The Best War Movies

Story posted March 29, 2023 in

Members of the CommRadio Arts and Entertainment Department compile a list of their favorite war-related films.

“1917”

This World War I film collected three Academy Awards in 2020 among a slew of other recognitions, but it’s not just a movie for critics to enjoy.

“1917” goes beyond a story of war. It is a cinematic display of friendship.

When people say “the magic of movies,” this is what they’re talking about.

One of the Academy Awards “1917” collected was “Best Cinematography.”

The cinematographer, Roger Deakins, achieved an incredible feat with the lens. Deakins made the entire film look like one take. It appeared as one continuous motion picture with no cuts.

The other two awards it took home at the 2020 Oscars were “Best Visual Effects” and “Best Sound Mixing.”

Each technical aspect elevates the emotions of viewers. The sound is extraordinary and engaging. It grasps attention and fills the film as much as the dialogue.

“1917” is immersive. The sound, landscape effects and cinematography are fluid and contribute to the watching experience. - McKenna Wall

“American Sniper”

“American Sniper” is a fantastic war movie because of the phenomenal acting, veracity of the story and seemingly special story telling.

Bradley Cooper, who portrayed the “American Sniper,” Chris Kyle, had a perfect performance. Cooper was versatile with showing multiple emotions in one scene. There are times when he is confused about being proud, ashamed, happy, upset and through it all seemed depressed and truly affected by the war he fought for.

“American Sniper” not only was nominated for six Oscar awards in 2015, but won Best Sound Editing. The movie shared Chris Kyle’s life before, during and after war, which included his love life, family life, relationship with his brother, relationship with his fellow soldiers and how he gave back to the veteran community after his time serving for America.

The movie is so special because it is not about glorifying or making a specific war an entertaining action movie, “American Sniper” told the story of one American soldier and his lasting impact and humanized the war experiences, while also bringing awareness to how men and women are affected by fighting in war.  - Natalie Simone

“Stalag 17”

This World War II comedy/drama from Billy Wilder is a classic. The film follows a ragtag group of U.S. soldiers in a German prisoners-of-war camp. In 1944, two men from Barracks 4 were killed while attempting to escape. The gang suspects there’s an informant, and most fingers point to the cynical betting-man J.J. Sefton (played by the ultra-cool William Holden who took home the Best Actor Oscar for his role.)

Between the jokes and mischief, the crew led by barracks chief Hoffy and security officer Price continues to blame Sefton, and Duke, a more aggressive member of the group leads the guys in beating Sefton.

Sefton continues trading with German officers for perks and benefits, but in the meantime he starts trying to figure out who the traitor is on his own. Eventually, to the disbelief of everyone Sefton discovers that Price is actually a Nazi who was strategically placed in the barracks to spy on them.

Everyone, in awe of what happened, agrees to use Price as a decoy, throwing him out their front door with bells tied on and his mouth covered. The guards kill him, and the noise gives Sefton enough time to retrieve fellow prisoner Lieutenant James Dunbar from his hiding spot and escape the camp.

“Stalag 17” is the perfect blend of comedy and drama, it’s exciting, and inspired other pieces including the 1960’s television series “Hogan’s Heroes.” - Nick LaRosa


McKenna Wall is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email mew6140@psu.edu.

Natalie Simone is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email nvs5790@psu.edu.

Nick LaRosa is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email njl5547@psu.edu.

About the Contributors

McKenna Wall's photo

McKenna Wall

First-Year /

McKenna Wall is a first-year student from Allentown, Pennsylvania majoring broadcast journalism. Wall is a multimedia reporter for CommRadio. She got her start as a camera operator in high school, learning how to use professional handheld camcorders, ENG cameras, and a jib camera. Wall is currently involved in After the Whistle, gaining experience both on-camera and behind-the-scenes filming, editing and completing work on a deadline. If you would like to contact her, please email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Nick LaRosa's photo

Nick LaRosa

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Natalie Simone's photo

Natalie Simone

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Natalie Simone is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. She is from Cohasset, Massachusetts where she graduated from Cohasset High School. Simone is a member of the news, arts and entertainment, and production departments of CommRadio. She is responsible for a weekly newscast, a weekly talk show, called The CommRadio Table, a weekly DJ set, along with news and arts articles.