Top War Movies, Part 6

Twelve O’Clock High (1949) / Director: Henry King / Stars: Gregory Peck, Dean Jagger, Hugh Marlowe
Peck plays a WWII Air Force officer who transforms a bomber unit — so convincingly that U.S. military-service academies used the film for training purposes for years.


The Dirty Dozen (1967) / Director: Robert Aldrich / Stars: Lee Marvin, Donald Sutherland, Telly Savalas, John Cassavetes
Twelve criminals are conscripted for a suicide mission before D-Day: infiltrate a Nazi retreat and kill high-ranking officers. The motley crew is led by an unruly major (Marvin), and includes a woman-beating religious fanatic (Savalas), a psychopath (Cassavetes), and a half-wit (Sutherland).

Born on the Fourth of July (1989) / Director: Oliver Stone / Stars: Tom Cruise
Gung-ho former Eagle Scout Ron Kovic (Cruise, in one of his strongest performances) can’t wait to ship out to Vietnam as a newly minted Marine. He comes home in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the chest down, to find himself in a new fight against indifference, hostility and terrible hospital conditions. He turns his passion to a campaign for the rights of servicemen and against the war. Based on autobiographical book by the real Kovic.


Lincoln (2012) / Director: Steven Spielberg / Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn
A better movie about politics than about war (unless politics is war…), Lincoln is about how the 16th U.S. president struggles both with the carnage of the Civil War and with getting the 13th Amendment past the U.S. House of Representatives. An unprecedented third Oscar for best actor in a leading role to the uncanny Day-Lewis (breaking his tie with two-timers Spencer Tracy, Gary Cooper, Marlon Brando, Tom Hanks, Jack Nicholson, and Sean Penn).


Glory (1989) Director: Edward Zwick / Stars: Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, Cary Elwes
Robert Gould Shaw (Broderick) leads the US Civil War’s first all-black volunteer company, fighting prejudices of both his own Union army and the Confederates. Denzel Washington scores his first Oscar (in a Supporting Role) for his portrayal of an angry soldier.

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