30 Best Military Action Movies Filled With War Horrors

Military Action Movies often depict the carnage and horror of war while also highlighting the fantasies about the heroic, noble people who fight them. 

And just because these movies usually deal with the military and feature tales of gallant troops and remarkable victories doesn’t mean that they are always flag-waving patriotic blockbusters.

A war action film can be strongly pacifist, revolutionary, and condemning of the political figures who lead us into violence. Therefore, morality is never pure in the best war films. 

We have listed down 30+ military action movies that depicted the propagandas, causes, goals, afterward consequences, and horror in the most naked form- 

Greyhound (2020)

Director- Aaron Schneider

Where To Watch- Apple T.V.

Storyline- Based on C S Forester’s novel “The Good Shepherd,” this is the fascinating narrative of an Allied cargo sailing the North Atlantic in 1942 as it is viciously attacked by a German submarine group. 

The U.S. Navy officer leading the convoy’s destroyer screen is traveling across the Atlantic for the first time. The story highlights his leadership duty as he fights the frigid weather, the long hours of darkness, the tumultuous sea, and his chronic fatigue while chasing the approaching submarines in a dangerous game of cat and mouse.

For a long time, the book was taught as a reference at the U.S. Naval Academy due to how vividly the thrilling story, a gripping ride-along with the embattled captain, portrays the fundamentals of battle direction.

Operation Mincemeat (2021)

Director- John Madden

Where To Watch- Amazon Prime Video

Storyline- The Operation Mincemeat plot stands out in the framework of WW2 narratives because it combines high-level espionage with clever fiction in a unique and alluring cinematic blend with extremely high stakes. 

Intense, romantic, exhilarating, unexpectedly amusing, and endlessly shocking are all interwoven together in Michelle Ashford’s script. It tells a profoundly personal narrative of warriors we hardly know, fighting a different type of battle in secrecy and deception, driven by the conviction that security and victory are nowhere to be found.

All Quiet on the Western Front (2022)

Director- Edward Berger

Where To Watch- Netflix

Storyline- The plot revolves around teens Paul Bäumer and his pals Albert and Müller, who voluntarily serve in the German army, riding a wave of patriotic zeal that quickly fades as they meet the harsh realities of life on the front. 

Paul’s ideas about the adversary and the conflict’s rights and wrongs quickly collapse. Paul must, however, fight until the bitter end as the clock ticks down to the ceasefire for no other reason than to fulfill the wishes of the war’s highest command to put an end to the conflict with a German offensive.

The Balkan Line (2019)

Director- Andrey Volgin

Where To Watch- Amazon Prime Video

Storyline- Slatina Airfield was seized by the United Kingdom under the leadership of the Albanian warlord Smuk in 1999 during the airstrikes of Yugoslavia and the Kosovo War. After that, Russian intelligence agents launch an operation to seize the airfield from them. The separatists commit ethnic cleansing, robbery, killings, and organ harvesting.

Aslan-Bek Evkhoev, a Russian Airborne Troops and military intelligence officer, and former paratrooper-turned-mercenary Andrey Shatalov led a small detachment assigned with the risky goal of stopping the Albanians, recapturing the airfield seized from them and holding it until Russian Airborne Troops reinforcement deployed in Bosnia came ahead of NATO forces.

The Man with the Iron Heart (2017)

Director- Cédric Jimenez

Where To Watch- Amazon Prime Video

Storyline- The idealistic Reinhard Heydrich, who meets the passionate Nazi Party member and his future wife, Lina, and progresses through the ranks to become the head of the Main Security Office of the Reich, sees himself as a rise from a disgraced German Navy officer dismissed for unethical actions. 

A valiant Slovak and a brave Czech, the recently enlisted warriors of the Resistance, Jozef Gabcik and Jan Kubis, are ready for a dangerous mission to kill Heydrich, the Reich-Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, as the German Fascists advance their frontiers and scorch Europe from top to bottom.

