Best War Movies on Prime Video to Watch Right Now

Netflix may have the most subscribers of any streaming video service, but in terms of content, Prime Video is king. Prime Video’s streaming video service offers a library of over 9,700 movies, twice the number Netflix currently has on its platform. For fans of war films, that means hundreds of great films from the genre are available, including classics, modern blockbusters, and undiscovered gems.

Unfortunately, if you want to browse for a war movie to watch, the Prime Video app (for smart TVs and phones) isn’t going to be much help. It doesn’t offer “War” as a genre to browse through, so war films are lumped into the “Action/Adventure” genre, which is crowded with titles. The app’s search function isn’t very user-friendly, as a search for “war movies” includes many unrelated titles, so finding a good film may be difficult. We’ve scoured Prime Video and found the best war films on the platform, which feature combat or the effects of war on soldiers.

Updated on October 31st, 2023, by Rudransh Bundela: This article has been updated with additional content to keep the discussion fresh and relevant with even more information and new entries.


20 Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant (2023)

Guy Ritchie's The Covenant

Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant

Release Date
April 21, 2023

Director
Guy Ritchie

Cast
Jake Gyllenhaal, Alexander Ludwig, Antony Starr, Jonny Lee Miller, Dar Salim, Emily Beecham

Rating
R

Read Our Review

Guy Ritchie has earned a stellar reputation as a director for his signature style and gritty films. Guy Ritchies The Covenantwas no exception as a brilliant film that tackled one of the most underrated roles played by so many brave people during the war in Afghanistan. It starred Jake Gyllenhaal and a wonderful Dar Salim as his military interpreter.

What Makes It Great?

The film showcased the amazing bond that Many soldiers formed with their Afghan interpreters during the war. Many of the interpreters became unsung heroes as they went above and beyond their duty, and as depicted in the film, often risked their own lives to protect their American handlers. Filled with all the pulsating action and superb tension of a Guy Ritchie film, this one had a poignant story of courage driving it too.

19 Jarhead (2005)

Jarhead

Jarhead

Release Date
November 4, 2005

Director
Sam Mendes

Cast
Jake Gyllenhaal, Scott MacDonald, Peter Sarsgaard, Jamie Foxx, Lo Ming, Lucas Black

Rating
R

Runtime
127

Jarhead is an underrated film, it tells the story of Swofford, who trains as a sniper late on in his career. Shortly after, Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait saw his unit deployed to the Arabian Peninsula. Initially bored and stuck completing training drills, the men wile away their time with parties and swapping tales about their partners back home. However, when the war takes a turn, they’re soon thrust into action.

What Makes It Great?

One of the most notable war films of the early 21st century, Jarheadalso starred Jake Gyllenhaal, amid a great cast that also included Jamie Foxx and Peter Saarsgaard. Directed by Sam Mendes, the film was based on the 2003 memoir of Anthony Swofford, who wrote about his military service in the Marine Corps during the Persian Gulf War.

18 Hotel Rwanda (2004)

Hotel Rwanda

Hotel Rwanda

Release Date
March 4, 2004

Director
Terry George

Cast
Xolani Mali, Don Cheadle, Desmond Dube, Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Tony Kgoroge, Rosie Motene

Rating
PG-13

​​​​​​One of the most devastating and gruesome civil wars in history, the conflict between Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda led to a genocide that rocked the world with its brutality. Hotel Rwanda was a brilliant film that took viewers into the epicenter of this shameful period of African history. Don Cheadle played Paul Rusesabagina, the manager of a Belgian-owned hotel, who is a Hutu but is married to a Tutsi. At grave risk to his own safety, and that of his family, Paul helps shelter people during the genocide, ultimately saving many lives.

What Makes It Great?

Don Cheadle’s role saw him nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor. The film was a stark portrayal of how savage and cruel the genocide was, ultimately reminding the world of the dangers that hatred and bigotry based on ignorance can lead to if left to fester.

17 Shock and Awe (2018)

Marsden and Harrelson in Shock and Awe
Vertical Entertainment 

Shock and Awe centers around a group of Journalists who began to question the ethics behind the invasion of Iraq in the wake of the war on terror. Courageously taking on a deeply divisive political topic, the film explored the rationale used by the government to justify the invasion and the intelligence that sparked the now infamous hunt for weapons of mass destruction and the eventual fall of Saddam Hussein.

What Makes It Great?

