For the record: I am opposed to war. I took on the chant, “I ain’t gonna study war no more” while I was still a student. I stand firmly in my peace that there is never any excuse for war. To me it’s childish, lazy, dirty, expensive and dangerous. But, contrary to popular beliefs, at certain times in our history, this does not mean I don’t “support” the troops. I am 100% in favor of bringing them back home to be with their families. Is it contradictory to say that war produces good films? Here are a few of my favorites ~

 

Kelly’s Heroes (USA, 1970)

A delightful comedy set in a war zone. Kelly, in questioning a German officer, finds out about a stash of gold in a bank behind enemy lines. With a sample of the gold, Kelly is able to convince a team of soldiers to follow him. An all star cast with Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Don Rickles, Carroll O’Connor and Donald Sutherland . . . Full of classic lines and performances. And a message about fighting with a purpose. Listening in to the communications as the troop prepares to take a bridge and get over it, Carroll O’Connor, back at HQ is pleased with their fighting spirit.

 

The Dirty Dozen (USA, 1967)

Lee Marvin stars as Major Reisman, who is given the assignment of picking 12 men off death row. In exchange for a commuted sentence, the Major will be training them a chance to die as heros or come home free men. Reisman is used to doing things his own way and when the men refuse to shave he allows them to remain dirty. Another all star cast with Ernest Borgnine, George Kennedy, John Cassavetes, Telly Savalas and Donald Sutherland. This, too, talks about the motivation behind fighting. Through the training, each man learns something about himself and what he’s capable of. Though you wouldn’t call it a comedy, there are definitely some light moments along the way.

 

War, Inc. (USA, 2008)

I couldn’t find a foreign film that fit my bill. I wonder if people around the world see war in a different way. This is a terrific send up of the military industrial complex. John Cusack wrote and starred as a hit men sent to the “town” set up in the middle of a war zone. A strong statement about what war has become.

For war movies, one must also recommend the classic, 1951 “The Day the Earth Stood Still” as a statement against war. I cannot think of one reason to have redone this beautiful film. And of course, there’s “Dr. Strangelove or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb,” the classic brilliant film from 1964 starring Peter Sellers in multiple roles.

Advertisements