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What is the greatest War Movie ever made?

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Showing 176-200 of 1000 posts in this discussion
Posted on 19 Jul 2010 19:19:33 BDT
Cant believe its only been mentioned 3 times in these 7 pages of posts.....Lawrence of Arabia.....period

Posted on 20 Jul 2010 18:11:07 BDT
Cakewiz says:
The Great Escape is my favourite all-time nostalgic Christmas war movie. I was so upset when they started puting it on at Easter instead - shows how old I am don't it!

Posted on 22 Jul 2010 21:58:23 BDT
Tony Parsons says:
Das Boot anyone ? The tension and that ending...

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Jul 2010 23:26:16 BDT
Last edited by the author on 22 Jul 2010 23:27:36 BDT
LEP says:
Well there's so many of them:
The Great Escape
Battle of Britain
Saving Private Ryan
Bridge on the River Kwai
A Town Like Alice
to name but a few

Posted on 24 Jul 2010 17:32:10 BDT
Rob Payne says:
Where Eagles Dare (looking great on the new blu-ray rlease), Zulu, Full Metal Jacket, The Great Escape, Waterloo (for its immense battle scenes).

Posted on 24 Jul 2010 19:19:19 BDT
Sally Lloyd says:
enemy at the gates, full stop

Posted on 26 Jul 2010 09:45:15 BDT
The Longest Day, Battle of Britain and A Bridge Too Far for spectacle
Saving Private Ryan and Cross of Iron for splatter
Downfall for the best version of Hitler ever
The Great Escape and Zulu for patriotic tub thumping
Female Agents for, er, ahem, well, you can probably guess. If this was remade with a big budget and another hour running time it would be amazing.
But for me my favourite war film ever is... Battle of the Bulge. Tanks! German foot stamping and singing war songs! Tanks! Spectacle! and more tanks!

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Jul 2010 09:52:51 BDT
Molly Brown says:
Think someone actually critised BOTB here, I think it's a great movie!!!!

Posted on 26 Jul 2010 13:37:25 BDT
Blastronaut says:
Saving Private Ryan
Black Hawk Down
Where Eagles Dare
A Bridge Too Far

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Jul 2010 13:48:38 BDT
Hi NJ: the only criticism I can make of 'Battle of the Bulge' (that is what you meant by BOTB right?) is that its blatantly filmed nowhere near the Ardennes or in winter. From what I remember of the final battle the German tanks (incorrectly painted grey and blatantly US M47's) are rolling across heath land on a nice sunny day, rather than axle deep in mud and snow in a thick forest in freezing cold. Its quite a good entertainment movie but lacks reality.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Jul 2010 14:01:18 BDT
Molly Brown says:
Well Peter my knowledge of most of what you said is non existent, especially military vehicles. I know it was coming up to Christmas, and it delayed the liberation of Holland by three months or so? I still find it watchable though, the cast is good. I have Saints and Soldiers which is about the same thing, but on a more personal level, and a much underrated film too. Do you have this or have you seen it? I would recommend it.

Posted on 26 Jul 2010 14:16:57 BDT
Hi NJ. 'Band of Brothers' gets the Ardennes spot on. At night it was dropping to -30'c at times. Late '44 was spectacularly cold.... more like Siberia than Europe. The suprise attack by the Germans meant that US troops were being flung into holding actions with no winter clothing and very little ammo. Very few tanks too.

Half of Holland was liberated in Sept '44 (Market Garden) but the rest of the country was more or less bypassed as it wasn't necessary to lose men and equipment fighting the Germans there when they could be simply cut off from resupply (same was done with the Channel Islands). The German aim of 'the bulge' was to strike straight at Antwerp (the only port supplying the allies in large amounts), push between the British and US forces and try to inflict enough of a defeat that the alliance would break up and the Germans could try and negotiate enough of a truce that they wouldn't have to surrender unconditionally. They only had enough fuel for a one-way trip to Antwerp. The attack was intentionally timed to coincide with the worst weather so the allies couldn't use their overwhelming air superiority. Hitler also (wrongly) believed that Ike would have to consult with Washington as to his response. As it happened he flung troops into battle on his own initiative, Patton got tanks rolling in under 24 hours and the US airborne fought so hard in Bastogne that the advance was delayed so much that clearer weather allowed for massive Allied air strikes and resupply. In actual fact the 'Bulge' shortened the war by several months as the last real panzer divisions the Germans had in the west were smashed. If they'd dug in behind the Rhine and defended with the forces they used for the attack it would have been a hell of a fight.

