Any list claiming to be the “best” is bound to come under fire for not including a reader’s favorites. That obstacle has not stopped us from charging ahead with the choices we think should be called America’s all-time best war movies.
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The 20 films named for this listing of were chosen to show American troops in action in land, sea and air operations in all wars—from the Revolution to Iraq and Afghanistan. Obviously, by confining the films here to American forces, many classic war movies do not make our listings—films like The Bridge on the River Kwai and Paths of Glory, to name only two.
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These 20 films are highlighted here with brief previews. Perhaps in these 20 you’ll find a couple you’ve missed over the years. Or, if they’re familiar, perhaps you’ll be inspired to watch them again. That’s not too hard to do today, with DVDs and TV streaming services offering just about every title in the history of film.
Scroll through the gallery above and see what hits made our list of the top 20 American war movies of all time.