Best war movies of all time

Best war movies of all time

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By: Jacob Osborn, Meagan Drillinger
Twentieth Century Fox

Best war movies of all time

Here's the thing about war: it's always been around. Historians believe the first war took place in Mesopotamia in 2,700 B.C. In fact, of the past 3,400 years, humans have been at peace for only 268.

This is all to say that for millennia, there has been a fascination with war—both the waging of it and the recounting of its stories. Since the start of civilization, people have engaged in war and recounted conflicts through oral, visual, and written storytelling. The 20th century saw this type of storytelling evolve into motion pictures. In fact, one of the earliest films ever made, 1915’s “Birth of a Nation,” was about the Civil War and subsequent Reconstruction. Even before making that controversial film, director D.W. Griffith had made numerous one-reelers centered on the events of the Civil War.

While some war films emphasize the inhumanity of battle, others focus on the valiant heroes carrying out their patriotic duties. There are also films that take another approach by focusing on how war can influence the lives of civilians or soldiers who’ve returned home. When taken as a whole, the genre leaves no psychological or physical stone unturned. In other words, if it’s been done in battle, it’s probably been reproduced on screen.

Stacker compiled data on all war movies to come up with a Stacker score—a weighted index split evenly between IMDb and Metacritic scores. To qualify, the film had to be listed as “war” on IMDb, have a Metascore, and have at least 2,500 votes. Ties were broken by Metascore, and further ties were broken by IMDb user rating. Every film on the list has been considered according to the cinematic history and development of the genre. Click through to see which films made the cut.

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United Artists

#50. Hotel Rwanda (2004)

- Director: Terry George
- Stacker score: 86
- Metascore: 79
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 121 min

Paul Rusesabagina and his wife, Tatiana, are hoteliers living in Rwanda during the genocide. The film follows the couples' heroic efforts to save more than 1,000 refugees by turning their Hotel des Mille Collines into a shelter. The film is based on a true story. The producers of the movie teamed up with the United Nations Foundation to create the International Fund for Rwanda, which provided assistance for survivors of the genocide.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

#49. The Hill (1965)

- Director: Sidney Lumet
- Stacker score: 86
- Metascore: 81
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 123 min

Five soldiers of the British army are captured in a detention camp in the Libyan Desert during World War II, among them Sgt. Major Roberts, who is convicted of assaulting an officer. As penance, he endures the Sisyphean task of climbing a hill in the blistering heat, over and over again. Sean Connery took on the lead because it was a drastic change from his typical James Bond persona, he told The New York Times.

Miramax

#48. The English Patient (1996)

- Director: Anthony Minghella
- Stacker score: 87
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 162 min

A man suffering from burn wounds finds himself at the hands of a nurse in an Italian monastery at the end of World War II. Through a series of flashbacks he describes to his nurse, we learn about his true identity and a woman he left behind. “The English Patient” was released to a mountain of praise, receiving 12 Oscar nominations. It took home nine, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actress.

Universal Pictures

#47. 1917 (2019)

- Director: Sam Mendes
- Stacker score: 87
- Metascore: 78
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 119 min

Two World War I British soldiers are tasked with a seemingly insurmountable mission: cross into enemy territory to deliver a message that could save 1,600 of their fellow soldiers, including one of their own brothers. While the characters were fictionalized, Sam Mendes says he got the idea for the film from snippets of memories his grandfather shared with him about his own experiences in World War I, according to Smithsonian Magazine.

Columbia Pictures

#46. From Here to Eternity (1953)

- Director: Fred Zinnemann
- Stacker score: 87
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 118 min

“From Here to Eternity” follows the intertwining stories of three soldiers stationed in Hawaii and the women in their lives in the days leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor. A star-studded cast includes Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Frank Sinatra, Deborah Kerr, and Donna Reed. The movie cleaned up at the Academy Awards, taking home best picture, best director, best supporting actor, and best supporting actress.

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Studio Ghibli

#45. The Wind Rises (2013)

- Director: Hayao Miyazaki
- Stacker score: 87
- Metascore: 83
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 126 min

A film doesn't need real-life action in order to be a great war film. Just look at “The Wind Rises,” an anime movie that tells the story of engineer Jiro Horikoshi, whose career credits include the creation of the Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter plane. These planes were used by Japan during World War II.

