10 Critically Acclaimed Military Movies

It’s undeniable to say that one of America’s favorite ways to pass the time is to watch movies. Whether streaming or in theaters, there are movies for every interest but when it comes to movies featuring the military, it’s no surprise that many box offices smashes and critically acclaimed. Military movies fall into a variety of categories – from comedy to action, suspense, or even drama. Here’s a list of our favorite military movies, in no particular order:


Inglourious Basterds (2009)
IMDB Rating 8.3/10
In Quentin Tarantino’s film about Nazi-occupied France during WWII, a team of Jewish U.S. soldiers plot to assassinate Nazi officials. Their plans just so happen to coincide with a local theatre owner’s plans to take out Nazi officials as well. For a great portion of the film, Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) tours German occupied France hunting Nazis and collecting their scalps. Often contrary to Tarantino’s style, this movie is a tongue-in-cheek look at a plot to kill not only Nazis, but also Hitler.

Saving Private Ryan (1998)
IMDB Rating 8.6/10
After the Normandy landings, Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) brings his men behind enemy lines to rescue Private James Ryan (Matt Damon). Private Ryan’s three brothers were killed in combat and he was left stranded. Each of the men take a personal journey of discovery to overcome the uncertain future with honor, strength and decency, while facing the war that rages around them.

Black Hawk Down (2001)
IMDB 7.7/10
In 1993, America sent a team of 123 soldiers to Somalia to topple a government run by a savage warlord, and to also provide humanitarian relief to the Somali people. While bringing in the soldiers, two of the Black Hawk helicopters were gunned down by the warlord’s forces. The men then have to regain their balance, while fighting off heavy gunfire deep in Somalia.

Full Metal Jacket (1987)
IMDB 8.3/10
This film is a take on the mindset of the Vietnam-era Marine and the effects of the war on their outlooks. In Kubrick’s film, the protagonist, Private Davis (Matthew Modine), goes through boot camp where he is referred to as “Joker” by his drill sergeant (R. Lee Ermey). In boot camp, he meets Private Lawrence (Vincent D’Onofrio), who is nicknamed “Gomer Pyle.” The two go through the long process of basic training, and Joker eventually graduates to the Marine Corps. Quickly after, Joker is sent to Vietnam as a journalist who covers and eventually fights in the bloody Battle of Hué.

Band of Brothers (2001)
IMDB 9.6/10
This HBO original series chronicles the tale of Easy Company, the 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne division of the U.S. Army. The series is based on interviews with the survivors of the company, as well as letters and journals from the soldiers. This series covers the experiences of these men from their WWII missions all the way to VJ day, and the bravery these young soldiers possessed. This series is based on the book by Stephen Ambrose.

Patton (1970)
IMDB 8.0/10
This film is a biography about the controversial General George S. Patton. Covering his WWII activities and accomplishments, the film begins with his entry into the North African campaign. It shows the journey of Patton all the way until his removal from command after his vastly vocal criticism of the military’s strategy after the war.

Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
IMDB 7.4/10
After the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, Osama Bin Laden became the world’s most wanted individual. After a manhunt spanning two presidential terms, a dedicated female operative (Jessica Chastain) finally helps locate Bin Laden. In May 2011, a team of Navy SEALs enter Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan and take him out. The film covers the story of this landmark mission.

The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
IMDB 8.2/10
This film, based on the novel by Pierre Boulle, covers POWs in Burma who are forced to build a bridge to aid Japanese war efforts. Finally, after settling his differences with a Japanese POW commander, a British colonel volunteers to oversee construction of the railway bridge for his captors. Unbeknownst to him, the allies plot to destroy the bridge.

Platoon (1986)
IMDB 8.1/10
A young soldier, Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen), leaves university in 1967 to enlist in combat duty during the Vietnam war. Once his boots hit the ground, Taylor’s idealism disappears as he finds himself in the midst of a struggle between his staff sergeant (Tom Berenger) who thinks the local villagers are harboring Viet Cong fighters, and Sergeant Elias (Willem Dafoe), who has a sympathetic view of the locals. The two end up pitting the soldiers not only against the enemy, but also against the each other.

Apocalypse Now (1979)
IMDB 8.5/10
In 1970, Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) takes a perilous journey down a river in Vietnam to terminate rogue Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando). Kurtz set himself up as a god to a local tribe in the jungle and went completely mad. It is popularly thought that this film is a modern adaptation of the Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.


Even more than the movies, we love and appreciate those brave men and women who have served, as well as their incredible families! With so many great choices for military movies out there, choosing only 10 was a challenge. Did we leave any out? We’d love to know…What’s your favorite military movie? Tell us by sending us a tweet at @IntrepidHeroes!


Posted on May 16 2016 in Blog

Host your own fundraising initiative to support the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.

© 2022 Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. All Rights Reserved.