The 5 most successful war films of all time
Mel Gibson returned to the director’s chair recently for Hacksaw Ridge, a film about the real-life story of Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) and his acts of heroism and refusal to use a weapon during the Second World War. The film is a gritty, realistic affair and it has received six Oscar nominations. To mark this feat, we’ve looked at some of the greatest war films ever made based on the following criteria:
- Box Office revenue
- Oscar nominations
- IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes ratings
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5. Full Metal Jacket
The first of a few masterful films about the Vietnam war in our list comes from Stanley Kubrick. His 1987 film is a brutally true-to-life portrayal of what wartime life is like.
What’s it about: The film follows Matthew Modine’s Private Joker through the ravages of the Vietnam war, from boot camp to those iconic sniper street scenes.
Box Office revenue: US$46,360,000.
Oscar haul: one nomination.
IMDb Ranking: 8.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Ranking: 95 percent
4. The Deer Hunter
Michael Cimino’s complex masterpiece looks at the aftermath of the Vietnam war and the lives of veterans returning home.
What’s it about: The film follows a young Robert de Niro as he struggles to adjust to normal life after the war. Who can forget that iconic Russian roulette scene with De Niro and Christopher Walken?
Box Office Revenue: US$48,980,000
Oscar Haul: nine nominations and five wins.
IMDb Ranking: 8.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes Ranking: 94 percent
When Vietnam veteran Oliver Stone takes on the topic, you know you’re in for one brutal ride. And he didn’t disappoint.
What’s it about: Long before Charlie Sheen was chilling on the coast in Two And A Half Men, he was running through the Vietnamese jungle and dealing with the horrors of daily life in the war. Who loves the smell of napalm in the morning? Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore does!
Box Office Revenue: US$158,530,000.
Oscar haul: Eight nominations and four wins.
IMDb ranking: 8.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Ranking: 88 percent
2. Apocalypse Now
The stories about life on the set of Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece are a thing of legend and can be seen in the documentary, Heart Of Darkness. Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen and awful weather conditions almost sent Coppola over the edge, both financially and mentally. The fact this film even exists makes it deserving of the number two spot.
What’s it about: Martin Sheen’s Captain Willard is sent to the Cambodian jungle to assassinate a renegade colonel (Marlon Brando) who has set himself up as a god among a local tribe.
Box Office revenue: US$83,430,000.
Oscar haul: Eight nominations and two wins.
IMDb Ranking: 8.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Ranking: 97 percent.
1. Saving Private Ryan
Steven Spielberg’s drama was one of 1998’s best films, full of excellent acting displays and deservedly number one in our list.
What’s it about: A troop of US soldiers are sent on a mission to bring Private Ryan back home after his brothers are killed in action. What follows is a cinematic masterpiece.
Box Office revenue: US $481,840,000.
Oscar haul: 11 nominations and five wins.
IMDb Ranking: 8.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Ranking: 92 percent.