Black Hawk Down

Black Hawk Down

The war movie is one of the greatest cinema genres of all time and it returns this week in the form of Zero Dark Thirty.

The movie marks the return of Kathryn Bigelow to the director's chair with a project that follows the decade hunt of Osama Bin Laden.

To celebrate the release of the Oscar nominated film we take a look at some of the best war movies that have graced the big screen in the last twenty years.

Braveheart

It was back in 1995 when Braveheart graced the big screen for the first time as Mel Gibson portrayed William Wallace.

The film followed Wallace as he lead Scots in the first war of independence against King Edward I - the movie also saw Gibson in the director's chair as well as on the cast list.

Braveheart is a bloody and sprawling epic as Gibson found the right balance between action and emotion.

It shows Gibson at his acting and directing best and the battle scenes really are some of the very best in this genre.

Braveheart - Buy Now

Saving Private Ryan

From one epic to another now as Saving Private Ryan hit the big screen back in 1998 and saw Steven Spielberg in the director's chair.

This has one of the most sweeping and powerful openings of all time as Spielberg delivered a powerful and heart stopping recreation of WWII's D-day invasion.

This opening sequence is enough to cement it as one of the greatest war films of all time as the first 30 minutes are simply devastating - it is a film moment that you will never forget.

Saving Private Ryan is also a potent portrayal of men at war the effect that it has on them and the bonds that they forge in battle.

Saving Private Ryan really set the bar for all war movies that have come since and it remains one of Spielberg's greatest films - how it was beaten to Best Picture by Shakespeare In Love is anyone's guess.

The Thin Red Line

The Thin Red Line was director Terrence Malick's return to filmmaking after a twenty year absence which told a fictional story during the Second World War and America's battle against Japan in the Pacific.

While the film does feature many battle scenes that you would expect to find in any war movie there is something profoundly different about The Thin Red Line that does set it apart from other movies in the genre.

There is a great philosophical aspect that hangs over the whole film as the characters question reasons behind the war and in particular life, as they potentially walk so close to death, leaving many issues unresolved when the credits role, much like life itself.

While it may not be exactly what you expect from a film in this genre The Thin Red Line is a triumph and deserved the Best Picture Oscar nod that came its way.

Saving Private Ryan - Buy  Now

Black Hawk Down

In 2001 the novel Black Hawk Down by Mark Bowden was adapted for the big screen and directed by Ridley Scott.

The movie followed the U.S. as the raided Mogadishu in a bid to find and capture Mohamed Farrah Aidid during the civil war that raged in Somalia.

Black Hawk Down is one of the best movies to depict modern day warfare and Scott never tries to gloss over was a disaster this mission was.

Scott delivers an up close and personal film that really does put the audience into the heart of the action and violence.

Visually the film is stunning and some of the helicopter scenes are just top draw.

Black Hawk Down - Buy Now

Waltz with Bashir

Released in 2008 Waltz With Bashir was directed by Ari Folman who had no memory of being a soldier during Israel's first invasion of Lebanon in 1982.

For the last twenty years he has tried to piece together what really happened to him during this time.

Waltz with Bashir is truly a beautiful and moving movie as Folman delves deep into his troubled past as he desperately tries to remember the events that have eluded him for two decades.

This is a unique way of looking at the horrors of war and the long lasting damage it has to the solider who were just 'following orders'.

It's hard to believe that war documentary and animation would fit together but the pair go are beautiful bedfellows and this movie is one of the most extraordinary animation movies that you are likely to see.

Waltz with Bashir - Buy Now

The Hurt Locker

Back in 2009 there was only one war movie that everyone was talking about and that was The Hurt Locker - a movie that saw Kathryn Bigelow make Oscar history by becoming the first woman to win Best Director.

The film follows an elite army bomb squad unit who are working to make the street of Iraq a safer place by dismantling IED's

What makes this movie so powerful is the absence of politics at no point, like in so many movies that have gone before, does filmmaker Bigelow question the reasons why the war is taking part or the death toll and this comes as a refreshing change.

The Iraqis are not painted as the enemy, the movie doesn’t show the stress and strain put on American soldiers, the American’s are not painted as heroes or the bringer of liberation from a cruel regime instead the movie just follows the lives and work of the soldiers as they count down the days until they can go home.

The Hurt Locker - Buy Now

Zero Dark Thirty is out now


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