Henry V (Both the Oliver and Branagh versions). Special Mention: Not really a war film but war related, The Searchers.Posted by Patrick Walsh at April 13, 2005 05:37 AM
Best anti-war film: "All Quiet On The Western Front" in either its original or 1978 Hallmark TV re-make starring Richard Thomas, Ernest Borgnine and Ian Holm. Also "Das Boot"; add "Blackhawk Down" and "Cross Of Iron" and you simultaneously have the best war and anti-war films. "Dr. Strangelove" is savage social satire that is as useful as a Thomas Nast cartoon to explain an age (I've used a short piece to teach 20th Century American history undergrads) and a great film of the Cold War, as are parts of "Hunt For Red October". "Band of Brothers" is a superb recreation of events with excellent cinematography, acting and technical support.Posted by Pedantius at April 13, 2005 06:00 AM
Anybody mention "1941" yet? I love Slim Pickens in that one. Jim Belushi ain't bad either.Posted by kG at April 13, 2005 03:54 PM
1955--Henry Fonda, Jack Lemmon, James Cagney
Breaker Morant (1980) about the Boar war. One of the best films I've ever seen.
Sam Fuller is the man. But it doesn't get better than the Battle of Algiers.Posted by Pencil Neck at April 13, 2005 11:35 PM
The Bridge on the River Kwai!!!Posted by Sus at April 13, 2005 11:42 PM
Lawrence of Arabia
Best film ever made.
The trick, William Potter, is not MINDING that it hurts.
Cheers all.Posted by USMC_Vet at April 14, 2005 12:19 AM
Is there a way to print out this post? Great suggestions. A few I'd forgotten about.
I have to go with:
1. The Bridge on the River Kwai.
2. The Dirty Dozen.
3. From Here To Eternity.
Best war movie - "Black Hawk Down" for reasons previously stated above and Hoot's comment at the end "You do it for the guy next to you." Personal best (because of the similarity to my own experience) "Hamburger Hill." Again, the same comment at the end. This all started with Henry VII when he talks about being part of a band of brothers.Posted by Ron at April 14, 2005 01:39 AM
Das Boot definitely, I don't know a movie that better exemplifies the horrors of being in a tin can 150 feet below the ocean surface and also exemplifies the joy of seeing the sky again.Posted by Tim at April 14, 2005 01:58 AM
Das Boot and Stalingrad. Throw in the B&W "All quiet on the Western Front" it proves the Germans do it best. Considering all the self-inflicted swacking they have received over the last 90 years, not a shocker.
Anti-war without being "anti-war." Both leave you thinking, "What a waste." ....... which on a personal point of view to those you care about, is about it; and by the end of the movie you care a lot about the main characters.Posted by CDR Salamander at April 14, 2005 03:41 AM
"We Were Soldiers", "Saving Pvt. Ryan" & the mini-series "Band of Brothers" are the best.Posted by Tom K at April 14, 2005 04:04 AM
I saw "Guns of Navarone" at about 8 YO. I am not submitting either way, but it was the first "war" movie I had ever seen and could stomach as a small girl, but I thought it was a very well done movie. And, yes, I have watched it since, and still think it is very well done!
CyndyPosted by Cyndy at April 14, 2005 04:16 AM
Best war movie: Battleground
Best anti-war movie: Shenandoah
Once an Eagle. Qualifies for best in both best war movie and best anti-war movie. Excellent adaptation of Anton Myrer's book which should be required reading for every 2LT. You can do no better than to aspire to be Sam Damon.Posted by wensteph at April 14, 2005 05:28 AM
Best War Movie(s): Black Hawk Down, Saving Private Ryan or Patton. It probably depends on which one I've seen most recently.
