Prepare for World War III with these 5 classic war movies.
For the following list, I have selected 5 of the most iconic war films of all times. These classic films remind and talk to us about the profound emotions, ruptures and absurdity that haunt humanity during wartime. Hoping that by remembering the past we can do something about our future.
5. Paths of Glory (1957) - Stanley Kubrick
According to Winston Churchill, Paths of Glory is “a highly accurate depiction of trench warfare and the sometimes misguided workings of the military mind”. One constant in all of Kubrick’s war films is that we can never see the enemy; this happens in Fear and Desire, Dr. Strangelove and Full Metal Jacket. In Paths of Glory though, within the trenches of his own battalion, Colonel Dax (Kirk Douglas) has to face the rivalry, pride and absurdity that develop to an extent to which the both the protagonist and the spectator can’t help but wonder: who is he really fighting in his war?
4. Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959) — Alain Resnais
In the unlikely scene of Hiroshima, just a few years after the end of WWII, a Japanese man and a French woman meet. Their love affair develops as they share their experiences and feelings, both about their personal lives and the war. In the most artistic way possible, Hiroshima, Mon Amour takes us back to the horrific left-overs of the atomic bomb in said city; poetically portraying its effects on the lives of Hiroshima’s citizens, parallel to the deepest self of the two lovers as their relationship evolves on the screen.
“Just as in love this illusion exists, the illusion of never being able to forget; I had the illusion of Hiroshima that I would never forget, same as with love”
3. The Thin Red Line (1998) — Terrence Malick
Every minute of this 3hr long movie is worth it. Terrence Malick guides us through a contemplation of wartime at the battle of Guadalcanal; its effects on and the introspections of the people who fight it. It is a film where dreamlike shots and crude reality converge, forcing the spectator to look at war with brand new eyes. The Thin Red Line, more than a meditation about war itself, is a meditation about that part of human nature that provokes the wars; both between one another and within ourselves. An analysis, or rather, contemplation of (as the first line of the movie puts it) “Why does nature contend with itself?”
2. Casablanca (1942) — Michael Curtiz
In 1942, just after Eisenhower’s troops entered the city of Casablanca during World War II, Director Michael Curtiz (from family of hungarian refugees btw) gave us a movie that became a symbol of strength, sacrifice and hope throughout one of the hardest times in the history of humanity. Casablanca has now become a timeless classic which we can all quote, reference, and echo. To revisit this film is never a waste of time, specially when in need of strength Rick Blaine reminds us that “it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world” and, of course, that “We’ll always have Paris”
1. Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. (1964) — Stanley Kubrick
The year is 2017 and The Doomsday Clock is set two and a half minutes to midnight. I am not talking about the movie, I am talking about today’s real life. However, Dr. Strangelove … seems as prevailing as ever facing our world’s current events. This masterpiece by Kubrick satirizes how fragile and absurd the end of the world can be. On the verge of nuclear war with Russia (ironic) due to his own insecurities and impotence, General Jack D. Ripper sets in motion an unstoppable machinery set to obliterate all of human life on earth. When diplomacy, good will, technology, and reason fail to prevent a nuclear holocaust … What is there left to do but to love the bomb?