My Top Ten Favorite Military Movies

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to focus my blog on “top ten” lists.

We’ll cover a variety of topics such as books, movies, quotes, best military leaders, etc.

I hope you enjoy it.

This week, we’ll start with my top ten favorite military movies of all time.

I don’t know about you, but I love watching military movies.

Not only are they entertaining, but they can be very educational too.

Military movies can teach us about:

  • History
  • Leadership
  • Tactics
  • The Art of War
  • Life Lessons
  • And much more!

I’ve often held professional development sessions with my subordinates where we watched a movie and then discussed the key points.

Whenever I did this, my subordinates really enjoyed themselves.

You should consider doing the same thing with the Soldiers you supervise.

Any of the movies below would make an outstanding “OPD” or “NCOPD” session.

Here are my ten favorTop 10 Military Moviesite military movies of all time:

10. Starship Troopers

Some of you might be surprised that this made the list, but I love Starship Troopers.

My previous battalion commander made me read the book.

At first, I thought he was crazy.

But I learned more about small unit leadership, patriotism and what it means to serve from this book and movie, than I have anywhere else.

After I read the book, I rented the movie.

Even though it’s a science fiction movie set in the future, it’s a must see.

9. We Were Soldiers

This is my favorite Vietnam era movie.

We Were Soldiers focuses on the impacts on families during the war.

It’s about a true story of a battalion led by LTC Hal Moore (played by Mel Gibson).

It is very realistic and educational.

It avoids all the politics of war.

8. Patton

General Patton is my favorite military leader ever!

In this movie you learn about his leadership style, his personality and his tactics.

7. The Lost Battalion

This classic WW1 movie covers the battles in the Argonne Forest.

It covers a six day battle where five American Soldiers earned the Medal of Honor.

I’ve found that most people don’t know very much about WW1.

This movie will show you the bloodshed suffered by American units during the first great war.

6. Black Hawk Down

This movie is based upon the U.S. Army Rangers (and Delta) deployed in Somalia in 1993.

This is another war that most Americans know nothing about.

Another must see.

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5. A Bridge Too Far

This classic movie covers Operation Market Garden, one of the biggest failures of WW2.

But with a star studded cast, you’ve got to watch it.

4. The Patriot

This is the second Mel Gibson movie to make the list.

This movie covers the Revolutionary War.

3. Glory

This Civil War movie covers the 54th Massachusetts Regiment.

It’s got Matthew Broderick, Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington and plenty of other stars.

It features a Regiment of black Soldiers who want to fight for their freedom.

I think it’s a true classic!

2. Band of Brothers

This one was a toss-up for the number one spot.

I love this movie because it follows the lives of a unit (Easy Company) from the 101st Airborne Division.

It makes you appreciate everything the men sacrificed.

It proves why the WW2 generation is the greatest generation.

1. Saving Private Ryan

Saving Private Ryan is my favorite military movie of all time.

This movie covers D-Day and a special operation to bring a Soldier home.

The fight scenes are realistic, graphic and heartfelt.

It makes me proud to be a Soldier and combat veteran.

Please know that there are many other great military movies that didn’t make my top ten.

This list is just my opinion; yours may differ.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, watching military movies is a great way to improve your knowledge, study the past, and become a better leader.

From time-to-time, you should incorporate movies into your OPD or NCODP program to teach your subordinates valuable leadership lessons.

If you haven’t seen the movies listed above, do yourself a favor and add them to your Netflix® list or visit the local video store.

You won’t be disappointed.

Thanks for reading my post!

P.S. What’s your favorite military movie of all time?

Just leave a comment to this post to let us know.

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7 thoughts on “My Top Ten Favorite Military Movies”

  1. Being in a medical unit I always had a soft spot for MASH. Obviously it's a comedy, but it does show how war forces people to find weird ways for people to cope with the horror.
    Do you have any thoughts on Zero Dark Thirty or The Hurt Locker?

  2. I’ve seen these movies and agree with your list, Chuck. I love We Were Soldiers. I also have a deep appreciation for Saving Private Ryan and especially Band of Brothers. Do you think you would add Lone Survivor to the list, or anything from the current conflict?

      1. That’s good to know. We haven’t seen it yet, we just have the book. I just wonder what the general opinion is on movies made about Iraq/Afghanistan since it’s so current, vs. movies made about past wars.

        1. I would like to see more movies come out depicting everything that soldiers have endured in Iraq and Afghanistan. I believe that many people here at home do not completely understand the difficulties soldiers face in those two countries. It is especially deep when it concerns not really knowing who is or isn’t the enemy. With no uniforms distinguishing them, a soldier has to wait until threatened. This brought a whole new level to war.

  3. I love movies and I also love movies with a military theme. Thanks for compiling some of the greatest in one list. Patton is one of my favorite movies of all time and the chance to watch is approach to leadership is great. Not sure if I agree with Starship Troopers, though, that movie actually made me fall asleep, if you can believe that!

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