Top 5 Favorite WW2 Movies of All Time

Today, I want to share my top 5 WW2 Movies of all time.  Please keep in mind there are hundreds of awesome war movies covering WW2.  Choosing a top five was very difficult, but I’ll give it my best shot.

# 5 Patton

General Patton was my favorite military leader from WW2.  I’ve watched this movie at least 20 times now and never get bored of it.  This movie starred George C. Scott as General Patton.  It was released in 1970 and won seven Academy Awards.  It is considered to be one of the greatest screen biographies ever produced.   This movie covers the rise and fall of General Patton and includes some pretty cool tank battles, too.  The opening scene is my favorite part of the movie.

# 4 Inglourious Basterds

Some people might be surprised that this movie made my list, but I love Inglourious Basterds.  It’s different than the other WW2 movies on this list.  Produced by Quentin Tarantino, this movie covers a squad of crazy American Soldiers on a mission to take down Hitler and the Third Reich.  The actors include Brad Pitt, Melanie Laurent, Christopher Waltz and Eli Roth.  This movie has lots of gore of action.  The filming location is beautiful and the acting is superb.

Top 5 WW2 Movies of all time!

# 3 Schindler’s List

Not many movies make me cry.  This is one of them though.  This is probably the saddest, most touching movie I have ever watched.  Schindler’s List was adapted from the best-selling book by Thomas Keneally and filmed in Poland.  The film covers the holocaust and shows what happened to the Jewish prisoners at the concentration camps.  More importantly, it covers the heroism of Oskar Schindler, a man who risked his life and money to save more than 1,000 Jews.  There is some disturbing violence and graphic scenes, but I believe that every American should watch this movie.  Schindler’s List stars Liam Neeson and Ben Kingsley and is produced by Steven Spielberg.

# 2 Band of Brothers

I love Band of Brothers.  This was an HBO miniseries produced by Steven Spielberg in 2002. The actors include Damian Lewis, Ron Livingston and Donnie Wahlberg.  I could watch Band of Brothers over and over on repeat and never get bored of it.  This movie is 10 episodes covering the men of Easy Company, 101 Airborne Division.  You will follow the men from Easy Company from the start of boot camp to the end of WW2.   You will learn about their victories, struggles, losses and see the effects war has on a man.  This is an all-time classic.

# 1 Saving Private Ryan

I have to put Saving Private Ryan as my # 1 favorite WW2 Movie of all time.  I originally watched this in the movie theater with my cousin when it was first released.  Since then, I’ve watched it 2-3 times each year.  The scenes are so graphic and realistic.  This movie covers the landing at Omaha Beach and follows Captain Miller (played by Tom Hanks) and his squad of men in search of Private Ryan.  The movie won five Academy Awards®.  My favorite scene is the opening scene: the landing on Omaha Beach.

Final Thoughts

In summary, these are my top five WW2 Movies of all time.  I enjoyed these WW2 Movies immensely and know you will too.  More importantly, I’d love to know what your favorite WW2 Movie is.  Please leave a comment to share your thoughts.

Thank you.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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11 thoughts on “Top 5 Favorite WW2 Movies of All Time”

  1. I love Band of Brothers, Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan. I have a hard time watching Tarantino movies so 20 minutes into Inglorious Basterds and I switched to something else. My list would include Tora! Tora! Tora!, Empire of the Sun, The Bridge on the River Kwai, and my number one choice: The Dirty Dozen.

    1. Johndel Callora

      You got some interesting choices right there, The Dirty Dozen was indeed great but Saving Private Ryan will still be number one for me, the cast were superb and the message it conveys was really heartfelt. The Inglorious Bastards was actually a good movie with a nice ending, there were some lame flat out scenes but its all good.

  2. Oh my gosh, Chuck, I can’t believe you’ve never seen the Dirty Dozen! Put it on your watch list right now.

  3. Two others that came to mind are King Rat, based mostly on a true story, and MacArthur, which starred Gregory Peck as the General. King Rat is considered a great work of literature and the book far outpaces the movie, though both are worth the time. Peck made the MacArthur film come to life and was one of his better roles, right up there with the lawyer in To Kill a Mocking Bird.

  4. Awesome list. Gotta love the WWII movies. My two favorites have always been Stalag 17 and The Dirty Dozen. Lee Marvin had been in the Marines in real life and played it to the hilt in that film. Stalag was later re-worked into a comedy format for television and became the long-running show Hogan’s Heroes. Some of the characters carried over, too, including Sgt. Schultz and a couple of the higher-ranking Germans. Not a WWII movie, but The D.I. with Jack Webb is one of the best military films ever, IMHO.

    1. I’ve never watched Stalag 17, but I will have to add that to my Netflix list. I haven’t see the Dirty Dozen either. I guess I need to catch up on my WW2 movies.


      1. Stalag has an all-star cast, including a star-making turn by a young, pre-Mission:Impossible Peter Graves. The surprise ending is one of the best in any movie ever.

  5. Not too bad, Chuck, but I think that I would put my list in reverse order. After all, I am an Armor guy, so I love Patton. All great films though!

  6. As a retired military leader and a business owner I use movies as a teaching tool and motivation tool. Movies can be a great tool to stimulate thought and motivate team members. One of my personal favorite WW2 movies is DAS BOAT. I prefer the German version with English subtitles. It is an intense movie that shows the life of a U Boat crew during WW2. It also is a good movie for teaching team building, and crisis management.
    Best Regards
    Mark Gerecht from

    1. Mark,

      I have never watched the movie “Das Boat” but it sounds interesting. I will have to add it to my NetFlix list. Also, I agree with you that movies are a great way to teach and motivate others. I tried to incorporate movies into most of my OPD Sessions. I think it really paid off.


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