‘Apocalypse Now’ Is Still the War Movie to Beat 40 Years Later

Photo: via fanpop.com

Can you believe it’s been nearly 40 years of Apocalypse Now? That’s likely older than you’ve been on Earth. And yet, we’re convinced it’s still the best buddy war film out there. If you think there’s better, we challenge you with our favorite films down in the trenches over the last four decades that, despite their greatness, still come up short to the Coppola classic.

And here we go….

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Hanks is a staple of many a three-hour classic, which is why his playing of Mr. Rogers will be epic. We’re just not sure we’d be willing to go with him behind enemy lines for Matt Damon, not after everything he did in Interstellar.

Platoon (1986)

An Oliver Stone staple, Platoon has one of those insanely impressive ensemble casts and its characters are brilliantly challenged throughout the film with their moral turpitude. More than 30 years old, it’s right behind Apocalypse Now having won Best Picture and Best Director at the Oscars.

Rescue Dawn (2006)

Christian Bale once again goes to great lengths to look the part. Given that the role of any prisoner of war (or prisoner of the jungle) is usually enough brutal to watch, Bale makes it a little more harrowing as he takes Steve Zahn down with him.

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Full Metal Jacket (1987)

While we would prefer to see Bill Murray throwing it right back in the face of his superiors, nothing tops R. Lee Ermey’s depiction of a Vietnam drill sergeant. The psychological trauma of boot camp alone is so well brought to light by Stanley Kubrick.

Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

Tom Cruise goes a little haywire in another Oliver Stone Best Director war flick, based on a true story. Cruise plays Ron Kovic, an anti-war activist who accidentally kills one of his own then descends into some red-blooded PTSD, the likes of which you’ve never seen.

Thin Red Line (1998)

A slow-burning Terrence Mallick classic, the war film follows Sean Penn and an incredible cast (Clooney, Brody, Nolte, Harrelson, Cusack, Leto, Travolta, Caviezel) into the trenches of war. It’s a long haul, but it’s worth the ride, at least once.

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The Deer Hunter (1978)

Somehow we go with a youthful Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken from a wedding and hunting trip into full-on war mode of Vietnam where men have no boundaries and Russian Roulette is no stranger. Meryl Streep is the kicker.

Fury (2014)

When it’s World War II times, you’re going to want “Wardaddy” Pitt on your team, even if it’s just you and a handful of others. An actual uphill battle death mission behind enemy lines, this movie might have been more appreciated if it wasn’t leaked before its release. Goddamn pirates.

The Hurt Locker (2008)

A breakout movie with a breakthrough director, Jeremy Renner plays lead to one of the most suspenseful departments of war: the bomb disposers. Joined by fellow Avenger, Anthony Mackie, the small team takes to the streets with some of the greatest cinematic and psychological thrilling shots.

Tropic Thunder (2008)

Actors playing actors at war? This couldn’t be a more accurate depiction of war times. Easily one of the top 5 most underrated comedies of the last decade, due mostly in part to Tom Cruise.

Stripes (1981)

apocalypse now

A Bill Murray classic from his early days. This down-and-out New Yorker turns to the army to whip him and his buddy into shape, only to end up saving their asses. Even Sergeant Hulka and his big toe.