ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (1930)

Perhaps the ultimate anti-War movie, its battle scenes represented a quantum leap for movies. Some of the smaller things may not hold up, but the message does.

APOCALYPSE NOW (1979)

A movie that looks deep into its own soul and finds only horror.

TO BE OR NOT TO BE (1942)

A surprisingly funny take on World War II from the point of view of Polish actors, that came out only 3 months after Pearl Harbor.

SCHINDLER’S LIST (1993)

Maybe the definitive movie about one of the worst events in human history.

THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946)

A surprisingly universal and human story of three soldiers returning to their home town after World War II, from decades before “PTSD” was a term.

BRAVEHEART (1995)

This epic basically invented modern Scottish nationalism despite a total lack of both subtlety and interest in actual history.

FORREST GUMP (1994)

Tom Hanks bumbles through the greatest hits of Baby Boomer history, with nothing to say about any of it.

THE LEOPARD (1963)

I was floored by this Italian epic about the fall of the aristocracy, written by a prince and directed by a Marxist, starring, of all people, Burt Lancaster.

SAVING PRIVATE RYAN (1998)

Few fictional movies are now considered definitive documents of historical events, but this is one of them. This is what happened now.