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Aug12017

Best War Movies on Amazon Prime Video

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Great selection of war movies

Amazon Prime is one of the biggest video libraries in the world, including war movies. However, as you are well aware, this service is geo-restricted which makes it effectively impossible to watch it from the location which is outside its streaming source. Nobody wants to be cut off of the massive collection of titles which caters for any possible taste. Smart DNS solution will take care of this problem for you so that you only have to concentrate on choosing what you want to watch. This time, we’re taking Amazon-available war movies into account to help those who are interested in the genre pick the ones which are definitely worth watching.

War movies comeback

Last week, we witnessed a great return of the war movies genre with the box office hit opening of Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’. A powerful, World War II story, with amazing cinematography, a realistic approach to historical detail and an incredible story of survival combining a personal story shown in an epic way stands out from the flood of romantic comedies interlaced with superhero blockbusters which seem to have dominated movie theaters over the past few years.

Ghosts of the past

It seems that after a few monumental war movies of the 70’s and 80’s such as ‘Patton’, ‘A Bridge Too Far’, ‘Apocalypse Now’ or ‘The Deer Hunter’ following great classics of the 50’s and 60’s (‘From here to Eternity’, ‘The Dirty Dozen’ or ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’), not too many military conflict movies made it to the big screen. Perhaps the audiences grew tired of the topic with so many actual wars being fought around the world. Or perhaps it had to take several years before the directors were ready to follow in the footsteps of such great names as Francis Ford Coppola, Olivier Stone or Michael Cimino.

The revival

War movies started to reappear on the horizon after 2000 with several notable exceptions from the 90’s including ‘Schindler’s List’ (1993), ‘Saving Private Ryan’ (1998) or ‘The Thin Red Line’ (1998). Two films that appeared in 2001 – ‘Pearl Harbor’ and ‘Black Hawk Down’ seem to be on two different poles with the first one being a classic tear-jerking blockbuster with relatively low critical response and the other showing, in a very realistic way, a piece of modern military history highly thought of both by critics and by the general audience. Somewhere in-between, we can find ‘Enemy at the Gates’ – the Jean-Jacques Annaud’s epic story about Stalingrad.

The following

The following years brought such masterpieces (often appreciated with the Academy Awards) as ‘The Pianist’ (2002), ‘We Were Soldiers’ (2002), ‘Jarhead’ (2005), ‘Letters from Iwo Jima’ (2006), or ‘The Hurt Locker’ (2008). Recent few years gave us such titles as ‘Fury’, ‘American Sniper’, ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ and, eventually, ‘Dunkirk’.

Realism in war movies

A lot of war-themed movies are based on actual events. Obviously, movies are made to generate profit so they must keep certain balance between reality and impressiveness, which may not often go hand-in-hand. Only a few filmmakers managed to create successful marriage of realistic depiction of war with visual attractiveness of the story which brings viewers to the cinema or makes then revisit those movies. It would be extremely hard to point at one or even a few war movies which would be regarded perfect in this sense. However, we created a subjective list of war movies that combine spectacular direction, cinematography and acting with realism. We have created several categories as no single film is able to capture the totality of the wartime experience.

Best portrayal of Boot Camp: ‘Full Metal Jacket’ (1987)

Seems like an obvious choice. And one of the very few situations when Stanley Kubrick allowed his actor to improvise. R. Lee Ermey, an ex-Marine, hired to be a technical advisor, and finally unleashed to do the role as the drill instructor Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in his own way, gave an unforgettable and totally convincing performance showing the whole drama and terrifying reality surrounding the boot camp world. Caricature-like and scary to the point of madness.

Best portrayal of helpless vulnerability: ‘Das Boot’ (1981)

Based on autobiographical novel by German World War II photographer, the film is one of the most gripping and authentic war movies ever made. It follows a German U-Boat captain and his inexperienced crew patrolling the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Grimy and claustrophobic world of the sub showing monotonous duties in filthy and cramped quarters interlaced with battle scenes and waiting-for-death incidents unveil as the boat turns from the hunter to the prey.

Best portrayal of humanity during wartime: ‘Schindler’s List’ (1993)

An Oscar winning story by Steven Spielberg depicting a true story of a German industrialist seeking an opportunity to make money as the Nazis rise to power. Hiring Jews and Poles oppressed by the war to have a free labor force, he realizes, in time, that the fact that they are employed in his factory is the only thing that prevents them from being sent to the death camps. With the instigation and help of his Jewish accountant, he starts to develop a conscience and decides to save as many people as he can despite losing a fortune. An amazing story of humanity at its worst and its best during the times of Holocaust.

