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Best Anti-war Movies


  • In the Valley of Elah

    In the Valley of Elah (R, 2007)

    Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron, Jason Patric, Susan Sarandon, James Franco
    "In the Valley of Elah" tells the story of a war veteran, his wife and the search for their son, a s... read moreoldier who recently returned from Iraq but has mysteriously gone missing, and the police detective who helps in the investigation.
    • MJ98
      MJ98: An engrossing tale of how war affects the brains of our soldiers. An antiwar movie, great storyline
      Reviewed 6 years days ago
    • jbaker475
      jbaker475: Even if you weren't a fan of Paul Haggis' first directorial effort (2005's "Crash") give him anothe
      Reviewed 6 years days ago
  • Hotaru no haka (Grave of the Fireflies)

    Hotaru no haka (Grave of the Fireflies) (Unrated, 1988)

    Tsutomu Tatsumi, Ayano Shiraishi
    Grave of the Fireflies opens on an evening in 1945, after Japan's surrender at the end of World War ... read moreII; and in a train station, the young Seita dies alone. The rest of the movie tells us, in flashback, how things have come to this. Seita and Setsuko are two young Japanese children growing up in the waning days of World War II. Much to Seita's pride, their father is in the Japanese navy, and they live fairly content lives in Kobe despite rationing and the other privations of war. When their mother dies from burns suffered during an American fire-bombing raid, a distant aunt takes them in -- and conflict eventually forces the children to try to survive on their own. At first, Seita and his little sister enjoy their idyllic lives in the country, but harsh reality eventually settles in as Seita begins to understand the difficulties of taking care of a young child when both food and compassion are scarce. ~ Emru Townsend, Rovi
    • jenaluv
      jenaluv: An extremely powerful and depressing antiwar movie, Grave of the Fireflies made me cry practically
      Reviewed 5 years days ago
    • Rhubarb156
      Rhubarb156: When people talk of the great war movies, they usually fall into two catagories, the traditional bo
      Reviewed 6 years days ago
    • gatrief13
      gatrief13: Gorgeous, heavy, depressing, beautiful, heart-wrenching, powerful - mere adjectives can't quite do
      Reviewed 6 years days ago
  • Full Metal Jacket

    Full Metal Jacket (R, 1987)

    Matthew Modine, Adam Baldwin, Vincent D'Onofrio, R. Lee Ermey, Dorian Harewood
    Stanley Kubrick's return to filmmaking after a seven-year hiatus, this film crystallizes the experie... read morence of the Vietnam War by concentrating on a group of raw Marine volunteers. Based on Gustav Hasford's novel The Short Timers, the film's first half details the volunteers' harrowing boot-camp training under the profane, power-saw guidance of drill instructor Sgt. Hartman (R. Lee Ermey, a real-life drill instructor whose performance is one of the most terrifyingly realistic on record). Part two takes place in Nam, as seen through the eyes of the now thoroughly indoctrinated marines. Ironically, Full Metal Jacket was filmed almost entirely in England. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
    • fb1261113615
      fb1261113615: Amazing antiwar Vietnam classic by Stanley Kubrick is still just as jaw dropping as it was upon it'
      Reviewed 4 years days ago
  • Paths of Glory

    Paths of Glory (G, 1957)

    Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou, George Macready, Wayne Morris
    When soldiers in World War I refuse to continue with an impossible attack, their superior officers d... read moreecide to make an example of them.
  • Stop-Loss

    Stop-Loss (R, 2008)

    Ryan Phillippe, Abbie Cornish, Channing Tatum, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ciarán Hinds
    After serving his tour of duty in Iraq, a young American soldier who is ordered to return to the fro... read morent lines as part of the military's controversial stop-loss policy opts instead to go AWOL in a thought-provoking military drama directed by Kimberly Peirce. Sgt. Brandon King (Ryan Philippe) is a decorated Iraq War veteran who once served his country with pride. After his tour of duty comes to an end, King returns to his Texas hometown and attempts to pick up where he once left off with a little help from his family, as well as long-time best friend and war buddy Steve Shriver (Channing Tatum). But just as Brandon, Steve, and the rest of their war buddies begin to settle back into civilian life, Uncle Sam comes calling on them once again. Suddenly ordered back into active duty, the disillusioned war veteran begins to question not just his ties to family and his longtime friendships, but his capacity for love and his sense of honor as well. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
  • The Hurt Locker

