best war movies based on true events

War is an inevitable feature of mankind. They are in existence ever since times immemorial. Many war movies are made ever since cinema became an important aspect of everyday life. There is something so special about war movies that everyone feels so connected while watching those films.

There are some sci-fi movies to watch which are based on the other types of warlike cyberwar, bio war, etc., There is some other type of war movies as well which are based on true events. Some of the best war movies ever made are listed below. Some of them have even bagged awards all over the world.

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Best War Movies Of All Time Based On True Events

1. The Deer Hunter (1978)

  • Genre: War/Drama
  • IMDb rating: 8.1/10
  • Availability: Amazon Prime

Plot: This movie speaks about the lives of three people who had worked in the steel plants and were inducted into the military wing of allied powers on the side of Great Britain during World War 1. Australia being held partially by Great Britain was also a part of the war.

The entire mine which is the focal point of the war turns into a hotspot when the war situation takes to the forefront. The mineworkers who are well versed with the plain structure of the mine are provided with military training for about two weeks and the face on face action that takes place between the two parties forms the crux of the story. 

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2. The Thin Red Line (1998)

  • Genre: War/Drama
  • IMDb rating: 7.6/10
  • Availability: Amazon Prime/Youtube/Apple TV

Plot: The Thin Red Line is a war movie that highlights the anti-war sentiments. The movie is about a deserter who is living in harmony with the people in one of the Pacific islands. He is dictated by one of his senior colleagues to get inducted into the US Army and serve the nation. While on his expedition, he realizes as to how war is much destructive and how it turns a person’s life upside down just in a matter of a few minutes.

This movie struck a chord with the audience for the message it conveyed that war brings more loss than benefit. 

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3. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1975)

  • Genre: War/Drama
  • IMDb rating: 8.1/10
  • Availability: Amazon Prime/Youtube

The movie is set on time during the World War 2 phase in the South East Asian country of Myanmar. The British Prisoners of War are made to arrive on a train to the capital city of Myanmar, Rangoon. Once they arrive, the higher-ranking officials along with the soldiers are made to construct a bridge over the River Kwai.

The higher-ranking officials aren’t really fine with the idea of working as a labor class to construct a bridge for the enemy on the warring side. The commander in chief of both the sides come head on head and the kind of tassel they face forms the crux of the story.  

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4. Schindler’s List (1993)

  • Genre: War/Drama
  • IMDb rating: 8.9/10
  • Availability: Amazon Prime/Netflix

Plot: The movie speaks about the life story of Oskar Schindler who arrives in Germany for building his fortune by making hay while the world is ruining due to World War 2. Schindler’s List is all about businessman Oskar who admits only Jewish workers in the factory he had built in the city after joining the political party in Germany. When the Jews are being tortured in the Ghettos, the businessman in the pretext of protecting his workers ends up saving a lot of innocent lives.

If you wish to watch a movie that throws light on World War 2 happenings, then Schindler’s List is a must.

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5. Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

  • Genre: War/Drama
  • IMDb rating: 7.9/10
  • Availability: Amazon Prime/Youtube/Netflix/Vudu/Apple TV/Fandango Now

Plot: Hollywood movies generally speak of war from the US perspective. When you are looking out for movies from the perspective of the other countries who were a part of World War 2, then you need to watch out for Letters from Iwo Jima.

The Battle of Iwo Jima was fought in Iwo Jima during the World War 2 phase between the USA and Japan. The movie speaks of the war from the perspective of the Japanese who fought the war tirelessly. All is fair in love and war, the tactics adopted by both the warring parties are being justified in the movie. 

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6. Life is Beautiful (1998)

  • Genre: War/Romance
  • IMDb rating: 8.6/10
  • Availability: Amazon Prime/HBO/Google Play/Hulu

Plot: If you are a person who looks out for calm in times of chaos, then this wartime comedy film is sure to brighten your spirits. The movie is about a Jewish father who is surrounded by Jewish ghettos tries to make his son happy by fading off the grim realities of war.

The person lived through the various sufferings by staying at one camp after the other and finally died when he was around 91 years old. This movie speaks of the fact that happiness lies within and no external force can pull down the level of your happiness. 

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7. Black Hawk Down (2001)

  • Genre: War/Action
  • IMDb rating: 7.7/10
  • Availability: Amazon Prime/Youtube

Plot: Black Hawk Down is the movie that speaks of the times during the 1993 civil war in Somalia. After brief fighting comes to an end, a person named Mohammed Aidid took over the role of the presidency and he is aided by people from outside with weapon systems.

