Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Top 10 War Movies

Acidman has posted his Top 10 list of war movies.

He's got some good ones there, no doubt, but I can't agree with all the choices. I was never a big fan (with one or two exceptions) of the 'star-studded' war flicks of the '60s and '70s, which stuffed 50 "A" list actors onto the bill. So, scratch 'Midway' and 'The Longest Day'. I also scatter my interests beyond the 20th century, to a good degree, so I've got a lot of older (in terms of the original battle date) movies.

There were quite a few flicks that could slide in & out of the list, depending on my mood. (movies like Lawrence Of Arabia, We Were Soldiers, Sands Of Iwo Jima, etc.)

So, here's my list. I make no claims as to their accuracy or artistic merit. I just like 'em, own most of 'em, and watch them a lot.

(10) - Cross Of Iron
WWII on the Eastern Front, told from a German perspective. Pulls absolutely no punches, shows that if you were in the Wehrmacht retreat from Russia, your life was one endless bag o' Suck.

(9) Zulu
Recipe for Zulu paté: British discipline, the Martini-Henry rifle, and volley fire. Inject lead, stir with bayonet. Avoid the pointy assegais that pop up. Good, good movie.

(8) Das Boot
Filmmaking at its best. Watch the subtitled version if you can, the dubbed version has some annoying voiceovers.

(7) Black Hawk Down
Good modern war flick, and gives you one more reason to despise Clinton for the spineless poll-driven pussy that he was. My solution to get Aidid? Nuke him from orbit. It's the only way to be sure...

(6) Gettysburg
This movie got a lot of grief when it was released. It was overly long, people chuckled about the gophers glued to actor's faces to simulate 19th century beards, it was too "made for TV" looking, etc. I wasn't a huge fan when it first came out, but it sure grew on me. Jeff Daniels does a superb job of portraying professor-turned-warrior Col. Joshua Chamberlain, and Stephen Lang's portrayal of General George Pickett is outstanding. Turn up the surround sound for the artillery bombardment of Cemetary Ridge. It'll rattle the walls.

(5) Last of The Mohicans
Yeah, it's a war movie! Forget about the French & Indian War? Man, this one's got everything... To borrow from Joe-Bob Briggs, we got tomahawk-fu, flintlock-fu, cannon-fu, knife-fu, big-ass spiked warclub-fu, hearts ripped out of chests, pretty wimmen, 5000 injuns with mohawks, and some fantastic scenery and photography throughout. Not enough Frenchmen die, though, for my taste, or it would rate higher!

(4) A Bridge Too Far
Best "ensemble cast" war movie ever made. Best scene? "Hail Mary, full of grace..."

(3) Waterloo
There were problems with this movie, to be sure. I'm never sure that Rod Steiger is ever a good choice for casting. The reason to watch this one is the battle scenes. I still wonder how they filmed the French cavalry charge against the British infantry squares. It's jaw-dropping. Hard to find film, but well worth your time.

(2) Kelly's Heroes
It's a comedy! It's a war flick! It's a heist film! Whatever it is, it's been a favorite of mine for years. I've seen this so many times, you can turn down the sound and I'll narrate it perfectly. Don't miss Donald Sutherland's performance!

(1) Saving Private Ryan
That first 30 minutes took your breath away. Never seen anything like it, though thousands of WWII vets did, first hand. Hard to top this one.

There it is, buckaroos. Feel free to comment.