Best Anti-War Movie: Gallipoli. A World War I movie, starring a young Mel Gibson, that deals with the terrible waste of war (ie. idealism and potential cut down in its prime) and a final scene that you'll never forget. I considered Platoon for this spot, but I think Gallipoli is a better movie, even if there's not nearly as many combat scenes.Posted by ddrem at April 14, 2005 09:19 AM
Not Already Mentioned
Best War Movie: Bataan, Last of the Mohicans, Gettysburg
Best AntiWar Movie: Hell is For Heroes, Cross of Iron, Go Tell The SpartansPosted by Ransom at April 14, 2005 12:57 PM
My favorite "Die Brucke" may not be available in English. It depicts a last ditch stand by a detachment of Hitler youth led by a Nazi fanatic in defense of a bridge into their village during the final weeks of WWII. This anti war film is really gritty in the classic European manner. My personal favorite war film is Gettysburg, which may be Ted Turner's only significant contribution to Western Civilization.Posted by Jim at April 14, 2005 04:48 PM
Jay, did you mean The Longest Day as an anti-war picture? WOW - i love that movie, but i never ever saw it as anti-war. I rank it in my top two pro-soldier pro-good guys pictures, and could never see it as anti-war. (my second favorite is tied between The Great Escape and Memphis Belle. I love those movies!!)
HeidiPosted by heidi at April 14, 2005 06:35 PM
Definetly a pro and anti war combo called
A story about 5 guys from an army A team and a raw marine recruit that are funded by a business man to go back to vietnam years after the war and retrieve american MIA and POW.
Great showPosted by Dave J at April 14, 2005 08:02 PM
Best: Band of Brothers
Since we went off on a tangent and are including anti-war, I will add my two all-time favorites. "King of Hearts" WWI story in which a town has evacuated due to an impending battle and the inmates from the local asylum move in unkown to Alan Bates, hilarious. And the Hungarian movie "Pal-Utcai Fiuk," released in 1969 in the U.S. as "The Boys of Paul Street." This one will rip your heart out.Posted by Ron at April 14, 2005 08:50 PM
Gotta' go with "We Were Soldiers" since I know many of the people portrayed in the film, and one of my best friends, Joe Galloway, wrote the book.
From here to Eternity is a great one....my platoon in the 25th Division resided in one of the Quads [barracks]shown in the film. Love the John Ford/John Wayne flicks also.
The Longest Day, tells a great story also.Posted by Wallace-Midland Texas at April 14, 2005 10:48 PM
Lot's of good suggestions here. One I haven't seen mentioned is "The Cruel Sea". Excellent film that follows a British destroyer crew during the Battle of the Atlantic.
"The Beast" - Russian movie about a tank crew lost in Afghanistan.
..and second place, as much as I hate Ted Turner, he did a fantastic job turning The Killer Angels into his movie "Gettysburg". Completely insane casting choices that somehow worked perfectly.Posted by MajMike at April 15, 2005 08:02 PM
Gotta go with Platoon and Hamburger Hill for anti-war.
A new documentary called Gunner Palace is the best depiction of soldiers at war I have ever seen. 100% accurate and 100% apotitical. Great watch.Posted by rick at April 15, 2005 08:25 PM
My choices for best War movie are:
"The Longest Day"
"We Were Soldiers"
I think "Exodus" was one of the best movies ever made about the plight of the Jewish people. Sal Mineo was great.
What can I say about "The Longest Day" that hasn't been said already?
"We Were Soldiers" is a movie you have to watch to really understand all the dynamics of Hal. A truly great movie.
I also enjoyed "Love is a Many Splendored Thing" with William Holden and Nancy Kwan. It was a love story but it presented the human side of a war correspondent.
I am surprised noone mentioned "Independence Day" and "War of the Worlds." Though they were fiction and Sci-fi they were great movies!! Movies, after all, even Sci-fi, parallel our world encounters.
What about Grave of the Fireflies? it may be animated (and skirt any mention off the fact that the country it was made & set in did some pretty nasty things before & during the war) but it's no Disney cartoon. So sad, two orphans caught up in war it also shows their countrymen not exactly being helpful.
Saddest war film ever.Posted by Grace at July 20, 2005 10:16 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(67) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)