With the help of these kinds of aid provided to them, he is waging a battle against the UN forces which has been deployed for peacekeeping purposes in the country. The movie speaks about the battle between a power-hungry politician and an organization that is working towards bringing peace in the world. 

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8. Dunkirk (2017)

  • Genre: War/Drama
  • IMDb rating: 7.9/10
  • Availability: Amazon Prime/Youtube/Netflix/Warner Bros

Plot: There are several avenues where the various battles of World War 2 took place. Once the Battle of France was over, the allied forces were retreating to Dunkirk. But, the war hasn’t ended that led to a battle between the German and the French army forces.

This is not just another wartime movie taking into consideration that the movie was directed by one of the well-acclaimed film directors of all times, Christopher Nolan. He is the brain behind some of the best movies ever produced. The wartime movie is a must-watch for its engaging storyline, highly technical camera, and the ensemble. 

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9. Gallipoli (1915)

  • Genre: Historical Drama
  • IMDb rating: 6.4/10
  • Availability: Amazon Prime/Netflix/Google Play

Plot: When several movies are made on the lines of World War 2, few movies are made on the lines of World War 1. Gallipoli is one of the excellent wartime movies of the World War 1 era which speaks of the struggles encountered by the warring forces in the Battle. Gallipolli is situated near Dardenelles Strait which is almost the European part of Turkey.

This movie doesn’t brief the war but it is more or less of the fact of the two young soldiers who were initially neglected in the army due to their age and later they get trained to face one of the deadliest battles’ history has ever seen. 

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10. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

  • Genre: War/Fantasy
  • IMDb rating: 8.2/10
  • Availability: Amazon Prime/Netflix

Plot: If you are looking for one of the best fantasy films to watch with excellent computer graphics set against the backdrop of World War 2, then you must be looking out for this movie. The years following the Spanish Civil War that happened in the year 1944, the father of the central character in the film is on a hunt of the person who waged a war against the ruling fraternity.

The girl comes in contact with some of the mystical creatures and befriends them. When speaking of true events, the civil war scenes that appear in the movie are based on real-time incidents only. 

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11. Inglorious Basterds (2009)

  • Genre: War/Action
  • IMDb rating: 8.3/10
  • Availability: Amazon Prime/Netflix

Plot: The movie speaks of the initial years where Germany was occupied by France. The French team of police headed by Brad Pitt is on the lookout for a family of four which is hiding in the underground fearing the execution by the Nazis if they find them out. 

The movie throws light on the various atrocities committed by Nazis on the innocent Jews and the steps the police and paramilitary forces from the other countries take forward to bring down the leaders of the Third Reich.  The Third Reich is comprised of the top-ranking officers of the Nazi party and the opponent aims to bring them down. 

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12. Patton (1970)

  • Genre: War/Biography
  • IMDb rating: 7.9/10
  • Availability: Amazon Prime/Xfinity

Plot: Many wartime higher-ranking military officials are always being targeted by the ones who are running the government to bring glory to the country by winning battles. The officer has to ignite the spirits of those who are in his team.

While on several of his expeditions, he encounters various incidents. Some like, many of his soldiers collapsing and some dying a brutal death in the hands of the enemy. The officer has to make himself strong enough to leave aside the sympathy factor and then march ahead. 

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13. Platoon (1986)

  • Genre: War/Drama
  • IMDb rating: 8.1/10
  • Availability: Amazon Prime/Starz

Plot: Platoon is a movie that speaks of the horrors encountered by a soldier who is working for the US army and is sent on a deputation to Vietnam. Vietnam war is seen as one of the biggest failures ever experienced by the army professionals in the field.

The high-tech artillery and the other equipment held by the US army proved to be futile against the Guerilla tactics deployed by the Viet Cong forces in the Vietnam War. The soldiers went through a lot of pain emotionally and physically as they weren’t aware of the terrain they are inducted into. 

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14. Fury (2014)

  • Genre: War/Action
  • IMDb rating: 7.6/10
  • Availability: Amazon Prime/Netflix/Fandango/Now TV

Plot: A highly equipped army from the US military wing is made to face the Nazis on the battlefield. This is one of the several other battles that took place during World War 2 and this time, the US is facing issues with the Nazis as they aren’t able to proceed ahead due to the lack of weaponry. They have to manage on the battlefield with whatever is at their disposal.

