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I don't enjoy watching films in this genre, being a combat soldier who saw action on Hill 937, Dong Ap Bia mountain [aka Hamburger Hill] during the Vietnam war, but when Hollywood began cranking out an endless stream of films about the war, I saw nearly every one of them to examine the accuracy and authenticity to the reality of war reflective to those who served ''in country'' during the era ......... Hollywood [aka LaLa Land] always needs a nemesis [bad guy] to play opposite the protagonist [good guy] and without exception every film made during the 70s and 80s, portrayed most who served "in the Nam" as the lowest life forms on earth. To them, we were all ruthless baby killers, drug addicts, malcontents, warmongers, physically abusive, evil, mentally disturbed, blood-thirsty, anti-social, often vagrant, violent, drunkard, worthless, angry lunatics. Even when one of our supposed own was the good guy [i.e. Pvt Taylor], Sgt Barnes and everybody else in the military establishment were depicted in an unfavorable light -- which is mostly untrue -- which is why every Academy Awards Oscar given for films about Vietnam, wins it for supporting the Academy membership's anti Vietnam agenda. ......... For me, there are no best Vietnam war film but I can attest to the most biased, demeaning, and despicable anti-American war films made about that era, by year of release: Taxi Driver , Twilight's Last Gleaming , Coming Home , The Deer Hunter , Apocalypse Now , The Great Santini , Birdy , Platoon , Good Morning Vietnam , and Casaulties of War 
Good call on Leathernecks.
How could I forget "Platoon". Another of my favorites.
I also have to say the "Band of Brothers" is the best overall show for a series. Having those guys talk about their experiences was pretty good stuff.
I guess my favorite is "Saving Private Ryan." When the old veteran is at the Normandy cemetary and asks his wife if he's been a good enough man to have deserved being pulled out at the cost of other lives.....man, that gets me every time.
Jason...I've gotta agree with you about "12 O'Clock High." Wonderful movie and agree with you about "Tora Tora Tora." It really is a much better film than "Pearl Harbor." I can't get interested in "Midway", however. In the first place, I've never been a fan of Heston and the side story about the pilot and his Japanese girlfriend leaves me cold.
I like "Flying Leathernecks" because of the real combat film spliced into the movie.
"Patriot" with Mel Gibson is another particular favorite. Different war but well done, nevertheless.
Oops. I almost forgot "Sands of Iwo Jima." That was the first movie my mother let me stay up late and watch on television waaaay back when I was a kid.
Stalag 17. The end.
Stalag 17. The end.
Mine has to be "Grand Illusion", a Jean Renoir film from 1937.
Not too many movies about WWI around; this is the best about ANY war.
"The Gallant Hours" - James Cagney was good in this movie about Adm Bull Halsey at Guadalcanal. A look at American and Japanize strategies rather than scenes of the fight.
There have been many great war movies but the one that touches me deepest is the HBO series "Band of Brothers". I think some of the better historic films such as "Patriot" and "Glory" have a strong message. "We were Soldiers" is well done. I do wish one of the better Directors would take a hard look at the Korean Police Action (War). I have many older friends that served in that conflict and sadly most of our nation only thinks of "Mash" when the subject comes up. That was entertainment and the truth is much different. God Bless our current Military and those that have served with Honor in the past.
In this order...
12 O'Clock HighGregory Peck starred in this fantastic movie that most folks have never heard of. It's about a squadron of World War II Bobmber pilots and their commanding officer. It's from 1950 or so and despite it's age, is a great movie.
MidwayThe aircraft carrier battle for the Pacific
Tora, Tora, ToraThe first Pearl Harbor movie. Much better than modern version.