Dear War Fans,
No one is really a fan of war itself, but films about war? That's another story.
This is the second video in our Greatest Movies A-Z series with WatchMojo, and it opens with a bang. Many of the other films are less obvious, but equally glorious (and/or horrifying), so strap in.
Again, we gave ourselves some guidelines:
- One film per letter
- Articles don’t count (the, an, a, etc.)
- Final list should encapsulate the genre
The last rule dictated a lot of our hardest decisions. It also made for some heated debates, which only barely avoided becoming all-out fights.
(Don’t worry. Cooler heads prevailed. Even if that goes against the spirit of the genre.)
So here’s some take-aways from our decision-making process. If your favorite movie isn’t in our final video, there’s a very good chance it’s a decision, and not an omission.
LESSONS FROM WAR A-Z
TOP DECADE: 1960s
Objectively, the 1960s just have the most films on our list (even if X-15 is more about test pilots and the space race than actual war). But most of the others are iconic and run the full spectrum of the war genre, from terrifying, to rousing, to epics, to even a musical. The decade redefined the genre.
HARDEST LETTER: B
Depending on your age, the first “B” movie you probably think of in the war genre is The Bridge on the River Kwai or Black Hawk Down. Or you could definitely argue for Braveheart (we stuck to modern war, even if we didn’t state that as a rule). They’re all A+ movies (not B-movies!) for different reasons. But The Battle of Algiers is still one of the most impressive films ever made. The White House actually screened it for Generals before invading Iraq to help them understand modern warfare. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it. Now!
(Also, P and D were bloodbaths to argue between in their own right)
CHEATED OUT: Valkyrie
It probably should be on the list. It’s definitely more classically a “war” movie than Victory. The only reason it isn’t here, honestly, is because we used it on our very first Action Movies A-Z before we changed the format of the videos. We didn’t want to repeat ourselves. But if this new series goes well, we'll probably redo Action anyway, and then really seem like fools.
BEST BATTLE: The Great Escape vs Grand Illusion
This one hurt. Grand Illusion was the first-ever release of the Criterion Collection. It’s a renowned piece of humanist anti-war filmmaking, which continues to age incredibly well. But it’s not Steve McQueen on a motorbike, and our dads would never speak to us again if it wasn’t included.
SPECIAL CONSIDERATION: Come and See
It’s here because it’s devastating and underseen. Know what’s not underseen or on this list? Casablanca. Plenty of people will call it a war film, but come on. That’s not the shelf you’re going to find Casablanca on at the video store. You still go to the video store, right?
Think your list would be better? More balanced? Less heart-breaking? Let us know.
Dear Cast & Crew