I’ll try to revive the Friday Five today. Lately, I’ve seen several movies either set in a war or dealing with the aftermath of a war (M*A*S*H, Best Years of Our Lives). So how about a war thread? They can be about a war or the aftermath; they can be pro- or anti-war. Inspiring or harrowing. This list quickly got out of control, so I narrowed it to movies that focus on the military in particular, therefore excluding films like Gone With the Wind, where the war is just part of a bigger film or movies like The Pianist, which are more focused on the Holocaust. YMMV.
Saving Private Ryan: I can still remember how devastated I felt walking out of the theater. The recreation of D-Day was so harrowing that veterans started having flashbacks. It changed the way action films would be filmed forever (although, unfortunately, its red-headed stepchild was the fast-edited shaky cam action scene that you can’t see).
Patton: George C. Scott. That is all.
Letters from Iwo Jima: I know a few people had issues with this one because it is told from the POV of the Japanese. But I found it brilliant and touching, with some incredible performances. Flags of Our Fathers is not bad, either.
Das Boot: Feature film or the entire mini-series. Another film told from the point of view of our Axis enemies but another film that emphasizes the common soldier who is motivated less by ideology than by his sense of duty and his band of brothers.
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World: How good was this film? I read the entire Aubrey-Maturin canon because of it. Just a great film. Also worth your time: A&E’s Horatio Hornblower made-for-TV movies.
Honorable Mention: Platoon, The Longest Day, A Bridge Too Far, Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia, Gallipoli, The Big Red One, Full Metal Jacket, Apocalypse Now, Black Hawk Down.