    The Hurt Locker (R, 2009)

    Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes
    Based on the personal wartime experiences of journalist Mark Boal (who adapted his experiences with ... read morea bomb squad into a fact-based, yet fictional story), director Kathryn Bigelow's Iraq War-set action thriller The Hurt Locker presents the conflict in the Middle East from the perspective of those who witnessed the fighting firsthand -- the soldiers. As an elite Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal team tactfully navigates the streets of present-day Iraq, they face the constant threat of death from incoming bombs and sharp-shooting snipers. In Baghdad, roadside bombs are a common danger. The Army is working to make the city a safer place for Americans and Iraqis, so when it comes to dismantling IEDs (improvised explosive devices) the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) crew is always on their game. But protecting the public isn't easy when there's no room for error, and every second spent dismantling a bomb is another second spent flirting with death. Now, as three fearless bomb technicians take on the most dangerous job in Baghdad, it's only a matter of time before one of them gets sent to "the hurt locker." Jeremy Renner, Guy Pearce, and Ralph Fiennes star. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
  • Apocalypse Now

    Apocalypse Now (R, 1979)

    Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Frederic Forrest, Dennis Hopper
    One of a cluster of late-1970s films about the Vietnam War, Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now ad... read moreapts the Joseph Conrad novella Heart of Darkness to depict the war as a descent into primal madness. Capt. Willard (Martin Sheen), already on the edge, is assigned to find and deal with AWOL Col. Kurtz (Marlon Brando), rumored to have set himself up in the Cambodian jungle as a local, lethal godhead. Along the way Willard encounters napalm and Wagner fan Col. Kilgore (Robert Duvall), draftees who prefer to surf and do drugs, a USO Playboy Bunny show turned into a riot by the raucous soldiers, and a jumpy photographer (Dennis Hopper) telling wild, reverent tales about Kurtz. By the time Willard sees the heads mounted on stakes near Kurtz's compound, he knows Kurtz has gone over the deep end, but it is uncertain whether Willard himself now agrees with Kurtz's insane dictum to "Drop the Bomb. Exterminate them all." Coppola himself was not certain either, and he tried several different endings between the film's early rough-cut screenings for the press, the Palme d'Or-winning "work-in-progress" shown at Cannes, and the final 35 mm U.S. release (also the ending on the video cassette). The chaotic production also experienced shut-downs when a typhoon destroyed the set and star Sheen suffered a heart attack; the budget ballooned and Coppola covered the overages himself. These production headaches, which Coppola characterized as being like the Vietnam War itself, have been superbly captured in the documentary, Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse. Despite the studio's fears and mixed reviews of the film's ending, Apocalypse Now became a substantial hit and was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor for Duvall's psychotic Kilgore, and Best Screenplay. It won Oscars for sound and for Vittorio Storaro's cinematography. This hallucinatory, Wagnerian project has produced admirers and detractors of equal ardor; it resembles no other film ever made, and its nightmarish aura and polarized reception aptly reflect the tensions and confusions of the Vietnam era. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi
  • Jarhead

    Jarhead (R, 2005)

    Jake Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Lucas Black, Brian Geraghty, Jacob Vargas
    "Jarhead" (the self-imposed moniker of the Marines) follows Swoff, a third-generation enlistee, from... read more a sobering stint in boot camp to active duty, sporting a sniper's rifle and a hundred-pound rucksack on his back through Middle East deserts with no cover from intolerable heat or from Iraqi soldiers, always potentially just over the next horizon. Swoff and his fellow Marines sustain themselves with sardonic humanity and wicked comedy on blazing desert fields in a country they don't understand against an enemy they can't see for a cause they don't fully fathom.
  • M*A*S*H

    M*A*S*H (PG, 1970)

