Anzac Day Tribute: 8 Great War Films

Anzac Day Tribute: 8 Great War Films

Apr 25, 2009

Anzac Day, celebrated by Australians and New Zealanders on the 25th of April, is a public holiday to remember those who fought at Gallipoli, as well as in other World War I campaigns, World War II and all wars since. On this day in 1915, Anzac troops landed in Gallipoli for a much longer battle than first anticipated, and until they evacuated eight months later, over 8000 Australian lives were lost. To commemorate this significant day in our own ‘Moviedex’ way, I have put together a list of eight great war films that uncompromisingly depict the devastating effect of war in a truly memorable fashion.


Gallipoli (1981) – the quintessential movie for Anzac Day, as the film tells the story of a group of Australian men sent into battle at Gallipoli and the horrors they had to endure.


Schindler’s List (1993) – based on a true story, Oskar Schindler is a greedy German businessman who witnesses the horrors of the Holocaust, and uses his factory to save over 1000 Jews from certain death at Auschwitz.


Saving Private Ryan (1998) – Spielberg’s other WWII  epic sees a squad of soldiers journey through Nazi-occupied territory to find and save Private James Ryan after his three brothers were killed.


Black Hawk Down (2001) – based on the best-selling book about the mission of 100 American Army rangers to bring down Somali warlords, which became catastrophic when two Black Hawk helicopters crashed.


Apocalypse Now (1979) – set in the Vietnam War, it follows an American captain’s treacherous mission to bring down a rogue colonel who is controlling his own army within the Cambodian jungle.


Platoon (1986) – A young American volunteers to fight in Vietnam but amidst their struggle for survival and conflict with the enemy, he also has to deal with battles within his own men.


Letters from Iwo Jima (2006) – Told entirely from the perspective of Japanese soldiers, the film follows the harsh and bloody battle between the Americans and Japanese for Iwo Jima, an island of Japan.


Paths of Glory (1957) – a tale of a power-hungry French general on the Western Front in 1916, who sends his men on a suicidal mission and attempts to discipline those who rebelled to hide his own unforgivable actions.

As you enjoy these war films, take some time to reflect on those that have fought and died for our freedom in conflicts around the world. Here, on Anzac Day, we remember all Australians that have served for our country, beginning with those that fought at Gallipoli 94 years ago. Lest we forget.

  • Anh Khoi Do

    Nice list. I can't talk about the others since I haven't seen them. However, I agree that “Saving Private Ryan”, “Black Hawk Down” and “Platoon” deserved their place in your list. What's the best one from these three? I'll hesitate between “Saving Private Ryan” and “Platoon”. Moreover, in my list, I would have put “Flags of Our Fathers” since, from a historical perspective, it's an advancement in making war films. First of all, a very long time ago, no one would see mothers who cried for their son's death in war films. Secondly, the film the shows well how some characters come to re-define heroism as they face war for real. In fact, as some would see it, war is not a graphic poetry, but rather something about survival. All in all, I liked how Eastwood combined mainstream entertainment and art.

  • Ttt

    Most of the films you listed are fascist, war mongering crap.

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