Help support TMP

"Most Historically Accurate War Movie?" Topic

71 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Historical Media Message Board

Action Log

30 Mar 2016 2:44 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Removed from TMP Poll Suggestions board
  • Crossposted to Historical Media board

2,706 hits since 21 Mar 2012
©1994-2016 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Pages: 1 2 

Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2012 3:17 p.m. PST

Glory got a lot right.
The latest Alamo was pretty good too as far as I know.
I've never heard much quibbling about The Duelists but its pretty intimate in scale and probably isn't considered a war movie in most circles though war is the backgound.
What film would you nominate for the above title?
I'm not asking which is the best movie, but which one consistently features the most accurate portrayal of historical uniforms, equipment, scale, conditions, situations, and combat. What film gets it most right?

I'm going to guess its something in the modern period being closer to the real thing but I'd be curious to see what wins that occurs prior to the end of World War 2.

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member21 Mar 2012 3:28 p.m. PST

From what ive heard from Rangers, Black Hawk down got it 80% correct.

While not technically a movie, I would say Band of Brothers was pretty spot on.

Neojacobin Inactive Member21 Mar 2012 3:34 p.m. PST

"Enemy at the Gates" comes to mind. there's also one from Belarus called "Brest Fortress" which is as harrowing as it gets. Made in 2010.

Altius Inactive Member21 Mar 2012 3:38 p.m. PST

Well, anything I say (and likely most of what I read in this thread) will be the inexpert opinions of a dabbler. My profession is something other than history, and much of what I know comes largely from the context of pushing toy soldiers around a table.

That being said, I thought the Band of Brothers miniseries was pretty close. That counts as a movie, doesn't it?

And apart from purely historical points, I'd just like to add that Air America was completely spot on with its depiction of the "character" of professional helicopter pilots. Particularly the type of pilots who work(ed) for Air America or Evergreen or Air Log, or any of the other outfits that run these kind of contracts. Completely. Whoever wrote it spent some time with the real guys.

Personal logo Captain DEwell Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2012 3:47 p.m. PST

Thin Red Line.

I thought the depiction of the Imperial Japanese Army was spot-on.

Actually, same goes for Letters From Iwo Jima.

(and I'm really no fan of the IJA during WW2, still alot of family hurt for that)

Sundance Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2012 3:59 p.m. PST

Black Hawk Down. All the World War II films I've seen just don't quite do make the mark for me, although many have been excellent other than in one or two points. Enemy at the Gates was great until the end – seriously? Snipers are going to just walk out in the open to see if they got the other guy? And the Eastwood pair of Flags and Letters were very good aside from the firecrackers used to represent naval gunfire. Come on, Clint, you can't do better than that?

CPT Jake Inactive Member21 Mar 2012 4:01 p.m. PST

Kelly's Heroes.

Actually I thought Go Tell The Spartans and Lost Command (movie version of The Centurians) were pretty good.

RavenscraftCybernetics21 Mar 2012 4:02 p.m. PST

55 days at peking!

Tin hat21 Mar 2012 4:12 p.m. PST

Well if you ignore the 'special' effects!

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member21 Mar 2012 4:14 p.m. PST

Yeah, I agree about Enemy at the Gates
I think thats a bit of a stretch.

John D Salt Inactive Member21 Mar 2012 4:15 p.m. PST

The only film I can think of to which I had no objections on grounds of the military equipment represented was "Bedknobs and Broomsticks".

That and "The Odd Angry Shot".

All the best,


Personal logo Pictors Studio Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Mar 2012 4:19 p.m. PST

I thought the latest Alamo was a pretty good one. If nothing else it was a good compromise between accuracy and dramatic effect. In that they didn't have to make much of a compromise on the accuracy to produce good dramatic effect.

I also thought Master and Commander had a good amount of detail to it.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2012 4:21 p.m. PST

The Lord of the Rings.

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2012 4:31 p.m. PST

WW II is not my thing but I was impressed by "A Bridge Too Far" and "Band of Brothers." I also thought "Master and Commander." quite good.

Korvessa21 Mar 2012 4:41 p.m. PST

Talvisota (Winter War in Finnish)
I thought they did a great job of showing what it must feel like to fight on in a hopeless situation.

anleiher21 Mar 2012 4:49 p.m. PST

I don't know about the equipment, but I thought the accents in Braveheart were pretty good.

dam0409 Inactive Member21 Mar 2012 4:56 p.m. PST

Four feathers

miniMo Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2012 4:57 p.m. PST

Aces High

Bridge at Remagen
El Alamein

Yesthatphil Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2012 5:35 p.m. PST

I, too, liked Enemy at the Gates and to be honest Saving Private Ryan (though if miniseries count, Band of Brothers comes top).