Panfilov’s 28 (2016) 

Director- Kim Druzhinin, Andrey Shalopa

Where To Watch- MX Player, ZEE 5

Storyline- 1941, late November, USSR. This is the tale of Panfilov’s Twenty-Eight, a group of twenty-eight members of the Red Army’s 316th Rifle Division, led by General Ivan Panfilov, who for several days blocked a column of fifty-four Nazi tanks from the 11th Panzer Division from advancing on Moscow. 

They battled courageously and fearlessly, with exceptional bravery and undying commitment, to safeguard Moscow and their Motherland despite having only standard issue Mosin-Nagant infantry rifles, D.P. and PM-M1910 machine guns, which are worthless against tanks, and completely insufficient RPG-40 anti-tank grenades and PTRD-41 anti-tank rifles.

The Expendables (2010)

Director- Sylvester Stallone

Where To Watch- Amazon Prime Video, Apple T.V., Google Play Movies & T.V., YouTube, MX Player

Storyline- The “Expendables,” a group of extremely competent mercenaries led by Barney Ross, including demolitionist Toll Road, martial arts expert Yin Yang, heavy artillery specialist Hale Caesar, knife purist Lee Christmas, and loose-cannon shooter Gunner Jensen. 

Barney and Lee travel to the isolated location to check out their opposition when the squad is given the assignment by the enigmatic Mr. Church to kill the brutal dictator of a small South American island. 

When they arrive, they cross paths with local rebel Sandra and learn the true nature of the battle engulfing the city. Ross will have to decide whether to leave Sandra behind when they leave the island or whether to launch a suicidal rescue effort.

Act of Valor (2012)

Director- Mike McCoy, Scott Waugh

Where To Watch- Google Play Movies & T.V., YouTube

Storyline- Act of Valor, a dramatic tale of contemporary global counterterrorism, depicts a group of active-duty Navy SEALs in a unique fusion of real-life valor and innovative cinematography. The movie, which was based on actual events, combines breathtaking fighting scenes with cutting-edge military equipment and heart-pounding emotion to create the ultimate action experience.

The film Act of Valor immerses viewers in the shrouded world of the most skilled and elite group of warriors in modern times. When the rescue of a kidnapped C.I.A. agent leads to the uncovering of a catastrophic terrorist plot against the United States, a squad of SEALs is dispatched on a global manhunt.

The SEALs are sent on a global mission as part of the escalating operation to trail the terrorist network to the border between the United States and Mexico. There, they engage in a deadly firefight that could have terrible effects on the future of the United States.

The Outpost (2020 film) 

Director- Rod Lurie

Where To Watch- Amazon Prime Video, Apple T.V.

Storyline- To control the Taliban’s movement and supply chain during the Afghanistan battle, a number of outposts were set up. One of them was Camp Keating, which was located in a valley encircled by mountains. 

While being shot at by the Taliban was frequent, they tried to win the respect of local village leaders and seek their cooperation in putting an end to the clashes. 

When 400 Taliban gathered one day for a surprise attack, it was their responsibility to make the most of their weak defenses and lack of ammunition and men in order to live and return to their loved ones.

Saints and Soldiers (2003)

Director- Ryan Little

Where To Watch-  Amazon Prime Video

Storyline- After being cut off from American forces after the legendary Malmedy Massacre, four American soldiers and one British soldier fighting in Europe during World War II seek to reach Allied territory.

After surviving a bloodbath in Malmedy, a region behind the German army in Europe, four American soldiers with just one weapon find the British pilot Oberon Winley (Kirby Heyborn) in a tree, and they travel together, seeking to reach the allied forces and save a significant number of coalition soldiers from a German attack using the information gained by Winley in his flight. 

Each soldier tells the others personal details while they are marching.

Hart’s War (2002)

Director- Gregory Hoblit

Where To Watch- Apple T.V.

Storyline- Army’s fourth-generation Col. William McNamara is kept hostage in a brutal German P.O.W. unit. Under the watchful observation of the dangerous Col. Wilhelm Visser, a former Luftwaffe officer, he still leads his fellow prisoners while upholding a sense of dignity in a setting where it is simple to crush it.

