Top 5 Special Forces Movies of All Time

Today, I want to share what I believe are the top 5 Special Forces Movies of all time.

Ever since the killing of Osama bin Laden, this country has been more interested and appreciative of the US Special Forces within our military.  Recently, I watched Zero Dark Thirty and thought to myself…”What was the last Special Forces movie that I watched and really enjoyed?”

Come to think of it, almost all my favorite military flicks are actually movies about our Special Forces (whether it be Rangers, SF, Navy Seals, etc.).

Top 5 Special Forces Movies


What you will see below are my favorite Special Forces Movies. I’ll start with number five and work my way down to number one. Enjoy.

# 5 The Eagle Has Landed

This is an intense WW2 thriller about a plot by the Germans to kidnap Winston Churchill. This movie is actually based on book of same name which was inspired by the exploits of daring German SS COL Otto Skorzeny. 

This DVD was released in 2001. The movie stars Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland, Robert Duvall and many others. This is a must watch movie for any WW2 buff. It currently has a 4.2 out of 5 star rating on Amazon.

Order The Eagle Has Landed on Amazon.

4. Bravo Two Zero

This is the true story of the most highly decorated British patrol since the Boer war: an eight man SAS team inserted behind Iraqi lines during the Gulf War in January 1991. Their mission was to take out the scud missiles which Saddam Hussein was using to terrorize his enemies, as well as to sever strategic communication lines between Baghdad and North West Iraq.

This top secret mission was called “Bravo Two Zero” and it was commanded by Sergeant Andy McNab. Of the eight who went out, only five returned. Dropped into “scud alley” carrying 210-pound packs, McNab and his men soon found themselves surrounded by Saddam’s army. 

The movie was released in 2002 and stars Sean Bean. Order a copy of Bravo Two Zero here.

3. Blackhawk Down

In October 1993, 120 Delta Force Commandos and Army Rangers were dropped into the heart of Mogadishu, Somalia. Their mission…a fast daylight raid to kidnap lead terrorist Mohammed Farrah Aidid, who had been killing U.N. workers delivering food to starving Somalis. Aidid’s goal was to control the country by controlling all the food.

The U.S. raid went off with clockwork precision, until the unexpected happened. Two of the U.S. Black Hawk helicopters were shot down and the rest is history. The mission abruptly changed to a rescue operation. Surrounded by Somali militia, a fierce firefight ensued that left American troops trapped and fighting for their lives. 

This movie was produced by Ridley Scott and stars Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, and Tom Sizemore.  You can order a copy of Black Hawk Down right here.

2. Zero Dark Thirty

This movie is the account of the decade-long hunt for Osama bin Laden after the September 2001 attacks, and his death at the hands of the Navy S.E.A.L. Team 6 in May 2011. I particularly enjoy this movie because of the background chronicle of events leading up to the killing of bin Laden. It shows you the intelligence aspect that support the actions executed by our Special Forces. 

Zero Dark Thirty was released in 2013. It is directed by Kathryn Bigelow and stars Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton and Jason Clarke. You can order a copy of Zero Dark Thirty here.

1. Green Berets

COL Mike Kirby picks two teams of Green Berets for a mission in South Vietnam. First off, is to build and control a camp that is trying to be taken by the enemy…the second mission is to kidnap a North Vietnamese General.

This movie is my favorite and on top of the list only because this movie reminds me of my grandfather with whom I watched this movie with for the first time.  Also, because it stars The Duke himself! 

You can order a copy of The Green Berets right here.

Honorable Mention

Chuck here. Justin did a great job with this post.  I just wanted to add in a few of my favorite Special Forces movies. Here are a few titles that I really enjoyed.

# 1 Saving Private Ryan

I remember watching this movie in the theater with my cousin, Sheila, when it was first released.  Since then, I’ve watched Saving Private Ryan many times. I would probably list it as my favorite movie of all time. It follows a select group of Army Rangers searching for Private Ryan during WW2, so they can return him home, since several of his other brothers were killed in action. Starring Tom Hanks, this is a masterpiece. I believe it is the most realistic war movie of all time, but that is just my opinion.

# 2 12 Strong

I rented this movie a few weeks ago on Amazon and absolutely loved it. This movie was released in January 2018 and did $70 million at the box office. Chris Hemsworth, acting as Captain Mitch Nelson, leads a group of US Special Forces soldiers into a dangerous mission in Afghanistan. This movie is loaded with great action scenes.

# 3 American Sniper

I saw this when it was first released.  This movie follows Chris Kyle, a famous Navy Seal sniper, during several of his deployments overseas. This is one of my favorite movies of all time.  This movie stars Bradley Cooper and grossed over $325 million at the box office.

# 4 Lone Survivor.

I’m not sure why anyone wouldn’t LOVE Lone Survivor. Marcus Luttrel and his team set out to capture a Taliban leader in 2005 and end up in a fight for their lives. This movie is action packed and intense. It grossed over $125 million and starred Mark Whalberg.

I hope you enjoy these titles.

Final Thoughts

There are many different Special Forces movies out there, but these are definitely my top 5.  I would love to get some feedback from you. Which movie on my list is your favorite and why?  And which movie did I leave off the list that you think I should have added?  Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Have a great day.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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9 thoughts on “Top 5 Special Forces Movies of All Time”

  1. Absolutely loved both Black Hawk Down and Zero Dark Thirty. Although the latter was more psychological and less action-based (ie. less explosions more thinking), I enjoyed it and was at the edge of my seat the whole time. But, after reading the book, Black Hawk Down was just as good!

  2. Green Berets is a GREAT movie! An oldie, but goodie. My favorite on the list is Black Hawk Down. I worked with political refugees from Mogadishu not long after this event happened and the effect it had on Somalian citizens is profound. I get goose bumps still just thinking about BHD. You feel you are right there with the soldiers and on the edge of your seat. That’s some great film making right there to translate to the big screen the events and make the audience feel a part of it. The book was excellent!

  3. I have to put Black Hawk Down as my number one. I have a special place in my heart for the Army Rangers as I did training at Fort Benning in 1981 with many, some my friends who became Rangers.

    I distinctly remember another somewhat funny and not funny thing that happened in Basic Training. We were on initial hand grenade training and like all Drill Sergeants, ours told us we are not John Wayne and not to try and pull the pin with our teeth. Sure enough, there was one character who just had to anyway. Our whole company paid dearly for his stupidity for two full days.

  4. The only movie out of the top 5 mentioned that I have watched personally is “Black Hawk Down”, and I really enjoyed it. But since marrying into a military family I have been exposed to more military inspired films, documentaries, and special events. Just the other night we sat down to watch “We Were Soldiers”, I think this should be on your top list! What an awesome movie!

  5. Chuck, you have to do yourself a favor and watch those two movies ASAP! I think that Transformers is a good movie along with The Kingdom but I have never seen the others. Guess I need to watch those while you watch my other picks!

  6. Great list, Justin. As crazy as it might sound, I have not watched Bravo Two Zero or The Eagle Has Landed. I will add those two movies to my list. I also enjoyed the movies Navy Seals, The Rock, Transformers, The Kingdom and Under Siege. Thanks for sharing.

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