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War Films of Note


Troy, 2004
Inspired chiefly by Homer's 'The Iliad', the film, set in 1200 BC, focuses on the few weeks surrounding the destruction of the city of Troy. From the detailed costumes and weapons to the impressive reconstruction of Troy itself, everything has a remarkably authentic and textured feel, but the real feather in the hat is the cast. Wolfgang Petersen's effort truly deserves the 'epic' label - not only for its startling battle scenes but also for a series of powerful performances by three generations of world class actors.

Three Kings, 1999
Satirical Gulf War movie in which George Clooney and a trio of other US soldiers head into the Iraqi hinterlands hoping to 'liberate' a stockpile of stolen gold and find themselves getting caught up in a bloody and confusing civil war. Director David O Russell lets the brutal battle scenes speak for themselves, showing the bloody reality of bullets ripping through flesh. But there's more to this film than fighting - the dialogue is humorous and highly satirical, while the farcical confusion of who's fighting whom and why presents a strong anti-war message.

Gallipoli, 1981
Peter Weir's highly effective retelling of the Anzac attempt to take control of Gallipoli in Turkey during the First World War is amongst the most moving of war films. Mel Gibson and Mark Lee are two sprinters who join the Australian army and become involed in their disasterous campaign to take control of the Dardanelles. Weir's film intelligently places equal importance on the friendship of the two men, which increases the tragedy of the film's stunning denoument when the troops go over the top - a shot that transcends cliche.

Master and Commander, 2003
Russell Crowe stars as the captain of a British warship, obsessively hunting down a superior French vessel in this nautical 19th century adventure directed by Peter Weir. Russell Crowe stars as "Lucky" Jack Aubrey, captain of HMS Surprise, a Royal Navy ship patrolling off the coast of Brazil. Her orders are to "intercept French Privateer Acheron", which has been harrying British interests in the area. Weir and his special effects team have done wonders with the battle sequences, which are terrifying, tense and evocative.

633 Squadron, 1964
A later version of The Dam Busters featuring a catchy theme tune, perilous mission, wooden acting, posh accents and plenty of entertainment. The brave 633 Squadron have enjoyed many successful sorties, but they are now assigned a seemingly suicidal mission - to bomb a water plant in occupied Norway, which is shielded by mountain terrain and guarded by heavy, anti-aircraft artillery.

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