Movies – 5 War Movies That Delivered At The Box Office (& 5 That Flopped)
They may not be as popular as rom-coms but war movies are still an integral part of Hollywood entertainment. Oftentimes, they shed light on some critical moments in history. The likes of Pearl Harbor, Dunkirk, and 1917 are all based on real historical event and attempt to portray the harsh realities of war.
However, there are also some war films that go beyond that and focus on the affects war can have on an individual’s mental health, such as American Sniper and Brothers.While most of these movies do receive some form of recognition from critics and the public, some can also fly under the radar and go largely unnoticed (if one takes a look at the box office figures).
10 Hit: 1917 – $384,131,585
Set in World War I, this war movie is recognized as one of the best WW1 epics of all time. The story focuses on two soldiers, played by Dean-Charles Chapman and George MacKay, who must cross enemy lines to deliver a critical message that can save thousands of lives. 1917 also features one of the best long takes in action movie history. For director Sam Mendes, the reason for doing this simple. He told Vox, “The feeling that you are going to have to live through the story with them is accentuated by not cutting.”
9 Hit: Saving Private Ryan – $481,840,909
Some say that Saving Private Ryan is the greatest war movie ever made. For starters, it features one of the biggest battles of WWII in movies, specifically the movie’s opening sequence which reenacts the Allied Invasion during D-Day in Normandy. In crafting the sequence, the film’s director, Steven Spielberg, spoke with several war veterans to get an accurate account of what happened.
While speaking with DGA, Spielberg explained, “I spend hours interviewing veterans of that moment and they said there was blood everywhere.” That’s why he gave the beach a eerily-graphic look.
8 Hit: Dunkirk – $525,245,546
Set in 1940, this war movie recounts the time that the Allied forces were trapped in Dunkirk following Germany’s advance into France. Although the characters in the movie are mostly unnamed, fans still recognized a slew of familiar faces, including Tom Hardy as pilot Farrier and pop star Harry Styles as British soldier Alex.
Dunkirk happens to be the first movie that Styles has ever done. And while speaking about his experience with director Christopher Nolan, the singer told The Big Issue, “[Nolan] never makes you feel like you have to try too hard.”
7 Hit: American Sniper – $547,426,372
American Sniper stars Bradley Cooper as the late U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. The movie is based on a book written by Kyle, which discussed his experiences on the battlefield. While working on the movie, Cooper initially thought that he and Kyle would work on the film together.
The two had spoken once and the actor told NPR, “We had a great conversation, but little did I ever think that would be the last time I’d ever get to talk to him….” Unfortunately, Kyle was killed while he was at a shooting range. Nonetheless, his legacy lives on in this movie.
6 Hit: Wonder Woman – $821,847,012
Sure, it’s unlike any other war movie. There’s a superhero element in Wonder Woman after all. Nonetheless, the movie is set during the time of World War I and at some point, Gal Gadot’s Diana bravely walks across No Man’s Land amidst a hail of bullets and mortar fire.
Interestingly, the sequence was nearly left out of the film. While speaking with Fandango, the film’s director, Patty Jenkins, recalled, “There were a couple people who were deeply confused, wondering, like, ‘Well, what is she going to do?’”
5 Flop: Joyeux Noel – $17,709,155
Joyeux Noel is part Christmas movie and part war film. The movie recounts a time during World War I when German, French, and Scottish soldiers decide to momentarily lay down their weapons to come together for Christmas. Up until the movie was released, not many people knew of this historical account, mostly because it was “buried” in the archives.
Carion told The United States World War One Centennial Commission, “Military officials and the governments of the time felt that it should not be known because it would have been a great disaster for them.”
4 Flop: In the Land of Blood and Honey – $1,203,699
Angelina Jolie made her feature film directorial debut with this 2011 war movie that is set during the Bosnian war. Having also written the movie, In the Land of Blood and Honey is a very personal film for the actress.
Having visited so many conflict zones, Jolie told The Washington Post, “The crux of the story was my frustration with lack of intervention.” The movie offers a raw account of what happens in a war zone and she is not surprised is some scenes become unbearable for the audience.
3 Flop: Charlotte Gray – $668,140
Admittedly, Charlotte Gray is a little-known 2001 war movie that stars Cate Blanchett as the titular character. Essentially, Charlotte is a Scottish woman who decides to work with the French resistance to rescue a missing RAF pilot (who also happens to be her lover).
The character is partially inspired by real-life Australian hero Nancy Wake, who was notorious for parachuting into war-torn France and became a prominent figure in the French resistance. Sadly, her husband was tortured and killed by the Gestapo while at their home in Marseille.
2 Flop: Shock And Awe – $182,415
Instead of being told from the point of view of soldiers, Shock and Awe is a war movie seen from the perspective of journalists. Set in 2003, Shock and Awe tells the story of a group of journalists assigned to cover the invasion of Iraq following orders from President George W. Bush.
Based on true events, James Marsden and Woody Harrelson play Knight Ridder reporters Warren Strobel and Jonathan Landay respectively. Aside from them, the cast also includes Tommy Lee Jones, who plays a former war correspondent that went back to journalism after serving as the Secretary of State, Colin Powell’s, consultant.
1 Flop: The Situation – $48,896
This 2006 movie stars Connie Nielsen as an American journalist, who is kidnapped and held hostage while covering the war in Iraq. Aside from Nielsen, the movie also stars Mido Hamada as an Iraqi photographer and Homeland’s Damien Lewis as a CIA operative.
Throughout the story and her ordeal, Nielsen’s character also becomes caught in a love triangle between two men. Unfortunately, this war movie failed to draw in more audiences in the cinemas. Interestingly, Eastwood’s other war movie, Flags of Our Fathers, was released around the same time and earned a lot more.
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