War movies have captivated audiences for decades. The epic cinematic battles provide enthralling drama and action from clashing swords to exploding bombs. They are mainly based on true stories but sometimes are fictional tales too. The best war films transport viewers right onto the battlefields. Experience courage, sacrifice, cruelty and survival through some of the most memorable war movies ever made. Here is our selection of the top 10 war movies of all time.

List of Best Top 10 War Movies

Below is a table with list are ten war movies which are considered best top 10 90's war movies worldwide:

Sr. No Movie Name Release Year
1 Paths of Glory 1957
2 Apocalypse Now 1979
3 Come and See 1985
4 Ran 1985
5 La Grande Illusion 1937
6 The Deer Hunter 1978
7 Rome, Open City 1945
8 Where Eagles Dare 1968
9 The Thin Red Line 1998
10 Three Kings 1999

1 - Paths of Glory (1957)

  • Lead actors: Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker
  • Supporting Artist: Adolphe Menjou, George Macready
  • Director: Stanley Kubrick
  • Release date: October 25, 1957
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 8.4
  • Language: English, German, French
  • Where To Watch: Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, Vudu

Paths of Glory is a 1957 American anti-war film directed by Stanley Kubrick. It is set during World War I. The film stars Kirk Douglas as Colonel Dax who is the commanding officer of French soldiers who refuse to continue a suicidal attack. Dax attempts to defend the soldiers against charges of cowardice in a court-martial.

It is based on the novel by Humphrey Cobb. Paths of Glory received widespread critical acclaim. Its unflinching look at corrupt military bureaucracy and the madness of war was considered controversial and was banned in several countries. The film is regarded as one of Kubrick's finest works and an anti-war cinema classic.

2 - Apocalypse Now (1979)

  • Lead actors: Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando
  • Supporting Artist: Robert Duvall, Laurence Fishburne
  • Director: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Release date: August 15, 1979
  • Run Time: 147 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 8.4
  • Language: English, French, Vietnamese
  • Where To Watch: Amazon Prime Video, Netflix

Apocalypse Now is a 1979 American epic war film directed by Francis Ford Coppola. It is somewhat based on Joseph Conrad's novella Heart of Darkness. The film stars Martin Sheen as Captain Willard - a US Army Special Operations officer during the Vietnam War. Willard is sent on a dangerous mission into Cambodia to assassinate Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando) - a renegade Green Beret officer who has set himself up as a god among a local tribe.

Apocalypse Now is considered one of the greatest films ever made with its surreal imagery, psychedelic soundtrack and existential themes. The film was acclaimed for its masterful depiction of the absurdity and horror of war. It won the Palme d'Or at Cannes and received widespread critical praise. Apocalypse Now is regarded as a landmark in American cinema.

3 - Come and See (1985)

  • Lead actors: Aleksey Kravchenko, Olga Mironova
  • Supporting Artist: Liubomiras Laucevičius, Vladas Bagdonas
  • Director: Elem Klimov
  • Release date: July 1985
  • Run Time: 142 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 8.4
  • Language: Russian, German, Belarusian
  • Where To Watch: YouTube, Amazon Prime Video

Come and See is a 1985 Soviet anti-war film which is set during the Nazi German occupation of Belarus. It follows a young boy Florya who joins the Soviet resistance movement as a partisan. Florya is forced to lose his innocence and transform into a battle-hardened soldier as he witnesses countless horrors inflicted by the invading forces.

Come and See is one of the most devastating anti-war films ever made with its harrowing depiction of genocide and unflinching realism. Critics praised its immersive atmosphere and the haunting performance by Aleksey Kravchenko as Florya. The film received the Best Foreign Film award at the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards in 1985.

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4 - Ran (1985)

  • Lead actors: Tatsuya Nakadai, Mieko Harada
  • Supporting Artist: Akira Terao, Jinpachi Nezu
  • Director: Akira Kurosawa
  • Release date: May 31, 1985
  • Run Time: 162 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 8.2
  • Language: Japanese
  • Where To Watch: Amazon Prime Video

Ran is a 1985 jidaigeki (Japanese period drama) film which is based on Shakespeare's King Lear. It is set in medieval Japan and follows an elderly lord Hidetora who decides to divide his kingdom among his three sons. A bloody war breaks out that leads to the downfall of the entire clan as treachery and infighting ensue.

Kurosawa final epic masterpiece Ran was acclaimed for its grand scale, vivid colors and captivating battle scenes. Ran is regarded as one of the greatest war films ever made with its themes of greed, lust for power and the senselessness of war. It received an Oscar nomination for Best Costume Design.

5 - La Grande Illusion (1937)

  • Lead actors: Jean Gabin, Pierre Fresnay
  • Supporting Artist: Erich von Stroheim, Dita Parlo
  • Director: Jean Renoir
  • Release date: June 4, 1937
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 8.1
  • Language: French, English, German
  • Where To Watch: Amazon Prime Video, YouTube

La Grande Illusion is a 1937 French war film directed by Jean Renoir. It is set during World War I. It follows a group of French officers held as prisoners of war in a German camp. The French prisoners form bonds with some of their German captors despite their national differences. But the friendship is tested when they attempt to escape.

