People in India and Pakistan are on the verge of a war or so goes the rhetoric shared by the media on both sides of the border. Most people, on either side, are peace-loving folks who do not yearn for war. However, there are always those who do want war. Such candidates can quench their thirst by exploring the pages of the book, 101 War Movies You Must See Before You Die because it’s a book that is filled with war narratives.
So which films have made the list and are recommended by the writers? Well, there are some obvious contenders such as The Great Escape, Saving Private Ryan and Black Hawk Down. Fortunately, it’s not just prolific war films from Hollywood that have made it to this unique collection but an array of work that has no association with Hollywood. This book, therefore, deals with those films as well as the classics.
There are many entries here that deal with world wars. Some take place in Korea while a few of them happen in modern day Europe and Africa. From Buster Keaton’s The General to Roman Polanski’s The Pianist, this book covers the extraordinary journey of cinematic battlegrounds where some have won while others have lost.
If you are in love with Guns of Navarone or have been an ardent fan of The Dirty Dozen (and its TV films), it doesn’t matter because what you may have seen on the screen isn’t discussed in this book. Instead, you get to learn about interesting facts that happened during the making of said film and the reasons why these films and not others have made the cut for top 101 war movies in the first place.
This book also makes you question the morality of war as well as its motives. It will also give you an insight into the most memorable sequences from war films such as Richard Burton’s iconic jump over a cable car in Where Eagles Dare, Steve McQueen’s fall in The Great Escape and Alec Guinness’s reaction when the bridge is destroyed in The Bridge on the River Kwai. Reading about films like Lawrence of Arabia, Saving Private Ryan, Good Morning Vietnam and Hotel Rwanda will make you wonder about the threat of war, something we dismiss far too casually.
So if you are fascinated with tanks, if you think you can learn strategies from a war movie and if you like the sound of guns and grenades, look no further because this book has everything you want in one place.
After reading this book, you will become an expert on war films and will be asking your friends about their favourite dogfight sequence, their own dirty dozens and their favourite war zones where they would like to magically appear and save the day. Enjoy!
Salient facts from 101 War Movies
You Must See Before You Die
* Director Francis Ford Coppola has a cameo in Apocalypse Now where as a war reporter, he tells the ‘troops’ not to look at the camera.
* As many as 42 Hollywood giants were part of The Longest Day as cast members including John Wayne, Richard Burton, Henry Fonda & Sean Connery.
* Although he wasn’t listed as the producer, lead actor Kirk Douglas is said to have financed Paths of Glory.
* David Lean and Noel Coward are both credited as directors of In Which We Serve.
* John Wayne’s Sands of Ivo Jima was later remade by Clint Eastwood in 2006 as two separate films.
* The Andrews Sisters singing The Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy in Buck Privates were classy bait for the Army recruitment drive.
* Richard Attenborough’s directorial venture Oh! What A Lovely War was billed as a flick with ‘songs, battles and a few jokes’.
* Director Michael Cimino shot most of the Vietnam War scenes ‘back home’ in Pennsylvania.
* Legendary director Akira Kurosawa was almost blind when he called the shots of his epic war film, Ran.
* Steven Spielberg shot Schindler’s List in black and white to give it a sense of documentary neorealism.