Can You Match the Movie to the War?

By: John Miller

"Saving Private Ryan"

In 1998, director Steven Speilberg brought new realism to the whip cracks of bullets and booms of bombs in D-Day and World War II. "Saving Private Ryan" horrified audiences the world over while becoming the year’s second-highest grossing movie.

“Apocalypse Now"

Martin Sheen plays a Vietnam soldier who must hunt down a high-ranking officer who has gone insane in "Apocalypse Now." It’s as hallucinogenic as war movies get.

“Jarhead"

“Jarhead" follows the trials and tribulations of Marines who serve during the Gulf War. It shows the brutality that soldiers display against their enemies ... and toward their own comrades, too.

“Glory"

During the Civil War, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry was a mostly black unit that fought for the Union. "Glory" shows the men conducting a suicidal frontal attack at Fort Wagner, in which the unit lost half of its men to casualties.

“Inglorious Basterds"

Brad Pitt stars in this Quentin Tarantino movie about WWII. It is the director’s second-highest grossing film ever, behind "Django Unchained."

"All Quiet on the Western Front"

"All Quiet on the Western Front" is a 1930 movie based on the novel of the same name. It’s still regarded as a sad but accurate depiction of trench warfare in WWI.

“Downfall"

"Downfall" is a 2004 German language film depicting the fall of the Third Reich in WWII. One famous scene — of Hitler shouting at his men in a bunker — is still a hilarious viral video sensation.

“Schindler’s List"

This 1993 film by Steven Spielberg portrays a man named Oskar Schindler, who helped many Jewish people escape the Nazis during WWII. It was, and still is, a terrifying and depressing depiction of just how awful people can be, and how some humans have found a better path forward.

“The Pianist"

In WWII, a famous pianist (played by Adrien Brody) is imprisoned by the Nazis and witnesses the horrors of the Holocaust. He somehow survives and later performs again.

“Platoon"

Oliver Stone’s grim portrayal of soldiers in Vietnam won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1986. The movie is a depiction of Stone’s own experiences serving during the war.

“War Horse"

"War Horse" is yet another Steven Spielberg war movie. This 2011 film follows the life of a horse that endures many of the conflicts of the First World War.

“The Patriot"

In this oh-so-inaccurate dramatization, Mel Gibson plays a colonist out for revenge against British soliders during the American Revolution. Gibson’s crazy eyes once again steal most of the action scenes.

“Hacksaw Ridge"

Mel Gibson directed this 2016 WWII film, which portrays the true story of Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector who is plunged into the Pacific theater during WWII. In real life, Doss saved dozens of men in one battle by lowering them down a cliff and out of danger.

“Sergeant York"

During WWI, Sergeant Alvin York became an icon, one who won the Medal of Honor, in part for his extreme heroics in which he captured dozens of machine guns and more than 130 German troops. The movie won Gary Cooper an Oscar for Best Actor.

“Empire of the Sun"

Based on a novel of the same name by J.G. Ballard, "Empire of the Sun" is a WWII film by Steven Spielberg. It portrays a young British boy who is imprisoned in a Japanese internment camp during Japan’s conquests.

“Zulu"

In this 1964 movie starring Michael Caine, a group of 150 British soldiers serving in the Anglo-Zulu War are trapped by around 4,000 Zulu warriors. The men use discipline (and superior weapons) to beat back the attackers, time and again.

“The Bridge on the River Kwai"

“The Bridge on the River Kwai" is a 1957 WWII film in which Allied prisoners are forced to build a bridge for the Japanese. All the while, the prisoners plot to bring the bridge to a fiery end.

“Revolution"

This 1985 film about the American Revolution starred Al Pacino, Donald Sutherland, and Natassja Kinski ... and it was bomb to end all bombs. It was so bad that Pacino gave up movies for nearly half a decade.

“Full Metal Jacket"

This ‘87 film by Stanley Kubrick is disturbing on a lot of levels, and it shows the psychological horrors inflicted by conflicts like the Vietnam War.

“Patton"

The 1970 film "Patton" added greatly to the mystique of General George Patton, who led some of the most successful Allied land campaigns of WWII. Patton was bigger than life on screen and in real life, too.

“The Manchurian Candidate"

“The Manchurian Candidate" is a twisted 1962 film that revolves around the Korean War. It’s a black-and-white film — and it stars Frank Sinatra.

“Gone With the Wind"

It’s one of the best-known war movies of all-time — "Gone with the Wind." This Civil War movie documents the drama of the American Civil War.

“The Longest Day"

"The Longest Day" is a 1962 WWII film with an ensemble cast featuring the likes of John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Robert Wagner and many other stars of the day. It is a portrayal of the D-Day landings in Normandy.

“Fury"

In "Fury," Brad Pitt is a WWII tank commander who steadfastly refuses to give up his armored vehicle to the Nazis. Trapped behind enemy lines, he and his men blast wave after wave of German troops before finally dying.

“Cold Mountain"

“Cold Mountain" is a 2003 film based on the novel of the same name. Starring the likes of Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, and more, it is all about a Confederate deserter who is on the run.

“Lawrence of Arabia"

“Lawrence of Arabia" is a 1962 film about the exploits of T.E. Lawrence, who led battles in the Middle East during World War I. Nominated for 10 Oscars, it won seven, including Best Picture and Best Director.

“A Bridge Too Far"

During WWII, the Allies took up an ill-fated mission called Operation Market Garden, which failed miserably. "A Bridge Too Far" shows Allied troops trying in vain to reach a "bridge too far."

“M.A.S.H."

Before the hit TV show, there was "M.A.S.H.," the movie. Both the TV show and movie were all about the hijinks of the 4077th mobile medical unit during the Korean War.

"A Very Long Engagement"

This 2004 French film is all about a woman who is desperately searching for her fiance, whom she suspects may have been killed in World War I. It was nominated for two Oscars.

“Kelly’s Heroes"

This 1970 comedy stars guys like Telly Savalas and Clint Eastwood — rather than heroes, it depicts WWII soldiers who go AWOL in hopes of robbing a bank. The movie also features Donald Sutherland and Don Rickles.

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Image: Amblin Entertainment, Mutual Film Company, Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures, TriStar Pictures, The Weinstein Company, Universal Pictures

About This Quiz

“Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” That’s the most famous quote in what might be the most famous war movie of the entire 20th century. Can you name the movie? And do you know the character who said these iconic words? Take this war movie quiz now and see if you really remember your war movies — and whether you can recall the conflicts that inspired big-screen blockbusters!

You might know that actor Clint Eastwood starred in numerous feature films that used war as their setting. But did you know that Eastwood also directed more than one war movie? “Letters from Iwo Jima” was one of his better efforts, but do you know which war served as the leading star in this film?

For years, no one in the United States would even publicly discuss the Vietnam War, in part because it was linked to so much shame and disappointment. Then, some amazing Hollywood project brought the conflict to theaters. Did you see Vietnam movies like “The Thin Red Line,” “Hamburger Hill,” “The Deer Hunter,” and “Born on the Fourth of July”? Let’s see if you know the other even more famous movies that emerged from this slog of a war.

Of course, both World Wars served up many stories that became fixtures on the big screen. But do you know which conflict sparked the script for “Das Boot”? Was “Casablanca” from the Great War … or the Second World War? 

Let’s see if you can cut through the fog of war and wind your way through the trenches of this tough war movie quiz. We’ll see if you really know your war movies, or whether you’ll just become more cannon fodder at the hands of these bullet-riddled conundrums!

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