XIPHOS’ LIST OF “FUN” WAR MOVIES
My laptop committed seppuku 10 days ago and took a nearly completed RWX with it into the after life so I decided to rescue this post from limbo where it’s been parked. I don’t have the time or ability at the moment to do another RWX or try to resuscitate the dead one.
This list of war movies are ones that I consider to be “fun” war movies…at least most of them, he-he-he.
This list is going to be done in an inverse order, 10 down to 1, because I want the best fun war movie to be a surprise. Here’s my list enjoy.
9. Dr. Strangelove (1964) Do I really need to go into why this is a funny? No, I don’t think I do.
8. Catch 22 (1970): This is the movie version of Joseph Heller’s wonderful book about Army Bomber pilots in WW2 and all that they do to survive, mentally, and the beating they take flying sorties over Europe. The catch 22 of the title refers to the lead character trying to obtain relief by having a mental breakdown put on his service record. The Catch 22 as explained to lead character Captain Yossarian as this: “an airman would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane he’d have to fly them. If he flew them, he was crazy and didn’t have to but if he didn’t, he was sane and had to.”
Trapped by that dense, impenetrable logic of the Army, Yossarian and his comrades just try to make it through their job with funny/tragic results and surprising insights. Highly enjoyable film.
7. M*A*S*H (1970): This is a funny look at Combat surgeons on the front lines of the Korean Conflict. In reality it’s an allegory to the Vietnam war. M*A*S*H has great writing, acting, and directing. This is one thoroughly enjoyable movie.
6. The Dirty Dozen (1967): Is probably the quintessential “men on a mission” movie and is alternately tough and funny, sometimes in the same scene. Do yourself a favor, if you’ve never watched the Dirty Dozen go out right now and get it. Thank me later.
5. The Great Escape (1963) First off this is just a great movie. Its harrowing and uplifting and suspenseful. It’s chock full of great performances by excellent actors and it has a heart a mile wide plus it has a sly and droll sense of humor. Great movie.
4. The Caine Mutiny (1954): A dark comedy that skirts along the edge of total nihilism full up to the brim with great actors and one gut punch of an ending. This is a movie that while funny it also kicks you right in the head and makes you think.
3. Three Kings (1999) This is a weird hybrid sort of war/survival/caper movie. I think Three Kings is just about George Clooney’s best role that did not involve an Elmore Leonard book. Three Kings is funny and well made and is a very good look at the first Gulf War.
2. Kelly’s Heroes (1970) The gold standard for military heist flicks. This movie is so good it hurts. Kelly’s Heroes has an all star cast, great writing, acting, direction and surprisingly hard core battle scenes.
1. Number one with a bullet, the all time best “fun” war movie is, without a shadow of a doubt, the classic 1980 time travel flick, The Final Countdown. It tells the tale of the USS Nimitz that somehow got sent back in time to 6 December 1941, the day before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Sure this movie is cheesy and goofy but hot damn it’s a fun movie to watch. I can’t get enough of F-14 Tomcats fighting Mitsubishi A6M Zero aircraft. Alternative history is a fun way to pass some time.
That’s it, that’s my list. Looking back over it I realize that a metric ton of great movies came out in 1970. To bad we can’t get that kind of quality output today.
PS If you leave any questions or comments for me it will probably take me a few days to respond but I will, eventually.