This movie pioneered the anti-war movie genre and is one of the greatest films ever. The film suggests common humanity can transcend narrow identities with its anti-nationalist themes. It was the first foreign film to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. La Grande Illusion is hailed as an anti-war cinema masterpiece.

6. The Deer Hunter (1978)

  • Lead actors: Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken
  • Supporting Artist: John Savage, Meryl Streep
  • Director: Michael Cimino
  • Release date: December 8, 1978
  • Run Time: 183 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 8.1
  • Language: English, Vietnamese, Russian
  • Where To Watch: Amazon Prime Video, Paramount+

The Deer Hunter is a 1978 American epic war drama film which stars Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken and John Savage as three steelworkers in Pennsylvania who enlist to fight in the Vietnam War. They are captured by the Vietcong who force them to play Russian roulette. The harrowing experience changes them forever.

The Deer Hunter provided one of the earliest looks at the Vietnam War psychological trauma and grimly realistic in its combat sequences. It was critically hailed and won five Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actor for Christopher Walken. The film is considered a cinematic landmark.

Also Read: Top 20 Apocalyptic Movies

7 - Rome, Open City (1945)

  • Lead actors: Aldo Fabrizi, Anna Magnani
  • Supporting Artist: Marcello Pagliero, Vito Annichiarico
  • Director: Roberto Rossellini
  • Release date: September 1945
  • Run Time: 168 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 8.0
  • Language: Italian, German
  • Where To Watch: HBO Max, Kanopy, Amazon Prime Video

Rome, Open City is a 1945 Italian neorealist war drama film which was made shortly after the liberation of Rome from Nazi occupation. It depicts the struggles of the Italian resistance movement against the Nazis during World War II.

It was filmed in the war-ravaged streets of Rome using non-professional actors. Rome, Open City brought global attention to the neorealist movement in Italian cinema. The film shocked audiences worldwide with its raw authenticity and emotional power. It won awards at the Cannes Film Festival and launched the careers of Roberto Rossellini and actress Anna Magnani. Rome Open City is considered a landmark in film history.

8 - Where Eagles Dare (1968)

  • Lead actors: Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood
  • Supporting Artist: Mary Ure, Patrick Wymark
  • Director: Brian G. Hutton
  • Release date: December 4, 1968
  • Run Time: 158 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 7.6
  • Language: English, German
  • Where To Watch: Amazon Prime Video, YouTube

Where Eagles Dare is a 1968 British WWII action spy film. Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood play Allied agents sent to infiltrate a German castle and rescue an American General held captive by the Nazis. This movie delivers suspense and thrilling action with its daring mountain-top cable car scenes and climactic battle sequences.

It authentically depicts WWII alpine combat and Nazi brutality while taking creative liberties. Some critics panned it as escapist entertainment but it was highly successful at the box office. Where Eagles Dare became renowned as a WWII adventure classic with a memorable performance by Eastwood and spectacular stunts.

9 - The Thin Red Line (1998)

  • Lead actors: Jim Caviezel, Sean Penn
  • Supporting Artist: Nick Nolte, Elias Koteas
  • Director: Terrence Malick
  • Release date: December 25, 1998
  • Run Time: 170 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 7.6
  • Language: English, Japanese
  • Where To Watch: Amazon Prime Video, YouTube

The Thin Red Line is a 1998 American war film which was adapted from James Jones' novel. It follows a company of US soldiers during the Battle of Mount Austen in World War II. The men face internal conflicts as they fight brutal combat against the Japanese forces.

The Thin Red Line is less conventional than traditional war films with its philosophical voiceovers and poetic imagery. Malick infuses the violence of war with lyricism and existential themes. The film received widespread critical acclaim for its haunting depiction of soldiers grappling morality. It was nominated for 7 Academy Awards.

10 - Three Kings (1999)

  • Lead actors: George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube
  • Supporting Artist: Spike Jonze, Nora Dunn
  • Director: David O. Russell
  • Release date: October 1, 1999
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 7.1
  • Language: English, Arabic
  • Where To Watch: Hulu, Amazon Prime Video

Three Kings is a 1999 American black comedy war film set during the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War. It follows a group of US soldiers on a gold heist who end up helping Iraqi civilians amid rising rebellion against Saddam Hussein. The film blends high-energy action with biting satire about morality with its unique take on the Gulf War.

Final Verdict

This diverse selection of classic and contemporary war films offers a multi-dimensional cinematic tour through different conflicts. The settings, backdrops and visuals transport viewers to pivotal battlefronts in history from the French countryside of WWI to WWII naval warfare to jungle combat in Vietnam. These films provide poignant perspectives on the impacts of warfare from shell shock to heroic sacrifice beyond explosive action sequences. If you're a history buff, cinema lover and adrenaline seeker, these expertly crafted war movies will inform, inspire and immerse you through the power of filmmaking.


Q: What is an example of a war movie?

Apocalypse Now, Saving Private Ryan, Full Metal Jacket are some of the most renowned war movies.

Q: Which war has inspired the most movies?

World War II.

Q: What makes a great war movie?

Great war movies combine tense battle scenes with compelling characters and impactful messages. The best films in the genre depict the humanity beneath the combat, convey the hardship of war and help audiences understand history through intimate personal stories.