Best friends, rivals or strangers, stories about brothers never stop triggering our attention and are always interesting to watch. There have been many that left us speechless, warmhearted or delighted after seeing them and it is a good idea to gather the best of them here.
In no particular order, this list will remind you of some of the most remarkable movies and most beautiful relationships or give you an idea of what to watch next. These are the 25 best movies about brothers of all time.
Four Brothers (2005)
This crime drama about four adopted brothers deals with human nature and the urge to do something even though we are aware that this is not the right and best way. The Mercer brothers lost their mother in what seems to be a random killing during a grocery store robbery and now they are trying to avenge her.
This rampage of theirs will end in many unwanted discoveries, one of which will be a secret business one of their brothers is involved in with a dangerous local gangster. And on top of everything, the two policemen who are trying to solve the case might also not be exactly what they seem.
The Fighter (2010)
Even though we knew Christian Bale is a remarkable actor who always brings his portrayals to a higher level, with this movie he showed everyone that he is one of the best. He completely outshone Mark Whalberg who also gave one of his best performances ever, playing “Irish” Micky Ward, a boxer who had to go through a lot to become a world winner in the light welterweight category.
We follow Micky’s story, in Boston’s slums, surrounded by poverty and a family who doesn’t believe in him, besides his half brother Dicky, a former boxer who is training him and always staying by his side, while at the same time dealing with his addiction to drugs. This story shows the strength of a brotherly bond, no matter what circumstances they find themselves in.
A story about two brothers, a well-behaved, good husband and father and a marine Captain Sam Cahill and his estranged, wild brother Tommy who comes home from prison before Sam’s second tour to Afghanistan. During Sam’s leave, they hear of a plane crash where all passengers are assumed dead and it is suddenly Tommy’s job to take care of his brother’s family, his widow and her two children.
But Sam is held prisoner and he must endure unimaginable horrors there so when he is sent back home, he is a completely new person. Detached, silent and emotionless, Sam is certain that there has been something going on between his wife and brother and slowly he becomes obsessed with this notion.
The Game (1997)
David Fincher directed a deeply disturbing psychological thriller about two estranged brothers who suddenly get in touch after the younger brother returns from his years long absence. Michael Douglas is Nicholas Van Orton, a successful and wealthy San Francisco banker who desperately needs friends and someone’s attention.
When his brother Conrad visits him after many years and hands him an invitation to some unusual entertainment, Nicholas will soon be caught up in a web of twisted situations. This series of events will make him question his life and almost bring him to the edge, before facing one of the sickest truths behind everything.
Legends of the Fall (1994)
This beautiful, heartbreaking romantic drama about three brothers and all the obstacles that come between them is one of the most unforgettable movies about brotherly relationship and bond. Anthony Hopkins plays Colonel William Ludlow who lives with his three sons, Tristan, Alfred and Samuel in the Montana wilderness of the early 20th century.
The first hit to this unconventional, but close family will be the death of the youngest one, Samuel who gets killed in World War I. Both Tristan and Alfred make it out alive but their biggest problems start upon their arrival at the estate when both of them fall in love with Samuel’s gorgeous fiancee Susannah. This movie brilliantly depicts the challenges put in front of two men who find themselves taken apart by a woman.
A River Runs Through It (1992)
Before Brad Pitt filmed Legends of the Fall and excelled as Tristan, he starred in another movie about brothers, also set in wild Montana. He spends his days in rural Montana together with his brother Norman, most of the time fly fishing. Sons of a minister raised the same, the two boys grew up to be pretty different, especially in character.
They part when Norman moves East to go to college and Paul is left back home to deal with his rebellious nature. When Norman comes back, the boys go back to what they enjoyed most and while fishing, they share their plans for the future and reminisce on what happened in the past.
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
One of the most famous war dramas in the last decade of the 20th century, this movie takes us back to 1944 and the events related to four brothers, three of whom are killed in action. When the United States Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall learns about this fourth brother, he decides to do everything to bring him back to his mother.
Private James Ryan needs to be found and Marshall sends eight of his men (including Captain Miller and chosen Rangers) to find him and bring him home safely to his mother. Steven Spielberg did an excellent job with this story, making it as realistic as possible, with the help of an incredible cast of some of the most talented actors of that time.
This is a true story about London’s two most notorious gangsters, twin brothers Reggie and Ronnie Kray and their rise in London’s criminal underworld. Reggie tries to go legitimate and win the heart of a local girl, Frances Shea, but Reggie is nothing but violence and aggression. After he comes back from prison, his behaviour will start to affect the development and prosperity of their empire.
On the other hand, Reggie’s marriage will begin to suffer due to his constant mood changes and worrying about his brother’s whereabouts and plans. This is an interesting movie which will mainly be remembered thanks to an outstanding performance by the brilliant Tom Hardy who masterfully played the roles of these two complex characters.
