Last week, Seraphic Secret picked the Ten Greatest Movies of all time. Our ruthlessly reductive list eliminated dozens of great movies that we love. Ultimately, we decided on movies that we return to over and over again because there is always something new to see and because they never fail to entertain and astonish.
This week, we’ve decided to concentrate on war movies, a genre particularly suited to the kinetic energy of motion pictures. Readers will immediately notice the absence of silent films and movies from Hollywood’s golden age. Yes, in spite of our love of classic cinema, we are the first to admit that sound and modern special effects have rendered most older war movies tame and stylized.
We have also excluded war movies that treat war as “senseless killing” or set forth a pacifist narrative. As far as Seraphic Secret is concerned, a just war is the only method by which moral states can triumph over evil nations. In short, war is too serious to be intellectually castrated by fuzzy minds who traffic in moral equivalence.
We concentrate on movies that feature intense warfare, yet whose narrative line does not neglect the more intimate, personal stories. We have eliminated home-front movies, fantasies of good Nazi soldiers ( Auf Wiedersehen, Das Boot), movies about Holocaust victims, tales of spies, and POW movies, sub-genres that—except good Nazi movies, historically suspect and morally loathsome—deserve and will receive ten best lists all their own.
As always, we invite our readers to list their own ten best war movies.