Best Films - Action & War genre

by graham_little | created - 29 Jul 2017 | updated - 1 month ago | Public

My list of favourite action and war movies, this list is not in order of preference.

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1. Starship Troopers (1997)

R | 129 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

51 Metascore

Humans in a fascist, militaristic future wage war with giant alien bugs.

Director: Paul Verhoeven | Stars: Casper Van Dien, Denise Richards, Dina Meyer, Jake Busey

Votes: 253,407 | Gross: $54.81M

2. The Hunt for Red October (1990)

PG | 135 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

58 Metascore

In November 1984, the Soviet Union's best submarine Captain in their newest sub violates orders and heads for the U.S. Is he trying to defect or to start a war?

Director: John McTiernan | Stars: Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, Scott Glenn, Sam Neill

Votes: 166,409 | Gross: $122.01M

3. Lone Survivor (2013)

R | 121 min | Action, Biography, Drama

60 Metascore

Marcus Luttrell and his team set out on a mission to capture or kill notorious Taliban leader Ahmad Shah, in late June 2005. Marcus and his team are left to fight for their lives in one of the most valiant efforts of modern warfare.

Director: Peter Berg | Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster

Votes: 249,728 | Gross: $125.10M

4. American Sniper (2014)

R | 133 min | Action, Biography, Drama

72 Metascore

Navy S.E.A.L. sniper Chris Kyle's pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and turns him into a legend. Back home to his wife and kids after four tours of duty, however, Chris finds that it is the war he can't leave behind.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Kyle Gallner, Cole Konis

Votes: 407,286 | Gross: $350.13M

5. Jarhead (2005)

R | 125 min | Action, Biography, Drama

58 Metascore

A psychological study of operations desert shield and desert storm during the gulf war; through the eyes of a U.S marine sniper who struggles to cope with the possibility his girlfriend may be cheating on him back home.

Director: Sam Mendes | Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jamie Foxx, Lucas Black, Scott MacDonald

Votes: 163,379 | Gross: $62.66M

6. We Were Soldiers (2002)

R | 138 min | Action, Drama, History

65 Metascore

The story of the first major battle of the American phase of the Vietnam War, and the soldiers on both sides that fought it, while their wives wait nervously and anxiously at home for the good news or the bad news.

Director: Randall Wallace | Stars: Mel Gibson, Madeleine Stowe, Greg Kinnear, Sam Elliott

Votes: 122,552 | Gross: $78.12M

7. The Hurt Locker (2008)

R | 131 min | Drama, Thriller, War

94 Metascore

During the Iraq War, a Sergeant recently assigned to an army bomb squad is put at odds with his squad mates due to his maverick way of handling his work.

Director: Kathryn Bigelow | Stars: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Guy Pearce

Votes: 397,014 | Gross: $17.02M

8. Black Hawk Down (2001)

R | 144 min | Drama, History, War

74 Metascore

160 elite U.S. soldiers drop into Somalia to capture two top lieutenants of a renegade warlord and find themselves in a desperate battle with a large force of heavily-armed Somalis.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore, Eric Bana

Votes: 343,734 | Gross: $108.64M

9. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

R | 169 min | Drama, War

91 Metascore

Following the Normandy Landings, a group of U.S. soldiers go behind enemy lines to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns

Votes: 1,131,441 | Gross: $216.54M

10. Full Metal Jacket (1987)

R | 116 min | Drama, War

76 Metascore

A pragmatic U.S. Marine observes the dehumanizing effects the Vietnam War has on his fellow recruits from their brutal boot camp training to the bloody street fighting in Hue.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Matthew Modine, R. Lee Ermey, Vincent D'Onofrio, Adam Baldwin

Votes: 620,378 | Gross: $46.36M

11. Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

R | 139 min | Biography, Drama, History

71 Metascore

World War II American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people, and becomes the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot.

