Underrated and Forgotten: The 7 Best Military Movies You’ve Never Seen

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You’ll probably recognize these titles: Saving Private Ryan, Black Hawk Down, Apocalypse Now, Platoon, Full Metal Jacket, We Were Soldiers, Schindler’s List, Glory. The list can go on and on, right?

Don’t get us wrong: we’re fans of that list. Of course we are! BUT, looming in the shadows of those megahits are lesser-known gems worthy of your attention. The films you’ll see below are to be both enjoyed and digested—some will make you laugh, some will make you cry, some will make you cheer. But all will dazzle you with character, story, and authenticity.


Heartbreak Ridge

1986, Directed by Clint Eastwood

Hardly ever do we as audience members get a glimpse into the personal lives of the men who train the troops. But we do here. Clint Eastwood portrays a witty, hard-nosed USMC gunnery sergeant making the best out of a situation he never asked to be in: taking command of a spoiled recon platoon. You’ll be quoting this movie for days.


 Rescue Dawn

2006, Directed by Werner Herzog

Dieter Dangler, a US fighter pilot, is shot down over Laos and left with one goal after walking away from the crash: survival. As if the jungle isn’t harsh enough, he soon is captured and taken to a Laotian POW camp. The film glorifies nothing, often taking the viewer closer and closer to the breaking psyches of the soldiers forced to endure the bizarre day-to-day routine of a POW camp.


 Tigerland

2000, Directed by Joel Schumacher

Led by Colin Farrell’s performance as nonconforming Pvt. Roland Bozz, Tigerland is a character-driven drama about draftees undergoing Advanced Infantry Training at Fort Polk, Louisiana in 1971. The film honestly explores the ideas of leadership and self-doubt, and does so in a gritty fashion.

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G.D. resides in West Michigan. When he isn’t writing (or editing), you can find him outside, riding a bike, reading a book, or just plain running. Other interests include sports (of any kind), music (again, any kind) and cinema (a bit pickier here).