What Is The Greatest American War Movie Ever Made?

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Earlier last week I had this to say about Mel Gibson's "Hackaw Ridge"

"No, really, this ain't hyperbole, Mel Gibson's latest directorial effort "Hacksaw Ridge" has incredibly realized battle sequences. Probably the best that I have seen since the opening of Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan" and Gibson's very own bloody "Braveheart."

I stand by my statement, it really does have some of the most effective and memorable battle sequences of any war movie ever, but does it make my final cut of the 10 greatest overall war movies ever made? Doesn't look like it.

There's also Ang Lee's "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk" coming out this Friday. Lee's film is an underwhelming war movie, but ambitious in its scope. It tries to not only look at the battleground, especially a tense, terrific action sequence in Iraq, but also the post-traumatic anxiety the soldiers face when returning home. The film was shot in a higher frame rate per second than we are accustomed to, but it does the film a disservice instead of intensifying the reality of the drama being portrayed on the screen. Call it an ambitious failure for its lack of focus in key moments.

Interestingly while working on the draft of this list I just couldn't muster enough enthusiasm to include Foreign language films. It's just not the same story, so I decided to stick to American films. I mean "Das Boot" came close,  "Downfall," "Black Book, "Waltz With Bashir," 'Son of Saul," "The Battle of Algiers," "La Grande Illusion."

My pick would probably be "Saving Private Ryan," every war movie after it paled in comparison. What Spielberg did was give us the definitive film of the genre.

Here's my shortlist of the greatest American war films:

The Great Escape, The Deer Hunter, Apocalypse Now, Platoon, Full Metal Jacket, Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, Black Hawk Down, Fury, Casulaties Of War, The Hurt Locker