China Film Group Corporation (CFGC)

#44. City of Life and Death (2009)

- Director: Chuan Lu
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 133 min

In the "City of Life and Death," the city they're referring to is Nanjing, China, specifically during the Battle of Nanjing and the subsequent massacre during the second Sino-Japanese War. Prior to being released, the film had to undergo a long period of analysis to maintain Chinese censorship standards. This included script and final approval of the finished film.

Les Films du Worso

#43. Timbuktu (2014)

- Director: Abderrahmane Sissako
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 92
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Runtime: 96 min

It's a memorable day when The New York Times names your film one of the best films of the 21st century (so far). Timbuktu took the #12 spot on The New York Times' 2017 list of the most important movies of the century. It tells the story of the city of Timbuktu, which is under the control of Islamist extremists, and the relationship between that dynamic and the story of a cattle herder living just outside the city.

Noé Productions

#42. No Man's Land (2001)

- Director: Danis Tanovic
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 84
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 98 min

As the name suggests, this film tells the story of two soldiers stuck in no man's land, the trench between enemy lines during the Bosnian War. One soldier is Bosnian and the other Serbian. A third soldier is also with them, laying on top of a bomb that will explode underneath them all if he moves. It marked the breakout of Bosnian writer and director Danis Tanovic and won the Oscar for best foreign language film.

micro_scope

#41. Incendies (2010)

- Director: Denis Villeneuve
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 80
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 131 min

“Incendies” premiered at both the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals in 2010 to critical acclaim. In fact, it was nominated for the Academy Award for best foreign language film. It follows the story of two Canadian twins who return to their mother's home country in the Middle East to shed light on her elusive past while a civil war wages in the background.

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Universal Pictures

#40. Atonement (2007)

- Director: Joe Wright
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 123 min

Based on the best-selling novel by Ian McEwan, 2007’s “Atonement” uses World War II more as a backdrop than a focal point. In the film, a young girl kicks off a series of misunderstandings after accusing her sister’s older lover of a crime he didn’t commit. The movie takes place over several decades and features three different actresses portraying the same character at different periods in her life.

Newmarket Films

#39. Downfall (2004)

- Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 82
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 156 min

If a story is only as good as its teller, then “Downfall” blows them all away. It tells the story of Adolf Hitler's personal secretary, Traudl Junge, narrated by none other than the real-life woman herself. The story follows Hitler from the peak of his power all the way down to the bunker years and through his final days. The humanizing of Hitler was met with deep hesitation, but producer Bernd Eichinger told The New York Times that the fact that Hitler was a human being is what made him so dangerous, and that's what he wanted to show.

Paramount Pictures

#38. Stalag 17 (1953)

- Director: Billy Wilder
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 84
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 120 min

In this occasionally comedic World War II film, director Billy Wilder takes audiences into a German POW camp known as Stalag 17, where two American prisoners are killed trying to escape. After the failed escape, the men in Barracks 4 believe a leaker is in their midst. All signs point to Sgt. Sefton (William Holden), who must prove he’s not the traitor before being taken down by the other prisoners.

Kurosawa Production Co.

#37. Kagemusha (1980)

- Director: Akira Kurosawa
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 84
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 162 min

Legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa tells the story of a lowly thief who is recruited to impersonate a dying warlord. Kagemusha, in fact, is a word that means “political decoy.” When the real warlord dies, he agrees to have his stand-in take over as ruler, unbeknownst to the people. If you let the credits scroll in the international version, you'll see the names Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas, who convinced 20th Century Fox to buy in when Kurosawa experienced hard financial times.

La Sept-Arte

#36. Beau travail (1999)

- Director: Claire Denis
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 92 min

Soldiers in the French Foreign Legion are stationed in Djibouti, where the arrival of a young recruit stirs up feelings of jealousy in an established officer. The movie was based (loosely) on Herman Melville's short story, “Billy Budd.”

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Mij Film Co.

