Top 5 war films for winter break

Daniel Reiss, Staff Writer

1. Apocalypse Now (1979)
Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now” Vietnam War masterpiece follows a captain tasked to locate and kill a colonel that has gone crazy in Vietnam. The film stars Martin Sheen (The West Wing) as Captain Willard and Marlon Brando (The Godfather) as Colonel Kurtz. “Apocalypse Now” perfectly depicts the insanity and mayhem of war and also the descent into madness of soldiers.

2. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
This landmark World War II film tells the story of a group of soldiers tasked to locate a private whose three brothers have been killed in battle. Directed by Steven Spielberg, and featuring a star-studded cast, led by Tom Hanks, the film contains some of the most intense filmmaking in cinema history but never forgets that there are characters at the heart of the film. “Saving Private Ryan” is the perfect ode to the veterans that fought in World War II.

3. Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
This World War II film tells the story of a group of prisoners-of-war captured by Japanese forces who are instructed to build a bridge in order to help bring across more Japanese troops. The film, directed by David Lean, and starring William Holden (Network) and Alec Guinness (Star Wars), asks deep questions to the audience about honor and leadership.

4. Platoon (1986)
This Vietnam war film follows a private and his comrades’ time fighting off Vietnamese troops in Cambodia. Featuring early performances from Charlie Sheen, Willem Dafoe, and Forest Whitaker, Oliver Stone’s war film depicts the transformation that war causes to the soldiers in war, and occasionally, the descent into savagery.

5. Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)
This war film tells the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II from the Japanese perspective. The film (a companion piece to Clint Eastwood’s previous World War II film, Flags of our Fathers) stars Ken Watanabe (Inception) as a general who is trying to command his troops for as long as possible even when he knows there is a very little chance of victory. The film asks viewers to empathize and look at enemies in war as just other people trying to defend their country, too.