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what is everyone's favorite war film and why?


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While it isn't always practical to film on location, the *Battle Of The Bulge* wasn't even close to replicating the place or the weather conditions in which the actual battle occurred. *Patton* certainly did a far better job of giving the viewer a sense of the real conditions for the actions being shown.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Oh let's see a few of mine are::

_Sink The Bismarck_ - Three of my grandparents came from England. This was a very well done movie and stuck close to the truth!

_Green Berets_ Fairly accurate, it was at least one flick that did not downgrade the Vietnam War.

_Dam Busters_ Well done, albeit a bit inaccurate. The actual attack did not do much at all.

_The Sullivans_ Good flick, albeit, again, a bit inaccurate.

_The Bunker_ About my favorite, very well done and very close to being accurate.

_The Light Horse_ About Austrailain mounted infantry in WWI. Great flick and very accurate.

_Fly Boys_ Good flick, albeit, again, too much Hollywood BS.

_Tora, Tora, Tora_ Good movie, close to accurate, less Hollywood BS!

_Task Force_ Good old Gary Cooper, good close to accurate flick

_Memphis Belle_ Good flick with great acting.

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"Patton" did a very good job on the Bulge", although just a small portion of the film. But it was a film on the man not the battle. I still think "Battleground" was and is one of the best film's on the subject.Regarding the "****" G.I.'s involved in the battle. It still is a powerful film....

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  • 7 years later...

"Twelve O'Clock High" (1949) for me. Because its all about the men and their issues; rather than the guns or the ammo. Set against a background of authenticity. Based on a collection of real-life people and real-life incidents. Seen it I don't know how many times and it remains heart-in-throat stuff.

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First thoughts:

Finest acting, directing and writing: Trial on the Road (1986), The Ascent (1977), Ballad of a Soldier (1959), Father of a Soldier (1965)

Funniest war comedy: La Grande Vadrouille (1966)

Great war film, but almost too difficult to watch: Come and See (1985)

 

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Good, except that I myself must demur on Terence Malik. For me, nothing he's done except 'Badlands' was plausible or convincing. Mostly because of the actors--Richard Gere in 'Days of Heaven'...groan. And then the absurdly long gap between flicks; only to wind up with ageing drug-addled Nick Nolte? 'Badlands' is movie magic and Malik is certainly a stylist but his other two outings...wait he's got a total of four flicks now right? Didnt he just do 'Tree of Life' or something with Sean Penn? Eh. Just doesn't 'look right' to my eyes. Out-of-place in today's superhero landscape.

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5 hours ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

Good, except that I myself must demur on Terence Malik. For me, nothing he's done except 'Badlands' was plausible or convincing. Mostly because of the actors--Richard Gere in 'Days of Heaven'...groan. And then the absurdly long gap between flicks; only to wind up with ageing drug-addled Nick Nolte? 'Badlands' is movie magic and Malik is certainly a stylist but his other two outings...wait he's got a total of four flicks now right? Didnt he just do 'Tree of Life' or something with Sean Penn? Eh. Just doesn't 'look right' to my eyes. Out-of-place in today's superhero landscape.

I, for one, find Richard Gere unbearable; he is so conceited and pompous. He looks like an ****, to boot. After doing "Tree of Life", Malick has succumb to making tripe.  I recently tried to watch his latest opus, "Song to Song"; it was god-awful! Had to put it down without finishing it.

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I'm kinda with you there. Gere is hardly my favorite. I can't hardly name more than one Gere film I admire. He and Sly Stallone have always had a feud for precisely this reason you stated --his smugness--they even got physical on the set of 'Lords of Flatbush' and --laughably--Gere was ignominiously ousted.

Anyway I wish Malick had stayed golden; chosen better projects. Or, I wish he had stayed away from films entirely after 'Badlands'. That's really all he needed to do, to be a classic talent. That one picture. It was put together on a shoestring and remains a marvel. Alas--after he 'arrived' in Hollywood, he went the way of all flesh.

This is not to say that 'Thin Red Line' is a misfire--if you like it, I am sure its got merit which I failed to detect. What I saw of it, made me turn away. But I have very particular and stringent personal preferences which you are free from.

It's not that I dislike Nolte in particular--but, he's been acting for so loooong and I've seen him in soooo many roles. Like many of his peers to whom I am also over-saturated, I simply have had enough of him and he doesn't seem plausible anymore.

Anyway, cheers.

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I am a big fan of films that transcend the movie-watching experience.  When I first saw "The Thin Red Line", almost 20 years ago, I was entranced by Malick's attempt to do something different. It certainly made an impression on me.  Most probably if I watch it right now, perhaps I won't have such a high opinion of it.  I believe that sometimes movies make a stamp on filmmaking history at the time they are made, and as time goes by, some lose impact and some don't.  The ones that never lose impact are truly unique.  Directors the likes of Bunuel, Antonioni, Capra, Kubrick and many many more make such films.

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  • 1 year later...

My favorite war movie depends on how long it's been since I saw it.

Today, I'll pick 1977's Cross of Iron - a Sam Peckinpah war movie focusing on the German army in Russia.

Tomorrow I might choose a different favorite.