Best portrayal of the fighting sequence: ‘Saving Private Ryan’ (1998)

An incredibly vivid and realistic recreation of the D-day Omaha Beach landing and its aftermath made by Steven Spielberg. A compelling, 24-minute flashback fighting sequence as seen from the point of view of a soldier is a cinematography masterpiece achieved by Janusz Kaminski (awarded with the Academy Awards for it). Devoid of pathos, phony heroism and superhuman military feats, the sequence remains a benchmark for many war movie fighting scenes setting a very high standard for depicting a realistic and grimy brutality of combat.

Best portrayal of the battle: ‘We Were Soldiers’ (2002)

A heroic portrayal of the first, and perhaps the worst, major battle of the Vietnam War. Interlaced with the backstory of the families that are left behind, the movie follows 400 troopers from the US 7th Air Cavalry surrounded by 2000 Vietcong soldiers in the Is Dang Valley. We are taken through an entire battle from the troops deployment to the moment when the last US soldier is evacuated from the site. We witness heroism, despair, tragedy, small victories and bitter defeats. The whole battle is depicted almost in a documentary style giving the full insight into the horrors of hopeless battles.

Best portrayal of the wartime atrocities: ‘Platoon’ (1986)

Out of numerous movies depicting the Vietnam War, Oliver Stone’s harrowing, ground-level view of war is often put in the top three Vietnam War movies along with Apocalypse Now and The Deer Hunter with those movies showing how the war destroys a human being and Platoon (which is also addressing his issue) depicting day-to-day soldiers’ fate and the atrocities either witnessed or imposed by them. An extremely strong sequence of the US troops entering the village shows, in a devastation barrage of images, relentless horror and the pointless carnage which burns into memory of the viewers. Additionally, the sequence of Sgt. Elias escaping through the forest scored with Samuel Barber’s Adagio for String remains one of the most recognizable and compelling pictures of war (used as a poster for the movie as well).

Best portrayal of the special forces units in battle: ‘Black Hawk Down (2001)

Ridley Scott’s powerful recreation of the chapter in the United States military history which happened in 1993 in Mogadishu, Somalia. A quick in-and-out mission which was supposed to take less than an hour turned into an overnight standoff and rescue operation claiming dozens of US soldiers’ lives, thousands of Somalis killed or wounded and causing serious political implications concerning the US military involvement policy. A depiction of special forces cooperating with each other and dealing with ordeals escaped certain caricaturization which is often seen in movies presenting special ops in action.

Best portrayal of the homecoming: ‘The Hurt Locker’ (2008)

For quite a while, the topic of the soldiers returning home after deployment was somehow overlooked and stayed in the shadow of heroic deeds during the wartime. PTSD (or posttraumatic stress disorder), although known before and often associated with the legacy of the Vietnam War, first appeared as a household name as late as in 1980. Since then, it has become a major issue connected with soldiers returning home after military deployment. Several movies addressed the issue (‘The Deer Hunter’, ‘Born on the Fourth of July’, ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ and even ‘First Blood’) but they concentrated more on serious psychological issues bringing the characters to the verge of madness. Kathryn Bigelow, in her Oscar-winning depiction of the bomb squad in Iraq, needed exactly one, perfect scene to show the disorientation and feeling out-of-place as the main protagonist, fresh from Iraq, stands helplessly in a supermarket aisle in front of the wall of cereal boxes without having a clue what he is doing here. Of course, the entire film deserves watching.

Bonus - best portrayal of… everything: ‘Band of Brothers’ (2001)

We have added a bonus category in which we tried to find a movie (or a miniseries in this case) that would, at least, try to capture the totality of all war experiences without making it too militaristic, too melodramatic, too heroic, too glamoring or too condemning. It does not mean that the rest of the movies are just stories about little boys playing war showing false image of real war effort with a certain cinematic flourish. However, taking into account all elements, the creators behind the series somehow managed to squeeze decent treatment of all elements associated with real combat preserving realism, honesty, desperation and dilemmas of people who happened to find themselves in situations that none of would like to be. Let us appreciate then those people although they are only actors on the set and let us try to feel what real soldiers felt.

Dive into the world of movies

All those emotions can be given to us by numerous movie screenings, streaming platforms or digital carriers. We have decided to focus on Amazon Prime Video – one of the best and the largest collections of movies on the web. You can unblock it and watch it from any location using numerous devices with Smart DNS Proxy. Register with us or log in if you are already with us to start your unforgettable watching experience – not just with war movies. Everyone will find something for themselves.

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