We all watch movies, and which is the “best” is a matter of opinion really. Here are the top 10 war movies released from 1980-1990. Don’t forget to check out other lists throughout Thought for Your Penny.
10. Born on the Fourth of July (1989) 90% at Rotten Tomatoes
Returning from Vietnam paralyzed, Marine veteran Ron Kovic becomes an anti-war activist and alcoholic suffering from PTSD.
Director: Oliver Stone
Starring: Tom Cruise, Raymond J. Barry, Caroline Kava
9. Das Boot (1981) 98% at Rotten Tomatoes
A German U-boat in 1942 has a mission to destroy British shipping routes, despite being outmatched by destroyer escorts.
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Starring: Jergen Prochnow, Herbert Gronemeyer, Klaus Wennemann
8. Casualties of War (1989) 84% at Rotten Tomatoes
Five American soldiers kidnap a Vietnamese villager, and while four rape and murder her, the fifth refuses, leading him to become an outsider in his own platoon.
Director: Brian De Palma
Starring: Michael J. Fox, Sean Penn, Don Harvey
7. WarGames (1983) 93% at Rotten Tomatoes
A gifted computer hacker accidentally connects to the top secret government computer that controls the U.S. nuclear arsenal and initiates WWIII.
Director: John Badham
Starring: Matthew Broderick, Ally Sheedy, John Wood
6. Heartbreak Ridge (1986) 83% at Rotten Tomatoes
Gunnery Sergeant Highway is a veteran Marine who fought in both Korea and Vietnam. Now he’s in charge of a recon platoon in Cherry Point and his boss is young and has no combat experience.
Director: Clint Eastwood
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Marsha Mason, Everett McGill
5. Glory (1989) 93% at Rotten Tomatoes
Shaw leads the first company of black soldiers during the Civil War, all of whom face racism from both sides.
Director: Edward Zwick
Starring: Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes
4. Good Morning, Vietnam (1987) 90% at Rotten Tomatoes
DJ Adrian Cronauer is assigned to the U.S. Armed Services radio station in Vietnam, but he prefers to tell the real news over the fake stuff fed to him by his commanders.
Director: Barry Levinson
Starring: Robin Williams, Forest Whitaker, Tung Thanh Tran
3. Missing in Action (1984) 21% at Rotten Tomatoes
Colonel Jame Braddock escaped from a Vietnamese POW camp after 7 years. Now he’s returned to find it and free the remaining prisoners.
Director: Joseph Zito
Starring: Chuck Norris, M. Emmet Walsh, David Tress
2. Full Metal Jacket (1987) 93% at Rotten Tomatoes
Private J.T. “Joker” Davis lasts through a grueling boot camp experience and becomes a journalist covering the Tet offensive of the Vietnam War.
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Starring: R. Lee Ermey, Matthew Modine, Vincent D’Onofrio
1. Platoon (1986) 88% at Rotten Tomatoes
A young American joins the Army to fight in the Vietnam War. Upon arrival, he realizes how expendable he is, and must fight both the enemy and the soldiers in his own platoon.
Director: Oliver Stone
Starring: Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe