10 War Films To Help Us Celebrate And Remember The Fallen

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Remembrance Day is a day for us to remember those that have fought for us. Fought so that we could live. Fought so that we would live on. It’s a time to remember. It’s a time to think and reflect on the past. 

Films are one way that we can learn, see and experience the hardships of war.  

These 10 films explore soldiers at war, the aftermath, their experiences and those loved ones that await their return.  

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Set during the invasion of Normandy in World War 2, Saving Private Ryan follows John H Miller, the United States Army Rangers Captain, and his squad who are searching for Private First Class James Francis Ryan, a paratrooper who is the last surviving brother of a family of four.

Rating: 15

Genre: War / Action

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Director: Steven Spielberg  

Starring: Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Harrison Young, Vin Diesel, Nathan Fillion

Buy Saving Private Ryan

Valkyrie (2008) 

Set during World War 2, Valkyrie depicts the events that occurred from the 20th of July 1944, when German army officers attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler and destroy the Nazi rule. They had the idea to use operation Valkyrie, a national emergency plan, to take control of the country. 

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Rating: 12A

Genre: War / Thriller

Director: Bryan Singer 

Starring: Tom Cruise, Bil Nighy, Kenneth Branagh, Carice Van Houten

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Buy Valkyrie

War Horse (2012)

Based on Michael Morpurgo’s 1982 book and 2007 stage production, War Horse is set before and during World War 1. It tells the story and journey of Joey, a bay thoroughbred horse who is raised by British teenager Albert before he is brought by the British Army.

Rating: 12A

Genre: War / Drama

Director: Steven Spielberg 

Starring: Emily Watson, Jeremy Irvine, Niels Arestrup, Peter Mullan

Buy War Horse

Private Peaceful (2012)

Private Peaceful is an adaptation of a 2003 novel about a soldier named Thomas Peaceful who looks back at his life from the trenches of World War 1 in France. The story is set in the battlefields of WW1 where two brothers fall for the same girl. 

Rating: 12A

Genre: War / Drama

Director: Pat O’Conner

Starring: George Mackay, Jack O’Connell, Alexandra Roach, Maxine Peake

Buy Private Peaceful

The Railway Man (2013)

Set during World War 2, British officer Eric Lomax has been captured in Singapore by the Japanese and sent to a POW camp.  Fast forward 30 years and Lomax is still suffering from the trauma of his wartime experiences. Upon learning that his capturer is still alive he travels alone to the same place he and his men were once tortured ‘in an attempt to let go of a lifetime of bitterness and hate’. 

Rating: 15

Genre: War / Drama

Director: Jonathan Teplitzky  

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard

Buy The Railway Man

American Sniper (2014)

A biographical film loosely based on the 2012 memoir by Jason Hall. The film follows the life of Kyle, a SEAL sniper, who returns home from a war in Iraq and can’t seem to forget the horrors he experienced which begins to take effect his life and marriage. 

Rating: 15

Genre: War / Action

Director: Clint Eastwood

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Kyle Gallner

Buy American Sniper

The Water Diviner (2014)

Australian farmer Joshua Connor goes on a journey to Turkey to try and find his three missing sons who are presumed dead in the Battle of Gallipoli. On the way, he falls in love and learns that one of his sons could be alive. 

Rating: 15

Genre: War/ Drama

Director: Russel Crowe 

Starring: Olga Kurylenko, Russell Crowe, Jacqueline McKenzie, Yilmaz Erdogan

Buy The Water Diviner

Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

Hacksaw Ridge focuses on the World War 2 experiences of the American pacifist and combat medic Desmond Doss. Doss was a Seventh-day Adventist Christian who refused to carry and use weapons, but risked his life to save 75 men without firing a shot in the battle of Okinawa. A true story about PFC Desmond T. Doss, the first man to received a Medal of Honour without firing a shot.

Rating: 15

Genre: War/ Drama

Director: Mel Gibson 

Starring: Luke Bracey, Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Vince Vaughn

Buy Hacksaw Ridge

Darkest Hour (2017)

Set in May 1940, documenting the early days of Winston Churchill during the Second World War and the War Cabinet Crisis whilst he was Prime Minister. The film explores Winston Churchill’s decision to sign a peace treaty with Hitler or continue fighting against Germany.

Rating: PG

Genre: War/ Drama

Director: Joe Wright 

Starring: Gary Oldman, Lily James, Kristin Scott Thomas, Ronald Pickup

Buy Darkest Hour

Dunkirk (2017)

Set in May 1940 during the Second World War, Dunkirk follows soldiers from the British Empire, Belgium and France who are surrounded and subsequently evacuated from the town of Dunkirk during a battle with German forces. The story is told from three different perspectives; land, sea and air, over three different time periods.

Rating: 12A

Genre: War / Action

Director: Christopher Nolan

Starring: Fionn Whitehead, Tom Hardy, Harry Styles, James D’Arcy

Buy Dunkirk

This article was written by guest contributor Zahra Arshad.

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