Hello and welcome to Out of the Wilderness. I love to cover a variety of topics, and today it’s a specific type of film. I was watching Captain Phillips recently and wondered where it lands on my all-time favorite military movies. Of course, this particular film may not be considered a military movie in the strictest sense but towards the end, the Navy plays a vital role in the resolution of the ship Captain. Also, since my dad was a Captain in the Coast Guard, I’ll start with a movie about the group of water warriors. I will also include the trailer for each movie mentioned.
The Guardian – There aren’t a lot of movies with plots about the Coast Guard but this one, starring Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher, includes what you want in a dramatic action movie. Plus, when it’s dark out the ocean becomes an even more scary and fascinating place. This one is worth watching to see what some of the Coasties go through to get in, and the challenges they might face protecting our country.
Captain Phillips – Of course this one makes the list! There is so much to like about this movie from it’s intense dialogue, dramatic standoffs, and so much more. You definitely will be saying, “I’m the Captain now,” for a few weeks after watching. The part that sticks with me the most is Tom Hanks in the last act. Spoiler warning: When he is rescued at the end of the movie, Tom Hanks portrayal of the emotions felt are simply remarkable. I don’t know how an actor can get into that headspace but once you see it, after the Navy rescues him and he’s just screaming in confusion and happiness and fear, it’s incredible.
Tears of the Sun – Starting Bruce Willis, this movie is about a rescue but the story has twists and turns. Lots of gun fights, not lighthearted at all. If blood and some gore make you nauseated, you should pass on this one. Aside from that, it’s an amazing story of the tension between what you’re commanded to do, and what’s right to do. Bruce Willis, along with the rest of the cast play their parts so well. Tiny spoiler alert: The scene I remember most is when the enemies are nearby and the group of rescuees must keep a crying baby quiet so their position isn’t compromised. So intense!
Behind Enemy Lines – You might not think of the main actor in this movie as one who does dramatic roles, he’s definitely known more for his hilarious roles in Meet the Parents, Night at the Museum, and many others. I’m talking about Owen Wilson. Yes, he can do drama! This is an early role for him (movie was released in 2001) and he did it so well. Very intense but with a dash of levity. Great movie!
Hunter Killer – This is the most recent war/military movie I’ve watched, and I’ve seen it 3 times. It stars Gerard Butler, who is becoming one of my favorite actors. The movie leans a lot on the mental battle between enemies, at least in the first half. Then it turns into explosions, secret missions, and lots of butt-kicking. Spoiler warning: The scene I remember most is when they discover the enemy sub is masking itself by hiding right up against (underneath) an iceberg. There are a few other clever scenes like that, so I highly recommend this movie.
Rescue Dawn – Christian Bale stars in this Vietnam-era movie. It’s very much a glimpse into the mental tightrope/obstacle course/gauntlet one might have went through during the war. While there’s not a lot of action in the sense of it being a military movie, it’s very captivating and does still include intense scenes between American soldiers and Vietnamese fighters. Lots of great scenes in this one but the dialogue that has stuck with me through the years is when Christian Bale, in his despair and fatigue, asks God: Where are you when we need you the most? What an honest thing to ask.
Pearl Harbor – I fell in love with Kate Beckinsale because of this movie. It also stars Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett. Obviously, it’s about the bombing at Pearl Harbor. My favorite kind of movies are the ones that include a range of emotions for the viewer, from humor to drama, excitement, mystery, a love interest, and action. This one has all of that, and a few twists. Plus, the original percussion-heavy soundtrack (especially during the dramatic war scenes) is one you won’t soon forget.
These are movies very much worth watching. Of course, there are a lot of other great military movies so if you have a favorite that’s not on this list, tell me about it in the comments below. I appreciate you for stopping by to check out my stuff!
-Out of the Wilderness