What are the most realistic War Movies of all time?

I think that Band of Brothers and Saving Private Ryan (produced at about the same time) were both great Army films.  Das Boot, was a great Navy film as was The Enemy Below. The Thin Red Line (Army on Guadalcanal) was also good if you fast forwarded through the BS. The Beast (Russian T-55 in Afghanistan) was good as well. Come and See, a Byelorussian film was accurate and portrayed the SS Dirlewanger Brigade, who were notoriously ruthless and did a lot of their work behind German lines on civilians. Not a pretty film, very gritty.

This is an opportunity for you to vote for your favorite.

There are others of course, various period pieces, I just plucked a few out of thin air.


BW Bandy’s Blog – The View from Here

His blog features Canadian landscape and Canadian ghost towns. There is a lot of open land in Canada. More people live in the red than the white: Data taken from 2016 Canadian Census


Secure Voice

Yes, there are a lot of secure voice systems available in the US if you are part of USGOV. Not so much if you’re not. So where do you turn if you want to have a private conversation on the phone? CryptoPhone T3 is one option. The encryption system works a lot like a one-time pad. Each time two people with the encryption system make a telephone connection, a new key is generated randomly. Essentially, an intelligence agency needs to conduct a brute force attack on the encryption with every telephone call. I’m not saying that NSA can’t crack it. I’m saying that it’s more work.

I’m not a paid spokesperson for CryptoPhone. Just offering random advice in the event that you think you need it. Both parties to the call need an encryption module, that plugs into the satphone or regular android phone.


The English Language – Interpreted in Asia

Ok, not just Asia – in Asian restaurants in the US too.


Ingram M-6 submachine gun

Ingram M-6

Designed by Gordon B. Ingram of the MAC-10 fame, manufactured by Police Ordnance Co c.1949-52. .45 ACP 30-round removable box magazine, open bolt select fire. Designed as a low-cost Thompson submachine gun alternative, Ingram’s M-6 had some success with South American militaries and some US law enforcement agencies, but you just don’t see them around much.

They fire from an open bolt, and are not in the same class as modern submachine guns, but they are fun to shoot (like the M-1 Thompson).


CNN– the most trusted name in news?


  1. Battleground
    The Odd Angry Shot
    Breaker Morant
    Sands of Iwo Jima
    Blackhawk Down

    I sorta want to add The Professionals, but it’s not really a war flick except in the context of the Mexican Revolution cast as a minor character, but it did have Claudia Cardinale so it has that going for it. “I trust you.” “I trust you too.”

  2. The Sand Pebble
    Merril’s Marauders
    The Enemy Below
    The Train
    Das Boot is one of if not my favorite war flicks for the realism of it.

  3. Siege of Firebase Gloria
    Another vote for the Breaker who was, by the way, a well known bush poet.
    I understand this was composed by him the night before his execution.

    In prison cell I sadly sit,
    A d_d crest-fallen chappie!
    And own to you I feel a bit-
    A little bit – unhappy!

    It really ain’t the place nor time
    To reel off rhyming diction –
    But yet we’ll write a final rhyme
    Whilst waiting crucifixion!

    No matter what “end” they decide –
    Quick-lime or “b’iling ile,” sir?
    We’ll do our best when crucified
    To finish off in style, sir!

    But we bequeath a parting tip
    For sound advice of such men,
    Who come across in transport ship
    To polish off the Dutchmen!

    If you encounter any Boers
    You really must not loot ’em!
    And if you wish to leave these shores,
    For pity’s sake, DON’T SHOOT ‘EM!!

    And if you’d earn a D.S.O.,
    Why every British sinner
    Should know the proper way to go

    Let’s toss a bumper down our throat, –
    Before we pass to Heaven,
    And toast: “The trim-set petticoat
    We leave behind in Devon.”

  4. I think Saving Private Ryan and Das Boot. Come and See is good too — certainly disturbing. Of course Dirlewanger was a psycho and a university prof, oddly.

    • Dirlewanger was a nasty piece of work. As to the academic part, no few of our universities have faculty who would gleefully (and self-righteously) do unto us the things that Dirlewanger did, if only they had the means and power. Western higher education is now both a haven for and breeding ground of Dirlewanger’s spiritual brethren.

      In a related vein, it is interesting to read about accounts of purported atrocities that turned out to not have happened. For me the key problem is not that the stories are fabricated, but that they are projection. In those accounts one sees what the self-proclaimed “underdog” would like to do to those he sees as “oppressors”.