The movie speaks of the untiring effort that exhibited by the US army in their arduous fight against the notorious Nazis. The impeccable cinematography and the directional skills of the director is one of the major highlights of the movie. 

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15. Ran (2016)

  • Genre: War/History
  • IMDb rating: 8.1/10
  • Availability: Amazon Prime

Plot: Ran is a movie that speaks about the personal war waged against one’s clan against a major war like set up. A Japanese king cum landlord wants to divide his property and hand over the reign equally amongst his three sons. But the eldest of the son is not ready for that deal as the expects a larger share from the father.

When a person comes to his rescue, the is rusticated out of the kingdom along with the person. He is spotted by another famous landlord who gives his daughter’s hand in marriage to him. He instigated by his wife, tries to take on his own family. This film was jointly produced by the Japanese and The French production house. 

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16. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

  • Genre: War/Drama
  • IMDb rating: 8.6/10
  • Availability: Amazon Prime/Youtube/Netflix/Now TV/HBO Max/Hulu/Vudu

Plot: This is one of the greatest wartime movies ever made. A theatre of World War 2 was in the French city of Normandy. The war which was initially thought to be a war at sea eventually turned into a war in the air.

The movie has some of the best 27 minutes of opening scenes which are way too intense. After brief fighting over the sea in the air, the central character to the film, Capt Ryan loses three of his brothers. His companions are on the search out for the captain as they cannot afford to miss one of the best wartime players in the US military. 

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17. The Hurt Locker (2008)

  • Genre: War/Action
  • IMDb rating: 7.6/10
  • Availability: Amazon Prime/Netflix

Plot: An intense action War thriller film shows the intense psychological reactions during the stress on the war field. Being the most dangerous jobs in the world and the picture visualizes the deadly game of the combat.

The new soldier, James is into disarming bombs as a sergeant, with the extraordinary skills he takes over his team and acts like he is indifferent to death. When James’s & Sanborn’s unit gets to a situation on their last mission to detonate a bomb strapped to a civilian when Sanborn couldn’t make on time and it explodes in front of him, he later confesses he no longer can cope the pressure and leave the army, but he gets back in again being it’s the only thing he is good at.

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18. Men of Honor (2000)

  • Genre: War/Drama
  • IMDb rating: 7.2/10
  • Availability: Amazon Prime/Youtube

Plot: Men of Honour is a movie that is based on the real-life story of America’s first-ever Black person to get inducted into the navy. He is being tormented heavily by his higher officials and he is continuously being mocked stating that he is unfit for the role. The movie features various war activities undertaken by the US Navy and how this man carves a niche for himself in the domain. 

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19. The Enemy At The Gates (2001)

  • Genre: War/Drama
  • IMDb rating: 7.6/10
  • Availability: Amazon Prime/Netflix/Xfinity/Hulu/HBO/Paramount Movies

Plot: While a lot of movies based on World War 2 are made where Germans and the US army get head on head with each other, this movie throws light on the Battle of Stalingrad where the Russians take on Germans one by one and this hurts the ego of the Germans in a massive level. The movie takes on the valor of Russians along with the love life of the two Russian soldiers who fall in love with the same Russian woman soldier. 

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20. The Great Escape (1963)

  • Genre: War/Drama
  • IMDb rating: 8.2/10
  • Availability: Amazon Prime/Netflix/Google Play/Now TV

Plot: The plan drafted by a group of prisoners of war in the German camp. They are on the opposite side of the Nazis. The Nazi government puts them all into a single place because these prisoners of war should not be let to escape from the enclosure. But they didn’t realize that they have dumped all the best minds in a single place who can draft any excellent plan to escape from the riddle they have been put into.

The team is led by a powerful leader who is well versed in tactical skills. He makes a lot of tunnels to wade through, all of them escape via that. The movie speaks of the struggles the prisoners of war encountered in a very elaborate manner. 

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21. Behind Enemy Lines (2001)

  • Genre: Thriller/Military
  • IMDb rating: 6.4/10
  • Availability: Amazon Prime/Netflix

Plot: A commander in chief is in charge of the peace treaty administered during the former Yugoslavian war. The US government intervenes in the war and forms a peace agreement between the various warring parties and they have to abide by it. So, the US government places a team to monitor the various parties who have signed the agreement. When the commander-in-chief finds out that the Serbians have crossed the line of control, there arises a war between the NATO forces and the Serbian army.