#35. Turtles Can Fly (2004)

- Director: Bahman Ghobadi
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 98 min

Satellite is a 13 year old living in a Kurdish refugee camp on the border of Iraq and Turkey. He spends his days organizing kids into a workforce to disarm mines and sell them to arms dealers. He eventually finds himself in love with Agrin, an orphan who arrives at the camp with her brother. Roger Ebert gave it four stars, calling it a movie that anyone with an opinion on the war in Iraq needed to watch.

Jack Rollins & Charles H. Joffe Productions

#34. Love and Death (1975)

- Director: Woody Allen
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 85 min

Woody Allen puts his comically neurotic spin on the Napoleonic era with this parody of 19th-century Russian novels. Allen plays Boris, who is a Russian peasant with a romantic eye for his cousin, Sonja (Diane Keaton). Boris must choose between the Russian army and a fight for revolution with Sonja. The film was shot on location in France and Hungary, which, after many mishaps, made Allen swear to never shoot outside the U.S. again. He kept his promise until 1996's "Everyone Says I Love You."

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

#33. Spartacus (1960)

- Director: Stanley Kubrick
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 197 min

Taking audiences all the way back to 73 B.C.E. was 1960’s “Spartacus,” in which the titular character leads a slave revolt against the corrupt Roman Republic. While there’s plenty of brutality on screen, the film’s production saw its own share of off-screen battles. Specifically, lead actor Kirk Douglas fell out with original director Anthony Mann, eventually replacing him with Stanley Kubrick. Soon enough, Kubrick and Douglas were engaging in their own fair share of disagreements and disputes. Nevertheless, the film was completed and became a huge success.

Laokoon Filmgroup

#32. Son of Saul (2015)

- Director: László Nemes
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 107 min

Saul Auslander is part of a prisoner work unit at the Auschwitz concentration camp. The movie covers a day-and-a-half in the life of Saul as he searches for a rabbi to help provide a proper burial for a child. The film premiered in 2015 at the Cannes Film Festival, where it walked away with the Grand Prix. It also won best foreign language film at the Academy Awards.

Bórd Scannán na hÉireann

#31. Bloody Sunday (2002)

- Director: Paul Greengrass
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 107 min

More than just an iconic U2 song, Bloody Sunday was a very real event that took place on Jan. 30, 1972, in the Northern Irish town of Derry. A peaceful protest march against British rule turned into a bloodbath when the British army opened fire on the crowd. The film tells the story in a documentary style from the events leading up to the day to the traumatic event itself.

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EMI Films

#30. The Deer Hunter (1978)

- Director: Michael Cimino
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 183 min

Representing one of the most divisive and tumultuous eras in American history, the Vietnam War also laid the groundwork for a number of classic films. “The Deer Hunter” is about a group of small-town friends whose lives are changed forever by the war. Despite the film’s realist vibe, war reporter Peter Arnett claimed the movie is loaded with inaccuracies. Nevertheless, it took home five Academy Awards including best picture.

Columbia Pictures

#29. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

- Director: David Lean
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 161 min

Based on a novel by Pierre Boulle, “The Bridge on the River Kwai” takes place in a Japanese POW camp during World War II. In the film, a British colonel (Alec Guinness) is tasked with overseeing the construction of a bridge, a job he takes to heart. Meanwhile, nearby Allies have plans to destroy the very same bridge. The movie won seven Academy Awards including best picture.

Romaine Film Corporation

#28. To Be or Not to Be (1942)

- Director: Ernst Lubitsch
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 99 min

Borrowing a quote from Shakespeare, this 1942 comedy-drama takes place in German-occupied Poland at the height of World War II. The story follows a troupe of actors as they get mixed up in some local espionage and end up battling wits against the Nazis.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

#27. The Great Escape (1963)

- Director: John Sturges
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 172 min

One of 1963’s top-grossing films, “The Great Escape” follows a group of Allied POWs as they plot and execute their escape from a supposedly escape-proof German camp during World War II. Putting it all together is a range of brave, idiosyncratic men played by actors such as Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, and James Garner. 

Warner Bros.

