(Reposted from movies4maniacs.tumblr.com on July 28th, 2014)

I’ve already mentioned this on my Facebook page but today is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War 1. Yes, 100 years ago today, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia after a month of ultimatums following the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

Hollywood has made some terrific war movies in the past. My favourite happens to be ‘Platoon’, which was written and directed by Oliver Stone. Stone himself, fought as an infantryman during the Vietnam War and wrote ‘Platoon’ as therapy to get over his PTSD and a drug addiction.

There have been countless terrific World War 2 movies, including ‘Saving Private Ryan’ (1998), ‘The Thin Red Line’ (1998), ‘The Big Red One” (1980), ‘The Longest Day’ (1962), ‘Hell is For Heroes’ (1962), and lesser known classics like ‘Between Heaven and Hell’ (1956) and one of my personal favourites, ‘Beach Red’ (1967). Those are all worth checking out. The best Korean War film ever made, at least in my book, is ‘Pork Chop Hill’ (1959) staring Gregory Peck. Robert Altman’s ‘M.A.S.H.’ (1970) is also up there. There are just so many great war movies about Vietnam, Desert Storm, The American Civil War, The American Revolution and so many others.

The single greatest World War 1 film and perhaps one of the greatest anti-war films ever made, was 1930’s ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ or ‘Im Westen nichts Neues’ in German. The film version was adapted from the 1929 novel of the same name. ‘All Quiet…’ is a coming of age tale about a group of young German students who are encouraged by their teacher to join the Imperial German Army during the early days of the war. Themes that were new to war movies and novels at the time, but have been explored countless times since, include the loss of innocence, the appeal to authority, nationalistic pride as a motivation for war and the pain of taking a human life. This is a gritty, heartbreaking film. It’s deep and tremendously philosophical. I give this cinematic masterpiece a 10/10, as it’s the pioneer for all modern war movies and set the standard for all that came after.

Other great World War 1 films include ‘Paths of Glory’ (1957) directed by Stanley Kubrick, the ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ TV movie from 1979, ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ (1962) and two great Australian films, ‘Gallipoli’ (1981) and ‘Beneath Hill 60’ (2010). I’ve also heard that ‘War Horse’ (2011) was quite good, along with the Canadian film, ‘Passchendaele ’ (2008). I will be checking those out soon.