Thursday, July 28, 2005

5 x 5 Favorites: "War Nerd" Edition

My 5 Favorite WWI Movies

1. Grand Illusion
2. The Big Parade
3. Gallipoli
4. The Lost Patrol
5. A Very Long Engagement

My 5 Favorite WWII Movies

1. The Night of the Shooting Stars
2. Fires on the Plain
3. Story of G.I. Joe
4. Hail the Conquering Hero
5. Saving Private Ryan

My 5 Favorite Vietnam Movies

1. Casualties of War
2. A Bullet in the Head
3. Hamburger Hill
4. We Were Soldiers
5. Platoon

My 5 Favorite "Other" 20th Century War Movies

1. Men in War
2. Three Kings
4. Black Hawk Down
5. Salvador

My 5 Favorite Non-20th Century War Movies

1. Ran
2. The Last of the Mohicans (1992)
3. Master and Commander
4. Zulu
5. Glory


jult52 said...

No Full Metal Jacket, huh?

JvE said...

For not listing The Thin Red Line, I consider you an inveterate scoundrel.

Anonymous said...

Do you consider _47 Ronin_ a war movie?

Jon Hastings said...


My preference, in general, is for non-cerebral, non-abstract war movies.


Although I love James Jones's novel (along with his "Whistle" and "From Here to Eternity"), I thought that the movie version of TRL was too abstract and poetic. The scene in the middle where they fight their way up the grassy hill is pretty amazing, though: I think it is as good as the more famous opening of "Svaing Private Ryan".


I've never seen "47 Ronin" (in any of its versions). In general, except for "Ran", I tend to prefer samurai movies that focus on a single samurai (like "Yojimbo") rather than the big samurai war-epic ones.


JvE said...


I have not read the book, but take your point about the movie being fairly suffued with poetry and dream imagery.

Considering the movie per se, apart from the book, I think that very sort of floating imagery and description was the movie's strength. At least in my view, TRL communicates more about soldiers facing mortality under ridiculously stressful and arbitrary conditions {dying to take a hill on a small island that really has no tactical importance}. I viewed it as a kind of retreat into the ethereal, timeless, whatever.

It had its flaws [Travolta??!!] but I take it that its unique and fairly powerful approach warrants a nod.


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Tim said...

Those Vietnam War choices are pretty weird. Then again, the Vietnam conflict has been better represented in documentaries than fiction films. I don't think Full Metal Jacket exactly qualifies as "cerebral" -- though Apocalypse Now might (esp. the "Redux" version).

Jon Hastings said...


Well, I don't mind being a little weird.

I think Full Metal Jacket is cerebral in that (like a lot of late Kubrick) it is structured like an essay in order to prove a point. Although, I might just be internalizing Pauline Kael's reading of the movie a little too much.

For what it's worth, if I were going to add to the list, I'd probably have Full Metal Jacket and Apocalypse Now in 6th and 7th place, but mostly because I can't think of many other Vietnam movies.