#26. Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

- Director: Clint Eastwood
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 141 min

In 2006, actor and director Clint Eastwood depicted World War II’s Battle of Iwo Jima from each side in two companion films. The first was “Flags of Our Fathers,” and the second was “Letters from Iwo Jima,” which takes audiences behind Japanese lines. The film focuses on a general and a young soldier as they deal with the oncoming American invasion.

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United Artists

#25. The African Queen (1951)

- Director: John Huston
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 105 min

Starring Hollywood icons Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, “The African Queen” takes place in Eastern Africa, telling the story of a disgruntled riverboat captain named Charlie Allnut. After World War I breaks out, a British woman named Rose Sayer persuades Allnut to convert his boat into a military vessel. Together, they embark on the seemingly impossible quest to take out a huge German warship.

Columbia Pictures

#24. Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

- Director: Kathryn Bigelow
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 157 min

From Academy Award winner Kathryn Bigelow comes the all-too-real story of the decade-long search and killing of Osama bin Laden following the September 11 attacks. The film was released to critical acclaim but was criticized for a few inaccuracies. For example, in the film the Pakistani nationals are speaking Arabic when the national language of Pakistan is Urdu.

Rialto Pictures/Studio Canal

#23. Le Petit Soldat (1963)

- Director: Jean-Luc Godard
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Runtime: 88 min

A riveting and gut-wrenching story, "Le Petit Soldat" (The Little Soldier) is a story about a French intelligence officer caught between two political groups during the Algerian War. He's ordered to pull off an assassination to prove he isn't a double agent. The film was made in 1960 but was not released until 1963. It was banned in France for three years because it was "uncomfortably forthright" about the war, according to Nicholas Elliott of The Criterion Collection.

Columbia Pictures

#22. The Man Who Would Be King (1975)

- Director: John Huston
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 129 min

Michael Caine and Sean Connery star in this movie (based on the book of the same name) about the adventures of two English military officers stationed in India. Weary of military life, the companions visit Kafiristan, a land where they are celebrated as rulers by the people. John Huston wanted to make the film as a young child, originally envisioning Clark Gable and Humphrey Bogart as the leads.

Bavaria Film

#21. Das Boot (1981)

- Director: Wolfgang Petersen
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 149 min

Beneath the waves of the Atlantic Ocean patrols the U-96, a German U-boat. The crew lives aboard along with a war reporter, Werner, who watches the banalities of day-to-day life that live alongside the intense periods of conflict. It is based on the true story of Lothar-Gunther Buchheim, who joined the real-life U-96 submarine for the Battle of the Atlantic. "Das Boot" was originally a book about his experiences.

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2.4.7. Films

#20. Persepolis (2007)

- Directors: Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi
- Stacker score: 92
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 96 min

"Persepolis" started as a graphic novel about co-director Marjane Satrapi's life in Iran and Europe throughout the stages of the Iranian Revolution. The animated film was also written by Satrapi. It was nominated for best animated feature at the Academy Awards but lost to "Ratatouille".

Focus Features

#19. The Pianist (2002)

- Director: Roman Polanski
- Stacker score: 92
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Runtime: 150 min

From an acclaimed memoir by Wladyslaw Szpilman came this equally acclaimed 2002 film, which follows a Jewish musician as he struggles to survive in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. Playing the lead role was actor Adrien Brody, who won an Oscar for his performance. Brody is still trying to get out from under the film’s shadow.

Twentieth Century Fox

#18. Patton (1970)

- Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
- Stacker score: 92
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 172 min

Based on the real-life exploits of Gen. George Smith Patton Jr., this film follows the controversial figure throughout the World War II phase of his career. As Patton whips soldiers into shape and leads invasions in Europe against the Nazis, he also exhibits frequent bouts of uncontrollable rage and insubordination. Playing the role to perfection is actor George C. Scott.

Peregrine

#17. Barry Lyndon (1975)

- Director: Stanley Kubrick
- Stacker score: 92
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 185 min

Stanley Kubrick returns to the list with this 1975 film about the misadventures of an 18th-century Irish rogue named Redmond Barry who becomes an unlikely aristocrat after marrying a wealthy woman. Before landing his sweet—albeit somewhat short-lived—gig as the husband to Lady Lyndon, Barry fights for the British Army in the Seven Years’ War, only to abandon his unit. Soon after, he’s enlisted against his will by the Prussian Army and put back on the battlefield.

