War Films


This week’s Scenes We Love goes out to the many men and women who have served in the military, whether in combat or not. Today is, of course, Veteran’s Day, with national observance tomorrow, and we have a mix of clips to honor the occasion. Of course, it hardly represents the numerous films since cinema began that deal specifically with the veteran experience or simply feature a character who is a veteran. They’re just some that we thought of and had something to say about. Hopefully they’re all considered as respectful as we intend. We welcome mention of additional favorites, regardless of whether or not the scene is streaming somewhere online, in the comments below.


Front Line Header

The trailer for The Front Line already hit hard, and now the production has released a poster to add another brick to their path toward Oscar. No South Korean film has ever made the short list for Best Foreign Film, and it’s going to be an uphill fight for this war movie, but regardless of how it does with the award-givers, it still looks fantastic. The movie from director Jang Hun focuses on an embattled hill during a ceasefire that took place in the Korean War. It looks appropriately dramatic, and the new rain-soaked poster takes us down into the trenches. Check it out for yourself:



Few modern war movies exemplify the courage of a fighting force quite like Saving Private Ryan. Steven Spielberg deftly drew out performances from a varied cast of veterans and newcomers, and he even had a few tricks up his sleeve. For one, all of the actors went through military training except for Matt Damon so the cast would be bitter toward him. A more technical trick was attached drills to the sides of the cameras in order to make them shake the way he wanted them to. It wasn’t until they started shooting that Spielberg was informed that there were lenses that would create the effect (and that he didn’t invent some crazy new technology).


Vintage Trailer Logo

There are no war films more storied than this one. Audie Murphy starring as himself in a retelling of the real-life hell of war that he braved his way through in order to save lives and do his duty. It is the courage of one soldier, and of all soldiers, brought to vivid life through film. Most know that Murphy, a young man turned down by three military branches, became the most decorated soldier of WWII, but the movie was also a giant success. In fact, it was the highest grossing picture for Universal until the streak was beaten by Jaws twenty years later.


The Thin Red Line

In anticipation of Terrence Malick’s much-buzzed and much-argued-about Tree of Life, Adam and Landon are doing a two-part series on Malick’s films in the Criterion Collection. Part 1 – The Thin Red Line. The Thin Red Line (1998) is a film that accomplished many things. Least of which is the fact that, as the film was released twenty years after his previous completed work Days of Heaven, it established Terrence Malick as still a working filmmaker. While Malick had developed and abandoned several projects in the two decades that straddled his second and third feature films, the notoriously private director temporarily retired to France and workshopped a variety of screenplays and stage plays that, for one reason or another, never manifested. Though Malick’s sparse filmography hardly grants him a persona of being a prolific artist, his twenty-year filmmaking “hiatus” was never a hiatus at all, but was instead brimming with activity for potential projects. The Thin Red Line, then, should be thought of not as a decided return to filmmaking which assumes that the film is either a project twenty years in the making or the only thing he came across in twenty years worth making (as an academic who almost completed his doctorate and as a working journalist before becoming a filmmaker, part of the mystery surrounding the very private Malick is that filmmaking is simply one of several trades that define him – he’s like a far less public James Franco). The Thin Red Line may be more […]


Audie Murphy is a Badass

We’re celebrating all week with war films. Today we learn how the actions of one man can affect an entire nation.



We’re celebrating with war movies all week long. Today we learn the true meaning of teamwork when a mission doesn’t go as planned.



We’re celebrating all week with war movies. Today we learn what happens when a band of misfits has to blow up a pair of giant guns or see 2,000 men get killed.



We’re spending all week celebrating war movies. Today, we look at an early work from a master film maker, one of Stanley Kubrick’s lesser known films that shows World War I from view from the trenches as well as the courtroom.



We’re spending all week celebrating war movies. Today we revel in the story of three men from very different backgrounds, all confronting the realities of the early days of Hitler’s rise to power.



We’re spending all week celebrating war movies. First up, we learn that sometimes it doesn’t matter if the purpose of an American holiday is better captured by the cinema of another country. In the case of Ballad of a Soldier you’d be hard-pressed to find another story to exemplify why we honor those that serve and, unfortunately, don’t make it home.



There’s a new brand of historical fiction emerging that fictionalizes what we’ve just seen in our 24-hour news cycle. The Green Zone stumbles in the genre’s early baby steps.



War! Politics! Insults! Absurdity! The greatest comedy group of all time makes their funniest movie.



After being blown away by The Hurt Locker, I was lucky enough to talk to Mackie about his role, the experience of the Middle East during Ramadan, his work with Matt Damon, his friendship with Wynton Marsalis, and his confidence in Kathryn Bigelow’s Oscar chances.


The Hurt Locker

In a very real sense, this movie is the first of its kind. The first boots-on-the-ground Iraq War film. It immediately places the audience in the dusty streets of Baghdad and refuses to let anyone leave until the end.

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published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.27.2015

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