  5. “Zulu.” First saw it in the theater in 1964 with my dad. I’m probably branded as a racist for posting this but the true incident it is based on, Rourke’s Drift, was true heroism.

    • I forgot about Zulu. Yes, an all time favorite.

      If I may recommend these SUPERB books by Lt Col. Mike Snook, Royal Army
      Like Wolves on the Fold: The Defence of Rorke’s Drift
      How Can Man Die Better: The Secrets of Isandlwana Revealed
      Beyond the Reach of Empire: Wolseley’s Failed Campaign to save Gordon and Khartoum

  6. All of the above, and I’ll add:

    Fury (a must see, and do not miss the massive bomber formation overflight. AFAIK, this is the best depiction of why the Greatest Generation fought so hard)
    Act of Valor (a documentary on the Seals)
    Memphis Belle (Forgive the drama-driven Hollywood trespasses, it’s a visual feast)
    Patton (nuff’said)
    Lone Survivor
    The Guns of Navarone (David Niven was a veteran, and the movie was made for a public of veterans)
    The Great Escape (ditto)
    The Cruel Sea (ditto)
    Midway (2019)
    A Bridge too Far
    The Battle of Britain

    • I think that you nailed it. Fury was one of the better modern movies that brought it down to the man in the tank/trenches. May I add 1917 as an interesting depiction of the War in the Trenches.

      Lone survivor pissed me off and while Murphy is praised and lauded, he’d have saved his men if he’d simply cut the herder’s throat the way he should have. So I watched it pissed off.

    • The rabbit hole is deep.

      I’d like to add the mini-series ROME to the list. Nobody mentioned that yet, but I liked it very much.

  7. All good movies. ‘Das Boot’ was exceptionally good, ‘Private Ryan’ was also very good. ‘The Enemy Below’ is a personal fave, along with “Sands of Iwo Jima”, the original ‘Midway’, and ‘Fail Safe’.

    ‘Dr Strangelove’ deserves it’s own category, but hey…it’s a Kubrick film.

    My all-time fave? ‘Red Dawn’, of course.


  8. The first time I saw Das Boot it was the original in German. The movie is so well made one could watch with no sound and not miss any part of the drama.

    Recently watched Wing and a Prayer (1944). Not historically accurate but real footage. Don Ameche plays it tough.

    Among the already mentioned, there was a movie, I forget the title. An American submarine deliver Marines to an island (Makin?) with the mission to dispatch with all haste the Jap radio and platoon guarding the installation. The Marines have trouble making it back to the sub at the appointed time. The sub has it’s own problems, having been depth charged and damaged. The Marines board under fire with IJN closing in. The movie was made before the war had ended so much was only to allude to actual events.

  9. I may just print this post and work my way down the list.

    I’ve mentioned here before that my father flew B-17’s, so no surprise that I have a soft spot for “Twelve O’Clock High”. (Side note–Gregory Peck and Millard Mitchell are also excellent in “The Gunfighter”). I also had a (very) thin connection to the history behind the movie.

    Back in the late 80’s, a partner and I had an auto-electric rebuild shop in Chico, CA. I had a collection of cartridges along he back of my work bench, one of them being a 20mm something or other. One day a leather faced old dirt farmer walks in, sees the 20mm, and pointing says, “I’ve had plenty of those shot at me”.

    Pray good sir, do tell.

    He also mentioned that one of his co-pilots had the MOH, but darned if he could recall the man’s name just then. That man was John Morgan. You can read in Wki that Morgan was the model for the character Lt. Jesse Bishop in Twelve O’Clock High.


    Wiki also states that Morgan was the pilot when he was later shot down. This in incorrect. He was the co-pilot. The pilot was this guy–


    At the next link, scroll down to the photo of ” “Chopstick G. George” going down with the right wing on fire. That’s Fred Rabo and John Morgan.


    The old dirt farmer in our shop? He was Fred Rabo.

  10. Well, late to the post, but not late to dinner. So let’s get started.

    “Away All Boats” does the best dealing with amphibious warfare in the Central Pacific.

    “Windtalkers” (stop, let me explain) for the brutal-assed battle scenes. Only movie I’ve yet seen where gasoline poured into pillboxes is accurately depicted.

    “The Big Red 1” I mean, Lee Marvin playing… Lee Marvin (well, plays what he actually did in WWIIish. Doing what he actually did. Plus the scene where “You only need one” is gotta be the most man-folding-over in movie history.