Braveheart was dire (one of the worst).

I saw Zulu as a nipper and it captured my imagination. The fact that it has some inaccuracies hasn't seemed to matter much over the years.

But in the modern idiom, I think Kingdom of Heaven had a good balance of cinema and authenticity.

tigrifsgt21 Mar 2012 5:38 p.m. PST

Saving Private Ryan: The landing was the closest thing to real combat I have ever seen.

Sundance Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2012 5:39 p.m. PST

Talvisota was an excellent movie.

Sudwind21 Mar 2012 5:43 p.m. PST

Tora, Tora, Tora….

can't believe no one mentioned it yet.

Steve64 Inactive Member21 Mar 2012 5:44 p.m. PST

The Odd Angry Shot … by a huge margin. I think that movie really nails it.

"The Bridge" – a German movie from the 1950's is also a top pick.

Whatisitgood4atwork21 Mar 2012 7:01 p.m. PST

Interesting question. I may be one of the few who liked 'We Were Soldiers.' It 'seemed' realistic to this amateur.

Can someone who knows give me his opinion on it though?

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2012 7:30 p.m. PST

12 O clock High. It is the only War movie my father ever watched and liked. He was a Navigator in the US 14th air force during the war.

21eRegt21 Mar 2012 7:43 p.m. PST

A German-made movie, Stalingrad. The house-to-house fighting, tank attack, etc. were gut-wrenching and made you sweat. I haven't seen an English-dubbed version, but it works even with sub-titles.

Katzbalger Inactive Member21 Mar 2012 7:51 p.m. PST

I think Black Hawk Down did a good job.

Stalingrad was pretty good at giving that doomed, hopeless feeling.


Personal logo wrgmr1 Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2012 7:53 p.m. PST

"Das Boot", the directors cut, German version, is my pick.

According to a buddy of mine who was a platoon commander in VN, "The Thin Red Line" is a close as he ever seen. In particular the various officers behavior.

enfant perdus21 Mar 2012 9:09 p.m. PST

This may be cheating, but hands down it's The Anderson Platoon. It's a feature length documentary where a camera crew spends about a month embedded with a platoon from 1st Air Cav in Vietnam, Sep/Oct 1966.
It's been years since I've seen it, but as I recall, for much of it there wasn't a lot happening and it was kinda boring. The troops (and the audience) often didn't seem to know what was going on, and the brief punctuations of combat were chaotic and confusing.

From what I've read and been told, that sums up war rather neatly.

iceaxe21 Mar 2012 9:10 p.m. PST

Another for The Odd Angry Shot, except for the end skirmish, which I always found a bit odd. But it was much as per the book, so from that point of view, OK.

CeruLucifus21 Mar 2012 9:26 p.m. PST

It's been 30 years or more since I've seen it, but my Dad said one of his ROTC instructors always said "Pork Chop Hill" was the only realistic war movie he had ever seen, because everything is all screwed up.

For myself, with no real world experience, I would vote one of the films posted above.

Personal logo Ironwolf Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2012 9:29 p.m. PST

What Did you do in the war daddy.

skippy000121 Mar 2012 9:40 p.m. PST

The Lost Battalion

The Lighthorseman

With all the cgi, you'd think someone would do Jutland.

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member21 Mar 2012 10:34 p.m. PST

"With all the cgi, you'd think someone would do Jutland"

Or Waterloo…or Sekigahara…or Bosworth…etc…

Sparker Inactive Member21 Mar 2012 11:27 p.m. PST

Re Enemy at the Gates I'm sure one of the tank hulks depicted in Stalingrad 1942 is a T34-85!

Sparker Inactive Member21 Mar 2012 11:40 p.m. PST

The Long Day's Dying (1968)


Utterly convincing, gruesome and scary. But superb period detail. No dialogue whatsoever, just the internal narrative as the soldiers stalk each other.

A patrol of British Paratroopers stuck behind the lines post Arnhem, hunted by Waffen SS.


Norman D Landings22 Mar 2012 3:49 a.m. PST

'Enemy at the Gates' indulged in one of my pet hates in movie-making: reused footage.

The blocking force machine-gunning retreating Russians shoots down the same guys repeatedly (once with the film 'flipped' to reverse the direction of the scene.)
And some of the boats that don't make it across the river are the same boat blowing up from different angles.