As the absorbing movie, Shock and Awe proved, great war films don’t always have to take place on the front lines of the conflicts they portray to tell effective stories about them. The film features an amazing ensemble cast that includes Woody Harrelson, James Marsden, Tommy Lee Jones, Jessica Biel, and Milla Jovovich.

Related: 24 Best War Movies on Max to Watch Right Now

16 The Pianist (2002)

The Pianist

The Pianist

Release Date
September 17, 2002

Director
Roman Polanski

Cast
Adrien Brody, Emilia Fox, Michal Zebrowski, Ed Stoppard, Maureen Lipman, Frank Finlay

Rating
R

Runtime
149

Often cited as one of the greatest films in history, controversial director Roman Polanski’s stunning picture, The Pianist, was also an epic war film set during WWII. It tells the tale of a Polish pianist played by Adrien Brody who is forced to flee into a Warsaw ghetto when the war obliterates normal life in his town. The film chronicles his intense experiences there and the ravaging consequences the war had on Polish people who were directly affected by it.

What Makes It Great?

The film still holds a 95% critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes and is generally regarded as a true masterpiece of cinema. Despite the obvious cloud that’s been hanging over Polanski’s career since the late ’70s, his unique talent was on full show, with the film earning seven Academy Award nominations, winning three of them, including Best Director for Polanski, and Best Actor for Brody.

15 Eye in the Sky (2015)

Eye in the Sky

Eye in the Sky

Director
Gavin Hood

Cast
Faisa Hassan, Aisha Takow, Armaan Haggio, Helen Mirren, Bob Chappell, Alex Gallafent

Rating
R

Runtime
102

A more modern war film, Eye in the Sky is a harrowing thriller that depicts the nuances of war in the age of high-tech weaponry. In the movie, a joint military operation between the British and US governments is depicted as the operatives target high-value members of the militant Al-Shabaab group in Nairobi, Kenya. Collecting drone footage and setting up to launch a drone attack on a house that’s confirmed to house their priority targets, a huge complication arises when a little girl sets up a table to sell bread outside the house. Working out that she may be within the blast radius of the attack, a tense effort commences to either save her or proceed with the strike regardless of her presence there.

What Makes it Great?

The film holds a 95% critical rating and acts as a superb meditation on the complexities of modern warfare. The film also features some brilliant performances and a talented cast with Helen Mirren in the lead, and the likes of Alan Rickman, Aaron Paul, and Barkhad Abdi in supporting roles.

Related: The 10 Most Underrated War Movies of All Time

14 A Bridge Too Far (1977)

HS_A bridge
United Artists

A Bridge Too Far is director Richard Attenborough’s retelling of World War II’s Operation Market Garden, a disastrous attempt by the Allies to break through Germany’s lines in the Netherlands. It’s a faithful, mostly entertaining retelling of the battle. It features an all-star cast that is quite good. Despite the presence of Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Anthony Hopkins, Gene Hackman, and Sir Laurence Olivier, the film’s three-hour run time is a bit taxing, but the historical value is strong.

What Makes It Great?

A classic film in the war genre, A Bridge Too Far brings together the classic elements of filmmaking that are centered around war and history. If you’re a world war geek, A Bridge Too Far makes for essential war movie filmmaking.

13 A Farewell to Arms (1932)

A Farewell to Arms movie
20th Century Fox

Gary Cooper solidified his movie star status with A Farewell to Arms, the Oscar-winning adaptation of the classic Ernest Hemingway novel. Cooper plays Frederic, an American ambulance driver in Italy during World War I, who sparks a torrid love affair with a British nurse (Helen Hayes).

What Makes It Great?

Cooper is excellent in the lead, although Hemingway (who later became friends with Cooper) disliked the film’s focus on romantic themes. A Farewell to Arms was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won two, for Best Cinematography and Best Sound.

12 The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

The Best Years of Our Lives Cast
RKO Radio Pictures

The Best Years of Our Lives, the Academy Award winner for Best Picture of 1946, follows three veterans coming home from World War II and explores how each adjusts to civilian life once again. Despite the film’s lack of combat, the war looms large in every scene, as each soldier struggles with their experiences. While many war films of the era glossed over the personal issues soldiers faced, this film addressed them head-on.

What Makes It Great?

