Waltz with Bashir: The Best War Movie Ever?

A clip from Waltz with Bashir

I finally saw Waltz with Bashir yesterday. Hands down the best film of ‘08 and one of the best I’ve seen in years.  I used to think The Thin Red Line was the most beautiful war movie I’d ever see and I was dead wrong.  And I’ve always had a hard time picking my favorite film about war, but not anymore.  Bashir is a stunning cinematic achievement that masterfully captures the devastation, confusion, insanity, and cruelty of warfare in ways that no film has attempted or achieved before.  Highly recommended.

MORE: Feel free to list your favorite war films in the comments.

Posted by Kevin K. on 02/12/09 at 08:51 AM • Permalink

Categories: MoviesMovie ReviewsYouTubidity

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I don’t know if it qualifies strictly as a war film, but Lawrence of Arabia captures the waste, tribalism, pettiness, conceit, cynicism and curse of unintended consequences associated with war as well as any film I’ve ever seen. Plus it’s gorgeously filmed and features some pretty stunning performances too.

I’ll have to check out Waltz—sounds intriguing.

No Man’s Land

Comment by idahogie on 02/12/09 at 10:50 AM

Bridge On The River Kwai or Full Metal Jacket for me.

Honorable mention to Saving Private Ryan, if only for the first twenty minutes.

Full Metal Jacket, Sgt. York, Dr. Strangelove, Das Boot, Apocalypse Now (extended version), Paths Of Glory, M*A*S*H, Catch 22.

No particular order here, and I’ve probably omitted a few.

“hamburger hill” for the utter futility of viet nam, plus a great score by philip glass.

BTW, I was going to ask this in the post, does Manchurian Candidate (the original) qualify?

M*A*S*H is definitely it for me.  Although Dr. Strangelove is another favorite.  More of a “cold war” movie though.

does Manchurian Candidate (the original) qualify?

I guess that would be in the “cold war” category too.  Maybe a sub-category of “war movie”.

BTW, I was going to ask this in the post, does Manchurian Candidate (the original) qualify?

Not that I’m an expert, but it seems more of a political thriller than a film abut war.

Great film, though, with what is undoubtedly the creepiest kiss in all of cinema.

The worst war film?

The Green Berets.

Where the sun sets in the east. Really.

What did y’all think of the Manchurian Candidate remake?

The Big Red Onewould certainly be in my top five. The director served in WW II in that unit. The star, Lee Marvin, was also a WW II vet. It showed.

What did y’all think of the Manchurian Candidate remake?

Loathed it.  Like most remakes, totally unnecessary.

Most of the good ones are taken but thanks for leaving these for me to mention:

Ran (Kurasowa’s version of King Lear)

A Midnight Clear

Stalingrad

Der Untergang (Downfall) Not just because it led to this.

L’Armée des ombres, (Army of Shadows). Maybe not strictly a war movie but it does feature Nazis.  It’s a spy movie set in occupied France in WWII.  Based on true events and definitely worth seeing.

Full.Metal.Jacket.

“If I’m gonna get my balls blown off for a word…my word is poontang.”

Patton belongs in there somewhere.

I really really tried to watch The Thin Red Line, and Terrence Malick is a brilliant director, but I found it impenetrable.

Wow, no one’s mentioned Deer Hunter or Platoon yet.

I also made a bit of a mistake referring to Bashir as a film/movie since it’s really, at its core, a documentary.

Speaking of documentaries, did anyone see Gunner’s Palace?  I thought that was quite good.

I thought the Thin Red Line was lousy.

Das Boot, Stalingrad (again ... the ending is quite apropos) ... umm the French film about the Algerian uprising ... Band of Brothers, although not a movie, the most realistic war series I’ve ever seen ... The Eagle has Landed ... SPR ... and for sheer history, the World at War as narrated by Olivier ... sheesh I know I’m missing a few, but again, Thin Red Line sucked.

Oh, and the WW1 film starring Kirk Douglas as one of three men randomly chosen to be executed because of the failings of the French General staff ...Deer Hunter and the Killing Fields.

Oh, and just fair warning .. Gettysburg is the single worst war movie ever made, it’s even more dreadful than Green Berets. Martin Sheen deserves a serious beating for taking part in the vainglorious piece of shit.

Wow, no one’s mentioned Deer Hunter or Platoon yet.

The Deer Hunter is, from where I stand, basically one extended directorial conceit. Platoon is, for me at least, the better film.

Oh, and the WW1 film starring Kirk Douglas as one of three men randomly chosen to be executed because of the failings of the French General staff

Yes, that one is Paths Of Glory.

Thanks Nobody.

The Deer Hunter is, from where I stand, basically one extended directorial conceit. Platoon is, for me at least, the better film.

To be clear, both of them aren’t my favorites, just shocked that they haven’t fallen on anyone’s lists yet.

Regarding The Thin Red Line, I didn’t love the film, but some of the imagery was indeed beautiful, which isn’t something you tend to think about war films.

I forgot to mention that HumboldtBlue hates butterflies, panda bears and kittens.

I forgot to mention that HumboldtBlue hates butterflies, panda bears and kittens.

That’s koala bears, dork.

Speaking of kittens, the little guy who showed one week ago today is feeling a lot better and is getting sassier by the minute, although I and the cat midwife-extraordinaire Lady Friend are still worried about his eyes.

He’s young, very young, still has soft-as-down-kitten fur, plays and plays and purrs and purrs and continues to follow me with every step I take in the apt. We’re still calling him Stormy, although Stinky, now that he’s comfortable with the litter box, is more appropriate.

I sent Kevin a pic of the little guy, but he really hates kittens and America and is a dork to boot so he refuses to post it.

Dork.

but some of the imagery was indeed beautiful, which isn’t something you tend to think about war films

The idea that war can be savage, insane, brilliant, noble, evil and beautiful all at once is an idea that Stanley Kubrick played around with in several of his films.

Paths of Glory by Stanley Kubrick. Hands down best movie about WWI ever. Excellent hand-held and dolly shots that Kubrick was known for. Brilliant recreations of trench warfare and an excellent analysis of the Rules of War.

Paths of Glory probably gets my vote, too. Kevin, I did see Gunner Palace and thought it was pretty great.

(And ironically, the word I have to type to submit this is “peace66.”)

In no particular order:
Patton
Paths of Glory (Kirk Douglas was not one of the condemned men, contrary to an above comment)
All Quiet on the Western Front
A Bridge Too Far
From Here to Eternity

Three brilliant war films, all of which are far less known than they should be.

Shame (Ingmar Bergman): How the travails of war drive good men into acts of savagery. Utterly devastating… it will leave you numb with horror.

Ballad of a Soldier (Grigori Chukhrai): The polar opposite of Bergman’s film… a testament to the fundamental goodness of man, even in the midst of armed strife. These two would make a fascinating double bill.)

The Cranes are Flying (Mikheil Kalatozishvili): A film for those left behind, waiting for their loved ones to return. Poignant and gorgeous.

The two I would nominate are “Come and see” by Elem Klimov and “The Battle of Algiers” by Gillo Pontecorvo, but be warned both are very disturbing films.

Un long dimanche de fiançailles (A Very Long Engagement)

Some people were expecting Amélie 2 and were disappointed when they didn’t get it but it’s a superb film.

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