How an ethnic war can ravage a country and the role played by NATO in war situations is the highlight of the movie. 

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22. Pearl Harbor (2001)

  • Genre: War/Action
  • IMDb rating: 6.2/10
  • Availability: Amazon Prime/Netflix/HBO/Hulu

Plot: The movie is centered around time during World War 2. Two friends who are pilot by profession enroll themselves in the Air Corps and they are a part of a mission that aims to protect the territory of the USA. The fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor is being targeted by the Japanese and that’s how the USA is being pulled into World War 2.

The US government never wanted to be a real part of World War 2 and due to unforeseen circumstances, the country had to. The movie speaks as to how the lives of the pilot friends are changed by this attack. The kind of impact an attack on a country can have on a couple’s life is the main highlight of the movie.

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23. We Were Soldiers (2001)

  • Genre: War/Action
  • IMDb rating: 7.2/10
  • Availability: Amazon Prime/Netflix/Paramount Movies

Plot: Vietnam War is seen as one of the worst ever failures encountered by the US. The movie is based on the first phase of the Vietnam War that happens during the 1950s. A war that began during the initial phase of the Cold War heightened further during the 1970s’. This is one of the wars that saw three US presidents taking over the presidency.

The braveness, valor, and the togetherness exhibited by the US soldiers who were on a mission to Vietnam are depicted well in this movie. The movie ignites the spirit of bravery and throws light on the fact as to how soldiers have dedicated their lives to the nation. 

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24. Hotel Rwanda (2004)

  • Genre: War/Drama
  • IMDb rating: 8.1/10
  • Availability: Amazon Prime/Xfinity/Vudu/Starz

Plot: Hotel Rwanda dates back to the genocide that took place in the year 1994 in the tiny Central African country of Rwanda. The genocide of Hutus who lived in majority numbers by the minority Tutsis in the country of Rwanda might have been forgotten by many but it is one of the grievous crimes ever committed against mankind.

The film title goes by the name Hotel Rwanda as it speaks of the hardships undertaken by a Hutu-Tutsi couple who owns the hotel and they house the refugees who got hit during the war. One could feel the sufferings the ethnic group had undergone during the war. 

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25. Downfall (2004)

  • Genre: War/Drama
  • IMDb rating: 8.2/10
  • Availability: Amazon Prime/Netflix/MSN

Plot: Downfall speaks of the fall of one of the widely spoken man in the history of the world, Adolf Hitler. When the opponent army is approaching the German territory of Third Reich where Adolf Hitler’s allies fled one after the other whereas some allies did stay by Hitler no matter what. The kind of emotional turmoil that occurred in the Fuhrerbunker is documented one by one in the movie.

The movie depicts the struggles that Hitler underwent emotionally during the last days of his life. The emotional pain experienced by a leader who was once known all over his world for his exemplary leadership skills was bought to the screens by the well-acclaimed director. 

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26. Charlie Wilson’s War (2007)

  • Genre: Drama
  • IMDb rating: 7/10
  • Availability: Amazon Prime

Plot: Charlie Wilson, a politician from the Congress Party in the USA is a happy go lucky politician. How he got involved in the Soviet-Afghan war and the role played by the fellow Congressmen in the US involvement in the war speaks so much about how the US started supporting the Mujahideens in Afghanistan as they were against the occupation of the land by the Communist powers.

The movie speaks as to how a politician who was very selfish for his needs by being in the political arena takes the responsibility on his shoulders by becoming a part of the league that supplies men and material for war.  

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27. A Mighty Heart (2007)

  • Genre: Drama/History
  • IMDb rating: 6.6/10
  • Availability: Amazon Prime

Plot: The movie is based on the real-life story of a US-based journalist by the name Daniel Pearl. He was married to a French-born journalist. Back in the year 2002, he was sent on a mission to Karachi to track the illegal activities conducted by the terrorist group, Al Qaeda. When he kissed his wife before he left for Karachi, she never realized that it would be the last kiss. But she did have a very low feeling that she wouldn’t be seeing him again.

A video that was shot which pictured Daniel Pearl being beheaded by the terror group brings shock to everyone in the US. This movie speaks of the emotional turmoil that the family underwent post his death. The movie is pictured having his wife narrate in the background. 

