10 Military Action Movies That Are Highly Rewatchable
Each of these films, distinct in their storytelling, offers an unfiltered gaze into the theatre of war.
1. Black Hawk Down (2001)
"Black Hawk Down" throws us into the gritty streets of Mogadishu during the Battle of Mogadishu where 160 U.S. soldiers faced off against overwhelming Somali militia. Two Black Hawk helicopters are shot down, and the soldiers face a terrifying and intense fight for survival.
It's bullets, blood, and bravery as they attempt to extract their comrades amidst heavy fire. With notable performances by Josh Hartnett and Ewan McGregor, the film paints a raw picture of the horrors of war.
2. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Directed by the iconic Steven Spielberg, "Saving Private Ryan" takes the audience back to the deadly beaches of Normandy during World War II.
The film kicks off with Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) and his squad surviving the harrowing D-Day landing. Their new mission? Find Private James Ryan (Matt Damon), a paratrooper who's behind enemy lines, and bring him home after his brothers are killed in action.
3. Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
In this gripping tale of persistence and valor, we follow Maya (Jessica Chastain), a determined CIA operative leading the hunt for notorious terrorist Osama bin Laden. "Zero Dark Thirty" chronicles a decade-long search, from the torture-filled rooms of black sites to the corridors of power in Washington, D.C.
The climax? A nail-biting recreation of the Navy SEALs' stealthy nighttime raid on bin Laden's compound in Pakistan.
4. Lone Survivor (2013)
Based on true events, "Lone Survivor" recounts the harrowing tale of four Navy SEALs on a mission to neutralize a high-level Taliban operative. Mark Wahlberg stars as Marcus Luttrell, the only member of his team to survive after they are ambushed in the rugged mountains of Afghanistan.
It's a gut-punch of combat, sacrifice, and survival as Luttrell battles impossible odds to be rescued after being left behind.
5. Platoon (1986)
Oliver Stone's "Platoon" casts a harrowing gaze at the Vietnam War through the eyes of Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen), a young soldier thrust into the nightmarish jungle combat. Taylor navigates the moral and physical terrains of war, grappling with enemy fire, booby traps, and the internal conflicts within his own squad.
Willem Dafoe and Tom Berenger deliver striking performances as sergeants.
6. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Stanley Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket" takes us into the boot camp barracks and then the urban battlegrounds of the Vietnam War. The film is divided starkly – the first half follows Private Joker (Matthew Modine) and his fellow recruits enduring the grueling and psychologically intense Marine training, overseen by a ruthless drill sergeant.
The second half shifts to the Tet Offensive where Joker confronts the terror, confusion, and surreal horror of war.
7. The Hurt Locker (2008)
Enter the intense world of elite bomb squads in Iraq with "The Hurt Locker."
The film zeroes in on Sergeant William James (Jeremy Renner), a bomb disposal expert who seems immune to the fear of death. Every wire cut, every diffused IED, adds another layer of tension. Amidst the sand-strewn landscapes of the Middle East, James and his team navigate the physical and psychological terrains of a war where the enemy is often unseen, and every step could be their last.
8. 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (2016)
Michael Bay's touch on military action is seen in "13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi." The movie recounts the real-life story of six members of Annex Security Team who fought to defend the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, from a violent attack by Islamist militants.
It's a story of valor, bravery, and camaraderie, as the team, led by Jack Silva (John Krasinski), pushes beyond the limits to save the lives of their fellow countrymen.
The audience is pulled into the tension of Kyle's pinpoint precision and the toll his four tours in the Iraq War takes on his psyche and family life. Every shot, every kill weighs heavily, offering an intimate look into the life, legend, and loss of a soldier dubbed 'The Legend' by his comrades.
10. We Were Soldiers (2002)
"We Were Soldiers" plunges audiences into the first significant battle of the Vietnam War. Lt. Col. Hal Moore (Mel Gibson) leads the 7th Cavalry Regiment against North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces in the Battle of Ia Drang. It's an intense, close-quarters conflict where soldiers from both sides come face-to-face with the enemy.
The film captures the chaos, bravery, and human cost of a war that would define a generation.