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The Best War Movies of the 21st Century 1.69/5 (48)

War movies have always been guaranteed to fill theaters. From the alleged first-ever American made 1.5-minute pro-war film, Tearing Down the Spanish Flag, was made in 1898 on a set in New York City immediately after the United States declared war on Spain in April through the slew of war films produced in all subsequent decades, war movies continue to thrive. Many made since 2000 are destined to become classics. 

Zero Dark Thirty (2013)

After September 11, 2001, CIA rookie operative Maya is assigned to Pakistan to learn how to torture and seek out Osama Bin Laden, Al Qaeda’s elusive and vilified leader. Her history includes the interrogation of prisoners following the Al Qaeda attacks against the U.S. on 9/11. Although she is an unwilling participant in the severe coercion techniques used on the detainees, she accepts that the extreme tactics are probably the only option to get the truth. For five years, Maya is manically focused on exposing the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden. Finally, in 2011, a U.S. Navy SEAL team is sent to kill or capture Bin Laden. But only Maya is convinced Bin Laden is where she says he is. Sure, it’s a little too political at times, but you’d be hard pressed to knock the acting or emotion this one stirs up.

The White Ribbon (2009)

Made in 2009 and set on the eve of World War I, The White Ribbon is focused mainly on World War II. The movie is set in a small German village where inflexible devotion to law, tradition, and ritual is honored above all else and focuses on what becomes of the vulnerable children who are in the process of becoming full-fledged adults with opinions of their own. The White Ribbon is a passionately disturbing war movie by insinuation and one of the most unsettling origin stories ever written. Filmed in black and white, the movie is disconcerting from start to finish and avoids being overly quantifiable.

Dunkirk (2017)

This highly acclaimed film portrays the remarkable true story of the Dunkirk evacuations from a war-ravaged beach and harbor in Belgium following the apparently damned quandary of allied soldiers in World War II. As the rival forces close in, it appears the doomed troops have nowhere to seek refuge, but help steps in and a brutal battle follow. Viewers experience the Germans’ merciless attacks on the exposed, defenseless soldiers as they struggle to endure unrelenting assaults from Luftwaffe guns, artillery explosions, bombs, and torpedoes.

–Cassie Damewood

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