Best war movies: My take on the top 5 of all-time

Men love war movies, it’s a simple undeniable fact. It’s in our DNA I think. There’s just something about war, guns, and men razzing each other in the middle of it all that captivates our attention. Or is it we know the darkness within ourselves that if given an opportunity we’d act out our deepest and darkest desires to do the evil we know we are capable of?

After careful consideration here’s my top 5 best war movies:

Apocalypse Now

1-Apocalypse Now.

It has one of the best actors of all-time in Marlon Brando and Martin Sheen turns in an amazing performance as he searches for Brando to kill him.

Robert Duvall is a macho Lieutenant that has a strong interest in surfing. He also had one of the best quotes in the movie:

“I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn’t find one of ’em, not one stinkin’ dink body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like…..victory.”


Deer Hunter2-The Deer Hunter.

I don’t think anybody can argue with the top three I have listed. They are all classic war movies and this one follows three friends from a small Pennsylvania town as they journey to Veitnam for a life-changing experience as they become prisoners of war. One of the most disturbing scenes in cinematic history is when the three friends are forced to play Russian Roulette while being held captive.

Full Metal Jacket

3-Full Metal Jacket.

Stanley Kubrick directed this blockbuster hit. It has some of the best quotes ever for a war movie and war fanatics can quote the some of the classic dialogue verbatim.

“If you ladies leave my island, if you survive recruit training, you will be a weapon. You will be a minister of death praying for war. But until that day you are pukes. You are the lowest form of life on Earth. You are not even human fucking beings. You are nothing but unorganized grabastic pieces of amphibian shit! Because I am hard, you will not like me. But the more you hate me, the more you will learn. I am hard but I am fair. There is no racial bigotry here. I do not look down on niggers, kikes, wops or greasers. Here you are all equally worthless. And my orders are to weed out all non-hackers who do not pack the gear to serve in my beloved Corps. Do you maggots understand that?”

Possibly the best quote ever in a movie.

Saving Private Ryan

4-Saving Private Ryan.

I’m a sucker for an emotional storyline, some of my favorite movies are The Green Mile, Dead Poets Society and The Shawshank Redemption. Movies that tug at the heartstrings and cause an emotional response. This movie is no different.

A movie about private James Ryan (Matt Damon) that loses his three brothers in action during WWII and Tom Hanks is ordered to find him and send him home to home to his bereaved mother. Except, once found the private refuses to abandon his platoon members.

Black Hawk Down

5-Black Hawk Down.

A great movie about a young sergeant (Josh Hartnett) who leads a group of special forces to a couple fallen Black Hawks (helicopters) and details the activities that followed in Somalia.

It also features some memorable lines like all great war movies.

“When I go home people’ll ask me, “Hey Hoot, why do you do it man? What, you some kinda war junkie?” You know what I’ll say? I won’t say a goddamn word. Why? They won’t understand. They won’t understand why we do it. They won’t understand that it’s about the men next to you, and that’s it. That’s all it is.”

Honorable Mention-Platoon.Platoon

Charlie Sheen narrates this movie about a kid who joins the military because he’s bored with college and feels that the poor kids shouldn’t be the only ones to go to Vietnam. It involves a feud between two sergeants different opinions on the war and of course… has some classic quotes.

“Most come from the end of the line, small towns you never heard of: Pulaski, Tennesse, Brandon, Mississippi, Pork Bend, Utah, Wampum, Pennsylvania. Two years high school’s about it. If they’re lucky, a job waiting for them back in a factory. Most have got nothing. They’re poor. They’re the unwanted. Yet they’re fighting for our society and our freedom. It’s weird, isn’t it? At the bottom of the barrel, and they know it. Maybe that’s why they call themselves “grunts”, ’cause a grunt can take it, can take anything.”

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Big time sports fan of the Lakers, Raiders, Angels and Dodgers. From 1990-1995, I worked at the Glendale News-Press and I had a blast. I covered mainly high school sporting events and Glendale Community College athletic events, but also attended Dodgers, Raiders, and Rams games. I also write for Joel Huerto (former co-writer and editor at the GNP) at I watch a lot of sports on TV (basketball, football, usually just postseason MLB) and UFC.

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