McNamara is secretly preparing, waiting for his chance to retaliate against the enemy, never giving up his fight to win the war. He gets the opportunity to begin a risky strategy by murdering someone in the camp. McNamara plans a crafty scheme to run and attack a nearby munitions plant with the help of young Lt. Tommy Hart, using a court martial to keep Visser and the Germans busy. 

Together with his soldiers, McNamara executes his mission with a hero’s resilience, ultimately being forced to choose between the good of his nation and his own life.

Journey’s End (2017)

Director- Saul Dibb

Where To Watch- Amazon Prime Video, Apple T.V., Google Play Movies & T.V., YouTube, Netflix, Plex

Storyline- The story takes place in an Aisne dugout in 1918 and depicts a group of British officers as they wait for their fate under the leadership of a mentally disturbed young officer named Stanhope. 

An organization moves up for its 6-day assignment on the line as a huge German attack is about to occur. The company is run by the alcoholic, war-weary, tightly-strung Captain Stanhope. 

Fresh out of training, 2nd Lieutenant Raleigh is joining the organization. Raleigh requested to be sent to Stanhope’s company as they were classmates at school. He has no idea how drastically Stanhope has changed.

Beasts of No Nation (2015)

Director- Cary Joji Fukunaga

Where To Watch- Netflix

Storyline- The plot follows the experience of Agu, a young kid who is made to join the military in a fictitious West African nation. 

Agu is first torn between opposing repulsion and curiosity, despite the fact that he fears his leader and many of the combatants around him. His early life has been horribly destroyed by the war raging across his country. 

The movie draws a complicated, challenging portrayal of Agu as a young soldier and portrays the mechanics of combat without skipping explicit, gruesome detail.

Uncommon Valor (1983)

Director- Ted Kotcheff

Where To Watch- Amazon Prime Video

Storyline- A Marine Colonel was fired because he refused to give up hope that his son, who was missing in action in Vietnam, was still alive. 

He discovers evidence of a P.O.W. camp, where his son might be, almost ten years after he vanished. So, with the help of the father of another P.O.W., he recruits some of the guys who served with his son. 

He creates a copy of the camp using images he got, and they plan a rescue effort. As they prepare to leave, however, the authorities try to stop them and seize their firearms. As a result, they must seek different weaponry.

Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Director- Quentin Tarantino

Where To Watch- Amazon Prime Video, Netflix

Storyline- Shosanna Dreyfus, a teenage Jewish immigrant, witnesses the murder of her family by Colonel Hans Landa while living in German-occupied France. 

She almost escapes with her life, but several years later, when German war hero Fredrick Zoller shows sudden interest in her and arranges a famous movie premiere at the theater she now owns, she begins to plot her revenge. The “Basterds,” a band of Jewish-American revolutionary fighters led by the vicious Lt. Aldo Raine, are drawn to the event because it has the promise of having every significant Nazi leader present. 

Their paths will cross for a catastrophic evening that will shatter the very annals of history as the merciless executioners advance, and the calculating young girl’s plans are put into motion.

Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Director- Stanley Kubrick

Where To Watch- Amazon Prime Video, Apple T.V., Google Play Movies & T.V., YouTube

Storyline- The film narrates the lives of several young men who go through Marine Corps basic training before being sent to Vietnam.

J.T. “Joker” Davis, who plays a major role in the story, is always in conflict with Gny. Sgt. Hartman, the drill instructor, along with all the other fresh recruits. Leonard “Gomer Pyle” Lawrence, one of the recruits, is having a particularly difficult time, especially since DI Hartman punishes the entire squad whenever he makes a mistake. 

All of this ends in catastrophe. Davis outlasts and soon finds himself in Vietnam as a combat journalist, witnessing the horrors of war firsthand during the Tet offensive.

Hunter Killer (2018)

Director- Donovan Marsh

Where To Watch-  Amazon Prime Video, Apple T.V., Google Play Movies & T.V., YouTube

Storyline- The U.S.S. Tampa Bay, a U.S. submarine, disappears in the Arctic while following a Russian Akula-class submarine. In order to conduct the investigation, Rear Admiral John Fisk dispatches the daring and just promotes Commander Joe Glass with the Virginia-class submarine U.S.S. Arkansas. 