Summit Entertainment

#16. The Hurt Locker (2008)

- Director: Kathryn Bigelow
- Stacker score: 92
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 131 min

In a heart-racing, adrenaline-pumping movie (for which Kathryn Bigelow won the Academy Award for best director), an Iraq War Explosive Ordnance Disposal team is being targeted by insurgents, all the while working to defuse bombs—a task which, the movie shows, can thrill some and torment others. The movie was the first female-directed movie to win best picture.

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Paramount Pictures

#15. Duck Soup (1933)

- Director: Leo McCarey
- Stacker score: 92
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 69 min

This iconic Marx Brothers comedy takes place in Freedonia, a fictional country on the brink of collapse due to numerous fiscal failures. In hopes of securing a bailout from the wealthy Mrs. Teasdale, Freedonia appoints a man named Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx) as its leader. However, Firefly turns out to be highly unpredictable in his new role, thereby causing all sorts of farcical—and frequently satirical—disputes with his advisers and enemies alike.

Universal Pictures

#14. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

- Director: Lewis Milestone
- Stacker score: 92
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 152 min

Widely considered the most violent film of its time, “All Quiet on the Western Front” remains completely uncompromising in its depiction of World War I brutality. Following young German soldiers into the midst of battle, the movie explores themes of drudgery, humanity, and futility—emphasizing confusion over intent and trauma over victory. It’s no surprise that the book upon which the film was based was later banned and burned in Nazi Germany.

The Samuel Goldwyn Company

#13. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

- Director: William Wyler
- Stacker score: 94
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 170 min

While it’s beyond speculation that war can be brutal on the mind and body alike, a soldier’s subsequent return to everyday society is often just as psychologically harrowing. Exploring that premise with both empathy and accuracy is 1946’s “The Best Years of Our Lives,” in which three World War II servicemen struggle to readjust to small-town American life. It’s a timeless tale that countless veterans can relate to, regardless of the era.

Syncopy

#12. Dunkirk (2017)

- Director: Christopher Nolan
- Stacker score: 94
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 106 min

In 2017, Hollywood’s hottest director turned away from fantasy and science-fiction-based fare to depict a famous World War II event: the evacuation of Allied forces from the French seaport of Dunkirk. The result is a supremely taut war movie that eschews traditional character development to focus primarily on the fight for survival. 

Hemdale

#11. Platoon (1986)

- Director: Oliver Stone
- Stacker score: 94
- Metascore: 92
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 120 min

Iconic filmmaker and Vietnam veteran Oliver Stone covered personal ground when he wrote and directed 1986’s “Platoon,” which is loosely based on his own experiences. In the film, a young soldier (Charlie Sheen) faces conflict on all sides as he fights against a foreign enemy and encounters betrayal within his own unit. The film made over $138 million at the box office and won five Academy Awards including Best Picture.

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Casbah Films

#10. The Battle of Algiers (1966)

- Director: Gillo Pontecorvo
- Stacker score: 96
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 121 min

This example of Italian neorealist cinema focuses on paratrooper commander Col. Mathieu, who is sent to Algeria to quash uprisings. It is here that he meets Ali la Pointe, an ex-criminal who now leads the Algerian Front de Liberation Nationale. The only professional actor in the movie was Jean Martin, who played Col. Mathieu. The rest of the cast was mostly composed of nonprofessional Algerians.

DreamWorks

#9. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

- Director: Steven Spielberg
- Stacker score: 96
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Runtime: 169 min

Steven Spielberg opens “Saving Private Ryan” with one of the most harrowing battle scenes in cinematic history, as the Allies invade Normandy Beach (aka D-Day) in 1944 during WWII. What follows is the story of Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) and his unit of seven, who are sent on a quest to retrieve a mother’s only surviving son (Matt Damon). The film won five Academy Awards and earned over $480 million at the worldwide box office. It also exposed young audiences to both the horrors and heroics of WWII, helping them better understand the many sacrifices once made on their country’s behalf.

