Here I present a few special awards for the “best of” films about war. This is not an all-inclusive list, of course, but some of the highlights. Enjoy, and if you don’t agree with my choices, let me know.
Best use of animals in combat scenes: “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” (2003) – the oliphants (Mumakil), the horses, the eagles, and of course, the moth. 🙂
Most cinematic battle scene: Tough one…there are so many, but the final battle scene from “We Were Soldiers” is at the top (also for the music). Alternatives: Ride of the Valkyries from “Apocalypse Now” (1979); Attack on Aqaba from “Lawrence of Arabia” (1962)
Most realistic battle scene: “Saving Private Ryan” (1998) on Omaha Beach is the absolute winner [not for the faint of heart]; Alternate: Little Round Top from “Gettysburg” (1993)
Best one-to-one battle in a war movie: Hector vs Achilles in “Troy” (2004);
Best chase scene in a war movie: Steve McQueen on a motorcycle in “The Great Escape” (1963); Alternate: Frank Sinatra running for the train in “Von Ryan’s Express” (1965)
Best war movie costumes: You wouldn’t normally think war movies would be in the running for best costumes at all, but in this case, it would have to be the Picts in “King Arthur,” (2004) especially Keira Knightley in the leather straps and blue paint. Alternates: “The Last Samurai” (2003) and “Ran” (1985)
Most poignant scene in a war film: The Death of Sgt. Elias in “Platoon” (1986); Alternate: The Russian Roulette scene from “The Deer Hunter.”
Made you jump moment: The cannonball from “The Patriot” (2000) at the Battle of Camden
Most difficult war movie to watch: “Restrepo” (2010), because it’s not fiction.