All 9 Willem Dafoe’s War Movies Ranked by IMDb Score

Willem Dafoe

From Platoon, through The Last Temptation of Christ and Mississippi Burning to Spiderman and Antichrist, Willem Dafoe is a name in Hollywood that is almost always associated with brilliant movies and even better performances. Four times Oscar nominee, this versatile actor is simply outstanding in everything he does, often playing weird and unusual characters that stick in our minds for a long time after watching his movies. We have decided to focus on his war movies, so we made a list of all nine Willem Dafoe’s war movies ranked by IMDb score.

Flight of the Intruder (1991) 


What it’s about: Jack Grafton is an intruder pilot who is on a mission to find out the purpose of Navy bombing missions after his bombardier gets killed. Together with Virgil Cole, a bombardier on his third day of duty who shares his views and thoughts, Jack learns about an unsanctioned mission.

Why you should watch it: Even though the story is full of holes and doesn’t keep the audience interested every minute, the movie is interesting enough to keep you focused, especially if you are a fan of action and aviator scenes and topics in general. 

Pavilion of Women (2001) 

pavillion of women

What it’s about: It is 1938 and we follow Ailian and her husband Mr. Wu, a wealthy man from a traditional Chinese family. Since she is tired of her marital obligations, Ailian decides to find a concubine for her husband. At the same time she meets Andre, an American priest who becomes her son’s tutor. Soon, the situation will become more complicated than expected, all while Japan is beginning to plan its invasion of China.

Why you should watch it: This is an intriguing story that depicts forbidden relationships between men and women during a difficult historical period. It is not a story that judges but enlightens in a certain way and gives us an interesting perspective on the traditional Chinese families before and during World War II. 

Adam Resurrected (2008)

adam resurrected

What it’s about: In this movie, we are introduced to Adam Stein, a patient at a mental institution for Holocaust survivors in Israel, in 1961. He used to be a beloved entertainer before World War II but ended up in a concentration camp where he was used as Commandant Klein’s personal amuser of a very weird sort. His memories will begin to haunt him after he meets a boy whose destiny is similar.


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Why you should watch it: This is a very unusual movie that might leave you speechless for its bizarre topics and scenes, but also for brilliant performances by Jeff Goldblum and Willem Dafoe who make it worth watching.

Off Limits (1988) 

off limits

What it’s about: McGriff and Albaby are two U.S. military policemen on duty in Saigon during Vietnam War. As if their job isn’t difficult enough, they somehow become involved in the investigation of serial killings of local prostitutes. When they realize that the biggest suspect might be an important U.S. officer, their lives will become very endangered. 

Why you should watch it: This is a classic action movie with a few interesting plot twists and scenes, which mostly relies on Dafoe’s masterful performance. It is a good pass-time for everyone who likes a decent action thriller.

Triumph of the Spirit (1989) 

triumph of the spirit

What it’s about: Willem Dafoe plays Salamo, a young Jewish boxer in Greece during World War II who is spending his days with his girlfriend Allegra until their families are sent to Auschwitz. When the Nazis discover his talent and love for boxing, he is forced to participate in weekly boxing matches.

Why you should watch it: This is not another typical World War II movie. It is a psychological study of a human mind and body put in the worst possible conditions and trying to get out of them as sane as possible. Once again, a movie where Willem Dafoe shines in his performance. 

Born on the Fourth of July (1989) 

Born on the Fourth of July 1989

What it’s about: This biographical war drama about Ron Kovic tells the story of an idealistic young man who is proud of enlisting and fighting in the Vietnam War but unfortunately ends up home as a paraplegic. After struggling with depression and drug addiction, he decides to turn his life around and becomes a war critic everyone is eager to hear.

Why you should watch it: Oliver Stone made a movie that brought Tom Cruise an Oscar nomination and showed the audience all the horrors of war. But he also faces us with the aftermath of war and the lives that soldiers are forced to come back to, even though very often with no purpose or prospect. 

The English Patient (1996)

the english patient

What it’s about: Juliette Binoche is Hana, a French-Canadian nurse who works in war-devastated Italy in 1944 and since she can’t travel due to unsafety, she accepts to volunteer behind a church and care for a semi-amnesiac patient. When another man disrupts their peace with his thoughts about the patient and the patient starts to open up, Hana will have to face and deal with many personal demons, as well.

Why you should watch it: This is a movie you might adore or find boring. It is slow and builds up carefully but once you are drawn into its story, you might never want to get out of it.

Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam (1987)

dear america

What it’s about: This TV documentary is an interesting overview of the letters and archive footage of the U.S. soldiers, airmen, marines, and sailors during the Vietnam War. We are given an insight into the information and details they wrote to their families and friends back home.

Why you should watch it: If you are interested in Vietnam War and its stories in general, this is a very good movie to see. It is moving and educational and told in a first-person narrative which makes it even more personal and closer to the audience.

Platoon (1986)


What it’s about: In one of his most famous and best movies, Oliver Stone once again takes us to Vietnam and shows us the absurdity of wars and their gruesome and negative impacts. The story centers around Chris Taylor, a young American who chooses war before college. Very soon, he realizes that he is completely insignificant to everyone there and he now has to face two demons, the war and his personal.


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Why you should watch it: This is one of the most famous anti-war movies ever, thanks to its strong message and the fact that it doesn’t look at war from either side, but it puts us somewhere in the middle, ready to take in everything Stone thought we are able to.

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