Top 14 Best War Movies Based on True Stories (2023)

Many war movies have been created throughout the years, but the most powerful ones are war movies based on true stories.

The truth may make a movie more frightening, heartbreaking, or uplifting.

These heroic and often horrifying stories honor the lives of actual people who suffered as a result of war, whether they were fighting on the front lines, navigating the skies, or sitting at a desk. Risks were taken, sacrifices were made, and only a few people survived to tell the story.

These people’s stories have now been told on the big screen.

1. Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

Hacksaw Ridge is one of the war movies based on true stories.People know what Mel Gibson can do in front of the camera, but he also demonstrated what he could accomplish behind the camera in HACKSAW RIDGE.

Hacksaw Ridge is based on the true story of Desmond Doss [Andrew Garfield], a hero who saved over 70 soldiers in Okinawa during one of WWII’s deadliest battles.

Doss, an Army medic, thought that killing was not the answer to war and was the sole American soldier fighting without a weapon throughout WWII.

He single-handedly evacuated the wounded behind enemy lines amidst a barrage of bullets and grenade blasts.

Doss was a war hero and the first conscientious objector to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honour.

2. Zookeeper’s Wife (2017)

The true story of an average working lady and mother who becomes a hero to hundreds during WWII is told in The Zookeeper’s Wife.

The film is set in Poland in 1939 and tells the narrative of AntoninaŻabińska and her husband, Dr. JanŻabińska.

When the Germans conquered their country, Antonina and Jan joined forces with the Resistance to rescue hundreds of lives. During the turmoil engulfed Warsaw during WWII, she posted herself and her children online.

3. The Monuments Men (2014)

You must also conserve art during battles, and ‘The Monuments Men’ is all about that. The Monuments Men is a WWII action drama about a WWII squad tasked with preventing the destruction of cultural artifacts by invading Nazi thieves.

This movie stars George Clooney, Matt Damon, and Cate Blanchett, and it is about rescuing art, not men, from behind enemy lines.

With the German Army authorized to destroy everything from the Louvre to the Reichstag, it’s up to these men to rescue 1000 years of culture in a race against time.

The film, directed by George Clooney, examines man’s battle to preserve some of humanity’s greatest inventions.

4. Lone Survivor (2013)

In the struggle against terrorism, many troops have given their lives, and Lone Survivor is one of the war movies based on true movies.

In 2005, four Navy SEALS officers were dispatched to Afghanistan to conduct surveillance and assassinate Taliban leader Ahmad Shah.

They come across goat herds on their expedition but decide not to harm them. However, one of the Afghans alerts the Taliban, setting up a confrontation where the SEALs are outgunned and outnumbered.

5. Red Tails (2012)

Terrance Howard and Cuba Gooding Jr. star in the war movie.Redtails, which is based on WWII aviation fights. In 1944, the Pentagon made a last-ditch effort to win the war by recruiting untested African-American pilots from the Tuskegee training program.

6. Valkyrie (2008)

Operation Valkyrie is among the war movies based on true stories. Hitler’s troops made a concerted attempt to assassinate him and overthrow the Third Reich in July 1944.

Colonel Claus Von Stauffenberg is devoted to his country and the Nazi party, but he believes Hitler will devour the country.

He forms a group of like-minded, high-ranking people intending to overthrow the Nazi authority from within. Stauffenberg is tasked with assassinating the terrible ruler.

7. Charlie Wilson’s War (2007)

The incredible true story of the Texas congressman who not only prevented the Russians from capturing Afghanistan but also contributed to the Soviet Union’s demise is told in Charlie Wilson’s War.

Charlie Wilson sponsored the provision of millions of cash in weapons and training to the Mujahideen or holy warriors.

He formed Afghanistan’s rebel forces with the support of a CIA officer. Charlie Wilson is played by Tom Hanks, with Amy Adams and Emily Blunt rounding out the cast.

8. Behind Enemy Lines (1997)

Lt. Chris Burnett, a naval aviator aboard the USS Carl Vinson, is played by Owen Wilson in Behind Enemy Lines. Burnett has gotten rude and irritated due to being out of action for the majority of the time.

When Burnett’s commander, Admiral Reigert (Gene Hackman), assigns him on a photographic reconnaissance over the desolate Balkans, his life takes a turn for the worst.

Burnett and his pilot,Stackhouse, horrifying record photographs throughout their trip that reveals genocidal atrocities by the local militia.

Their F18 is shot down shortly after, Stackhouse is killed, and Burnett is left fighting for his life.

A Serbian paramilitary leader, Lokar, launches a manhunt for Burnett before revealing the crimes to the rest of the world.

Gene Hackman delivers a dramatic performance as he leads a secret rescue mission while also losing command of his spacecraft.

9. Black Hawk Down (2001)

Black hawk down is among the war movies based on true stories. The movie Black Hawk Down is based on ‘Operation Gothic Serpent,’ a US military operation in Mogadishu, Somalia.

It was directed by Ridley Scott and is based on articles and a book written by reporter Mark Bowden.

The movie follows a struggle through Somalia’s streets when over 100 Delta Force men and Army Rangers are dropped to seize two close aides of local warlord Mohamed Farah Aidid.

The movie had a strong cast, led by Grimes as SFC Norm “Hoot” Gibson and Eric Bana as SFC Norm “Hoot” Gibson.

It was named one of the best of the year, recreating scenes of daring and heroism by the US Forces, who determined to leave no soldier behind, dead or alive.

The movie’s camera work and Black Hawk Helicopters are its main attraction.

10. The Thin Red Line (1998)

‘The Thin Red Line,’ a drama film based on James Jones’ autobiographical novel, is set during World War II. The movie’s protagonist, Private Witt, is stranded on a Pacific island with the natives. Witt, a deserter who now lives in peace and harmony, is apprehended and debriefed by the US Navy.

11. The Great Escape (1963)

During World War II, allied forces soldiers imprisoned in a German POW camp plotted to escape. Not only do they want to escape, but they also want to divert German soldiers’ attention so that coalition forces can seize control.

However, when their plan comes to reality, they discover that the stakes are considerably higher than anticipated.

12. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Saving Private Ryan is a dramatic, realistic re-creation of WWII’s invasion and its immediate aftermath that is a Spielberg masterpiece. Capt. John Miller (Tom Hanks) and his troops locate Pvt, and James Ryan (Matt Damon) brings him back to the United States.

13. American Sniper (2014)

Bradley Cooper plays Chris Kyle, an American sniper who fought in Iraq on four separate occasions. It’s a biographical play with specific facts altered for dramatic effect. Nonetheless, the basis of the story is accurate and provides insight into current combat.

Kyle’s PTSD begins to impair his life back home in this Oscar-winning film directed by Clint Eastwood.

14. The Imitation Game (2014)

The Imitation Game is a character study of one of the most important men in British history. Despite never having set foot on a battlefield, Alan Turing saved millions of lives during World War II.

Turing and his team of English mathematicians only had 24 hours to crack the code because the Nazi encryption equipment (known as the Enigma Machine) had settings that changed every day.

This cipher, which the German military used to send secret communications, became the key to defeating Hitler, and only Turing was able to unlock the door.

The strain of deciphering the Enigma code dominates the first half of filmmaker Morten Tyldum’s historical thriller.

Thanks to Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley’s powerful performances, the Imitation Game is tragic yet inspiring.

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