    “To Hell and Back” Audie Murphy plays… Audie Murphy. Damned good movie.

    “The Warlord” with Charlton Heston. Best medieval fighting movie around. Real armor, real horse furniture, though the Frisians are kinda cheesy.

    “The Eagle” does a very good job of doing Roman. Though “Masada” with Roddy McDowell (the tv series) was also rather excellent and did a darned good job of portraying the whole mess.

    I know, I had to get weird on y’all, but if it wasn’t weird, it wouldn’t be me, now, would it?

    Unrealistic, but still really realistic, of course, goes to “Kelly’s Heroes.” Lots of good realism involved in that movie. Still cringe over the whole ‘minefield’ scene. They do a good job dealing with combat engineers and bridgelaying under fire.

    “The Blue Max.” Excellent flying scenes, really excellent flying scenes.

    “The Lost Battalion” with Ricky Schroeder as Major Whittlesley is an excellent movie about WWI, I mean, we have heroic airmen dying, a celebrated pigeon (Cher Amie) and a really nasty horrid fight because the French finked on the US troops. The fight was so bad that after the war, Whittlesley took a liner from the US to Europe and one night, just walked off the ship. The scene where the US artillery realize they’ve shelled their own men is rather emotional. Damn fine movie. And they even touched upon that rat-fuck of a backpack that the US issued.

    I’ll be back as I remember more.

    • “Paths of Glory” with Kirk Douglas. What a rat-fuck. Seen it twice, so disturbed me I’ll never see it again. (I mean, do you have “I’ll only see it once” movies not because they’re bad but because they’re just disturbing? PoG is one of those. I watched it twice to make sure I didn’t miss anything. No. I didn’t miss anything.)

      “All Quiet on the Western Front” with John-boy Walton and Ernest Borgnine. Disturbing, especially the horse-shooting scene. Kind of cheesy in comparison, but they did a very good job of portraying trench warfare.

      So did “Sgt. York” with Gary Cooper. They didn’t screw up the actual action too much.

      • As a kid I watched a movie which showed a German soldier lit on fire and screaming as he raced blindly to and fro. I won’t try to say how horrified I was to see that. To have not forgotten seeing that after these many decades says something of how horrific it was. No Hollywood script could be so devastating.

        Victory At Sea used much film footage shot during actual events. Although the censors cleaned it up for TV, if you watch closely you can see some very disturbing scenes. Sometimes the scriptwriters (not only VAS) tried to exploit that by labeling, say civilians jumping to their deaths to avoid capture, or civilians staked alive, as Japanese infantry.

  11. Seeing Charlton Heston’s name reminded me of “Major Dundee”.

    Filming of this movie was…turbulent, to say the least. Somewhere I heard or read about this incident–

    They were filming a scene where Major Dundee (Heston) and his men ride down a bluff and cross a river. IIRC, it was a re-take. Tempers were frayed. The sun was getting low, so this was the last chance for lighting. They got the shot.

    Turns out, director Sam Peckinpah was deathly afraid of horses. For the shoot, he was riding the camera boom. Again IIRC, at the end to the shot, Peckinpah yelled something at Heston. Heston, in full cavalry costume, wheeled his horse and charged Peckinpah, who in a blind panic had the boom raised as fast as possible. Heston slid his horse to a stop, looked up, and through clenched teeth ask “How was that, Sam?”. Peckinpah replied “Just fine, Chuck, Just fine”.

    • Glen Ford’s ‘Cava lry Trilogy’ movies with John Wayne also rate as excellent. The Duke was a good horseman by that time and wanted authenticity of equipment.

      One of the movies has a trooper dying, and the burial has Wayne’s character reciting the dead man’s Confederate history, including that he was a general.

      Good movies all.

  12. I’ll add:
    – “The Iron Cross” (i.e. the Eastern Front as seen by the German Wermacht rank and file)
    – “The Bridge at Remagen” (an accurate depiction of the battle)
    – “Letters from Iwo Jima” ( The battle of Iwo Jima as seen by the Japanese. It’s quite accurate, very unsettling to discover that the bad guys coming over the hill are Americans, and even more to discover how suicidal the Japanese were)
    – “The Longest Day ( A PG rated version of Saving Private Ryan, but it does show most of the historical actions)
    – “Is Paris Burning?” (The French sequel to the above, call it a documentary on the liberation of Paris)

    And in a league of its own: “The Battle of Algiers”.

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