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Best War Movies for each War


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A true war flick (or at least a war flick that transcends the John Wayne level) will involve everything from battle scenes to the reactions of individual soldiers to the politics behind strategic decisions to the political context of the home front.  A propaganda flick will treat war like a video game.  Wars aren't fought in a political vacuum, much as we'd often like to pretend otherwise.

Military strategy is not my thing. If I had gone to West Point, I would have regularly fallen asleep in class. ( George, how dd you do on your "Outflanking the Enemy" midterm?)

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Military strategy is not my thing. If I had gone to West Point, I would have regularly fallen asleep in class. ( George, how dd you do on your "Outflanking the Enemy" midterm?)

why should a war flick have to transcend the john wayne level? his war films are ever popular today so the duke must've done something right. :D

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A true war flick will involve mostly battle scenes, which is not what I want to see in a film.

Yeah, I don't think you can have the essence of a war movie without some portrayal of battle scenes. War has been with us since the beginning of time. It's our nature. We Were Soldiers portrays the Vietnam soldier as something more than a pot smoking drunken derelict. Some of the soldiers are family men and the home front is portrayed with families praying for their sons, brothers and fathers . Good read on the Vietnam soldier: http://www.vhfcn.org/stat.html

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Military strategy is not my thing. If I had gone to West Point, I would have regularly fallen asleep in class. ( George, how dd you do on your "Outflanking the Enemy" midterm?)

 

Me, too, but OTOH the overall subject of war is always interesting to me.  I've got many hundreds of books on the rise of Hitler and the Holocaust, and an equal number on the Lenin and Stalin periods,  but other than John Erickson's The Soviet High Command and Norman Rich's Hitler's War Aims, I can hardly think of more than a tiny handful of titles I have that have anything to do with the military side of battle per se.  And even those two books are more about the political side of war than strategy.  It's also why I find that the great majority of war movies I like were made in countries that experienced war on their own territory, which gives them a sense of multifaceted realism that I don't see in many Hollywood war movies, where after the Civil War our soldiers are always fighting thousands of miles away, with their wives and children safe and warm back home.  That's NOT how war has really been like for most countries.

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Me, too, but OTOH the overall subject of war is always interesting to me.  I've got many hundreds of books on the rise of Hitler and the Holocaust, and an equal number on the Lenin and Stalin periods,  but other than John Erickson's The Soviet High Command and Norman Rich's Hitler's War Aims, I can hardly think of more than a tiny handful of titles I have that have anything to do with the military side of battle per se.  And even those two books are more about the political side of war than strategy.  It's also why I find that the great majority of war movies I like were made in countries that experienced war on their own territory, which gives them a sense of multifaceted realism that I don't see in many Hollywood war movies, where after the Civil War our soldiers are always fighting thousands of miles away, with their wives and children safe and warm back home.  That's NOT how war has really been like for most countries.

Interesting that a guy whose specialty was military strategy (Eisenhower) was thought to be eminently qualified to be President. And I'll bet he didn't even do well on his "Outflanking the Enemy" mid-term.

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It does have a "political" message, but not as blatant as John Wayne's The Green Berets.  Also, it occured very early in the American phase of the war when things appeared a whole lot simpler than they were.  Not to say it does not show heroism and sacrifice of the American soldier.

All wars are political and all war movies are therefore political.

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   The only film I can recall about the Spanish American War may not technically qualify. In 1997 John Milius directed a two part (four hour) movie made for TNT. It was called Rough Riders and starred Tom Berenger as Teddy Roosevelt, Sam Elliot, Gary Busey, Brian Keith and George Hamilton. The first half addresses forming and training the unit and most of the latter part focuses on the charge up San Juan Hill.

   It's on DVD and well worth renting.

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How can we leave out The Dawn Patrol for WWI?  This war has been so romanticized that we forget that it introduced gas warfare to the world as my grandfather could attest to.  It shows the anguish that c/os go through when they must send men into combat knowing some will not return alive.  This was "the war to end all wars" and it's ironic that when the movie was released in 1937 the world was already gearing up for the even more horrible sequel. 

 

Also Go or Broke needs to be mentioned for WWII. That these young Japanese-American men were willing to fight for our side despite what was being done to their "relocated" families here and having to battle relatives in the "old country" is amazing.  I remember a newsreel where after Pearl Harbor some in California are holding a sign saying 'We are patriotic Americans; 14% of us are in the service" .  It was  like the Blacks who had to fight one war to get into the real one and show what they could do when they could have stayed home and let everyone else do it.  It there's anything good about war, this kind of courage and pride must be a part.

speaking of Go for Broke, back in 2011, i was able to meet some of them as they arrived in dc for the Congressional Gold Medal (some wearing the same uniforms they wear back in ww2).  also got to meet some Tuskegee Airmen in the past (one of them gave Red Tail a C because of the flying parts made them do something they didn't really do). 

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