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fxreyman

War Books, Special Edition – Seventeen Great War Films: One Army Officer’s List

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Saw this from my Real Clear Defense website, and thought some of you would be interested reading it!

War Books, Special Edition – Seventeen Great War Films: One Army Officer’s List

https://mwi.usma.edu/war-books-special-edition-seventeen-great-war-films-one-army-officers-list/


The author is Brendan Gallagher published on September 9, 2019
Brendan Gallagher is a US Army lieutenant colonel in the infantry with multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. He holds a PhD from Princeton and is currently a battalion commander. He is the author of the book The Day After: Why America Wins the War but Loses the Peace (Cornell University Press, forthcoming release on September 15). The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the United States Military Academy, Department of the Army, or Department of Defense.

 

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20 minutes ago, fxreyman said:

Saw this from my Real Clear Defense website, and thought some of you would be interested reading it!

War Books, Special Edition – Seventeen Great War Films: One Army Officer’s List

https://mwi.usma.edu/war-books-special-edition-seventeen-great-war-films-one-army-officers-list/


The author is Brendan Gallagher published on September 9, 2019
Brendan Gallagher is a US Army lieutenant colonel in the infantry with multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. He holds a PhD from Princeton and is currently a battalion commander. He is the author of the book The Day After: Why America Wins the War but Loses the Peace (Cornell University Press, forthcoming release on September 15). The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the United States Military Academy, Department of the Army, or Department of Defense.

 

Wouldn't be my list, but to each his own.  No, I don't have a list and am not going to comment on why I would not consider most of these as "Great War Films."  Now if he is talking about entertainment value or reinforcing stereotypes as created by those in military that may be something different.

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I found it interesting that Gallagher said: "Movies that were deliberately left off this list: Pearl Harbor, The Hurt Locker.

Sure, Pearl Harbor is a pretty lousy movie which most critics panned, but I thought The Hurt Locker was excellently done and a film which was almost universally critically praised.

(...overall, not a bad list here I suppose, but I'd have added Battleground, The Story of G.I. Joe, and Command Decision)

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I've seen ten of them. Mostly the older titles. I would have added Ulzana's Raid (1971) which was a pretty accurate unglamourized and gritty depiction of U.S. Cavalry/Indian Wars.

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I haven't seen all of the films on the list, but it seems like a thoughtful, intelligent presentation. Lots of good choices. King Rat would be a good addition (I know, you're shocked). Dunkirk is the one I'd definitely ax, but I'm not a fan of Christopher Nolan's ego trips. I wish he had said why not The Hurt Locker.

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Just now, kingrat said:

I haven't seen all of the films on the list, but it seems like a thoughtful, intelligent presentation. Lots of good choices. King Rat would be a good addition (I know, you're shocked). Dunkirk is the one I'd definitely ax, but I'm not a fan of Christopher Nolan's ego trips. I wish he had said why not The Hurt Locker (the waterboarding, perhaps?).

I recall reading a few criticisms when The Hurt Locker came out about some procedural inaccuracies and other things that stretched the film's credibility too far, in the view of some military vets who served during the same time and place. I don't recall specifics, though. 

 

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I've seen them all, including the honorable mentions. I was happy to see Dead Presidents included, a good film that has been somewhat forgotten already.

I can't say that I disliked any of the movies he listed.

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good topic ...

good list ...

honorable mentions ...

sergeant york ... the fighting seabees ... sands of iwo jima ... destination tokyo...run silent run deep... the enemy below ...they were expendable ... gods and generals ... zulu ... gallipoli ... tora! tora! tora! ... waterloo ... darkest hour ...

 

 

 

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I haven't seen all of the films on Colonel Gallagher's list, but I really like the eight on the list that I have seen.  (I'm not a particular fan of war movies, but if it tells a good story, I'll like it.)

I've recently been reading director Samuel Fuller's outstanding autobiography, Third Face: My Tale of Writing, Fighting, and Filmmaking, which Eddie Muller highly recommended after showing Pickup on South Street on Noir Alley a few months ago.  Fuller was an infantry foot soldier during WW II, participating in the D-Day landing, as well as the earlier invasions of North Africa and Sicily.  The book describes his experiences in great detail.

Fuller's experiences in the war were harrowing -- full of risk and death at the most personal level -- and they inspired the war movies he later made, such as Merrill's Marauders (albeit set in the Pacific) and The Big Red One, which was highly autobiographical.  As Fuller says in his book, the focus of his war movies was the experience of the individual soldier, not the big picture that involves politics and military strategy.  In other words, his movies were about the day-to-day survival of each soldier, which Fuller believed motivated him and his fellow dogfaces (his term) more than any cause or the desire to be a hero.

I had never seen any of Fuller's war movies before I started his book.  But the descriptions in the book of his real-life war experiences were so compelling that I sought out and watched a variety of his movies (war and non-war), including the two mentioned above.

I wonder if Col. Gallagher has ever seen Merrill's Marauders or The Big Red One.  The latter is one of the best war movies I've seen and, in my opinion, certainly deserves to be mentioned among the better-known movies that the colonel highlights.

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Yeah, I don't know why a guy hip enough to include Dead Presidents apparently had so much hate for Hurt Locker, which was clearly a vastly superior movie to Pearl Harbor. I would also like some rationale, but I supsect we won't get any.

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