MISSION: The mission I have undertaken is to watch and critique each of the films on Military History magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest War Movies” in reverse order. I hope to watch one movie each week which means this project will take about two years. Well, maybe not one a week, but I pledge to be consistent and finish someday.
THE LIST: The editors of Military History magazine put together a diverse panel of experts which included historians and movie critics to determine the greatest war movies. The movies that made the list reflect the full spectrum of films that could be described as war movies. It includes spy movies, movies set on the home front, and even comedies. “What lifts the films reviewed…at least a cut above the rest is the revealing light they shed on the paradoxes that shape human nature…. They take us to places where the reality and unreality of war intersect.” These qualifications mean there are some movies on the list that many war movie fans will shake their heads at. One of my goals as a war movie buff is to keep an open mind as I review the questionable inclusions on the list. In other words, I will watch some movies that are not only not war movies but are terrible - all the way to the end.
MY QUALIFICATIONS: I teach Military History at New Iberia Senior High School. Sadly, the school no longer offers my course. All I have now is this blog. I created the course and used war movies as part of the course. I have always loved military history and have read extensively in the field, both nonfiction and fiction. I have been watching war movies since I was a child ( my favorite movie as a boy was “The Great Escape” ). I have also read extensively on the subject of war films. I have seen an enormous amount of war movies and had already seen most of the movies on the list. I have the ability to determine what is Hollywood and what is real history by doing research.
THE FORMAT: I will watch one movie per week (or so) starting with #100 and working to #1. I am on #34 (with only #37 - "Napoleon" unwatched. Pat on the back) My review will include back-story, the opening scene, summary, the closing scene ( spoiler alert! ), and the critique. I will grade the movie on action, acting, accuracy, realism, and plot. Most importantly, I will weigh in on how accurate the movie is. I will also include a section entitled “Would Chicks Dig It?” in which I will suggest whether women would like the film. I will conclude with my opinion on how I would rate the movie and whether it deserves its spot on the list. I welcome debate.
THE OUTCOME: You and I (actually, just me) will adjust the list so it is the actual 100 greatest war movies of all time. Later I will come up with a new list entitled The 100 Best Movies of All Time. I mention you because I welcome your input. I also welcome suggestions of what movies did not make the list, but should have. I will watch these movies and let you know what I think.
ADDITIONAL FEATURES: I will also be reviewing movies not on the Military History list in the following categories:
CRACKER? - movies that could end up on the 100 Best
SHOULD I READ IT? - foreign films with subtitles
WAR CHICK FLICKS - movies I watch (i.e. sit through) with my wife
BOOK / MOVIE - comparison of books and the movies based on them
CLASSIC OR ANTIQUE? - does an old movie hold up?
FORGOTTEN GEM? - obscure movies
NOW SHOWING - movies I see in the theater
LIVE - movies I review in stream of consciousness
Thanks to all my followers, especially Caroline. Here's to the next 200. I guarantee that will happen. I love this project and I'll never run out of war movies. I'll keep "War Birds" by the Sci-Fi Channel on my DVR just in case.