November 16, 2008
Originally PUBLISHED November 15,2004
I've been watching war movies on Fox News. These aren't Hollywood productions, with expensive special-effects and dead extras. These shots are showing REAL troops in a REAL war. I'm pulling hard for those boys. They are goddam good at what they do and I am proud of every one of them.
Watching that stuff made me think about war movies, and here are MY Top Ten:
10) The Great Escape. If nothing else, for Steve McQueen jumping the barbed wire on the motorcycle at the end.
9) A Bridge Too Far. Incredible fuck-up by the military, mitigated into a live-with military defeat by the incredible bravery of the troops.
8) The Longest Day. Glamorized too much for my tastes, but still a good movie. I don't believe that the true nature of that battle can EVER be captured on film, but that one had John Wayne, so it couldn't be bad.
7) The Dirty Dozen. GOT-DAM!!! Was Lee Marvin a bad-ass, or what? Telly Savalas did a good job as a total prick in that movie. Jim Brown got killed. too. Oh, man. That was a great movie.
6) Midway. That's another one that didn't do justice to what actually happened, but it remains a damn fine movie. We won World War II in the Pacific Ocean that day, and a lot of people died achieving that goal.
5) Battleground. That's an old black-and-white movie about the Battle of the Bulge. You can spot a young James Arness in there, before he became Matt Dillon, if you watch closely.
4) Platoon. I don't want to get into a fight here, but I'll go ahead and tell you that I don't give a shit what you think. I liked the movie. If it didn't accurately portray the war in Vietnam, it accurately portrayed young men under severe stress. So, shut up. I liked the movie.
3) Das Boot. I saw that movie the first time with sub-titles. I've seen it a dozen times since with the dialogue dubbed. It doesn't matter. That's a teriffic movie, with a terrible ending, which fit the German U-Boat command.
2) The Sand Pebbles. Maybe that's a "conflict" movie rather than a "war movie," but it's still about fightin' and dyin' on a Navy ship under the US flag. Steve McQueen gave his life's-work performance in that film. Famous Last Words, as McQueen's character, Jake Holman, was dying, wide-eyed and wondering just how the fuck he ended up where he was: "I had it MADE!!!"
1) Saving Private Ryan. The first time I saw that movie, it bowled me over. Parts of it still do today, and I've watched it at least 20 times. I could do without the cemetary scene at the end, but that one stain of syrup doesn't change my mind. This one is, without a doubt, the best War Movie ever made.
That's just MY humble opinion. of course. Feel free to disagree.
All content © Rob Smith