Director: Mel Gibson | Stars: Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, Teresa Palmer

Votes: 377,338 | Gross: $67.21M

12. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

PG | 161 min | Adventure, Drama, War

87 Metascore

After settling his differences with a Japanese P.O.W. camp commander, a British Colonel co-operates to oversee his men's construction of a railway bridge for their captors, while oblivious to a plan by the Allies to destroy it.

Director: David Lean | Stars: William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, Sessue Hayakawa

Votes: 188,573 | Gross: $44.91M

13. Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

R | 145 min | Biography, Drama, War

75 Metascore

The biography of Ron Kovic. Paralyzed in the Vietnam war, he becomes an anti-war and pro-human rights political activist after feeling betrayed by the country he fought for.

Director: Oliver Stone | Stars: Tom Cruise, Raymond J. Barry, Caroline Kava, Josh Evans

Votes: 91,045 | Gross: $70.00M

14. The Great Escape (1963)

Not Rated | 172 min | Adventure, Drama, History

87 Metascore

Allied prisoners of war plan for several hundred of their number to escape from a German camp during World War II.

Director: John Sturges | Stars: Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson

Votes: 207,716 | Gross: $12.10M

15. Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

R | 118 min | Drama, Fantasy, War

98 Metascore

In the Falangist Spain of 1944, the bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world.

Director: Guillermo del Toro | Stars: Ivana Baquero, Ariadna Gil, Sergi López, Maribel Verdú

Votes: 579,551 | Gross: $37.63M

16. Empire of the Sun (1987)

PG | 153 min | Drama, History, War

62 Metascore

A young English boy struggles to survive under Japanese occupation during World War II.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Christian Bale, John Malkovich, Miranda Richardson, Nigel Havers

Votes: 107,243 | Gross: $22.24M

17. The Imitation Game (2014)

PG-13 | 114 min | Biography, Drama, Thriller

73 Metascore

During World War II, the English mathematical genius Alan Turing tries to crack the German Enigma code with help from fellow mathematicians.

Director: Morten Tyldum | Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Allen Leech

Votes: 630,129 | Gross: $91.13M

18. Das Boot (1981)

R | 149 min | Adventure, Drama, Thriller

86 Metascore

The claustrophobic world of a WWII German U-boat; boredom, filth and sheer terror.

Director: Wolfgang Petersen | Stars: Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Klaus Wennemann, Hubertus Bengsch

Votes: 213,895 | Gross: $11.49M

19. Enemy at the Gates (2001)

R | 131 min | Drama, History, War

53 Metascore

A Russian and a German sniper play a game of cat-and-mouse during the Battle of Stalingrad.

Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud | Stars: Jude Law, Ed Harris, Joseph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz

Votes: 227,380 | Gross: $51.40M

20. The Last Samurai (2003)

R | 154 min | Action, Drama, War

55 Metascore

An American military advisor embraces the Samurai culture he was hired to destroy after he is captured in battle.

Director: Edward Zwick | Stars: Tom Cruise, Ken Watanabe, Billy Connolly, William Atherton

Votes: 374,447 | Gross: $111.11M

21. The Thin Red Line (1998)

R | 170 min | Drama, War

78 Metascore

Adaptation of James Jones' autobiographical 1962 novel, focusing on the conflict at Guadalcanal during the second World War.

Director: Terrence Malick | Stars: Jim Caviezel, Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Kirk Acevedo

Votes: 162,164 | Gross: $36.40M

22. Tears of the Sun (2003)

R | 121 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

48 Metascore

A Special-Ops commander leads his team into the Nigerian jungle in order to rescue a doctor who will only join them if they agree to save 70 refugees too.

Director: Antoine Fuqua | Stars: Bruce Willis, Cole Hauser, Monica Bellucci, Eamonn Walker

Votes: 107,801 | Gross: $43.73M

23. Legends of the Fall (1994)

R | 133 min | Drama, Romance, War

45 Metascore

In the early 1900s, three brothers and their father living in the remote wilderness of Montana are affected by betrayal, history, love, nature, and war.

Director: Edward Zwick | Stars: Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, Aidan Quinn, Julia Ormond

Votes: 135,324 | Gross: $66.64M

24. Green Zone (2010)

R | 115 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

63 Metascore

Discovering covert and faulty intelligence causes a U.S. Army officer to go rogue as he hunts for Weapons of Mass Destruction in an unstable region.

