War movies are captivating, offering a window into the dark realities of conflict as well as entertainment. Apple TV has become one of the best streaming platforms for bingeing the latest movies, and the platform’s collection of the latest war movies is astonishingly unique. Whether you’re drawn to stories of heroism, the resilience of human nature, or war history in general, each war movie on AppleTV has a wealth of entertainment for you, with different perspectives of life on and off the battlefield.
These movies cover the impact of war on the private lives of soldiers and society in general. War movies also explore themes of courage and sacrifice by those on the frontlines and those they leave behind. The convenience of streaming on Apple TV makes these powerful narratives feel closer to the viewer than ever. Here is a look at the ten best war movies available on Apple TV, ranked by their IMDB scores.
1. ‘Schindler’s List’ (1993)
What it is about: Set during the Holocaust, ‘Schindler’s List’ tells the story of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who saved over a thousand Polish Jews by employing them in his factory. To prevent them from being murdered, he bribes a cruel Nazi officer, Goth, to list the Jews as “essential workers” to save them from being taken to the Auschwitz concentration camp.
Why you should watch it: Director Steven Spielberg crafts a harrowing depiction of one man’s impact in the midst of unimaginable atrocities, highlighting the potential for compassion and humanity even in the darkest of times. Schindler is portrayed by Liam Neeson, who turns the character into one of the most relatable heroes of any WWII movie.
2. ‘Saving Private Ryan’ (1998)
What it is about: After guiding a group of soldiers to turn the tide of battle against Nazis at Omaha Beach during the Invasion of Normandy, Captain John H. Miller (Tom Hanks) is given a new mission. He has to lead a platoon to locate and bring Captain James Francis Ryan home after his three brothers are killed in the war. While locating Ryan through Nazi-controlled territory is hard enough, the cost of eventually saving Private Ryan proves to be even higher.
Why you should watch it: This is another Spielberg masterpiece that delivers intense and realistic combat scenes and delves into the emotional toll of war. The film’s portrayal of camaraderie and sacrifice resonates deeply with audiences, which is why it found its way into the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry.
3. ‘Apocalypse Now’ (1979)
What it is about: Set in 1969, during the Vietnam War, ‘Apocalypse Now’ tells the story of Captain Benjamin Willard (Martic Sheen), who is tasked with assassinating a rogue US general. General Walter Kurtz (Marlon Brando) runs an unsanctioned guerilla operation from his base in Cambodia, where he controls US and native forces like a demigod, and Willard’s mission to end his reign of terror divides opinions among many of his fellow soldiers.
Why you should watch it: This Francis Ford Coppola masterpiece is a visually stunning and psychologically intense exploration of the madness and disillusionment that can arise during war. Set against a backdrop of stunning cinematography and an action-packed plot, the movie offers all the thrill and intensity you need from a war film.
What it is about: On April 6, 1917, during WWI, the British army realized that a purported German retreat was a tactical move to ambush the 2nd battalion of the British army’s Devonshire regiment during an offensive scheduled for the following day. To save the battalion’s 1600 men, the general sends two young soldiers, William Scofield, and Tom Blake, with a message to prevent the massacre, but the two young men have to cross the heavily guarded enemy territory to deliver the letter.
Why you should watch it: The unique “one-shot” filming style of Sam Mendes’ ‘1917’ offers an immersive experience, putting viewers directly into the shoes of the two young protagonists. The raw scenes of the bloodbath lay bare the realities of conflict and the huge toll of war, especially on the young and the vulnerable.
5. ‘Full Metal Jacket’ (1987)
What it is about: Split into two parts, ‘Full Metal Jacket’ follows a platoon of U.S. Marines during the Vietnam War, from their brutal training on Parris Island to their deployment on the frontlines. The recruits are trained by the heavy-handed Seargent Hartman, who forces them to their limits, resulting in one of them suffering a mental breakdown. When deployed, J.T Davis, Nicknamed Joker, proves his trainer wrong by displaying both bravery and compassion on the battlefield.
Why you should watch it: This film offers a raw and unflinching examination of the dehumanizing effects of war, especially on young soldiers. It proves the psychological toll that fighting takes on soldiers as they struggle to maintain their humanity while ordered to kill and show little mercy. In the end, the real heroes are the ones who manage to retain their humanity and not necessarily the ones with the highest headcount.
6. ‘Platoon’ (1986)
What it is about: ‘Platoon’ follows a young soldier named Chris Taylor’s (Charlie Sheen) journey through the chaos and moral dilemmas of the Vietnam War. He is deployed in a unit divided by conflicting ideologies, where one Cynical sergeant enjoys the arbitrary killing of innocent civilians while another level-headed one tries to adhere to the rules of war.
Why you should watch it: Directed by Oliver Stone, himself a Vietnam War veteran, the film draws from his real experiences during his deployment. It portrays the complexities of war, shedding light on the internal struggles of soldiers and the moral ambiguities suffered on the battlefield, especially by young recruits.
7. ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ (2016)
What it is about: Based on a true story, ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ follows the remarkable journey of Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector who saved 75 US soldiers during the Battle of Okinawa. Doss proves his heroism on the battlefield without firing a single shot. He holds onto his Seventh-Day Adventist beliefs throughout his deployment, eventually endearing him to his unit members, who were initially disappointed by his refusal to handle a weapon during combat.
Why you should watch it: Mel Gibson’s film celebrates the power of conviction and the strength of nonviolent heroism. The movie proves how a single individual can make a huge difference in battle. It also emphasizes the need to accommodate people with differing opinions in military ranks, proving that pacifism is not cowardice.
8. ‘Dunkirk’ (2017)
What it is about: ‘Dunkirk’ covers the stories of the evacuation of over 300,000 Allied troops from the beaches of Dunkirk after Nazi soldiers surrounded them during WWII. The movie, which has little dialogue, covers different perspectives of the evacuation through an ensemble cast portraying troops on land, sea, and air.
Why you should watch it: This was the highest-grossing WWII movie of all time until 2023, when ‘Oppenheimer,’ also written by Christopher Nolan, overtook it. Nolan’s innovative storytelling and breathtaking visuals create a sense of urgency and immersion, allowing viewers to experience the tension and desperation of the evacuation.
9. ‘Black Hawk Down’ (2001)
What it is about: ‘Black Hawk Down’ recounts the disastrous Battle of Mogadishu, where U.S. soldiers find themselves trapped in hostile territory when RPGs shoot down their helicopters. A small platoon, previously tasked with capturing a Somali warlord, is now forced to hold off endless swarms of his militants. The incident becomes a nightmare as the platoon sustains casualties while diplomatic qualms delay reinforcements.
Why you should watch it: Ridley Scott’s gripping film showcases the chaos and bravery of soldiers caught in a deadly urban conflict, emphasizing the importance of teamwork and resilience. Their bravery in the face of seemingly impossible odds is thrilling to watch.
10. ‘Fury’ (2014)
What it is about: ‘Fury’ follows a tank crew in the final days of World War II, navigating their way through enemy territory and facing overwhelming odds. After a deadly attack, the crew gets cut off from the rest of the army, but they choose to go ahead with the mission, effectively getting outnumbered by German tanks. Don, the platoon leader, makes the tough choice of giving everything for the mission.
Why you should watch it: This film captures the tight-knit camaraderie of the crew and provides an intense and gritty depiction of tank warfare, shedding light on the challenges faced by soldiers who fought on the front lines. The crew defies all odds to stand up to better-equipped German troops, and while they choose martyrdom over retreat, they choose to save the youngest member of the crew, who has a whole life to live.