A Navy SEAL team led by Lieutenant Bill Beaman is deployed to a Russian naval base at the same time to secretly monitor it. When they get to the naval station, they see defense minister Dmitri Durov carrying out a political coup and kidnapping Russian President Zakarin, and they quickly come to the conclusion that Durov wants to start a war.

12 Strong (2018)

Director- Nicolai Fuglsig

Where To Watch- Amazon Prime Video, Apple T.V., Google Play Movies & T.V., YouTube, Netflix

Storyline- On September 11, 2001, Mitch Nelson, a U.S. Army Captain is serving with Green Berets Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) 595, moved into a new house with his wife and daughter after being transferred to staff duty under L.T.C. Bowers. Nelson offers to take charge of 595 as soon as news of the horrific terrorist strikes that day spreads. 

Bowers initially rejects Nelson’s request for leadership of 595, but experienced soldier CW5 Hal Spencer, who had been planning to retire, convinces Bowers to accept Nelson’s proposal and offers to deploy himself. On October 7, 2001, 595 departed their homes and embarked on a journey to Uzbekistan. 

Nelson and 595 are chosen to fight with Abdul Rashid Dostum, the head of the Northern Alliance, after being briefed and approved by C.O.L. Mulholland, Commander of the 5th Special Forces Group.

The Wall (2017)

Director- Doug Liman

Where To Watch- Amazon Prime Video

Storyline- Staff Sergeant Shane Matthews of the U.S. Army, a sniper who served in the Iraq War, and Sergeant Allen Isaac, his spotter, are assigned to inspect a pipeline worksite in the nation’s desert. 

The team patiently waits 22 hours on over-watch before concluding that the site is safe. As Matthews explores the area, an Iraqi sniper fires a shot at him. When Isaac tries to save the dying Matthews, he also receives a right knee injury, fractures his radio, and destroys his water bottle.

1917 (2019)

Director- Sam Mendes

Where To Watch- Amazon Prime Video, Sony Liv

Storyline- Three dreadful years have passed since the start of World War I, and the Imperial German Army seems to have evacuated its position on the battle-scarred Western Front. This is all part of a sophisticated plot to trick the Allies into falling into a trap that will prove fatal.

On April 6, 1917, with the lives of 1,600 fellow soldiers on the line, best friends and British Army Lance Corporals Tom Blake and Will Schofield set out on a perilous mission to hand-deliver an urgent, life-saving telegram to Colonel MacKenzie’s Second Battalion of the Devonshire line infantry unit. 

In light of this, the young brothers-in-arms must travel nine miles through hostile enemy territory in rural France to the 2nd Devons in order to join them in time and stop the approaching attack. This is done amid the horrors of an unsettlingly silent no man’s land. Two regular troopers now move into certain death.

Dunkirk (2017)

Director- Christopher Nolan

Where To Watch- Amazon Prime Video, Apple T.V.

Storyline- The French port city of Dunkirk is home to 400,000 British and French soldiers. The only route out is by water, and the Germans have air supremacy, easily bombing British soldiers and ships. 

In a last-ditch effort to try and evacuate the beleaguered forces since the situation appears hopeless, Britain sends civilian boats in addition to its overworked Navy. 

This is the account of that incident as viewed by a soldier who was a member of the stranded troops, two fighter pilots from the Royal Air Force, and a group of onboard civilians who were a part of the rescue fleet.

Tears of the Sun (2003)

Director- Antoine Fuqua

Where To Watch- Amazon Prime Video, Apple T.V., Google Play Movies & T.V., YouTube

Storyline- Lieutenant A.K. Waters of the Navy SEALs and his elite team of tactical experts are faced with the tough choice of balancing their humanity and their sense of duty or finding the courage to pursue their ethics and save a group of terrified immigrants.

