Best War Dramas

There's no denying that Hollywood loves to depict stories of war, gruesomeness and all. Although these films are often brutally violent -- and sometimes scary -- there is value in watching media that shows the cruelty, humanity, and nuance of war. The films on this list range from the terrifying experiences of lone soldiers and grueling rescue missions to heartrending love stories and savage battlefield encounters. Families can use these movies to discuss topics such as the long-term effects of war on fighters on the front lines as well as on the people they leave behind, the motivations behind engaging in war, and who gets to be portrayed as the hero when war has ended. These movies can also be a great way to reflect on important holidays such as Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Not quite ready to dive into this tough topic yet? Check out Movies That Inspire Courage for more approachable picks.

The Great Escape Poster Image
MOVIE

The Great Escape

age 8+

An exceptional story about teamwork.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1963)
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A Call to Spy Poster Image
MOVIE

A Call to Spy

age 12+

Inspirational story of female WWII spies has war violence.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2020)
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Au Revoir Les Enfants Poster Image
MOVIE

Au Revoir Les Enfants

age 12+

Poignant subtitled WWII story about kids and loss.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1987)
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The Longest Day Poster Image
MOVIE

The Longest Day

age 12+

Authentic 3-hour WWII D-Day drama; no graphic violence.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1962)
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Operation Mincemeat movie poster
MOVIE

Operation Mincemeat

age 12+

Incredible WWII true story has disturbing scenes, smoking.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2022)
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Greyhound Poster Image
MOVIE

Greyhound

age 13+

Intense WWII combat in the Atlantic; brief language.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2020)
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The Imitation Game Poster Image
MOVIE

The Imitation Game

age 13+

Strong performances buoy teen-friendly historical drama.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2014)
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Lawrence of Arabia Poster Image
MOVIE

Lawrence of Arabia

age 13+

Mature teens will appreciate this gripping epic.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1962)
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Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World Poster Image
MOVIE

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

age 13+

Intense battle scenes and a strong story of friendship.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2003)
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Megan Leavey Poster Image
MOVIE

Megan Leavey

age 13+

Poignant, earnest drama about a Marine and her war dog.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2017)
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Mister Roberts Poster Image
MOVIE

Mister Roberts

age 13+

WWII dramedy is a true American classic.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1955)
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Paths of Glory Poster Image
MOVIE

Paths of Glory

age 13+

Classic Kubrick film with complex, heavy, anti-war themes.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1957)
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Pearl Harbor Poster Image
MOVIE

Pearl Harbor

age 13+

Violent war story mixed with soapy love triangle.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2001)
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War Horse Poster Image
MOVIE

War Horse

age 13+

Spielberg's sweeping horse drama is beautiful but intense.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2011)
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All Quiet on the Western Front Poster Image
MOVIE

All Quiet on the Western Front

age 14+

Classic anti-war epic tells dire, exhausting tale.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1930)
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The Bombardment Movie
MOVIE

The Bombardment

age 14+

Intense, tragic WWII drama has peril, violence.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2022)
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Dunkirk Poster Image
MOVIE

Dunkirk

age 14+

Intense, challenging story shows the horrors of war.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2017)
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Empire of the Sun Poster Image
MOVIE

Empire of the Sun

age 14+

Beautiful but grim WWII saga through a boy's eyes.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1987)
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Patton Poster Image
MOVIE

Patton

age 14+

Oscar-winning biographical war epic is complex, violent.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1970)
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Saints and Soldiers Poster Image
MOVIE

Saints and Soldiers

age 14+

Thoughtful, engaging World War II movie has battle violence.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2005)
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