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War Movies (Best of All Time by Branch)

This list includes war movies, best of all time, that cover all branches of the service.

The internet is full of “best of” lists for every topic under the sun. Why not? They are fun to read and spark a debate no matter how long or short the list is.

It’s harmless fun and gives people something to do while stuck in the house, either intentionally or by bureaucratic edict.

War movies abound, and filmmakers like to tell stories about old conflicts in new ways—just like this list is telling an old story in a new way.

There aren’t too many lists that break down the greatest war movies of all time by the branch of the military.

Part of the reason is that there aren’t many movies about the Coast Guard winning a major battle that turned the tide of war. Sorry guardsman—you’re great and all, but it’s true.

War Movies

Full Metal Jacket – Marine Corp

This is Stanley Kubrick’s last entry into war films, and he didn’t leave anything out. The film follows “Joker” through basic training and into the Vietnam War.

It shows how far the recruits are pushed in training to make them instruments of war and the repercussions of it.

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R. Lee Ermey, as Gunnery Sgt. Hartman, stole the show with his true to life depiction of a drill sergeant preparing young men for war.

Full Metal Jacket
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Matthew Modine, Adam Baldwin, Vincent D'Onofrio (Actors)

Saving Private Ryan – Army

This movie by Steven Spielberg stands out for its stunning and breathless opening sequence that shows the brutality of taking Omaha Beach in WWII.

It’s one of the all-time greatest war movie scenes that shows how horrible war is and how the U.S. Army overcame it to accomplish their goals.

Tom Hanks leads the viewer through the movie on his journey to find Private Ryan and take him home.

Saving Private Ryan
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Tom Hanks, Edward Burns, Matt Damon (Actors)

Top Gun – Navy

Top Gun is the epitome of the 1980s U.S.A. versus Russia film-making.

Hotshot Navy pilot Maverick, played by Tom Cruise, navigates flight school and copes with loss using his trademark reputation for being a loner and risk-taker.

The movie has amazing onboard footage of high-speed dog fights and training, culminating with a showdown with the hated Russians.

Top Gun
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Anthony Edwards (Actors)

Iron Eagle – Air Force

Another 1980s entry, Iron Eagle, uses the old trope of the kids taking control away from the hapless adults to save the day.

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A group of Air Force brats steals intel, surveillance footage, and a fighter jet from an Air Force base to save one kid’s dad.

It’s a tongue-in-cheek movie made for kids that stars Louis Gossett, Jr., as the grizzled old pilot who guides the hero on his journey.

The Finest Hours – Coast Guard

This isn’t really a war movie because there aren’t a lot of war movies about the coast guard.

Instead, The Finest Hours tells the true story of when, in 1952, the SS Pendleton split in two during a storm, trapping 30 sailors on board.

The Coast Guard deployed from Massachusetts in a daring rescue mission to help the survivors in a race against time.

The Finest Hours (Theatrical)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster (Actors)

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