A fiercely loyal and battle-hardened soldier is sent on a routine operation to rescue Dr. Lena Kendricks of Doctors Without Borders when the democratic government of Nigeria falls, and the nation is taken over by a brutal military dictator named Waters. At a Catholic mission in a far-off village, Dr. Kendricks—an American citizen by marriage—is providing medical care for civil war victims.

When Waters arrives, Dr. Kendricks refuses to go unless he promises to support the villagers in seeking refugee status at the nearby border. If they stay behind, the large rebel army will have them at its mercy. Waters is under tight orders from Captain Bill Rhodes, his superior officer, to stay out of the fighting. But after seeing firsthand the cruelty of the rebels, he and his men change their minds and volunteer to accompany the villagers on a dangerous walk through the thick jungle, risking their own lives in the process.

Sand Castle (2017)

Director- Fernando Coimbra

Where To Watch- YouTube, Netflix

Storyline- The plot centers on a teenage soldier who joins the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It is based on actual events and depicts the bloodshed and horrors of battle.

Just before 9/11, a soldier joined. He is not a courageous man; he is merely volunteering to preserve liberty. He and a small portion of his infantry battalion are dispatched to an Iraqi village whose facilities were destroyed in 2003, just after Baghdad was taken over. However, at a time of conflict, simple tasks like water distribution, water transportation, and plumbing reconstruction became difficult.

Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan (2019)

Director- Kriv Stenders

Where To Watch- Amazon Prime Video, Apple T.V.

Storyline- Major Harry Smith and his fragmented battalion of 108 young and mostly inexperienced Australian and New Zealand men are battling for their lives in the pouring rain, amid the muck and smashed trees of a rubber plantation named Long Tan, for three and a half hours, holding off an overpowering attacking force of 2,500 trained soldiers.

As their ammo runs out, casualties rise, and the enemy prepares for a final attack, each soldier searches for his own solution – and the courage to win over an unpredictable future with dignity, decency, and courage. 

Aside from receiving numerous individual honors, the Battle of Long Tan was one of the most brutal and ugly battles in ANZAC history. It also earned both the South Vietnamese and American Presidential Unit Citations for valor. 

13 Hours (2016)

Director- Michael Bay

Where To Watch- Amazon Prime Video, Apple T.V., Google Play Movies & T.V., YouTube, Netflix

Storyline- Libya, 2012. Several ex-military contractors are working as security at an unofficial C.I.A. base in Benghazi. After Gaddafi’s overthrow, there was a power vacuum, and the situation was volatile. 

Military equipment is widely available. Chris Stevens, the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, pays a visit to the area and stays at a facility near the C.I.A. base. 

On the evening of September 11, 2012, hundreds of highly armed locals attacked the Ambassador’s compound. Six C.I.A. contractors are the only forces ready and capable of defending it.

Fury (2014) 

Director- David Ayer

Where To Watch- Apple T.V., Google Play Movies & T.V., YouTube

Storyline- A battle-tested Army sergeant named Wardaddy leads a Sherman tank and his five-man crew on a hazardous mission behind enemy lines in April 1945 as the Allies embark on their final push in the European Theatre. 

Wardaddy and his soldiers face incredibly serious difficulties in their heroic attempts to attack Nazi Germany’s core despite being outnumbered, outgunned, and having a rookie soldier thrown into their unit.

Lone Survivor (2013)

Director- Peter Berg

Where To Watch- Amazon Prime Video, Apple T.V., Google Play Movies & T.V., YouTube

Storyline- Navy SEALs Matthew “Axe” Axelson, Michael Murphy, Danny Dietz, and Marcus Luttrell deploy to Afghanistan in 2005 on a mission of surveillance and to kill Taliban leader Ahmad Shah. Luttrell and his men opt not to kill them despite being discovered by goatherds. 

However, one of the Afghans warns several Taliban fighters about the intruders, and a horrible firefight starts out in which the SEALs are completely outnumbered and outgunned.

