Many great movies have been made to portray the horrors and intensity of war. Our top 10 list of the best war movies modern can help you find what to watch.
The horrors of war have inspired great movies for more than a century of the medium’s history. From the most poetic to the crudest, from east to west, from Vietnam to Iraq, from Japan to the Soviet Union. All of these terrible conflicts have left their marks in cinema, and today we are looking at the best war movies modern period, specifically.
We not looking at all the best modern military movies that are out there, but the best modern war movies since 2000 listed are authentic portraits in all possible shapes, sizes, and colors of the profound tragedies that have caused (and continue to cause) armed conflicts in all parts of the world
Without further ado, here are the top 10 modern war movies that are not only full of incredible actions but also full of pathos:
Top 10 Best War Movies Modern That Keep You Glued to the Screen
Table of Contents
- 1. Black Hawk Down (2001)
- 2. The Hurt Locker (2009)
- 3. Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
- 4. Lebanon (2009)
- 5. Restrepo (2010)
- 6. 12 Strong (2018)
- 7. Beasts of No Nation (2015)
- 8. Sand Castle (2017)
- 9. A War (2015)
- 10. Extraction (2020)
1. Black Hawk Down (2001)
Director: Ridley Scott
While ‘Black Hawk Down’ is not a particularly praiseworthy film, it doesn’t matter when Ridley Scott, in a show of technical and narrative virtuosity, took Spielberg’s hyper-realism in ‘Saving Private Ryan’ to new heights with a stifling, immersive and highly energetic exercise that immerses you in the rawness of armed conflict, putting you in the middle of a land foreign to most.
The movie is raw, violent, and lacking in morals — but is still among the best modern war movies of all time.
2. The Hurt Locker (2009)
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
2009 was the year in which, unexpectedly, a feature film by Bigelow with just $15 million in the budget, swept gigantic blockbusters and great Oscar-winning auteurs off the map. The 6 Oscars the movie won were the recognition of the two most stimulating hours that the best war movie of 2009 could leave the audience
One of the best war movies modern that brought us closer to the nonsense of the Iraq war on the front line, forcing us to share the sensations and the adrenaline pumping experienced by a combat engineer that feels like being trapped in a ‘hurt locker’.
3. Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Another great one among the best war movies modern by Kathryn Bigelow, ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ follows one of the most significant military operations in modern history, the search for Osama bin Laden after the September 11 attack in New York, United States.
Despite the controversy surrounding its interrogation scenes, the movie starring Jessica Chastain fascinatingly explores the hunt for the terrorist leader. In ‘The Hurt Locker’, Bigelow was reluctant to make judgments about the War on Terror, while ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ is much more direct in questioning whether the hunt for Bin Laden was worth it.
4. Lebanon (2009)
Director: Samuel Maoz
Winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, this Israeli movie tells the horrors of the 1982 Lebanon War from inside a tank. Twenty-four hours in which a group of soldiers (and also us) feel the claustrophobia not only of the small space they occupy but also of the entire conflict. A film by Samuel Maoz full of reflections and above all emotions.
5. Restrepo (2010)
Directors: Sebastian Junger & Tim Hetherington.
Restrepo is not just a movie, it is a documentary that directly shows the audience the real images of war and conflict. It is a film that is not for all audiences, since it deals with the most “relaxed” moments, such as the stay after the tense deployment, of collaboration with civilians, but also of death in both sides, what civilians themselves suffer and the consequences of PTSD.
It is a film that was not liked by certain groups in the US either since it does not put their country in a good light. In addition, it reveals that the locals did not understand why “help” was coming from outside to start this conflict
The movie barely lasts an hour and a half but is well worth it as one of the best modern day war movies out there.
6. 12 Strong (2018)
Director: Nicola Fuglslig
After the 9/11 attack, everything changed in the United States. 12 Strong returns to the weeks immediately after the attack and follows a group of CIA special forces, which is sent to Afghanistan. Their objective, to defeat the Taliban. What they do not expect is that shortly after arriving, they will be ambushed in a foreign area and completely surrounded.
While lacking depth, the tension of the ambush and the performances of the protagonists elevate this movie to one of the best war movies modern.
7. Beasts of No Nation (2015)
Director: Cary Fukunaga
Abraham Attah is Agu, a young man who loses his family in a civil war on the African continent, one of many, and since then he has been forced to be part of one of the rebel defense lines. Beasts of No Nation tells us about child soldiers, and it does so openly. Cary Fukunaga, director of True Detective, Sin Nombre, and the upcoming Bond film shows his craft in this production.
It is clear that the production is not as powerful as others that we will see in this list with much larger budgets. But it gives a humane treatment to the conflict of child soldiers in Africa and, in addition, it has spectacular sound and great cinematography.
It is tough to watch and it is much more personal than other war movies that we can watch, making it one of the best war movies modern you can also watch on Netflix.
8. Sand Castle (2017)
Director: Fernando Coimbra
Starring Nicholas Hoult, this Netflix original film is about a platoon that, after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, tries to repair the water supply system in a hostile area. After ambushes by the locals, Private Matt Ocher (Hoult) witnesses the destruction and horrors of war.
9. A War (2015)
Director: Tobias Lindholm
This Danish film is a curious case in its treatment of war arguments. Pilou Asbaek (known for his role Euron Greyjoy in the series ‘Game of Thrones’) plays Commander Pedersen, who is accused of murdering civilians in Afghanistan while trying to save his squad. Pedersen returns home but faces war crimes charges.
‘A War’ was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, making it one of the top best war movies modern not in English.
10. Extraction (2020)
Director: Sam Hargrave
Chris Hemsworth shooting, driving like a maniac, swerving left and right…Why not? Thor is in top form in this film by Sam Hargrave (who has worked as a stuntman and effects coordinator in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and in fact has been Hemsworth’s own stunt double), in which he pulls off spectacular visuals of how a mercenary must fulfill the mission of extracting a teenager kidnapped by crimelords.