Rain Man (1988)
This is one of the first movies that comes up when we think of movies with the relationships between brothers. This brilliant drama brings us the story of the young Charlie Babbit who needs to take care of his autistic brother Raymond after he finds out that their father left them a huge amount of money after his death.
Charlie is an arrogant car dealer who will have to change his way of thinking and behaving after he kidnaps Raymond and takes him on a road trip just so he can get a hold of this money. In the beginning, Charlie can’t stand Raymond and his behaviour, but slowly he starts to realise what is hiding inside this interesting and unusual brain.
This difficult and heartbreaking story about four brothers who find themselves in the deep forests of Poland and Belarus occupied by Germans is one of the most memorable movies set in World War II. On the run and hiding, the Bielski brothers manage not only to provide for themselves but also for many other fleeing Polish jews.
They know the right people and who to trust from the Soviet partisans and manage to do the impossible, find food and weapons for numerous women, men, children, young and old in the middle of the dark and cold woods during some of the most terrifying moments of German occupied Eastern Europe.
The Blues Brothers (1980)
One of the first movies that come to mind when we mention the topic of brothers is this one, the unforgettabče adventure comedy with the late John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd in the roles of two brothers who feel an obligation toward the orphanage they grew up in. After Jake Blues’ release from prison, he and his brother Elwood go to pay a visit to the last living nun who raised them there.
The orphanage is to be sold and closed and the only way to keep that from happening is to raise 5000 dollars to pay the tax on the property in 11 days. They decide to go back to playing music, but this path won’t be easy since there will be many who won’t be satisfied with the brothers’ decisions and plans.
The Lost Boys (1987)
A cult among horror comedies, The Lost Boys is a must-see for everyone who enjoys movies about vampires, told in a slightly different manner than usual. A mother moves with her two sons to a coastal town in California where everything is full of bikers and mysterious deaths. Both boys are introduced to different groups of youngsters, both of which are pretty unusual and intriguing.
The younger one befriends two boys who describe themselves as vampire hunters and the older one becomes a member of a gang of bikers in order to be closer to a girl he likes. Both of them begin to lead lives completely opposite to the ones they used to and soon their new situations will become more complicated and serious than they thought at the beginning.
American History X (1998)
This is a movie that no one forgets and the one where the brother theme is so perfectly elaborated on that it can easily be an example of how to portray a relationship between brothers. Derek Vineyard used to be a leader of a white supremacist gang who has just gotten out of prison after three years of serving for the brutal murder of two black men.
His younger brother Danny was greatly influenced by his beliefs and actions and Derek is fully aware that Danny might be repeating his old actions. Derek’s only mission is to prevent Danny from choosing a life full of hatred and he will try and do anything to keep him safe. This movie is an extremely strong and disturbing drama, but it is definitely worth watching, not only for the topic and its message but for one of the most fascinating performances by an actor ever, Edward Norton’s Derek Vineyard.
Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton are brothers who are in for the fight of a lifetime, but at the same time face the fall of their family. It is the story of Tommy Riordan and his brother Brendan who get involved in the brutal and tough world of MMA fighting where they will finally meet after many years of estrangement. Tommy is a former Marine who returns to his hometown and asks his father to train him for an MMA tournament.
His brother Brendan also decides to return to the ring, since he is having a hard time providing for his family with a pretty modest teacher’s salary. The two brothers will soon have to face each other in the ring and deal with what tore them apart before the biggest game of their lives.
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007)
This brilliant, mind blowing thriller about two brothers who believe they have come up with a perfect crime is a great example of a strong bond between family members. Ethan Hawke and Philip Seymour Hoffman play Hand and Andy who decide to rob their parent’s jewellery store.
But this job goes terribly wrong and they find themselves, together with their father and wife of one of them in more problems than they have ever imagined. It should have been a perfect crime, with no guns and violence, a victimless crime, but an accomplice’s mistake triggered a series of events which left no one unharmed.
The Boondock Saints (1999)
Irish Catholic twin brothers Conner and Murphy get tired of the criminal activities going on around their hometown of Boston so they decide to start with their own vigilante actions against the ones standing in their way. Driven by faith and resolute to cleanse the streets from the dirt they believe has covered the city, they start hunting down and killing all the gangsters they’ve heard of.
And as it often goes, those kinds of vigilantes soon become heroes in their neighbourhoods, hometowns or countries. The Boondock Saints were local heroes in their community, but not everyone was completely on board with their mission. Paul Smecker, a peculiar FBI agent puts himself on a task to catch the self proclaimed bringers of order.
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
This wonderful movie is one of the most memorable dramas that shows the strength of a brother’s love. Gilbert is a member of a family of individuals who rely on someone else’s help. His life revolves around his younger brother, the seventeen year old Arnie with a severe mental condition. Gilbert’s future is unknown, he spends his days working in a convenience store and taking care of his family.
