20 Best Hollywood War Movies Based on True Stories

Best War Movies: Mother Earth has seen hundreds of thousands of wars since the homo sapiens came into existence, from ancient wars to modern wars. These wars were either heard by our grandfathers or through history books and scriptures.

There are some incredible filmmakers, who get these writings into visuals taking into account the pain, the bloodshed, the horror and disasters that people went through.

Check out: Best World War 1 Movies based on True Stories

For those who have a tough time imagining the events occurred in past just by reading the scriptures and books, below is the best War Movies list based on true stories from Hollywood. You can watch these war movies on Netflix or buy the war movies DVDs.

  • Black Hawk Down (2001)

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A major United Nations military operation is authorized in Somalia following the civil war after the federal government is ousted. The military loyal to Mohamed Farrah, a self-declared President of the country, declares war on UN personnel. The entire plot revolves around the fight between UN personnel and Somalian militia and the movie has received many positive critiques for its breathtaking sequences. The film has won many awards and if you love war movies, this should be the first in your list.

IMDb Rating – 7.7/10

  • Pearl Harbour (2001)

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Pearl Harbour is based on the historical events occurred in real life and visualizes the story for 2 best friends who fall in love with the same girl. Danny and Rafe join the World War II as fighter pilots. Rafe is eager to fight after joining England’s Air Force while back at home, his girlfriend, Evelyn comforts herself with Danny. The plot twist comes into play when Japan’s military drops bombs on Pearl Harbour Navy station.

IMDb Rating – 6.1/10

  • The Great Escape (1963)

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A group of allied military forces, imprisoned in German Prisoner-of-war camp during World War II plan to break out from the prison. Their motive is not just to break out of the prison but to divert German soldier’s attention so that the allied forces can take over the reins. Once the plan comes into reality, they soon realize the stakes are much bigger than what they thought of.

IMDb Rating – 8.2/10

  • Platoon (1986)

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The story revolves around the soldiers during the dreaded Vietnam war. A student named Chris Taylor leaves his education to join the military. Once he gets into the reality, joining the forces on the ground, the courage and willpower fade out. A growing conflict between the 2 of his army men turn the soldiers against each other, and.. watch the full movie to know what happens.

IMDb Rating – 8.1/10

  • We Were Soldiers (2002)

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This war movie was born out of the best-selling book which again was based on a true story. We Were Soldiers is a war drama, which depicts the first ever infamous battle between the  United States and Vietnam army. It shows how closely bonded the troops are to each other during a war. The movie was praised for the heroism, valor, loyalty, and energy that sustained over the entire length of the movie which attracted many viewers.

IMDb Rating – 7.2/10

  • Hotel Rwanda (2004)

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Not all heroes you see are Soldiers. Some are simple men and women living a normal life like us. Hotel Rwanda is a story of Paul, who is a hotel manager. During the Rwanda genocide that happened in 1994, where over a million people were killed, he gave refuge to hundreds of thousands of Tutsi people to protect them from Hutu militia. This war movie is simply breathtaking.

IMDb Rating – 8.1/10

  • The Pianist (2002)

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The movie is based on an autobiography of Wladyslaw Szpilman, a Polish Jew, who played Piano on the radio station. He sees his town break apart gradually during the World War 2. Now, Szpilman gets separated fro his family due to the Operation Reinhard. In order to escape Nazi’s, Szpilman finds his way hiding from Nazi’s in various locations until the concentration camp prisoners are set free.

IMDb Rating – 8.5/10

  • The Enemy at the Gates (2001)

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Based on true story of a Russian sniper Vasily Grigoryevich Zaytsev, The Enemy at the Gates features the battle of Stalingrad which was fought for 5 and a half months between Nazi’s and Russian Army. During this battle, a sniper caught everyone’s attention that killed 225 Nazi soldiers using his skills.

IMDb Rating – 7.6/10

  • Full Metal Jacket (1987)

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Another film that revolves around the Vietnam war. Two friends join the military training to fight in the war. While one of them graduates to Marine Corps and is sent to Vietnam as a journalist, another friend takes a detour and steps back. Eventually, the journalist gets stuck in the war situation. Will he live to see another day?

IMDb Rating – 8.3/10

  • Downfall (2004)

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This war movie was adapted from the famous book, Inside Hitler’s Bunker where Traudl Junge gets a job as Hitler’s secretary. Three years after, Hitler’s regime is now headquartered in an underground bunker. Traudl narrates how Hitler’s final days were and also tells us about his mistress, Eva Braun. The role of Hitler steals the show and will keep you glued to the seats.

