War and Anti-War Films

"War and Anti-War Films" often acknowledge the horror and heartbreak of war, letting the actual combat fighting or conflict (against nations or humankind) provide the primary plot or background for the action of the film. Typical elements in the action-oriented war plots include POW camp experiences and escapes, submarine warfare, espionage, personal heroism, "war is hell" brutalities, air dogfights, tough trench/infantry experiences, or male-bonding buddy adventures during wartime. Themes explored in war films include combat, survivor and escape stories, tales of gallant sacrifice and struggle, studies of the futility and inhumanity of battle, the effects of war on society, and intelligent and profound explorations of the moral and human issues. Listed below are all the very best of this genre. Scroll yer heart out....

Foyle's War: Series 8 (2013)

Starring: Michael Kitchen, Honeysuckle Weeks

Michael Kitchen returns to the screen as Detective Chief Superintendent Foyle, a man of scrupulous integrity who has survived the First World War, sol... Read more

The Book Thief (2013)

Director: Brian Percival
Starring: Emily Watson, Geoffrey Rush, Sophie Nelisse

"The Book Thief" tells the inspirational story of a girl who transforms the lives of those around her during World War II, Germany. When her mother ca... Read more

The Great Raid (2005)

Director: John Dahl
Starring: Benjamin Bratt, James Franco, Connie Nielsen, Joseph Fiennes, Marton Csokas

Telling the story of one of the most successful rescue missions in US armed forces history, in which Army Rangers raided a Philippine POW camp freeing... Read more

Belle and Sebastian ( Belle et Sebastien ) (2013)

Director: Nicolas Vanier
Starring: Tcheky Karyo, Felix Bossuet

Belle and Sebastian is set high in the snowy Alps during the Second World War. The resourceful Sebastian (an adorable Félix Bossuet) is a lonely boy w... Read more

The Reader (2008)

Director: Stephen Daldry
Starring: Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes, Bruno Ganz, Matthias Habich, Susanne Lothar, Lena O...

Kate Winslet won an Oscar and a BAFTA for her complex and gripping portrayal of a post-war German woman who discovers a sick teenage boy in the street... Read more

Letters From Iwo Jima (2006)

Director: Clint Eastwood
Starring: Ken Watanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Ryo Kase, Shido Nakamura, Hiros...

Clint Eastwood's companion-piece to 'Flags of Our Fathers' recounts the same battle, only from the perspective of the Japanese. Iconic actor Ken Wata... Read more

Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

Director: Mel Gibson
Starring: Hugo Weaving, Rachel Griffiths, Vince Vaughn, Sam Worthington, Teresa Palmer, An...

Directed by Mel Gibson and with 9 AACTA award wins and 3 Golden Globe nominations, this Australian production is an extraordinary true story. Desmond... Read more

The Last Samurai (2003)

Director: Edward Zwick
Starring: Tom Cruise, Timothy Spall, Ken Watanabe, Billy Connolly, Tony Goldwyn, Hiroyuki...

Disillusioned after the end of the Civil War, respected American military captain Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise) finds purpose when he is hired by the Emp... Read more

Apocalypse Now Redux (1979)

Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Starring: Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Frederic Forrest, Laurence Fishburne...

Huge production difficulties were faced by Francis Ford Coppola while shooting this epic-scale Vietnam War drama, including disastrous weather conditi... Read more

Children of the Silk Road (2008)

Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Starring: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Radha Mitchell, Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh, David Wenham

Aka "The Children of Huang Shi". In 1930s war-ravaged China, a young English journalist named George Hogg (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) leads 60 orphans thro... Read more