War movies are often not delightful to watch, especially on the Sunday evening of Netflix and chill. Romance, comedy, and science fictions serve the purpose better. But for the gripping action sequences on the battleground and the gritty raw experiences soldiers go through in the unforgiving terrain of hostile countries – one must watch movies of the War genre. Being able to both captivate and inspire the viewers at the same time, these movies contain a huge amount of entertainment value, especially if you know which one in particular to watch. Well, the whole process just became trouble-free, as we have listed the best of the best war movies on Netflix down below.
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20 Best War Movies on Netflix:
1. War Machine
In this fun-filled war satire adapted from Michael Hastings’s “The Operators,” where Brad Pitt plays the role of General Stanley McChrystal who is sent to Afghanistan with hopes of leading an elite operation. Idiosyncratic general comes across all sorts of trouble from both enemies and allies on the foreign land. The disillusioned politicians in the nation don’t help either. The whole premise, even though actually terrifying, is portrayed as a joke in this well-crafted flick as it explores all the mishaps and the adventures General Stanley in Afghanistan. The first half of the movie is almost a war comedy while the second half ditches the tone and becomes a war drama. Resulting in a well-made satire with amazing characters.
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2. Hacksaw Ridge
A real-life story of a decorated American soldier who fought in WWII, Desmond T. Doss. The movie plays in two halves: the initial years of Desmond’s life where he finds his love along with the aspiration to be a part of the army and the actual war that takes place in Hacksaw Ridge. The movie shines at depicting the contrast between the ideals of the protagonist, played beautifully by Andrew Garfield and the situations he ends up being in. The devout Seventh-day Adventist swears off weapons and violence of any kind while dutifully accepting the job of a combat medic in the war. After heroically saving the lives of 75 men at the ridge, he is awarded with the Congressional Medal of Honor. The story of the man who helped America win the war, but without firing a single shot.
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3. American Sniper
A 2014 biographical war drama directed by Clint Eastwood and starred by Bradley Cooper. The previous sentence alone is enough to make anyone at least a little excited to stream it on Netflix. The jaw-dropping raw action scenes and awe-inspiring marksman skill of the hero are only the few elements in the movie that will make you a fan of, instantly. And of course, you’ve got to have a keen interest on the general act of sniping – the art of firing a shot at a person, at times a mile away and making sure the receiver of the bullet drops dead. Bradley plays as the real-life sniper named Chris Kyle who served in the American military and the story explores the trauma he experiences after his four tours once he reaches home.
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4. Point and Shoot
It is not your usual war movie with grimy atmosphere depicting a dark tone. “Point and Shoot” depicts the fun and suspenseful adventures of a guy named Matt VanDyke. Originally from America, Matt sets out on a journey through the middle eastern countries in the quest for adventure and supposedly “manhood”. He does all this in order to prove to his family that he is not a wimp. The fun begins when he starts documenting his journey in the form of video logs, especially towards the end where he ends up fighting for the Libyan revolution. His textbook unreliability as a narrator and intense narcissism only contribute to the overall fun in the narrative.
5. The Hurt Locker
This 2008 American war thriller film, directed by Kathryn Bigelow with a budget of $15 million was released on June 26, 2009. The film which captures the Iraq War in its desolate glory is starred by American actors Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty. Compared to the really good movies of war, like Platoon, The Hurt Locker doesn’t pretend to be that serious. The Hurt Locker was well received and critically acclaimed. It won six Academy Awards, two of which were for the Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. The cast gives off a splendid performance to the viewers along with the on-par cinematography. A must watch for the war genre enthusiast.
6. Battle for Incheon: Operation Chromite
It is basically a Korean movie, but dubbed in English. With “In-cheon sang-ryuk jak-jeon” being the original title, it was released in 2016 under the genres action drama war. Being the only Korean movie in the list, it well earns its position among the other entrants by being a very dramatic heartfelt portrayal of American General behind North Korean lines. Carrying out the operation “X-ray”, the general, played by Liam Neeson sends exactly 8 members of led by the South Korean Navy Lieutenant. The success of the covert operation is visually narrated through the rest of the movie.
