Top War Movies, Part 5

The Hurt Locker (2008) / Director: Kathryn Bigelow / Stars: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty
In war-town Baghdad, everyone is a potential enemy and every object a potential bomb. An elite Army bomb squad tries to defuse the situation, while its members struggle to find purpose in life away from the excitement of the war zone. Academy Awards for best picture and director, the first for a female director.


Zero Dark Thirty (2012) / Director: Kathryn Bigelow / Stars: Jessica Chastain
A driven and obsessive CIA agent (Chastain) hunts for Osama bin Laden for years. Initially praised for its verisimilitude, the film was harshly criticized by U.S. Senators McCain and Feinstein for depicting scenes that seemed to indicate that the U.S. gained valuable intelligence through torture, when it evidently didn’t.


Schindler’s List (1993) Director: Steven Spielberg / Stars: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley
By keeping them on his employment rolls, businessman Oskar Schindler (Neeson) saves the lives of his Jewish factory workers. Initially motivated by profit (cheap labor), Schindler is changed by compassion for his employees. Adapted from Thomas Keneally’s bestselling book and filmed in black and white (except famously for a little girl in a red coat); 3 hours and 15 minutes long, so settle in. Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director.


M*A*S*H (1970) / Director: Robert Altman / Stars: Donald Sutherland, Elliot Gould
Dr. Hawkeye Pierce (Sutherland) and Dr. Trapper John (Gould) engage in pranks and dark humor as they serve the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital in the Korean War. Released during the Vietnam War, Robert Altman’s satire of the futility of war gave audiences a safe way to laugh at (or through) military conflict. A popular TV series followed.


The Deer Hunter (1978) Director: Michael Cimino / Stars: Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, John Cazale, Meryl Streep
A three-hour examination of how the Vietnam War affects the lives of people in a working class town back in the U.S.

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