This is why I'm not a fan of the movie... something like 'Battle of Britain', 'lawrence of Arabia', 'Zulu', 'Private Ryan', 'Das Boot' or 'A bridge too far' really tell the story as it pretty much happened. 'Battle of the Bulge' is far less accurate and its quite confusing in places if you do know whats meant to have happened. Very entertaining though and they do have A LOT of tanks.

Phew... that was longer than I planned! A lot of war movies in the 60's and 70's used slightly outdated US cold war tanks on all sides. BOTB is no exception: the US have M24 Chaffee scout tanks (which were used in small numbers in WW2) and the Germans US M47 heavy tanks (Korean war vintage which to be fair do look a little like King Tigers) . Its one of the reasons I like 'Kelly's Heroes'... all the US vehicles and equipment are perfect and the Germans have Opel trucks and 3 replica Tigers. Its a bit of a daft film in places but it really set a standard for looks.

I haven't seen 'Saints and Soldiers' but I'll check it out.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Jul 2010 07:48:06 BDT
Last edited by the author on 27 Jul 2010 07:49:05 BDT
Molly Brown says:
Blimus Peter! That was fascinating, really, I did complete one third of a History Degree, but not Military, Social, I will now view the film in much greater depth next time. I understood some of the details, particularly the Germans using the poor, cloud ridden cover, that gave them their opportunity, and I think the film made it's strongest point regarding that. I didn't even consider the tactics, yeah, again the film makes it clear about halting the supply route. The info regarding what they should have done, will make me look again at my WW2 history books. I love Kelly's Heroes!!! Purely on an entertainment level though, and The Dirty Dozen.

I know how you must feel about inaccuracies, my Dad was in the Navy for 25 years, and started his service at the end of WW2, in Minesweepers. I used to hate it when he kept piping up, at Naval History films, "that's completely ridiculous, or that's not the right ship, and an officer wouldn't be allowed to behave that way etc."
We just shouted at him, "will you shut up, we're enjoying this"!
Saints And Soldiers [DVD]. It's only £2.99, worth it I would think. It's filmed in the style of Private Ryan and BOB, and they are up to their necks in snow, and very cold too!!!! Hope you like it?

Posted on 27 Jul 2010 14:56:04 BDT
Deckard says:
Something really poncy and arthouse that no one has ever seen just so that I can show you how truly great and knowledgeable about films I really am and that I should be working in Hollwood instead of in I.T... but, in reality: Platoon and Full Metal Jacket are prob my favs.. Can you count Aliens??

Posted on 28 Jul 2010 08:03:17 BDT
Molly Brown says:
What about La Grande Illusion - Special Edition [DVD] [1937]. I've never seen it, but would like to, I think it is the style, obviously much earlier than Kubrick's Paths Of Glory [DVD] [1957], you know the absolute futility of war etc.

Posted on 28 Jul 2010 15:42:44 BDT
Last edited by the author on 28 Jul 2010 16:09:13 BDT
Hi NJ. I come from a military family and did 3 years in an armoured regiment in the mid-90's. Not a great time to be in the Army as the 'end of the cold war' cuts were biting and my regiment lost a really good colonel and RSM and got poor replacements. I considered a full time career in the army but did a science degree instead and make cancer vaccines now! I make large scale model WW2 tanks and sold one to a company that makes films for the discovery channel so I read a lot of WW2 history and I'm a bit obsessive about the detail.

I read 'The Bitter Woods' by David Eisenhower (Ikes son) a few years ago. He had first hand help from his Dad, Gen Bradley and Montgomery plus Hasso Von Mansteufel (one of the German commanders) so I probably know more about the battle of the bulge than is really healthy! If you're interested its not a bad read... quite like Anthony Beevor in its way, not a history textbook. My granddad was on the very edge of the battle (some of Bradley's american troops were handed over to British command to secure the flank) but didn't see any direct fighting.