Director: Paul Greengrass | Stars: Matt Damon, Jason Isaacs, Greg Kinnear, Igal Naor

Votes: 122,928 | Gross: $35.05M

25. Body of Lies (2008)

R | 128 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

57 Metascore

A CIA agent on the ground in Jordan hunts down a powerful terrorist leader while being caught between the unclear intentions of his American supervisors and Jordan Intelligence.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe, Mark Strong, Golshifteh Farahani

Votes: 201,547 | Gross: $39.39M

26. 13 Hours (2016)

R | 144 min | Action, Drama, History

48 Metascore

During an attack on a U.S. compound in Libya, a security team struggles to make sense out of the chaos.

Director: Michael Bay | Stars: John Krasinski, Pablo Schreiber, James Badge Dale, David Denman

Votes: 105,852 | Gross: $52.85M

27. The Heroes of Telemark (1965)

Approved | 131 min | Action, Drama, History

Norwegian resistance tries to stop German efforts to produce an atomic bomb component during World War II.

Director: Anthony Mann | Stars: Kirk Douglas, Richard Harris, Ulla Jacobsson, Michael Redgrave

Votes: 5,965

28. John Wick (2014)

R | 101 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

68 Metascore

An ex-hit-man comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that killed his dog and took everything from him.

Directors: Chad Stahelski, David Leitch | Stars: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Willem Dafoe

Votes: 475,295 | Gross: $43.04M

29. John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

R | 122 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

75 Metascore

After returning to the criminal underworld to repay a debt, John Wick discovers that a large bounty has been put on his life.

Director: Chad Stahelski | Stars: Keanu Reeves, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ian McShane, Ruby Rose

Votes: 312,020 | Gross: $92.03M

30. Logan (2017)

R | 137 min | Action, Drama, Sci-Fi

77 Metascore

In a future where mutants are nearly extinct, an elderly and weary Logan leads a quiet life. But when Laura, a mutant child pursued by scientists, comes to him for help, he must get her to safety.

Director: James Mangold | Stars: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook

Votes: 576,665 | Gross: $226.28M

31. Clear and Present Danger (1994)

PG-13 | 141 min | Action, Crime, Drama

74 Metascore

CIA Analyst Jack Ryan is drawn into an illegal war fought by the US government against a Colombian drug cartel.

Director: Phillip Noyce | Stars: Harrison Ford, Willem Dafoe, Anne Archer, Joaquim de Almeida

Votes: 82,870 | Gross: $122.19M

32. Patriot Games (1992)

R | 117 min | Action, Thriller

64 Metascore

When CIA analyst Jack Ryan interferes with an IRA assassination, a renegade faction targets him and his family for revenge.

Director: Phillip Noyce | Stars: Harrison Ford, Sean Bean, Anne Archer, Patrick Bergin

Votes: 95,280 | Gross: $83.29M

33. Crimson Tide (1995)

R | 116 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

66 Metascore

On a U.S. nuclear missile sub, a young First Officer stages a mutiny, to prevent his trigger happy Captain from launching his missiles, before confirming his orders to do so.

Director: Tony Scott | Stars: Gene Hackman, Denzel Washington, Matt Craven, George Dzundza

Votes: 94,689 | Gross: $91.40M

34. Man on Fire (2004)

R | 146 min | Action, Crime, Drama

47 Metascore

In Mexico City, a former CIA operative swears vengeance on those who committed an unspeakable act against the family he was hired to protect.

Director: Tony Scott | Stars: Denzel Washington, Christopher Walken, Dakota Fanning, Radha Mitchell

Votes: 311,215 | Gross: $77.91M

35. The Equalizer (2014)

R | 132 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

57 Metascore

A man believes he has put his mysterious past behind him and has dedicated himself to beginning a new, quiet life. But when he meets a young girl under the control of ultra-violent Russian gangsters, he can't stand idly by - he has to help her.