Selznick International Pictures

#8. Gone with the Wind (1939)

- Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor (uncredited), Sam Wood (uncredited)
- Stacker score: 96
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 238 min

Chronicling the life of Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) during the Civil War and Reconstruction eras, “Gone With the Wind” is the historical epic to which most blockbusters still aspire. Filled with lush cinematography and harrowing drama, the film won eight Oscars—out of 13 nominations—in 1940, and it remains the highest-grossing film of all time when adjusted for inflation.

The film made headlines in June 2020 when HBO Max removed the title from its streaming library, citing the fact the film romanticizes slavery in America. When the movie returns to the platform, it will be accompanied by an intro from Jacqueline Stewart, an African American film and media studies professor at the University of Chicago, who will provide the historical context in which the film should be viewed. 

Greenwich Film Productions

#7. Ran (1985)

- Director: Akira Kurosawa
- Stacker score: 96
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 162 min

When it comes to war films, Akira Kurosawa is a household name. Here he is again on this list with Ran, a reinvented version of William Shakespeare's “King Lear.” It follows Hidetora Ichimonji, a dying warlord who gives up the throne and divides his kingdom among his three sons.

American Zoetrope

#6. Apocalypse Now (1979)

- Director: Francis Ford Coppola
- Stacker score: 96
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Runtime: 147 min

Updating Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” for the modern era, Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now” stars Martin Sheen as Captain Willard, a seasoned officer struggling to retain his sanity in the midst of the Vietnam War. Willard is approached with a top-secret mission: to track down and assassinate a rogue colonel (Marlon Brando). Making the film took a toll on Coppola, who sank all of his money into the production and suffered an epileptic seizure during the shoot.

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Shinchosha Company

#5. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

- Director: Isao Takahata
- Stacker score: 97
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Runtime: 89 min

Semi-autobiographical in origin, "Grave of the Fireflies" is an animated movie that tells the partially true tale of Seita, a teenager who must take care of his younger sister after an American attack during World War II. It's a tale of survival, sibling love, and the necessity of survival. The author of the original story said that many offers were made to make a live version of the film. However, he felt animation was the only way to convey the devastation with detail while being far enough removed so as to not be traumatic for audiences.

New Line Cinema

#4. Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

- Director: Guillermo del Toro
- Stacker score: 97
- Metascore: 98
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 118 min

The film is set in Spain in 1944, five years after the Spanish Civil War. Director Guillermo del Toro takes audiences on a surrealist fantasy adventure through the eyes of Ofelia. Ofelia's stepfather is the brutal Captain Vidal, who is hunting Spanish rebels fighting against Franco and his regime. Del Toro got the idea for the story from his own doodles in his notebook, which he, unfortunately, left in a taxi in London during the production. In a turn of events, the cabbie returned the notebook just a few days later. Del Toro tipped the cabbie $900.

Les Films Corona

#3. Army of Shadows (1969)

- Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
- Stacker score: 98
- Metascore: 99
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 145 min

Based on the book by Joseph Kessel, "Army of Shadows" follows the story of Philippe Gerbier, who heads up a French Resistance network. He is betrayed and placed in a Nazi prison camp but eventually escapes and seeks revenge on the informant. The film wasn’t released in America until 2006.

Horizon Pictures (II)

#2. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

- Director: David Lean
- Stacker score: 99
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 228 min

Based on the true story of T.E. Lawrence, Peter O'Toole plays the lead in this story of an English officer who is assigned to be a liaison between the Arabs and British in their fight against the Turks. It was nominated for 10 Oscars, taking home seven including best picture and best director.

Warner Bros.

#1. Casablanca (1942)

- Director: Michael Curtiz
- Stacker score: 100
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Runtime: 102 min

This legendary 1942 film sees Humphrey Bogart playing Rick Blaine, an American expatriate and nightclub owner in Casablanca, Morocco. As World War II escalates, Rick provides a haven to refugees as they flee from the Nazis in hopes of making it to America. Things get both complicated and dangerous when a former flame (Ingrid Bergman) shows up in the cafe with her husband and asks Rick for his help.

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