With Anzac Day coming up, and me not really wanting to delve into the fact that once ordinary men and women banded together, to fight war/s that were suppose to end all other wars, not the senseless quagmire of false intentions that was Vietnam, and is now Iraq.
So I present my Thumbs Up To the following list of war films. I was going to do books, but I could only come up with three off the top of my head, Slaughterhouse-Five, Catch-22, and the war story that is but it isn’t Going Solo. The same with TV shows, I only had Foyle’s War, Band of Brothers, and Blackadder Goes Forth- oh lord I well up when I get the last episode of that one. So films it is. I also apologise for the fact that most of these films are WW2 American, but they do seem to have the biggest output.
10. Schindler’s List. – makes me wonder is Ralph Fiennes really the same man who plays both the commandant and Heathcliff.
9. The Tin Drum- art vs. war. With a child that resolves to never grow up.
8. Saving Private Ryan- Spielberg dominated the box office with this picture, so pretty much everyone’s seen it, if you haven’t however I would refrain from eating in the first 20 minutes or so. That mince pie will haunt me forever.
7. No Mans Land.-Catch-22 meets Waiting for Godot meets the Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian conflict. This film never fails to make me laugh and cry at the same time.
6. Skammen/Shame- Ingmar Bergman’s, psychologically intense (when does he NOT do psychologically intense, well maybe Wild Strawberries) study of the human reaction when confronted by war. Sort of where you start before you get left behind; see The Seventh Seal.
5. Downfall-the final days of Hitler.
4. Gallipoli.- To have not seen this masterpiece, is un-Australian. Although, I did have some trouble separating Mel Gibson here, with his character of that other great Australian film Mad Max, my own fault.
3. The Battleship Potemkin- an astonishing work of film brilliance. There’s not much else I can say to that, simply this is a film that needs to be seen.
2. The Thin red Line-explores the contrasts of people and war, set in South Pacific battles of the Second World War. With internal pondering monologues that flit from character to character. Some feel that the film is a reel too long perhaps, but it’s beautifully shot, and scored. More drama, then some of the others in this list, but it does have its fair share of explosions and so forth.
1. Das Boot- The most incredibly tense, exciting,depressing, and draining 3-4 hours-(depending whether you are seeing the directors cut and in German with subtitles as I prefer or not) of my life. The men with beards helps, being easy on the eye, but this film has one of the bleakest endings, and one that I’ve felt hit me right there, along with 1984.
Other notable mentions include; Full Metal Jacket, Jarhead, The Great Escape, The Pianist, All quiet On the Western Front, M.A.S.H., Paths of Glory, Ran, Letters from Iwo Jima, Roma, Città Aperta, The Killing Fields, Battle of Algiers, Hotel Rwanda, Dr Strangelove or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.