Director: Antoine Fuqua | Stars: Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chloë Grace Moretz, David Harbour

Votes: 307,604 | Gross: $101.53M

36. The Sum of All Fears (2002)

PG-13 | 124 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

45 Metascore

C.I.A. analyst Jack Ryan must stop the plans of a Neo-Nazi faction that threatens to induce a catastrophic conflict between the United States and Russia's newly elected President by detonating a nuclear weapon at a football game in Baltimore, Maryland.

Director: Phil Alden Robinson | Stars: Ben Affleck, Morgan Freeman, Ian Mongrain, Russell Bobbitt

Votes: 97,806 | Gross: $118.91M

37. Schindler's List (1993)

R | 195 min | Biography, Drama, History

94 Metascore

In German-occupied Poland during World War II, industrialist Oskar Schindler gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazis.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley, Caroline Goodall

Votes: 1,108,224 | Gross: $96.90M

38. The Pianist (2002)

R | 150 min | Biography, Drama, Music

85 Metascore

A Polish Jewish musician struggles to survive the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto of World War II.

Director: Roman Polanski | Stars: Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Frank Finlay, Emilia Fox

Votes: 656,970 | Gross: $32.57M

39. Shooter (I) (2007)

R | 124 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

53 Metascore

A marksman living in exile is coaxed back into action after learning of a plot to kill the President. Ultimately double-crossed and framed for the attempt, he goes on the run to find the real killer and the reason he was set up.

Director: Antoine Fuqua | Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Michael Peña, Rhona Mitra, Danny Glover

Votes: 294,704 | Gross: $47.00M

40. Conspiracy Theory (1997)

R | 135 min | Action, Mystery, Thriller

49 Metascore

A man obsessed with conspiracy theories becomes a target after one of his theories turns out to be true. Unfortunately, in order to save himself, he has to figure out which theory it is.

Director: Richard Donner | Stars: Mel Gibson, Julia Roberts, Patrick Stewart, Cylk Cozart

Votes: 88,476 | Gross: $75.98M

41. American Assassin (2017)

R | 112 min | Action, Thriller

45 Metascore

After the death of his girlfriend at the hands of terrorists, Mitch Rapp is drawn into the world of counterterrorism, mentored by tough-as-nails former U.S. Navy S.E.A.L. Stan Hurley.

Director: Michael Cuesta | Stars: Dylan O'Brien, Michael Keaton, Sanaa Lathan, Taylor Kitsch

Votes: 59,871 | Gross: $36.25M

42. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

PG-13 | 133 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

73 Metascore

Peter Parker balances his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens with his superhero alter-ego Spider-Man, and finds himself on the trail of a new menace prowling the skies of New York City.

Director: Jon Watts | Stars: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei

Votes: 451,736 | Gross: $334.20M

43. Hunter Killer (2018)

R | 122 min | Action, Thriller

43 Metascore

An untested American submarine captain teams with U.S. Navy Seals to rescue the Russian president, who has been kidnapped by a rogue general.

Director: Donovan Marsh | Stars: Gerard Butler, Gary Oldman, Common, Linda Cardellini

Votes: 39,363 | Gross: $15.77M

44. The Foreigner (I) (2017)

R | 113 min | Action, Thriller

55 Metascore

A humble businessman with a buried past seeks justice when his daughter is killed in an act of terrorism. A cat-and-mouse conflict ensues with a government official, whose past may hold clues to the killers' identities.

Director: Martin Campbell | Stars: Katie Leung, Jackie Chan, Rufus Jones, Mark Tandy

Votes: 84,367 | Gross: $34.39M

45. Polar (2019)

TV-MA | 118 min | Action, Crime, Drama

19 Metascore

A retiring assassin suddenly finds himself on the receiving end of a hit, contracted by none other than his own employer seeking to cash in on the pensions of aging employees.

Director: Jonas Åkerlund | Stars: Mads Mikkelsen, Vanessa Hudgens, Katheryn Winnick, Fei Ren

Votes: 60,071



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