War movies, more often than not, are not always accurate. Movie producers and directors are focused on making movies that will sell tickets, and sometimes that involves injecting fiction into real events.
There are, however, 10 war movies military veterans agree are the most accurate depicting of life as a service member.
From box office hits, to documentaries and miniseries, the following 10 war movies are among the most accurate.
00:31 #10 – Jarhead
This movie takes place in the late 1980s when Anthony Swofford (Jake Gyllenhaal) enlists as a Marine. Swofford takes a sniper course during his training, that later prepares him for the Gulf War. During World War II, sailors began referring to Marines as Jarheads. Instead of being insulted, they embraced the new word as a term of respect. Some veteran Marines believe that the film is over-exaggerated, while others think the movie is spot on. Either way, the film is based on a memoir by Anthony Swofford himself, making it an accurate depiction of events that occurred during his service in the Gulf War.
01:04 #9 – Lone Survivor
Mark Wahlberg plays an outstanding role as Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell in this film, focused on a recon mission to take out Taliban leader Ahmad Shah. In 2005 in Afghanistan, Luttrell and three other SEALs went on this mission, and found themselves surrounded by Taliban militants. A terrible battle ensued, killing three of the SEALs and 16 more special operations forces who attempted to rescue them. Only Marcus Luttrell survived the failed June 28, 2005 mission “Operation Red Wings.” His book “Lone Survivor” and this movie tell the story of what happened that day.
01:31 #8 – Black Hawk Down
In 1993, the U.S. sent special forces into Mogadishu, Somalia after the country’s civil war. The majority of the population in Somalia was starving, and humanitarian aid sent into the starving population was being seized by militias loyal to Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. It became the mission of three U.S. special operations forces — 75th Rangers, Delta Force counter-terror operators, and 160th SOAR – Night Stalkers — to capture Aidid. The movie captures the harrowing battle that ensued when U.S. troops landed by helicopter and were ambushed by Somalis. The U.S. soldiers struggled to combat the overwhelming attacks from the Somalis, but fought with every ounce of their lives. Ultimately, 1,000 Somali militants were killed and 19 U.S. troops lost their lives.
01:48 #7 – Full Metal Jacket
This comedic military film follows smart-aleck Private Davis, and his foul-mouthed drill sergeant, as well as Private Lawrence, through basic training. Following through the soldiers in basic training, the film looks into one character who is eventually sent to Vietnam as a journalist, covering the bloody Battle of Hué.
02:11 #6 – Stalingrad
This movie is based on the 1942 event in which a small band of Russian soldiers takes over a bombed-out building and continues to fight the Germans for control of Stalingrad. The film is based on the true story of Pavlov’s House, a strategically located Stalingrad apartment building on the banks of the Volga that was defended successfully by a small group of Soviet troops in 1942.
02:36 #5 – Saving Private Ryan
The 1998 movie “Saving Private Ryan” is one of the all-time great war movies, and one of the most well-known military films there is. Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) takes his men behind enemy lines to find Private James Ryan (Matt Damon), whose three brothers have been killed in combat. While many of the characters in the movie are fictional, the storyline was sparked by the true story of the Niland brothers — Edward, Preston, Robert, and Frederick — from Tonawanda, New York.
03:01 #4 – Come and See
This iconic anti-war film from Soviet director Elem Klimov is a portrayal of the dehumanizing horrors of war. It focuses on the invasion of a village in Byelorussia by German forces when a young soldier is sent into the forest to join the Resistance fighters, even though his family wished against it. This film is raw, emotional, and heavy, and most veterans can agree it is extremely relatable to the impact of another’s death on a soldier.
03:21 #3 – Band of Brothers
The HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers” tells the story of Easy Company, 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, U.S. Army. The series portrays reenactments to provide a better understanding of the storyline, as well as documented interviews from real figures in the stories. This 10-part series acknowledges the experiences of these young men who knew extraordinary bravery and fear. The miniseries is based on Stephen Ambrose’s bestselling book.
03:42 #2 – Generation Kill
This film is based on Rolling Stone journalist Evan Wright’s 2004 book, “Generation Kill.” The story focuses on the real stories of Marine Corps recon battalion fighting in Iraq depicted by actors in an HBO series.
04:05 #1 – Restrepo
This documentary, based on a U.S. platoon in Afghanistan, outlines the realities of war without any narration. Photographer Tim Hetherington and journalist Sebastian Junger allow the audience to follow the lives of the men of Second Platoon, Battle Company, 173rd Airborne Brigade teeter, as they fight for their lives month after month. In the end, the men lose their medic, Juan “Doc” Restrepo, which then causes them to name an outpost in the remote Korengal Valley after him.