The film won seven Oscars in all, including Best Actor for Fredric March, who played a soldier struggling with sobriety. Harold Russell won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar playing a Navy man who lost his hands in battle. In reality, Russell had lost his hands during an accident during a training exercise, and director William Wyler cast him after seeing his work in an Army training film. Russell also won an honorary Oscar for his inspirational role, giving “hope and courage” to other disabled veterans.

Related: Best War Movies on Tubi to Watch Right Now

11 The Captain (2017)

Max Hubacher as Willi Herold in The Captain
Music Box Films

The German film The Captain is set on the Axis side in the final days of World War II. It follows a deserter from the Third Reich who stumbles across a captain’s uniform in an abandoned car and begins wearing it. He then begins bluffing his way through numerous tense situations with German officers to get away from the war front. Eventually, the privilege of authority goes to his head and corrupts him completely.

What Makes It Great?

The film is a captivating look at how war can bring out the very worst in weak people, and is directed by German filmmaker Robert Schwentke, who would go on to helm Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins.

10 Dick Winters: Hang Tough (2012)

A scene from Dick Winters: Hang Tough
Tim Gray Media

If you’ve seen the landmark HBO series Band of Brothers, you’re likely familiar with Maj. Dick Winters. He led the 101st Airborne Division’s “Easy Company” and saw some of the biggest battles of World War II. Dick Winters: Hang Tough is a 2012 documentary about the war hero’s life and exploits in Europe. It features interviews with both him and the surviving members of Easy Company.

What Makes It Great?

This excellent documentary is narrated by actor Damian Lewis, who portrayed Winters in Band of Brothers lending it a more realistic look and feel to it. The documentary serves as the perfect intersection between education and entertainment as it recounts one of the biggest battles of World War II with precise accuracy and thrilling entertainment.

9 Hamburger Hill (1987)

Hamburger Hill
Paramount Pictures

Hamburger Hill is a grounded, often harsh look at one of the most infamous battles of the Vietnam War. In 1969, U.S. troops spent days trying to take “Hill 937” in the A Shau Valley of Vietnam, in what would become one of the bloodiest battles of the war. The film highlights the illogical decisions soldiers often had to follow, and while the film is a realistic depiction of war, some odd editing and narrative decisions by director John Irwin keep it just short of being a classic.

What Makes It Great?

Despite the action sequences not standing the test of time, Hamburger Hill makes for classic war movie viewing as it paints an accurate picture of life on the battlefield. Aided by poignant dialogue and great performances by Don Cheadle and Dylan McDermott, John Irvin’s anti-war film is as raw and real as they come.

8 The Lost Battalion (2001)

A scene from The Lost Battalion
A&E

By 2001, former child star Ricky Schroder had made a successful transition to more adult roles, including a stretch on NYPD Blue. During that time, he also starred in the 2001 A&E TV movie The Lost Battalion. It told the true story of World War I of a 500-man battalion of American troops who held off thousands of German troops after being cut off from reinforcements.

What Makes It Great?

Directed by Russell Mulcahy (Highlander), The Lost Battalion earned three Emmy nominations and a lot of critical praise making it one of the most underrated war films of recent times. Despite not having the budget given to most war films, The Lost Battalion more than makes up for it with its tight plot points and fast-paced narrative.

Related: Best Spy Thriller Movies Adapted from Books

7 The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999)

The Messenger The Story of Joan of Arc
Gaumont / Buena Vista International

The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc is director Luc Besson’s not-quite-accurate depiction of the brief life of Joan of Arc. If you’re looking for a historical lesson here, keep looking, because Besson’s over-dramatized and over-stylized movie is more about the spectacle and tragedy of war.

What Makes It Great?

It’s best to appreciate this film for its entertaining broad strokes and forget the fact that Joan is a French woman being portrayed by a Ukrainian-born actress (Milla Jovovich) speaking with an American accent. While she’s no Renée Jeanne Falconetti, Jovovich gives a strong performance, however, despite the choice of how the character was portrayed. Although heavy on style and imagery, the film’s battle sequences are quite good, and there are some decent dramatics about the politics of war as well.

6 No Greater Love (2017)

A scene from No Greater Love
Atlas

No Greater Love is a sadly overwhelming documentary that follows an Army chaplain who reunites with his fellow soldiers in the 101st Airborne Division (known as the “No Slack”) as they recount their experiences in the Afghanistan War against the Taliban.

What Makes It Great?

