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The Anti-War Theme

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Interesting topic,but define your terms. By "war film," do you mean just "combat" movies or any film that touches on issues of the war and the miltary? And by "good," do you mean a movie that's merely entertaining, or a film that approaches something like the truth?


Also, keep in mind that a lot of movies that are "pro-war," or justify military action (as in almost all the World War II films of the 1940s and 1950s) can still express a "war is hell" theme. I can't think of any serious war film that maintains that war is a totally positive enterprise. (I'm sure someone else can, though.)

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That is an interesting topic for sure. I find that the usual "anti-war" film gets a little preachy and I would just prefer that the viewer decide if it's really anti-war or not. I honestly don't know of any pro-war movies. I see a lot of justification for political ends (which is most often a good thing) but there always is an accompanying bit of dread to go along with it. There is always some suffering to go along with the flag waving it seems.

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Thanks for prompting some definitions. I'll define "war movie" in your second sense--movies that have war themes, plots, and settings--explosions, good/bad soldiers, politicians, boot camps, prison camps, people being blown to bits and all that. The whole military scene.


Maybe it's morally impossible to make an honest war film without it being propaganda. You know, you have two options, both of which become propaganda messages in time of war: "War is hell and is never justifiable" (pacifism) or "War is hell, but it's necessary anyway" (pick the political justification). Maybe it's a daft question.


And you exactly comment on my point with a conclusion I'm coming to, probably for that very reason: "I can't think of any serious war film that maintains that war is a totally positive enterprise. (I'm sure someone else can, though.)"

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I think the best war movies (or lets say the ones I like the most ) are what I would consider "honest" movies. A movie like *The Best Years Of Our Lives* that gives a real picture of the impact the war had on the people, the guys who went and their families at home. Another is *Command Decision* with Clark Gable. The war itself may be justified but the issue is the way its fought and the cost in lives. You can judge for yourself whether it was a "good " war or not.

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