7. The Kingdom
“The Kingdom” is a movie that includes top-notch action with amazing dialogue delivered by the main cast. Starring Jamie Foxx playing the role of Ronald Fleury Foxx and Chris Cooper playing the role of Grant Sykes, the movie describes the investigation of held by the team of US government to find out regarding the terrorists attack on an American facility in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The hostile environment tests their limits and abilities while they carry on their assigned task in the foreign country. The movie received a lot of critical acclaims even though it grossed only a bit more than the budget. It is available for streaming on Netflix as of now.
8. Full Metal Jacket
The movie comprises of two distinct halves, each exploring two different concepts. In the first 50 minutes or so, we see a group of recruits in a boot camp, under the supervision and command of the merciless Sergeant of the name Hartman. The first half is what really makes this flick deserve a position on this list, with its brilliant character development and strong emotions. While all this grips your attention, the second half slowly comes in telling the adventures of a single recruit from the camp we see earlier. The man named “Joker” actively documents the whole event that takes place in Vietnam, being a correspondent for stars and stripes. The second half involves a lot of great fights and explosions that would please any action lover looking for good fun.
9. Pearl Harbor
The action-packed Michael Bay directorial, released in 2001 told the story of two childhood friends named Rafe McCawley, played by Ben Affleck and Danny Walker, played by Josh Hartnett. After becoming Army Air Corp pilots once reaching adulthood, they meet a navy nurse their named Evelyn. Rafe shows a special interest in Evelyn which later leads to them becoming a couple. The movie was a big hit when it released and got ample praises for its style of direction, thanks to Micheal Bay. Just like all his movies, this one featured a lot of violence, brilliant explosions and rich action scenes set in the Pearl harbor incident.
10. Beasts of No Nation
A drama based on the experiences of Agu, a child soldier fighting in the civil war of an unnamed fictional African country. Written and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, it brilliantly portrays the journey of Agu and all his hardships as he tries to survive in the unforgiving land of ruthless battles and wars.. What drives this movie home is not the stark landscapes of the country or the beautiful color palette implemented in the cinematography (surprisingly), rather it is the remarkable performance given by the child actor Abraham Attah. The screen presence of this unsuspecting young actor impresses the viewer throughout the length of the movie. The beautiful acting depicts the brutal and raw experiences Agu goes through, in his violence-rich childhood, surviving the war that scars him.
11. A War
With “Krigen” being the original title, this war-themed tale introduces us to the Danish commmander named Claus Michael Pedersen (Pilou Asbæk) and his troop stationed on a remote end of Afghanistan. Along with the narrative of the events occurring in the Islamic republic, we are also shown the struggles his wife Maria deals with back in Denmark. Her strenuous tasks she performed daily, including the raising of three kids who miss their father. Both protagonist’s situations are depicted in a complimenting nature until what happens to Michael becomes the main focus of the movie. An unwise decision made by him puts all of his loved ones, including his troop in a tragic unfortunate circumstance. Danish filmmaking excellency delivered.
12. Son of Saul
The film is a Hungarian style of narration which describes the struggle of the prisoners who works as Sonderkommando members in the Auschwitz. Saul Auslander, one of the prisoner, comes upon the corpse of a boy he takes for his illegitimate son. The entire story revolves around Saul’s decision on giving his son a secret burial which must be officiated by a rabbi. In the second half, the movie becomes a little ride but the brilliant cinematography, the marvelous sound design and predominantly the stoic face of Saul throughout the film made the fictionalized story a very pragmatic one.
13. Inglourious Basterds
Quentin Tarantino’s mastery of filmmaking is thoroughly felt even in the first watch of this war drama. After the classic hits like “Pulp fiction” and “Kill Bill”, Tarantino introduces us to a group of elite Jewish-American soldiers with the hard-hearted Lt. Aldo Raine (played by Brad Pit) as the leader. Codenamed as “Basterds”, their goal is to take down the Nazis in the German-occupied France. In their journey, they come across Shosanna Dreyfus (played by Mélanie Laurent) who owns a theater and wants plot revenge against the Germans who slaughters her family years before. The rest of the movie visually narrates how their plans coincide to achieve a common goal. The aestheticization of violence is charming and the star cast of Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender is impressive. But are you a Tarantino fan? now, that’s the question.
