War movies, portraying epic conflicts between right and wrong, the vagaries of war and its ultimate futility, have always managed to mesmerize hardcore movie buffs. Over the years Hollywood has churned out its fair share of extraordinary classics based on various real life conflicts, but there are a few films that stand out, by virtue of their sheer and cinematic brilliance compelling storylines
Released in 1986 Platoon poignantly depicted the horrors of a protracted, senseless conflict in Vietnam. Billed by many to be the best war movie ever made, Platoon boasted of an impressive star cast of Charlie Sheen and Johnny Depp. The depth of realism that Platoon attained and the message it tried to convey cannot be fully discerned by people who have not gone through the rigors of military life or been a part of the devastating Vietnam War. The movie brutally removed the varnish of war, and depicted a ground level harrowing experience of the soldiers , bolstered by a no holds barred career best performance by Charlie Sheen
Similar setting as that of the Platoon, but a unique well-crafted storyline and a dazzling ensemble of Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, and Harrison Ford, made Apocalypse Now an evergreen classic. Directed by the brilliant Francis Ford Coppola, film is not only a brilliant rendition of the Vietnam War, it also gives an insightful and scary peek into the dark side of a battered and bruised, battle weary human psyche. The haunting and hallucinatory war epic is cinema at its most audacious and visionary
Saving Private Ryan…
Epic in every scale, Saving Private Ryan indubitably is the best war movie based on WWII. Numerous movies have tried to capture the blood spattered essence of WWII, but none did it more poignantly than Saving Private Ryan. The amazing special effects, the chilling graphic realism (who can ever forget the unnerving stabbing scene?) and an excellent cast and director, made Saving Private Ryan a shining yardstick against which all WWII war movies are measured. Needless to say the film swept the Oscars winning five Academy Awards, including best director, and being nominated for six other categories.
We Were Soldiers….
Based on the true events at the Battle of La Drang in Vietnam and penned by a Lieutenant General and a reporter who were witness to it, We Were Soldiers is another Vietnam war epic that probes into the lives of real solders and events that unfurled during that time. Starring Mel Gibson, the movie brilliantly showcased the gritty realism of war where nothing or no side is black and white but instead sprayed with hues of gray. Instead of labeling Vietcong’s as Devil Incarnates, the movie also captured their perspective in a brilliant way.
Enemy At The Gates.
Atmospheric and chilling and with a fantastic background score, Enemy At the Gates follows the story of three people who gets mired in the Battle Of Leningrad. A haunting love story, brilliant performances by the main leads, Enemy At the Gates showed love, friendship and camaraderie are the only things that can act as succor amidst destruction and carnage
Set during the American Civil War, the Glory narrates a heart wrenching, haunting story of a platoon of African Americans who are placed into battle for the very first time, and their valiant yet futile last stand. Beautifully shot, the film was transposed to another level by stellar performances from Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman and Mathew Broderick.
These are a few top war movies that managed to enthrall and emotionally stir its audience. However, the choices are personal so please feel free to differ.