6. Idi i smotri – Come and See (1985)
Elem Klimov’s last and maybe most acclaimed film is notorious with making a mess of the audience with its everlasting tension. This 1985 Soviet war drama takes the audience to a dark village in Nazi German-occupied Belarus in the most brutal time of World War II.
The film starts with the cries of a sickly looking Belarusian villager, who’s exasperated by the war. This opening is only a taste of what’s to come. Young Florya (played by Aleksei Kravchenko) leaves his mother behind and joins the Soviet partisans to fight the Germans. When he befriends Galesha (Olga Mironova), a 13-year-old girl, they learn about the realities of war as they constantly witness the relentless brutality of Nazi soldiers.
7. Tae Guk Gi – The Brotherhood of War (2004)
“The Brotherhood of War” is a 2004 South Korean war film directed by Kang Je-gyu, which tells the story of two brothers (Jang Dong-gun and Won Bin) who are forced to join the army to fight at the front when North Korea invades the South during the onset of the Korean War.
Although time to time it may feel a bit over the top for audiences who are not yet acquainted with Korean cinema, this foreign feeling will easily dissolve with its inclusive and warm storytelling. Having said that, “The Brotherhood of War” also chooses to stay out of politics and keeps its focus on the characters’ personal experiences.
8. Flags of Our Fathers (2006)
“Flags of Our Fathers” is a film with a realistic take on a representation of American heroism and a mythologized historical event in American history. Directed and co-produced by Clint Eastwood, this 2006 war film is influenced by the book of the same name about the 1945 Battle of Iwo Jima, written by James Bradley and Ron Powers.
The film is about the truth behind the famous photograph of soldiers raising the flag on Iwo Jima, and how it affects the lives of the six soldiers (with performances by Ryan Phillippe, Jesse Bradford, and Adam Beach) who were involved in it.
9. Joyeux Noël – Merry Christmas (2006)
This is a film about peace under the circumstances of war. Lovers of peaceful romantic films will enjoy it as much as lovers of war films. The story follows six characters (with performances by Diane Kruger, Daniel Brühl, and Guillaume Canet) during the World War I Christmas truce of December 1914 at a French-German front line.
Directed by Christian Carion, the film was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2006 Academy Awards and Best Foreign Film at the Golden Globes. It tells a story about the meaninglessness of war, the beauty of peace, the power of music, and how people are able to enjoy themselves, even in a situation where they have to be together with their opponents and people they don’t really know.
10. Mandariinid – Tangerines (2013)
There has been a lot films in history that tell a war story in a bloody and gruesome way. Maybe the most important thing about this film is the fact that it’s telling the same story without using any bombs, and without relying upon romantic cliches such as ‘the soldier and his lover left behind’, but rather, trying to show the destructiveness of war in a simple yet effective way.
Written and directed by Estonian-Georgian filmmaker Zaza Urushadze, “Tangerines” tells the story of the 1992-1993 War in Abkhazia by focusing on the lives of four characters in a pacifist manner. Nominated for both Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film in 2015, this is a film about finding yourself in the middle of someone else’s war.