Edited to say: dropped 'Saints and Soldiers' into my shopping basket. Sounds good. The massacre sounds like the 'Malmedy Massacre'. Quite infamous. Committed by a guy called Joachim Peiper. Worth reading up on Wikipedia if you've never heard of them.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Jul 2010 16:56:10 BDT
Molly Brown says:
Yes Peter that's really what it is about. Got nothing to lose really at 3 squid. I thought, think, it is realistic anyway, but with your knowledge you will probably find they've got the wrong tanks or something. It is good that you do a job now to save lives, but I suppose I can understand you fascination with military history.

The book by Ike's son would be a good read for me, coz I would really like to know what the hell was going on between Monty, Ike, Patton and Bradley. Monty always come over as useless, is that just a myth. He must have done something right, and his troops did admire him. I love the film I Was Monty's Double [DVD] [1958]. John Mills, and the actual actor who impersonated in real life!!!!

I also love THE MAN WHO NEVER WAS (Clifton Webb, Gloria Grahame) Region 2, but it costs £40!!!! I think next time it's on TV I am DEFINITELY going to tape it! Why so expensive!!!!!!!!!

Posted on 29 Jul 2010 08:49:59 BDT
Hi NJ. Monty was very competent. He had two problems... first was that he was a grade A primadona and thought he was better than he was and let everyone know it. The second was that he was very cautious (no bad thing given that he commanded my granddad!). The way he fought El Alamein is a great example... he dug in the allied troops in a brilliant defensive position, built up his strength and let the RAF and the desert wear down Rommel and only attacked when the odds were massively in his favour. It meant he won easily and saved the lives of his soldiers but its a slow strategy. Ike was commander in chief for D-Day but Monty was actually responsible for all the planning and strategy which was why it took a long time to get going but when we launched it we went in with everything we could possibly need and in overwhelming strength.

Patton was exactly the same in character and exactly the opposite in strategy. He was all ATTACK! ATTACK! and frequently over-extended his troops (and once even ran out of petrol) . He got away with it because he was lucky, his men were very very good (contrary to popular myth US soldiers in 1944 were extremely good... just as good as the Germans) and the German commanders did miss some opportunities. I don't especially like Patton though. In Italy he beat the hell out of a private in a hospital bed who had shell shock and septicaemia calling the guy a coward and he was obsessed with fighting the Soviets to the point that in the last few months of the war he let German units retreat in front of him as he thought he'd be fighting alongside them in a few months against the Russians. A lot of people (not me) believe he was murdered post-war to shut him up as he was provoking the Soviets quite badly.

Ike was a brilliant diplomat. He managed to keep people like Patton, Monty, Bradley and the French fighting the Germans, not each other! I don't think any other General could have done it... its one of the reasons he was a pretty good President too. (Incidentally he was very opposed to racism and as president had airborne soldiers escort black kids to school.. he started the civil rights movement not JFK) . The one thing that comes across more than anything in the book is the work of his staff officers keeping the allies allied to each other.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Jul 2010 14:11:38 BDT
C.Elder says:
BOTB was awesome.These guys thought they could still win with a mechanized drive to Antwerp cutting off the allied advance.
Hamburger Hill was excellent.
Behind enemy lines.
Enemy at the gates.
The Deer Hunter.
Iwo Jima
The Young Lions(Marlon Brando as a German officer!)
Ryan's Escape(?Frank Sinatra)
MacArthur(Gregory Peck)
Bridge over the River Kwai
King Rat

Posted on 29 Jul 2010 16:26:37 BDT
Last edited by the author on 29 Jul 2010 16:39:24 BDT
D. Bullen says:
Congratulations to K. Tait for being the first (and only?) person to list a film by Kurosawa!

Peter Symonds, thank you for taking the time to provide such informative background information for readers of this thread. I haven't seen Kelly's Heroes for several years, but from memory the 'Tiger' tanks were re-clothed British 'Cromwell' or 'Comet' tanks, perhaps you know which? Let's not also forget that apparently the standard German armoured half-track was the American M3 according to films made in that period. The ironic thing about Montgomery is that the one time that he tried to use more aggressive and imaginative modern tactics, in 'Operation Market Garden' (A Bridge Too Far (2 Disc Special Edition) [1977] [DVD] ), he is remembered as having failed. Market Garden was not a complete failure, but the cost paid by those dropped in Arnhem was very high. btw. Peter, did Manstein enter the back of your mind when you were typing Manteufel?