IMDb Rating – 8.3/10

  • Lone Survivor (2013)

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Millions of soldiers give up their life fighting against Islamic terrorism. Such is the story of Lone Survivor. Four Navy SEALS go on a mission in Afghanistan in 2005 to find and kill the Taliban leader Ahmad Shah. During this mission, a group of Afghans pass the information about Navy SEALS to the Taliban group and then starts the battle between them and the Taliban. However, they soon realize they are outnumbered and outgunned.

IMDb Rating – 7.5/10

  • Schindler’s List (1993)

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World War 2 is around the corner and Oskar Schindler wants to make cash out of it. He is willing to open an arms factory in Krakow but lacks labor. Having a political expertise, he hires Jewish laborers in his factory. Unfortunately, when the massacre of Jews is being done in Krakow, Schindler leads the charge in protecting his workers by going out of his way.

IMDb Rating – 8.9/10

  • Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

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Some old buried letters are found from an Island reveal a story of the struggle for survival at a tiny Japanese Island during World War 2. These letters, written by General Tadamichi Kuribayashi show that his men wouldn’t be able to survive for any longer on this Island and hence, gives all his military skills and tactics to keep the US Troops at bay.

IMDb Rating – 7.9/10

  • Valkyrie (2008)

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The war movie is based on a true story in a bid to assassinate Hitler in Jully 1944, named Operation Valkyrie. It was a joint effort of Hitler’s own soldiers to kill him and overthrow the Third Reich. Colonel Claus Von Stauffenberg (yeah) is a Nazi party and Germany’s loyalist but is afraid that Hitler will bring the country to ashes. He then joins a group of like-minded and top ranking officers to overthrow Nazi regime. Stauffenberg then becomes the go-to man to assassinate the dictator.

IMDb Rating – 7.1/10

  • American Sniper (2014)

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Some come back home from war, while some bring the war home with them. American Sniper is a war movie based on true story about a Navy SEAL Sniper, Chris Kyle, whose was tagged a legend because of his battlefield tactics and accuracy. He later realizes after coming from four wars in Iraq, that he cannot leave the war behind.

IMDb Rating – 7.3/10

  • Fury (2014)

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This movie is a collection of numerous short stories by real-life army men. Fury is a story about an Army man named War Daddy. When the allied forces were making their way through Europe in 1945, Wardaddy commands his team of soldiers on a deadly mission. They face all kinds of hurdles to win the battle with no weapons, outnumbered veterans and a rookie soldier in their battalion.

IMDb Rating – 7.6/10

  • Unbroken (2014)

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The war movie is based on true story of a qualifying Olympic runner, Louis Zamperini who always fell in trouble as a child. He started channeling his energy into running on the advice of his elder brother. In 1936, he qualifies for the Olympics but World War 2 changed everything. He joins the army on a mission, but unfortunately, his plane crashes into the Pacific. Survived on a raft for 47 days, he gets captured by Japanese Navy and turns him into a prisoner of war.

IMDb Rating – 7.2/10

  • The Wind Rises (2013)

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This anime war movie is based on the life of a person who created A-6M World War 2 fighter plane. A Japanese aviation engineer Jiro Horikoshi, who was tired of waiting to fly, set on a path to create this fighter plane. The way he innovates the plane to suit the needs of war teaches you to be an innovator yourself.

IMDb Rating – 7.8/10

  • The Railway Man (2013)

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Eric Lomax is an ex-prisoner of war and a former British Army officer who tries to hunt his past. One day he realizes that his torture is still alive and haunting. He and his life then set out to confront and meet the man who completely changed his life forever.

IMDb Rating – 7.1/10

  • Beasts of No Nation (2015)

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Child soldiers are real. We have always heard of them but hardly saw them in real life or even paid attention to it. Beasts of No Nation is a Netflix original war movie based on the civil war of Africa. The story is based on a young orphan child who is forced to train by a fierce warlord so that he can join his team of Gorilla Soldiers.

IMDb Rating – 7.8/10

Start Binge Watching

The above list is one of the best and breathtaking Hollywood war movies based on true stories and events. There are many more awesome war movies. If you have a favorite not belonging to this list, let us know in the comments below and we can all watch them together.

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