A mix of combat footage (most recorded by the chaplain) and interviews, the film provides an insight into the conflict rarely seen. In one heart-wrenching scene, a medic recounts how he saved the life of a suicide bomber who had just killed his friend and injured him because he felt it inhuman to let him die. It’s a profoundly affecting film.

5 Ran (1985)

Ran 1985
Herald Ace

An intricate marriage between Eastern and Western sensibilities, Akira Kurosawa borrows from Shakespeare’s narrative frameworks and sets them against the Sengoku period in Japan with a special focus on the legendary feudal lord Mōri Motonari.

What Makes It Great?

Unlike modern-day war films that work on the visual overdose of bombs and bullets, Ran advocates for brains over brawn, and strategy over strength. Having rooted the story in Shakespeare’s King Lear, Kurosawa’s film offers a refreshing perspective into the ills of power and the political machinations that contaminate it.

4 Red Dawn (1984)

C Thomas Howell in Red Dawn (1984)
MGM
UA

Upon its release in 1984, Red Dawn was dismissed by many critics as crude, Cold War fantasy, with its depiction of an invasion of America by Russian and Cuban troops. It also garnered a fair amount of controversy at the time for its violence, which included teenagers being gunned down at a high school. Time and a fair amount of nostalgia have softened some opinions, and the film is now embraced as one of the better action films of the 1980s.

What Makes It Great?

Ukrainian soldiers even used the “Wolverines!” battle cry in their war with Russian troops, mimicking the youngsters who revolt against the Communists in the film. There’s a good amount of crowd-pleasing action to this revolution as Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen take it to the Russians, but director and co-writer John Milius made this a much deeper, more profound film about the personal cost of war. The cast is excellent, and the iconic Powers Boothe reminds us what an underappreciated screen presence he was.

3 The Somme (2005)

A scene from The Somme
Channel 4 Television

The Somme (also known as Line of Fire: The Somme) takes a documentary-like approach to the deadliest battle of World War I. In 1916, The Battle of the Somme was fought along the French River and ultimately involved three million troops during the months-long battle. 20,000 British troops died in a single day in one of the most terrifying statistics from the battle. Narrators read letters from soldiers detailing their experiences, and dramatic reenactments of the battle make for a compelling film.

What Makes It Great?

The Somme’s merit lies in its approach to filmmaking, the film’s documentary-like approach gives it a completely realistic outlook making the events seem all the more realistic. A sad and haunting film, The Somme is a glaring testament to the brutality of war and the blatant disregard for human life that comes from it.

Related: Best War Movies on Netflix You Can Stream Right Now

2 To End All Wars (2001)

To End All Wars

To End All Wars

Release Date
September 2, 2001

Director
David L. Cunningham

Cast
Ciarán McMenamin, Robert Carlyle, Kiefer Sutherland, Mark Strong, Yugo Saso, Sakae Kimura

Rating
R

Based on the real-life story that inspired Bridge on the River Kwai, To End All Wars focuses on a part of the history the classic film did not. Rather than dramatize the bridge-building and the effort to blow it up, this 2001 drama focuses on the prison camp experiences of the imprisoned Allied soldiers, and the spiritual journey they take to cope with brutal conditions.

What Makes It Great?

The film is packed with fantastic performances from some great actors, including Kiefer Sutherland, Robert Carlyle, and Mark Strong. Ciarán McMenamin is equally good in a film that packs an emotional punch. Prime Video offers the director’s cut of the film, with over 20 minutes of footage not seen in theaters.

1 The Tomorrow War (2021)

the tomorrow war

The Tomorrow War

A family man is drafted to fight in a future war where the fate of humanity relies on his ability to confront the past. Starring Chris Pratt.

Release Date
July 2, 2021

Director
Chris McKay

Cast
​Chris Pratt2, Yvonne Strahovski, J.K. Simmons, Betty Gilpin, Sam Richardson, Jasmine Mathews

Rating
PG-13

Read Our Review

In the future, humanity is on the brink of extinction from an alien invasion. In response, soldiers from that time come to the present to recruit more humans to fight the aliens, including former Green Beret Dan Forester (Pratt), who leads untrained civilians into combat. While there is a strong focus on the call of duty for humanity to fight for their future, the special effects are the draw in this entertaining film.

What Makes It Great?

The Tomorrow War is one of Prime Video’s big-budget original films, featuring A-lister Chris Pratt in the lead. The film is often loud, silly sci-fi, but alongside some excellent action sequences is an interesting premise.

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