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  • 8 months later...

My favorite war film--in terms of shooting enemies-- overall is The Red Badge of Courage mainly because it's the only film I've ever seen that really addresses "the fog of battle." I never heard a shot fired in anger until I was a news reporter covering the police beat here in Houston in 1973. But Red Badge certainly triggers memories of the confusion on field exercises in Army basic training back in 1961. Plus it was interesting to see Audie Murphy, the most decorated US soldier in WWII portraying a boy running away from his first battle, which Murphy definitely didn't do. On the other hand, his biographical film To Hell and Back is one of the worst war movies. Combat uniforms in that film were cleaner and better pressed than the ones I wore for inspections. Figured the film was just as sanitized, so I got the book--my gawd, blood and guts from cover to cover!!! One story of a night spent in hiding with German prisoners including a dying kid he had gut-shot was rougher than anything you'll ever see on film.  I think John Wayne did an Oscar-worthy performance in Sands of Iwo Jima, but I'd rather have seen him face to face with the Medal of Honor flag-raisers and other Iwo veterans in that film after he sat out the war on a deferment because he had a wife and children. Wayne's no hero or even a patriot to me.

My favorite "Army during war" film is The Hill a 1965 flick about a British punishment battalion in North Africa during WWII. No doubt that's largely because I finished a 3-year enlistment in 1964 in what was then the peace-time US Army in Germany on the other side of Viet Nam which was just starting to get hot. In Germany, the only "enemy" were the  officers and, mostly, the NCOs above  my Spec-4 rating. The Hill confirmed my conception of NCOs abusing too much power over helpless EMs.  My personal prejudice, of course. Never the less, the movie has great performances by American Ossie Davis and Harry Andrews. Sean Connery also had a better role than in many of his earlier hits.

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Another war--or rather going into  war--movie I never get tired of seeing is "From Here to Eternity."  Sure, Donna Reed comes across as an USO receptionist instead of the prostitute in James Jones' great novel, and there is nothing in the book about male prostitution. I think Montgomery Clift would have been massacred if he ever got into the ring, but Burt Lancaster is what every top sergeant should be but never is, although it aborted the son of Deborah Kerr's character and thus eliminates the scene of Lancaster's sergeant hiding naked in a closet when the kid nearly walks in on mom. Other than that it sticks close enough to the book to remain entertaining and still get the Army to let them film at Scofield Barracks. Sinatra has a great role, of course, but the film had me from the opening scene of real GIs falling into morning formation and marching away from the barracks. You know they're real because mere actors haven't got what it takes to do close order drill. I openly admit I was a lousy soldier during my 3-year hitch in the US Army.  Walked off guard duty one freezing winter night during basic training at Fort Carson, Colo., on the calculated risk that no officer of NCO would roll out of a warm sack on a cold night to make sure I was marching guard with an empty rifle around blocks of empty barracks. Went AWOL for a couple of days a couple of times with pals signing in and out for me to hide my absence. I failed to take head check before lights out in Sullivan Barracks outside  Mannheim , Germany, one night when another bird failed to make it back for formation the next morning. But I was a short-timer by then and nothing bad happened.  When I was in basic at Fort Carson in October-December 1961, they put all of us Regular Army 3-year volunteers together in the fourth platoon and filled the other 3 platoons with draftees. Our platoon was the worst at everything all through basic. Worst on the rifle range, worse at PT, worse on field exercises, and certainly worst at close order drill. Yet today for some perverse reason, I really enjoy watching good soldiers who can click through close order drill. I like it in From Here to Eternity and especially in Gardens of Stone,  a 1987 flick by Francis Ford Coppola starring James Caan, James Earl Jones, and Anjelica Huston, about the Old Guard at Fort Myer, Vir., who serve as the US Army's Honor Guard  at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and for burials in Arlington.  These are the cream of the cream when it comes to close order drill. Only the best perform here, and it is amazing to watch.  No, I wasn't a good soldier--I just wore the uniform for 3 years. But I know and appreciate a good soldier when I see him snap through close order drill with out missing an order or making a mistake. It's better than all the BS fisticuffs of the Green Berets and SEALs in  the movies. 

 

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  • 2 months later...

Mine is an odd choice but one of my favourites is To Be Or Not To Be (1942). So hilarious and such a spoof on WW2 and Germany at the time. Still get a good laugh out of it although the "So they call me Concentration Camp Erhardt?" line wouldn't fly well now.

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The Battle of Britain (1969)  First off, it's one of the great military stories of all time.  It's the Battle of Thermopylae, but with a happy ending.  Also, so much great aerial photography.

Henry V (1989)  Kenneth Branaugh makes Shakespeare exciting.

Dive Bomber (1941)  Porn for vintage warbird nuts.

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Despite my deep interest in WW1 and WW2, I really don't like too many war movies. However, I do really enjoy "The Big Parade" (1929). It is quite a visual spectacle with its battle scenes and must have had quite a large budget. But more than anything, I like that it does not glorify war and shows a lot of the grim realities without being too depressing. It just seems very human. The version I have seen has a wonderful score as well, particularly in a scene where the men are crossing a bombed-out forest and are slowly being picked off one by one.

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