Of all the genres I'm examining here, war is the one I developed an interest in late in life. Growing up I didn't have much interest in war movies (although I did get into my Mom's favorite television program Combat!). More about why I got into war after the list:
- Glory (1989)
- The Great Escape (1963)
- All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
- Paths of Glory (1957)
- Das Boot (1981)
- A Soldier's Story (1984)
- Gettysburg (1993)
- Zulu (1964)
- Letters From Iwo Jima (2006)
- Downfall (2004)
Here we have 1 film on the Zulu uprising (uh, Zulu), 2 on the Civil War (Glory & Gettysburg), 2 on WW I (All Quiet... & Paths of Glory) and 5 on WW II (Great Escape, Das Boot, Soldier's Story, Letters... & Downfall).
I first saw the films Glory, Great Escape, Zulu, Gettysburg and a Soldier's Story on History Television, in some cases side-by-side with each other. I think it was these five films that turned me around on war pictures - the demonstration of heroism under fire with the ultimate futility of war really impressed me, much as the Combat episode "Hills are for Heroes" made firm my appreciation for Combat. Films I've seen since then - most recently Letters From Iwo Jima - continue that trend. In many of these films, the protagonists either lose the battle or win at a debilitating cost. Two also explore the non-combat side of war, with a Soldier's Story viewing the inhumanity between men on the same side and Downfall detailing Hitler's last days.
I leave you with a clip from the climax of Glory:
Tomorrow: we conclude with the Fantasy genre!