ByNicholas William Batrow, writer at
Nicholas William Batrow

Hollywood likes war movies. America likes war movies. Many of the highest grossing/most beloved films in American history are war movies. So why do they all seem to follow the same wars? Think of all of the World War Two movies and Vietnam movies, as far as I can tell, these are the two go-to wars for would be film makers. There are many exceptions, but these just seem to be the most popular, when we're talking about wars that actually happened (looking at you, "Red Dawn", you Cold War propaganda that spawned a very average remake) which really doesn't make much sense to me.

The World War Two movies usually follow the allied powers, showing them off as the heroes of the whole thing, making the axis powers out to be viscous, bloodthirsty warmongering savages (my favorite exception being "Letters From Iwo Jima") and really just displaying a clear good and bad side to things.

Vietnam flicks usually involve drug usage, racial tension and expletives, and an average soldier usually looking at the whole thing as a needless war, showing that there really is no good or bad in this new and confusing age of asymmetrical warfare.

Both usually do well and stick fairly close to what I've laid out for you, but the problem that I see is predictability. We know how it's going to go in both cases, especially World War Two movies because that's the war everyone always talks about, the war most war movies take place in, and it's the easiest to decide right and wrong out of almost every other war fought in human history.

But why do wars like the one in Korea, or World War One or various civil wars, or even the American Revolution always get looked over by Hollywood? Name one Revolutionary War movie besides "The Patriot" that is actually worth talking about.

Name one World War One movie in the past ten years.

Name one Korean War film in the past twenty years.

Name one civil war movie in the past fifteen years.

Sure, you'll find small budget movies, or made for tv films, but you cannot find anything big budget.


I mean, take World War One, for instance. Even how it began would make for a suspenseful, dramatic film. I won't bore you with a history lesson, but I would ask you to look into it, there's a great series on youtube about how it all began called "Extra History: The Seminal Tragedy" and it really is a tragedy.

Or, here's one, how about a movie about one of the many countries we messed with during the cold war. No, not Vietnam, I'm talking about the shady, backdoor coups and rebellions we armed/trained/supplied. Why not a movie about the conflicts Israel found itself in, like the "Six Day War"?

We can't ignore these wars, pretending they never happened. We must acknowledge them, learn from them, and try our best to prevent them from happening again, and I think film is a wonderful way to do that. We can't glorify war, like some people think "American Sniper" did, but I'm not gonna touch that topic with a ten foot pole because it's really just not worth the fallout one way or another, but we can't ignore it either.

We can't say "Everyone in one group is evil and everyone in another group is good" but we also have a responsibility to call out evil when we see it. ISIS = evil. Nazi Germany = an evil concept, though there were many good Germans. American soldier who rapes and murders civilians = evil. Hollywood, is in all honesty, afraid of stepping on anyone's toes so honestly, I think they just stick with the format of war films that has been proven to be relatively safe and profitable, the biggest risk was "American Sniper" because it fell outside of the formula. It made tons of cash, but it was far too controversial and polarizing, thus leading to the debate we've seen since it pretty much came out.

I want Hollywood to take risks, so more inventive, original, and thought provoking films, especially war films, seeing as they largely lack anything that we haven't seen a million times before, get made.

Don't you? Do you have any suggestions? Any ideas for good war movies?


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