    Elliott Gould, Donald Sutherland, Tom Skerritt, Sally Kellerman, Jo Ann Pflug
    Although he was not the first choice to direct it, the hit black comedy MASH established Robert Altm... read morean as one of the leading figures of Hollywood's 1970s generation of innovative and irreverent young filmmakers. Scripted by Hollywood veteran Ring Lardner, Jr., this war comedy details the exploits of military doctors and nurses at a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital in the Korean War. Between exceptionally gory hospital shifts and countless rounds of martinis, wisecracking surgeons Hawkeye Pierce (Donald Sutherland) and Trapper John McIntyre (Elliott Gould) make it their business to undercut the smug, moralistic pretensions of Bible-thumper Maj. Frank Burns (Robert Duvall) and Army true-believer Maj. "Hot Lips" Houlihan (Sally Kellerman). Abetted by such other hedonists as Duke Forrest (Tom Skerritt) and Painless Pole (John Schuck), as well as such (relative) innocents as Radar O'Reilly (Gary Burghoff), Hawkeye and Trapper John drive Burns and Houlihan crazy while engaging in such additional blasphemies as taking a medical trip to Japan to play golf, staging a mock Last Supper to cure Painless's momentary erectile dysfunction, and using any means necessary to win an inter-MASH football game. MASH creates a casual, chaotic atmosphere emphasizing the constant noise and activity of a surgical unit near battle lines; it marked the beginning of Altman's sustained formal experiments with widescreen photography, zoom lenses, and overlapping sound and dialogue, further enhancing the atmosphere with the improvisational ensemble acting for which Altman's films quickly became known. Although the on-screen war was not Vietnam, MASH's satiric target was obvious in 1970, and Vietnam War-weary and counter-culturally hip audiences responded to Altman's nose-thumbing attitude towards all kinds of authority and embraced the film's frankly tasteless yet evocative humor and its anti-war, anti-Establishment, anti-religion stance. MASH became the third most popular film of 1970 after Love Story and Airport, and it was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. As further evidence of the changes in Hollywood's politics, blacklist survivor Lardner won the Oscar for his screenplay. MASH began Altman's systematic 1970s effort to revise classic Hollywood genres in light of contemporary American values, and it gave him the financial clout to make even more experimental and critical films like McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971), California Split (1974), and Nashville (1975). It also inspired the long-running TV series starring Alan Alda as Hawkeye and Burghoff as Radar. With its formal and attitudinal impudence, and its great popularity, MASH was one more confirmation in 1970 that a Hollywood "New Wave" had arrived. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi
    • FangsFirst
      FangsFirst: I seem to recall finding myself vaguely surprised when I discovered the television show that would
      Reviewed 6 years days ago
  • Platoon

    Platoon (R, 1986)

    Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe, Charlie Sheen, Forest Whitaker, Francesco Quinn
    Oliver Stone's breakthrough as a director, Platoon is a brutally realistic look at a young soldier's... read more tour of duty in Vietnam. Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen) is a college student who quits school to volunteer for the Army in the late '60s. He's shipped off to Vietnam, where he serves with a culturally diverse group of fellow soldiers under two men who lead the platoon: Sgt. Barnes (Tom Berenger), whose facial scars are a mirror of the violence and corruption of his soul, and Sgt. Elias (Willem Dafoe), who maintains a Zen-like calm in the jungle and fights with both personal and moral courage even though he no longer believes in the war. After a few weeks "in country," Taylor begins to see the naďveté of his views of the war, especially after a quick search for enemy troops devolves into a round of murder and rape. Unlike Hollywood's first wave of Vietnam movies (including The Deer Hunter, Apocalypse Now, and Coming Home), Platoon is a grunt's-eye view of the war, touching on moral issues but focusing on the men who fought the battles and suffered the wounds. In this sense, it resembles older war movies more than its Vietnam peers, as it mixes familiar elements of onscreen battle with small realistic details: bugs, jungle rot, exhaustion, C-rations, marijuana, and counting the days before you go home. This mix of traditional war movie elements with a contemporary sensibility won Platoon four Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director, and a reputation as one of the definitive modern war films. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi