Throughout the history of the seventh art, war cinema has delivered a more than considerable number of masterpieces on a golden platter. Absolute classics of unquestionable artistic value that they have been adding illustrious classmates decade after decade until forming a truly overwhelming catalog of films.

10 essential war movies of the 21st century

1 ‘1917’

‘1917’ continues to resonate today as that cinematographic monument, that technical prodigy with which Sam Mendes and his team, with a special mention for the wonderful Roger Deakins and Thomas Newman, fully immersed us in an immersive experience that left us with our hearts in our mouths, our nails dug into our seats and our enthusiasm vibrating in our memory.

The highlight was always his commitment to telling this story through a single sequence shot, a mission more than accomplished, but ‘1917’ was more than a visual feat. Much more. We are talking about a film that combined with enviable success the gigantic and the tiny, the noise and the silence, the epic and the intimacy until it penetrated deep. A masterpiece that was added with honors to the list of essential films in the history of the war genre. And of the 21st century.

1917 in eCartelera

two ‘Damn bastards’
'Damn bastards'

Before diving headfirst into his beloved western genre with ‘Django Unchained’ and the extraordinary and underrated ‘The Hateful Eight’ and signing the best film of his career (‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’), Quentin Tarantino signed a huge job titled ‘Inglourious Basterds’. It is the particular tribute of the filmmaker to a war film that is devastated by the imposing personality of a total author who we also found in top form. Starring a cast devoted to the cause, ‘Inglourious Basterds’ is one of those films capable of challenging and winning over time.

Inglourious bastards in eCartelera

3 ‘Enemy at the Gates’
'Enemy at the Gates'

After the disastrous ‘Seven years in Tibet’, Jean-Jacques Annaud delivered one of the roundest works of his professional career with ‘Enemy at the gates’. Full of western flavor, directed with a masterful pulse and led by two fabulous Jude Law and Ed Harris, this story of duels and duels is one of the great films that the war genre has given us in recent decades, a work of overwhelming precision when it comes to hitting the same target of drama and tension. magnificent.

4 ‘Dunkirk’

Christopher Nolan, the ambitious and arrogant, the excessive and cheater, long live the irony, with ‘Dunkirk’ added a new masterpiece to his collection that, over time, It has ended up establishing itself as the best work of his career to date. And it is his roundest and most compact work for the simple reason that everything fits perfectly in it in the most resounding way possible, without fissures or embellishments, with all the risk in the world and, at the same time, with a suffocating brevity in the story that does nothing but add virtues. Does the duration of a film really matter to carry out its evaluation? Probably not, but here yes. 107 minutes.

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Nolan does not need more to introduce the viewer to a feeling of constant climax that does not leave at any time, that grabs you by the neck and does not let go, that takes your breath away, that suffocates you, that shakes you, that lifts you up and drag without option to breath. The goal is for the bullets to graze your neck, for you to hear the noise of death behind you, for the water to get into your eyes, for you to feel the vertigo of an infinite sky that is no less hell than a ghost beach. And this is how ‘Dunkirk’ enters the list of war film classics with force and force, delivering numerous scenes that are already part of the best that has ever been seen in the genre. A masterpiece with which the filmmaker reached a new level in his career. A prodigious cinematographic exercise, an immense triumph.

Dunkirk at eCartelera

5 ‘Black Hawk shot down’
'Black Hawk shot down'

After succeeding in a big way with ‘Gladiator’ among the public, critics and, finally, the Academy, Ridley Scott threw himself fully into the war genre to sign ‘Black Hawk Down’ a movie, here we go, even better. Better. Supported by a dazzling cast, the director grabs the viewer by the neck from minute one and doesn’t let go until the last shot, thus building a roller coaster full of blood, tension, violence, misunderstanding and gunshots.

The plot is practically invisible, but Scott only needs his talent behind the camera to get real gold out of every moment, thus signing one of the great films of his career and one of the best proposals of the genre in recent years.

Black Hawk shot down in eCartelera

6 ‘Letters from Iwo Jima’
'Letters from Iwo Jima'

When Clint Eastwood’s decision to recount the Battle of Iwo Jima through two films was announced, ‘Flags of our Fathers’ and ‘Letters from Iwo Jima’, which would reflect this terrible episode of the Pacific War from the American point of view and Japanese, many of us made the mistake of awarding the victory prior to the first of them. But, life gives you surprises, the second ended with a victory of those that, in addition, end with an overwhelming result.

