Fifty Great War Films

Posted: July 27, 2016 in Uncategorized

From The Battle of the Somme through to American Sniper, war and conflict has been a staple source of inspiration for the film industry since the turn of the 20th century. Today, this genre and its continued popularity, which has covered some of the most important conflicts in recent history, has become a means of educating the young and remembering the fallen. They are the war memorials of a modern society.
This new study, which includes classics such as Sergeant York and The Great Escape, and modern Hollywood epics such as Black Hawk Down and The Hurt Locker, details fifty of the greatest war films of the last hundred years.

Tim Newark’s Fifty Great War Films, is a nicely paced, and relatively light, read. Newark clearly demonstrates his knowledge of the subject, frequently touching on the cultural significance of war movies, which is very important. Although, while the cultural significance of war films in general is covered, there’s only passing mention paid to the impact of specific films.

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While it’s nice that all the films in the book receive an equal amount of coverage, the fact is that some films are more equal than others. After all, books could be (and have been) written on Apocalypse Now…yet here it receives the same about of coverage as Three Kings and The Thin Red Line. Sometimes the amount each movie receives is spot on, but you’re frequently left wanting more. With that said, Oh! What a Lovely War, and MASH receive superb write-ups.

The production quality throughout the book is very good. The layout is solid and pleasing to look at (very important in this sort of book), and the photographs are all of high quality.

Ultimately, these sort of books are designed to promote discussion and debate amongst friends, and if you have this on your coffee table, you can certainly be sure of a few good discussions. There’s plenty of old friends that will make you smile, glad that they’re included…and more than a few omitted that will make you a little angry. No Full Metal Jacket? No Zulu?

New on DVD

Unfortunately, too many “missed” titles and not enough depth on each that is included stop this from being an essential purchase, but as a “conversation starter” coffee table book, it works very well indeed.


Fifty Great War Films by Tim Newark is available now from Osprey Publishing.  Review by Brad Harmer-Barnes.

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