Find your favorite and most impactful war movies available on streaming with our comprehensive list
Sadly, the human race has pretty much never not been at war. We’re a violent, combative crew. Hopefully one day that will change and we’ll enter an era of unprecedented peace.
Until then, we have the movies. War may be hell, but war movies are pretty great! Armed combat and all the other various theaters and forms of war makes for high-octane drama. And that’s pretty much exactly what we are looking for out of our drama films.
What follows is a (mostly comprehensive) list of all the war movies available with a streaming subscription on the major streaming services. If you’re interested in paying per movie, options like Amazon, Google Play and YouTube should help. But the movies here are all free with a log-in to Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, or HBO Now/HBO Go.
Before we get started, let’s quickly ackowledge the excellent war television series available on these services.
Turn: Washington’s Spies (Netflix), Band of Brothers (Amazon and HBO), The Pacific (Amazon and HBO), and Generation Kill (Amazon and HBO) are all excellent options for those willing to commit a little more time. Now, let’s get to the movies!
Black Hawk Down
One thing about war and war movies is that when something goes wrong in them, they go spectacularly wrong. Black Hawk Down comes from director Ridley Scott and tells the real life story of a 1993 raid by the U.S. Army in Somalia gone horribly wrong. After a military coup in Mogadishu, Somalia, United Nations troops there to keep to peace are threatened by the new government.
U.S. troops are sent in via helicopter to assist in evacuation. Things go south quickly though as a helicopter is shot down and several U.S. troops are trapped in Mogadishu and must go through hell and back again to get out.
Inglourious Basterds is Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece (tied with like four other Tarantino films) because it’s the first pop culture war movie. Yes, it’s a war movie but it’s also a movie about our own pop culture perception of war. Swaggering, Nazi-killing Allies, sensuous femme fatale French conspirators, and one of cinema’s most incredible villains in Hans Landa a.k.a. “The Jew Hunter” (Christoph Waltz).
Inglourious Basterds features many of the hallmarks of war movies we’ve come to anticipate and appreciate but there is an added level of Tarantino surrealism that makes it even more entertaining, impactful, and uncomfortable.
Platoon is classified as an “anti-war” film from notable anti-war (and anti-everything else) advocate Oliver Stone. Platoon pulls off its message by depicting the Vietnam War in as realistic, graphic, and terrifying manner as possible.
Stone based his film partially on his own experiences in the War and all the psychological terrors that come along with guerilla warfare. Charlie Sheen stars Private Chris Taylor, a man soon to be driven next to mad by the horrors he endures.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
War movies can certainly be joyless affairs and understandably so. Even in the darkest of circumstances, however, people can find humor and that’s what’s refreshing about Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Tina Fey stars as journalist Kim Barker in a film that’s adapted from Barker’s memoir The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot covers an angle often not featured in many modern war films: the media.
The media has played an important role in documenting every major American war since Vietnam (and maybe even WWII if you count Hollywood propaganda). By tying the story of the media in war to Barker’s story as portrayed by the charming Fey, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot ends up with a lot to say about modern warfare.
And here’s the complete list, just in case you don’t like our choices!
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