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And it is that Eastwood, who had fallen into certain too obvious automatisms in ‘Flags of our fathers’, manages on this occasion a masterful, exciting drama that captures the horror of war from psychological depth and tradition, respect and loyalty, fear and condemnation to survive. One of Clint’s greatest masterpieces. Big words.

Letters from Iwo Jima at eCartelera

7 ‘Tropic Thunder: A Bitchy War!’
'Tropic Thunder: A Bitchy War!'

One of the cinematographic questions posed in 2008 that seemed to have an easier answer was based on the possibility that there was a movie capable of surpassing ‘Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones’ at the box office on the weekend of its premiere. Many specialists asserted forcefully that it was impossible before even finishing formulating the question. All of them were wrong. They did not have ‘Tropic Thunder: A very bitchy war!’, the war comedy directed by Ben Stiller, which, indeed, managed to raise more than the galactic sequel by George Lucas. But of course, it was impossible to resist.

When we talk about ‘Tropic Thunder’ we are doing it one of the most remarkable comedies of the last decades, a hilarious cinematographic exercise that goes beyond simple parody to shape a set that is as solid as it is effective. Not to be confused with gimmicky. In the same places where many others would have fallen with the whole team tripping over the most absurd stupidity and the most vulgar gag, Stiller and company manage to strike real gold, hitting the bullseye with each shot of pure comedy. From its hilarious fake trailers to the unforgettable end credits‘Tropic Thunder’ is an authentic recital of laughter.

Tropic Thunder: A very bitchy war! in eCartelera

8 ‘hearts of steel’
'hearts of steel'

The most underrated gem of recent years in war genre cinema is called ‘Hearts of Steel’. Led by a wonderful Brad Pitt in an interpretation always adjusted to what the story requires, this film directed with an iron pulse by David Ayer would deserve greater recognition over the years. While we continue to wait for it to happen, we will return to it from time to time to keep enjoying its action, drama, tension and brilliant collection of characters and performances.

Hearts of steel in eCartelera

9 ‘War Horse’
'War Horse'

With the wonderful story of the friendship between a young English villager and a horse, Steven Spielberg portrayed all those who were looking for his successors showing himself in full power, making an emotional film, yes, but also hard and epic, sensitive and overwhelming in equal parts. . Dazzling in its great moments (the war effort, the first attack on the German camp) and overwhelming in its details (pay attention to the use given to the blades of a windmill or the silence behind a mountain), Spielberg once again confirmed his maturity as an absolute filmmaker. A work directed with the passion of a child excited by the gift of making movies but with the wisdom and skill of a teacher. ‘War Horse’ is simply pure Spielberg.

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War Horse at eCartelera

10 ‘To a man’
'To a man'

Mel Gibson returned to the industry in the same way he left, or rather, he was kicked out: rampaging After a decade in the darkest shadow of Hollywood, the actor returned to the director’s chair, a place where he has already sat five times and in which he has never come down from the remarkable height, with ‘Until the last man’, a film that has the DNA, the energy, the passion and the talent that all the work of its author has always given off, a category that has more than earned.

Again, muscle and blood, excess and epic, forcefulness and mastery. And all without ever losing the fearsome balance that separates his cinema from the abyss. His initial hesitation is more than forgiven. when the battlefield arrives, the place where Gibson finishes elevating his film to infinity. In short, another great film in the filmography of a director whom the passage of time does not seem to have affected in the slightest when it comes to once again showing his immense talent.

Until the last man in eCartelera

Regarding this special, we focus our attention on ten films that fall within this genre and that have been released throughout the 21st century so far, standing on many occasions among the best of their respective years. A set of proposals that excited the critics and the public, convincing even those less fond of this cinematographic model.

  'Damn bastards'

In short, here we have ten masterpieces that can hold the gaze without trembling the pulse of monuments of the stature of ‘Paths of Glory’, ‘Saving Private Ryan’, ‘Apocalypse Now’, ‘The Guns of Navarone’ or ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’, to name five gigantic examples. The caviar of war cinema yesterday, today and forever.


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