war movies

Top 10 War Movies of All Time

Which are some of the best war movies ever made?

by The Dope Lists

It’s particularly hard for history buffs to find movies or TV series set once upon a time in history, actually to enjoy. Truth be told, there are many history movie productions, but very few are praiseworthy. This is why we’ve selected the best war movies, so you don’t have to settle for something mediocre.

So many movies of this genre aren’t giving history nerds goosebumps because they either put too much focus on the romance aspect of the plot, or the story is simply historically inaccurate. War movies, for example, are incredibly tricky to get right. So here is our TOP list at The Dope Lists, carefully crafted by the scores on Rotten Tomatoes.

Full Metal Jacket

It’s based on the novel by Gustav Hasford – The Short-Timers. Against a backdrop of the Vietnam war, the story explores the brutal boot camp training of U.S. Marine troops that turns them into cold-blooded killers. The movie gets raving reviews from both the critics and the viewers. 

Tomatometer: 92%

Audience Score: 94%

Inglourious Basterds

This Quentin Tarantino movie seeks attention from the very beginning – with its title choice. If you haven’t noticed, there are two spelling errors in it – even three if we’re counting the missing article. The Inglorious Bastards, as it’s the grammatically correct spelling of the movie title, is set in 1941 occupied France and emphasizes the “Jewish question.” The all-star cast includes Brad Pitt, Christopher Waltz, and Diane Kruger, which definitely points to the movie being a worthwhile experience.

Tomatometer: 89%

Audience Score: 88%

Schindler’s List

The movie, directed by Steven Spielberg, is based on the same book by the Australian author Thomas Keneally. The story follows a German businessman who has taken upon himself the daunting task of saving Jews from the Holocaust during the Second World War. The picture is a total hit during the Oscar season, winning seven out of twelve nominations.

Tomatometer: 97%

Audience Score: 98%


Dunkirk is a total smash hit from recent years. The plot revolves around an evacuation of allied troops from the shores and port of Dunkirk city in 1940 – an event later referred to as the Dunkirk operation. Naturally, the focus falls upon saving the 300 000 English, Belgian and French soldiers. Dunkirk is undoubtedly one of the most critically acclaimed movies of the decade and is beloved by viewers.

Tomatometer: 92%

Audience Score: 81%

The Hurt Locker

The movie plot follows a squad tasked with the dangerous job of disarming bombs in Iraq. The director skilfully manages to depict the psychological toll that the war has on the troops. The Hurt Locker is nominated in nine categories and wins in six of them. Since 2020 it’s been kept in the National Film Registry and deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”

Tomatometer: 97%

Audience Score: 84%

The Thin Red Line

The script is written by director Terrence Mallick and is inspired by the James Jones novel of the same name. This is its second screen version since 1964. The story focuses on the conflict at Guadalcanal during the Second World War – a reinforcement is summoned to aid in seizing the island from the Japanese. The impressive cast includes Sean Penn, George Clooney, and Woody Harelson, and they certainly do a spectacular job at portraying the nonsensical acts of war. The Thin Red Line is nominated for seven Academy Awards.

Tomatometer: 80%

Audience Score: 80%

Saving Private Ryan

This Steven Spielberg classic follows the Normandy landings (a military operation in Great Britain, USA, and Canada against the Third Reich during the Second World War) and the search for paratrooper James Francis Ryan, whose brothers lost their lives on the front lines. The movie has been kept at the National Film Registry for preservation since 2014 – and we completely understand why. That’s one of the best war movies.

Tomatometer: 93%

Audience Score: 95%


The movie tells a war story from Vietnam, inspired by the real-life experiences of director Oliver Stone as a US Marine trooper. Platoon receives seven Academy Awards nominations and wins four of them. The movie has been kept at the National Film Registry for preservation since 2019 and is selected by Empire magazine for its “500 Greatest Movies of All Time” list.

Tomatometer: 87%

Audience Score: 93%

Apocalypse Now

The script is loosely based on the novel Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. It once again follows events from the Vietnamese War, during which a US army captain is sent to a special mission in Cambodia. Apocalypse Now is nominated for eight Academy Awards and is ranked 7th on the Empire magazine list. It has been kept at the National Film Registry for preservation since 2000. 

Tomatometer: 93%

Audience Score: 91%

Black Hawk Down

Тhe story here is all about the battle in Mogadishu in 1993, which the Somali call Day of the Rangers, and how the American Army, with the help of the UN, strives to keep the peace in Somalia. Even though it doesn’t score as high with the critics as with the audience, Black Hawk Down wins two Academy Awards and is definitely worth checking out.

Tomatometer: 76%

Audience Score: 88%

Get the popcorn already and watch one of the cinematic treasures in our TOP list. Even if you have already seen it, a second viewing is bound to have a new and different impact. These are arguably the best war movies ever created.

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