My suggestions for films that I think haven't been mentioned so far:

The Battle of the River Plate (based on a real event)
The Gift Horse (based on the incredibly daring St. Nazaire raid)
Guadalcanal Diary -oops, is this the same as intended by C. Elder?
The African Queen
Hell in the Pacific (Lee Marvin/Toshiro Mifune)
The Four Feathers ( 1930's Korda version)

btw. C. Elder, I think that you mean 'Von Ryan's Express'.

Posted on 30 Jul 2010 10:36:54 BDT
Hi D Bullen,

The Tigers in Kelly's heroes (and Private Ryan) are Russian T34's. Very similar wheel arrangement to a Cromwell (a comet is the same tank with a bigger gun) but the tracks are a dead giveaway (big wide things with a curved tongue sticking up in the middle of every 2nd link). You're right about the US M3 halftrack seeing a lot of German service in the movies! I'm picky but you have to work with what you have so I'm quite forgiving of Private Ryan using USAAF Mustang fighter planes at the end when RAF Typhoons would have been more realistic (there are no Typhoons left but plenty of Mustangs) you should be able to get a Sherman or two if you have a hollywood budget but there's only 1 working Tiger left in the world (I took my wife to see that on honeymoon which should tell you how obsessive I am and how tolerant my wife is) so replicas are all you can ask for. Apparently the Stugs (german self propelled gun) and SdKfz222 armoured car in Band of Brothers are converted British 432 armoured personnel carriers and a landrover with an armoured car top. REALLY impressive jobs.

Monty was the overall British commander so if Market Garden had paid off he'd have got all the credit but the plan was really General Brownings :
He had several personality flaws: he fought very bravely in the first world war but was left traumatised and 25 years later used to wake up screaming in the night (not ideal for a commander), he was the wife of Daphne Du Maurier so was always in her shadow and had to keep asking his wife for money and was made commander of all the British airborne forces which up till Sept '44 hadn't done much so there was immense pressure on him to 'perform' hence an over ambitious plan, not least to be known fro something other than Du Mauriers husband. There was a lot of sheer bad luck (sunspots messed up the radios... no-one even knew what a sun spot was then) but far more idiocy, mostly by Browning himself. Parts of the plan even on paper where 'operation certain death' for the men involved then he stiched up the Poles to shift blame for the failure. Not a man I respect.

Slight typo on 'Manteuel'
I meant 'Manteuffel'
He commanded the "other" armoured drive during the bulge and was a liberal politician for years afterwards in Germany. Nice guy by all accounts. This influences 'The bitter woods' a bit. Manteuffel helped write it so its very pro-Manteuffel and very anti Sepp Dietrich.

Posted on 30 Jul 2010 10:59:13 BDT
Cuchulain says:
if you want to see really good war films go foreign,check out
for city of life and death about the rape of nanking

"assembly" which is a brilliant chinese film

"days of glory" about four algerians fighting for france

"katyn" about the slaughter of the polish officiers and others by the russians a war crime worst than some of the things that the nazis done

"kokoda 39th battalion" about the australians and the japanese

"brotherhood" about the korean war

they fought for their motherland" an russian film

"come and see about a young boy caught up in the german invasion of i think of belarussia and joining the partisans,possibly may be a bit propagandist for the russians but i only judge the realism of the films

just some of the latest foreign war films which i've seen that put hollywood to shame .there are many more which i am trying to source :w00t: :-) :-)

Posted on 2 Aug 2010 01:31:26 BDT
Midway007 says:
The Last Samurai
Black Hawk Down
Saving Private Ryan
Hamburger Hill
Platoon Leader
Full Metal Jacket
Enemy At The Gates :)

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Aug 2010 06:01:59 BDT
Molly Brown says:
Craig, is Windtalkers good then, obviously you think so, I have never seen it, perhaps I might now, if it's not too expensive. Nicholas Cage is in it isn't he?

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Aug 2010 13:43:19 BDT
Midway007 says:
I found it to be good its not the best on my list but i think its worth a watch stars nicholas cage in the pacific side of ww2
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