And the entire basis of the climax – the Zaitsev vs. Koenig "sniper duel" – is a myth anyway.

'We Were Soldiers' shows the French unit attacked by the Viet Minh as Foreign Legion, whereas there were no Legion units in Groupement Mobile 100.
The whole 'wiped out to the last man' thing is fictional, too.
The climactic bayonet charge is entriely fictional, as is Hal Moore's (Mel Gibson's) being on the front line throughout the action.

'Das Boot' is the best I can think of for accuracy.

Personal logo marcus arilius Supporting Member of TMP22 Mar 2012 4:02 a.m. PST

The Cruel sea & Paths of Glory.

Stephens123 Inactive Member22 Mar 2012 4:06 a.m. PST

My all time pick would be "Zulu". Uniforms, Zulu kit, characters all seem to be spot on from what I have read.

Dynaman878922 Mar 2012 4:17 a.m. PST

> Or Waterloo

Waterloo was good come to think of it, 2.5 hours of marchine and a half hour of battle. It suffered from late sixties/early seventies syndrome (soldier stepping out square to lament war…)

Personal logo Martin Rapier Supporting Member of TMP22 Mar 2012 4:22 a.m. PST

I cannot believe Hollywood crap like SPR and EatG is getting nominated… BoB was better than SPR. Yes, they were entertaining films, but really…


'Theirs Was the Glory', Arnhem, filmed with many of the original participants on the actual battlefield with original kit and much of the original detritus (they just set the King Tiger on fire ahgain for the film).

More 40s & 50s flag wavers deserving a mention being:

'The Way Ahead' and 'The Cruel Sea'.

For all its faults, 'A Bridge Too Far', also filmed with active participation of many of the original people (although as advisers rather than actually running around this time).

'The Duellists' is just fabulous on lots of levels, as is 'Master and Commander'.

The first half of 'The Thin Red Line' (up until after John Cusack takes the bunker, then it all gets a bit silly).

'Letters from Iwojima', as mentioned above, was also great.

'Empire of the Sun', 'Come and See' and 'Schindlers List', all got to grips with wath WEW2 was actually about, even if the latter did manage to make a anti-hero of Amon Goethe.

'War and Peace', both Bondarchuks epic film and the BBC TV adaptation with Anthony Hopkins.

An honourable mention for 'Das Boot' despite the toy ships and planes.

'Zulu', naturally.

Another honourable mention, this time for 'Spartacus' mainly for the Roman Legions doing their maniple thing. Fantastic, and no cgi in those days.

'300' :)

Personal logo Martin Rapier Supporting Member of TMP22 Mar 2012 4:27 a.m. PST

"Stalingrad was pretty good at giving that doomed, hopeless feeling."

Well, it was very much of the 'stubble in the rubble' genre similar to Die Brucke and Das Boot.

A bit too much Germanic self pity for me.

rvandusen22 Mar 2012 5:05 a.m. PST

The Finnish film Talvisota as mentioned above. Watch the long version. Uniforms, equipment, all good.

Personal logo Cardinal Hawkwood Supporting Member of TMP22 Mar 2012 5:09 a.m. PST


Major Mike22 Mar 2012 5:20 a.m. PST

Why not Guadacanal Diary, Wings, or Alls Quiet on the Western Front?

I agree with 12 O'clock High and Pork Chop Hill

Barks1 Inactive Member22 Mar 2012 6:49 a.m. PST

Generation Kill.

Altius Inactive Member22 Mar 2012 6:56 a.m. PST

Why not Guadacanal Diary, Wings, or Alls Quiet on the Western Front?

I saw something about wings back around the Oscars. The director of the movie was a veteran of the First World War and his goal was to get the combat scenes as authentic as possible.

mad monkey 1 Supporting Member of TMP22 Mar 2012 6:56 a.m. PST

All Quiet on the Western Front. The 1930's original one.

Terrement Supporting Member of TMP22 Mar 2012 7:01 a.m. PST

Spartacus, and, oh by the way, I am he.

Old Slow Trot Inactive Member22 Mar 2012 7:02 a.m. PST

"Wings ",I noticed,was using what looked like Nieuport 29's for most of the German planes. The "John-Boy" version of "All Quiet…",at least had the French using a Hotchkiss MG,while the Maxims were in the German's use,unlike the original version,which the United Artists prop dept. apparantly had the cast sharing the same MG.

Pages: 1 2