Black Hawk Down (2001)

Director- Ridley Scott

Where To Watch- Amazon Prime Video, Apple T.V., Google Play Movies & T.V., YouTube, ZEE 5

Storyline- Dramatic action/war film based on the bestselling book about a highly disastrous mission that took place in Somalia on October 3, 1993. On this date, over 100 US Army Rangers led by Capt. Mike Steele was dropped by helicopter deep inside Mogadishu’s capital city to seize two top lieutenants of a Somali dictator.

Two American Black Hawk helicopters were destroyed as a result of a significant and protracted confrontation involving the Army Rangers, U.S. Special Forces, and thousands of Somali gunmen. 

The movie focuses on the valiant attempts made by several Rangers to reach the downed helicopters, with a particular focus on S.S.G. Eversmann, who led the Ranger unit Chalk Four to the first scene of the crash, Chief Warrant Officer Durant, who was captured after being the sole survivor of the second crash, and many other combatants.

The Hurt Locker (2008)

Director- Kathryn Bigelow

Where To Watch- Amazon Prime Video, Apple T.V., Google Play Movies & T.V., YouTube

Storyline- A captivating depiction of elite soldiers doing one of the highest-risk tasks in the world—disarming bombs during a battle. 

When a new sergeant, James, takes command of a highly skilled bomb disposal team in the midst of a violent battle, he truly amazes his two deputies, Sanborn and Eldridge, by recklessly throwing them into a deadly game of urban fighting, behaving as if he is immune to death. 

James’ actual character emerges in a way that will forever change each man as the men battle to manage their impulsive new leader and the city breaks into turmoil.

Unbroken (2014)

Director- Angelina Jolie

Where To Watch- Amazon Prime Video, Netflix

Storyline- The story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic track hero who survived a World War II plane crash and went on to battle destiny for his life before becoming a prisoner of war.

Louis (Jack O’Connell) is a rough-hewn kid who is on the point of turning into a full-fledged criminal until his brother starts mentoring him to be a track star. Louis was exceptional at it and went on to represent the United States at the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics. In the course of his training, he develops his endurance and discipline; his brother’s supportive words, “If you can handle it, you can survive,” inspire him.

After spending more than a month lost at sea, the Japanese uncover him, and Mutsuhiro Watanabe, a sadistic prison camp guard, out to destroy Louis’ indomitable spirit, subjects him to relentless physical punishment.

Mosul (2019) 

Director- Matthew Michael Carnahan

Where To Watch- Netflix

Storyline- ISIS-held Mosul, an Iraqi city, from 2014 and 2017. The SWAT team from Nineveh province, which was recruited of local guys who had either been wounded by ISIS or had a family member killed by it, was the only squad to continually combat the invaders during that time. Mosul by Carnahan is a powerful tribute to brave fighters.

Police officer Kawa (Adam Bessa), age 21, almost escapes a firefight. When the smoke clears, he runs into the Nineveh SWAT, commanded by Jasem, who had just saved his life (Suhail Dabbach). ISIS recently assassinated Kawa’s own uncle. Despite the fact that there are now just twelve men left with three Humvees, he joins the gang.

Before the end of his first day with Nineveh SWAT, Kawa will witness the rescue of a kid and the deaths of many comrades, get revenge on a guy who betrayed him, and takes part in an ambush at an ISIS stronghold. Carnahan throws us right into the thick of urban action, but he also gives room for heartbreaking moments that show the guys for who they are outside of combat. Mosul is a rare American movie that aims to present Iraqis’ perspectives; it is powerful and compassionate.

Kalashnikov (2020)

Director- Konstantin Buslov

Where To Watch- Amazon Prime Video, Apple T.V., Google Play Movies & T.V., YouTube 

Storyline- Kalashnikov, a tank driver wounded in the Battle of the Bulge in 1941, saw the failure of the newest Soviet machine gun. As an inventor, he began to seek improvements and, in 1947, developed the AK-47 assault rifle.

Mikhail Timofeevich Kalashnikov is the subject of a biographical movie. It is impossible to meet someone today who does not recognize this name. But not everyone is aware of the hard and long trek a self-taught man had before, at the age of 28, he invented the iconic AK-47 weapon, which is still a symbol of the military philosophy of the day.

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