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The best war films ever ?


On 11 June in connection with a new exhibition on war movies at the Imperial War Museum, the Saturday Times ran an article asking military experts to name their favourite war films. I can’t provide a link to the article as the Times has a pay-wall, but a few caught my eye:

Max Hastings went for the relatively traditional – The Dam Busters, The Cruel Sea, Saving Private Ryan, The Sorrow and the Pity, Zulu and the Guns of Navarone

Anthony Loyd, Times war correspondent, chose Apocalypse Now, The Deer Hunter and Ice Cold in Alex, relating the latter to his own experiences in Libya

Antony Beevor chose Letters from Iwo Jima, Das Boot and The Pianist – the latter rather a surprising choice, and also not really a war movie, but an incredible story set in wartime

Janine di Giovanni, war correspondent, had the most esoteric choices – In the Land of Blood and Honey, directed by Angelina Jolie, The Thin Red Line and Incendies, a 2010 French film set in Lebanon which until I read this article I had never heard of

Former SAS soldier Andy McNab also went for Zulu, as well as Catch-22 and Restrepo, the latter an extraordinary docu-drama about Afghanistan.

I’d find it very hard to choose 10, but I’d like to recommend Kajaki, released in 2014 and with a screenplay written by a friend, which tells the story of a group of British soldiers trapped in a minefield in Afghanistan. It’s interesting how few of the films selected deal with conflict in the last 20 years.






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