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.).  Here is a list of my Top 5 Special Forces Movies: 

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. 

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. 

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. 

2. Zero Dark Thirty: 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. 

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! 

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 which movie did I leave off the list that you think I should have added?  Leave a comment and let me know.

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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!

    • Yes, the books are typically better than the movies!

  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!

    • We Were Soldiers was a great movie, but it wasn’t about Special Forces.

  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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