In terms of war movies, even the bad ones are usually pretty watchable. Not every war movie is going to leave you teary-eyed the way Saving Private Ryan does, or have the twisted humor of Full Metal Jacket, but as long as the explosions and machine gun fire is frequent, a bad military flick can usually pass as mildly entertaining.
Unfortunately, the previously mentioned military movies aren’t yet available for Netflix streaming, but there some worthy substitutes ready to take their place. I hope you have four hours set aside for Robert Duvall and Martin Sheen, because Apocalypse Now is calling along with 11 other of highest rated military movies currently at your disposal on Netflix.
1. Black Hawk Down 4 stars out of 9,282,512 ratings
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that Black Hawk Down is the highest rated war movie on Netflix. The Ridley Scott directed film is non-stop action from start to finish. Based on the Battle of Mogadishu in 1993, the film focuses on a team of soldiers who must fight their way through a barricade of Somali rebels led by warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid after their helicopter is shot down. If you’ve got a home entertainment system with some nice speakers this is the movie to watch for that authentic feel like your home is being hit with rocket fire – if that’s your thing. The impressive cast includes everyone from Ewan McGregor to Eric Bana. Rotten Tomatoes 88, IMDB 7.7
2. Apocalypse Now 4 stars out of 2,425,026 ratings
Francis Ford Coppola’s brilliant 1979 film gave Marlon Brando’s strangest roles as Col. Kurtz, an American officer who’s started to advance his own crazed agenda in the midst of the already mad Vietnam War. Martin Sheen leads a platoon of soldiers hunt him down, encountering strange characters and bizarre situations with every twist of the river. Adapted from Joseph Conrad’s novella Heart of Darkness, the film depicts “the horror… the horror” of warfare like no other movie, and if two and a half hours of napalm in the morning isn’t enough for you, the longer director’s cut Apocalypse Now Redux is also available for streaming. Rotten Tomatoes , IMDb
3. Patton 4 stars out of 1,463,559 ratings
Patton made its way to Netflix streaming over July 4th weekend and had a spot on our list of patriotic movies. If you couldn’t tell from the image above, the movie is about as gung-ho American military as it gets. “The biographical war film about General George S. Patton during World War II earned six Academy Awards in 1971, including actor George C. Scott taking home a ‘best male actor’ Oscar. The film burns with such American patriotism that Richard Nixon cited it as his favorite film and watched it for inspiration before meeting with then-Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai in 1972.” Rotten Tomatoes 94, IMDB 8.1
4. We Were Soldiers 4 stars out of 3,803,198 ratings
We Were Soldiers also made its way into our roundup of patriotic movie choices, and if you haven’t watched it, it’s certainly worth checking out. Mel Gibson leads a cast that includes Madeleine Stowe, Sam Elliot, and Greg Kinnear telling the story of one of Vietnam’s earliest and bloodiest fights at the Battle of Ia Drang and the aftermath of sorrow that followed as news of the conflict hit the States. Rotten Tomatoes 84, IMDB 7.1
5. Downfall 4 stars out of 966,902 ratings
Even if you haven’t seen Downfall yet, you’ve probably at least seen the YouTube meme “Hitler reacts to…” that came from the German drama. The movie follows Adolf Hitler’s final 10 days on Earth as he hides in a Berlin bunker and comes to terms with his defeat. Actor Bruno Ganz gives an incredible acting performance as the Nazi leader that’s downright creepy at times and helped the movie secure an Oscar nomination for “Best Foreign Film.” Rotten Tomatoes 94, IMDB 8.3
6. The Longest Day 4 stars out of 534,971 ratings
What kind of war movie list would this be if it didn’t have at least one John Wayne flick? (One that hate’s ‘Merica is the answer.) Based on the Cornelius Ryan book of the same name, Longest Day depicts the most famous battle of WW II Operation Neptune aka D-Day. What makes The Longest Day one of the better films to touch on the beach battle at Normandy is that the original battle locations where used whenever possible. The film aims to show the perspective of both the Allied and German forces, and while still just as long with a cast twice as large, it’s far less gory than the battle scenes depicted in Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan. Rotten Tomatoes 91, IMDB 7.8