He doesn’t even think of another life, at least not until he meets the free spirited Becky who is stuck in town with her grandmother for a week until their car parts get mended. Gilbert is suddenly overwhelmed with some other feelings and his biggest preoccupation isn’t his family anymore, but the possibility of a somewhat different life.
East of Eden (1955)
This James Dean classic tells the story of two brothers who fight for their father’s devotion and love. Salinas Valley, somewhere around World War I, Cal Trask is a young man who feels the pressure to compete against his brother Aron due to his insecurities and overall lack of satisfaction with his life.
He is questioning his reactions to war, worries about work and the future and is not only concerned about his father’s love but also wants to figure out how to get closer to his estranged mother. This movie was a huge success, probably thanks to the immense James Dean’s popularity at the time, but also the excellent references for the John Steinbeck’s novel the movie is based on. A true American classic, a grand story of family matters and the relationship between two rival brothers.
The King of Marvin Gardens (1972)
A story about two brothers, Jason Staebler, the King of Marvin Gardens, a dreamer, and David Staebler, a realist. Jason has another idea, one more dream he wants to make come true and this time he asks David for help. He wants to build a casino on a Hawaiian island and promises hills and mountains to the introvert David who he hasn’t seen for 18 months.
But Jason has always been impulsive and David has a hard time accepting everything Jason promises him regarding this casino. Some other problems begin to arise, mostly related to Jason’s manic-depressive girlfriend Sally and step by step what seemed an interesting possibility to start anew, ends with a tragedy that will change everything.
The Brothers Grimm (2005)
This surrealist story about the most famous storytellers, the brothers Grimm, brings us a somewhat changed story of how they came up with all their unforgettable fairytales. Matt Damon and Heath Ledger are hilarious as these two adventurous brothers who get into different kinds of adventures while trying to banish all sorts of evil from 19th century Germany.
These two charlatans would do everything for the right amount of money, even convince villagers from various villages that they have gotten rid of witches and ghosts around their homes. But when they hear about the missing children from Marbaden, they will have to prove their worth and skills and this time face a real malevolent force.
Even though an animation, it definitely deserves to be on the list due to its beautiful message and the depiction of a strong brotherly connection. Ian and Barley Lightfoot are two teenage elf brothers who embark on a journey to find a little magic so they can spend one day with their father who died when they were children.
Their journey will become a true adventure, full of obstacles, but also memorable moments and unforgettable discoveries. When their brave mother finds out they are missing, she will team up with the fearless Manticore and run off to save her sons. But this dream of theirs will mean more to everyone than they have ever imagined.
A story of three brothers Bondurant and their feuds and their relationship with the deputy Charley Rakes. Set in the Prohibition era in Virginia, this movie won’t let you rest until its very end. It is a biographical crime drama that brilliantly depicts this era and the ways people were treated if they wouldn’t comply with the authorities and their demands.
This is also a great example of how brothers have each other’s backs, even if not always of the same opinion. The Bondurants were brave and clever and wouldn’t let anyone complicate their lives, staying true to their family name and heritage.
A Bag of Marbles (2017)
This beautiful drama inspired by true events tells the story of two Jewish brothers, Maurice and Joseph who are trying to escape the war occupied France and reunite with their family. They were left alone and now it will take all their courage and strength to manage to find them in the midst of the horrors that their country has suffered.
This is a wonderful depiction of a brotherly bond and the importance of a family, especially in these hard times when you don’t have anyone else to rely on. Being a true story, it makes it even more unforgettable and effective, seeing these two boys going through hell and beyond to simply experience childhood as it should be, carefree and safe.
Rocco and His Brothers (1960)
This masterpiece by Luchino Visconti is a must-see, being one of the most influential and important Italian movies, belonging to its golden era of Neorealism. It is a story about Rocco and his three brothers, about typical family problems, but step by step some more serious, such as jealousy and resentment. Vicenzo is the oldest and already works in Milan, Simone dreams of a boxing career, Rocco works in a dry cleaner’s and Ciro studies.
When Rocco starts going out with Nadia, a prostitute his brother Simone had an affair with, these more serious problems start coming to the surface and a serious feud explodes between the brothers. The question is will they be able to stop before it turns out into something ugly.
My Brother’s Wedding (1983)
This realistic portrayal of an Afro American coming from a working class is at the same time a funny and heartwarming story and a tragic destiny of a man who has been struggling with himself. As if this is not enough, he starts having problems with his lawyer brother and his fiancee.
This movie is a great depiction of two completely different individuals coming from the same family. One is cold and opportunistic and the other caring and loving, but their relationship and tensions deliver us some unforgettable moments full of humour, but also this tragic bitterness underneath it all.