14. Zero Dark Thirty
What better topic to make a movie about in the war genre than the famous hunt for the al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden – the terrorist mastermind. Often called a dismissing a propaganda gone wrong, “Zero Dark Thirty” is a 2012 thriller drama starring Jessica Chastain as “Maya” and Chriss Pratt as “Justin”. The movie is directed by Kathryn Bigelow, the ex-wife of James Cameron, who tried to outperform her past lover in the direction department of the movie. The decade-long search of this dreaded man who lead al-Qaeda and his ultimate demise brought by the US Nacy SEAL team is shown in the rawest and brutal ways possible.
15. Rescue Dawn
A dramatic attempt at escape and the hurdles faced soon after are two important plot points this Chritian Bale starer offers the audience. Telling the story of a US Navy pilot named Dieter Dengler, played by the aforementioned actor, “Rescue Dawn” shows us the struggle of being imprisoned and the harsh experiences of survival one has to go through to remain alive. The unforgiving Vietnam jungle, wherein the protagonist tries to escape from along with the unexpected betrayals of fellow-mates makes the movie worth your time. Do stream it on Netflix today if you’re into war-based survival movies featuring brilliants award-winning actors and gripping narratives.
16. Body of Lies
Released in 2008, “Body of Lies” tells the tale of a CIA agent on the ground, who is hunting down a notorious terrorist group leader while being conflicted with contradictory orders from his superior officials. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Roger Ferris, Russell Crowe as Ed Hoffman and Mark Strong as Hani. Ridley Scott, the director of the movie does a fantastic job at depicting all the actions scenes and emotional sequences between the characters realistically. A must watch for the amazing performances from the lead actors.
17. Courage Under Fire
The two times academy award winner Denzel Washington plays the lead role of this action-drama as a Colonel in the army who is given the assignment of reviewing the case regarding the first woman ever to win the Medal of Honor. In order to assess the files and data correctly, Nat Serling (the Colonel) interviews the other members of her team. The flashback rich narration starts when the investigation progressed post-death of Karen Walden played brilliantly by Meg Ryan. But the performance of the movie truly belongs to Lou Diamond Phillips who played Monfriez as another member of Ryan’s team. Overall a Great movie worth streaming on Netflix.
An interesting, suspenseful and a very well-made action movie on the topics such as war, survival and death. It tells the story of the four Bielski brothers in the German-dominated Poland during the World War II, evading from them German war that is taking place in their country. Tuvia Bielski, played by Daniel Craig, along with his brothers lead the Polish Jews away from the Nazis by hiding in the deep forests of the country. While evading, they also struggle in finding food and weapons to survive in the wilderness filled not only with dangerous animals but also with people who are in the hunt for them. The elderly, kids, women and young men alike construct makeshift homes in the cold unforgiving jungle in the harshest times of Eastern Europe.
19. Tropic Thunder
Among all the entrants in this list, this pseudo-war-drama stands out because it is basically a comedy, a brilliantly made comedy to say the least. The movie boasts a star cast of Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black, Jeff Kahn, Ben Stiller and many more – the latter being the director and writer as well. Primarily a sharp-witted satire, “Tropic Thunder” hilariously mocks the self-absorbed actors that we see in Hollywood these days and the greedy studios that keep enabling them. The lead characters are actors who agree to become part of a movie by playing the roles of soldiers but end up becoming the soldiers they portray when they get kidnapped by local drug dealers in the forest. The movie is a fun-filled ride with amazing actors playing the roles of terrible actors becoming the roles they choose to act. Funny sentence, eh? Well, so is the movie.
20. The Imitation Game
The movie is set during the World War II where there was an urgent need of intel from the enemies. The Germans sent messages which were encrypted by the famous Enigma code developed by the same. And the British were in dire need of someone who could crack the code to read all the Enigma encrypted transmission which held crucial details of all strikes by the Nazis. Enter: Alan Turing, the real-life super hero known for his contributions in making the modern age computer. But here, Mr Turing, played brilliantly by Benedict Cumberbatch, is made the leader of the cryptography team funded by the English. With the help of his fellow teammates, he tries to do the impossible, while attempting to save the lives of millions in the middle of the war.