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28. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

  • Genre: War/Drama
  • IMDb rating: 8.3/10
  • Availability: Amazon Prime/Netflix

Plot: The movie is set against the backdrop of World War 1. The war is between two factions namely, the Arabs and the Turks. The Arabs are aided by the British in return for the exchange of oil. Lawrence is a high-ranking British official who is sent to the grounds to capture King Faizal who is being targeted by the Turks.

The lieutenant Lawrence defies the orders imposed on him by his officers and then marches ahead to find himself in the deserts of Arabia and how he finally manages to attain his goal forms the crux of the story. 

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29. Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

  • Genre: War/Thriller
  • IMDb rating: 7.4/10
  • Availability: Amazon Prime/Netflix/AirtelXStream/Youtube/Google Play/Vudu

Plot: This is one of the latest films on the war-thriller genre made in recent years. The film shows the killing of the infamous leader of Al-Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden who is the mastermind behind some of the deadliest terror attacks conducted across the globe. He is sought after by the USA due to one of the grievous crimes he committed by destroying the Twin Towers of World Trade Centre in the year 2001.

The capturing of the terror leader is picturized in one of the most exciting ways possible and is made into a film that hits the theatres massively. 

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30. Braveheart (1995)

  • Genre: War/Drama
  • IMDb rating: 6.3/10
  • Availability: Amazon Prime/Netflix/AMC/Vudu/Google Play/Fubo TV/iTunes Store

Plot: This movie speaks about the emotional turmoil a man underwent when his beloved is captured and slaughtered by the King of England Edward 1. He is Scottish by nationality and he gathers a huge army and waged a series of battles against the king which eventually turns out to become a full-fledged war against the king.

The movie speaks about the bravery of a single man against a huge kingdom. 

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31. Green Zone (2010)

  • Genre: War/Action
  • IMDb rating: 6.8/10
  • Availability: Amazon Prime/Netflix/Hulu/Youtube

Plot: This is one of the best movies ever made on the lines of the sanctions imposed on Iraq on accounts of stockpiling of Weapons of Mass Destruction. The main lead of the film is a US detective who is accompanied by his team of fellow detectives who go on to raid a state which has been designated as a rogue state.

The intense war situation in the region which is new to the 21st century is portrayed in the movie and it is based on a nonfiction book. The team instead of finding nuclear weapons end up finding some other truth. 

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FAQs About the Best War Movies Of All Time

1. Do OTT Platforms Have War Movies Category to Watch?

On the Internet, many of the OTT Platforms have plenty of war movies available from comedy-war, romance-war, war-drama, war-thriller, and war-action genres to watch online.

2. How to find War movies to watch on OTT Platforms?

Some OTT Platforms have a war based movie category, but you can watch some war movies on platforms like Netflix, Prime, Hulu, HBO, Youtube Etc. To find and watch the best war movies on platforms like Netflix, Youtube or Amazon prime simply search for the desired movie you want to watch online and click on the play button.

3. What Are Some of The Best War films Out There?

On Platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Prime you can find a wide range of war movies from old to the latest ones to watch online or download within the website/app. Some of the best war movies are:

  • Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
  • Braveheart (1995)
  • The Great Escape (1963)
  • Downfall (2004)
  • Schindler’s List (1993)
  • Life is Beautiful (1998)

4. Is it possible to download War movies Online?

Yes, it is possible to download war movies on some of the OTT Platforms like Youtube, Netflix, Hulu. To download war movies on Netflix or youtube follow these steps:

  • First of all, you need to take a monthly/annual subscription to any of these services.
  • Now, log in your Netflix or Youtube account and search for war movies you want.
  • Click on the particular movie and use the “Download” or “Save Offline” option to download the movie within the app or website.

5. Can we watch These War movies online for free of cost?

No, Almost all of the war movies listed in this article are only available to watch on their respective OTT platforms. so you need to take their paid monthly/annual subscription to watch any war movie you like online. if it is on youtube then you need to rent/buy it watch.

Conclusion

These are some of the best wartime movies ever made which are based on a real-life story. When you wish to spend your time more fruitfully with your family during these lockdown hours, then planning to catch up on the flicks that have stirred the nationalism and rejuvenated the patriotic feeling at some of the major tones possible, is one of the best things to do. All these movies are rated very high in IMDB and you can watch them in some of the major OTT services providers like Amazon Prime, Netflix, etc., 

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Disclaimer (Important)

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