With Clint Eastwood's double punch of "Flags of Our Fathers" and "Letters from Iwo Jima" garnering praise this winter, I thought I'd offer up three alternate war movies for anyone interested.
I saw "Flags of Our Fathers" and wasn't blown away. It was trying to do too many things structurally and I felt that Mr. Eastwood just didn't pull it off this time. That said, Adam Beach, portraying Ira Hayes, was astounding. If he doesn't receive a nomination for Best Supporting Actor in this years's Oscar race, it will be a great shame.
Anyway, here are three other war (related) films:
Stanley Kubrick's WW I feature, "Paths of Glory" (1959), may be one of the most powerful antiwar movies ever. In it, three soldiers are made an example when they refuse to continue with an impossible attack. They are brought up on charges of treason and Kirk Douglas must defend their lives. Not only was it marvelously acted (one of Mr. Douglas' finest performances) but the cinematography is innovative and awe inspiring.
Edward Zwick's "Glory" (1989) movie about the first all black regiment during the Civil War is, perhaps, one of the most heartbreaking war movies ever made. Inspiring to the end, when those soldier charge to their deaths, you are crying your eyes out. Denzel Washington won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role, but the rest of the cast, including Morgan Freeman, Matthew Broderick, Cary Elwes and a then unknown Andre Braugher, are all stellar.
Finally, one can't forget William Wyler's "The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946). Coming just a year after the end of WW II, the film pulls no punches in showing the difficulties veterans had returning home and adjusting to domesticity. Although "Flags of Our Fathers" attempted (and did not succeed) in treading the same ground, this film is far more effective and still very powerful.