War films continue to be a popular genre in 2022. Recent war films include All Quiet on the Western Front, the anti-war epic about the horrors of WWI; The Greatest Beer Run Ever, the comedic adventure of a former soldier’s quest to hand out beers to his friends serving during the Vietnam War; and The Woman King, an all-female unit who protect an African kingdom during the 1800s. The most recent addition to the genre is Devotion.
Based on the 2015 novel of the same name, Devotion illustrates the friendship between fighter pilots Jesse Brown (Jonathan Majors) and Tom Hudner (Glen Powell) during the Korean War. Brown, the first African American aviator in the U.S. Navy, and Hudner eventually became the Navy’s most decorated wingmen due to their heroic actions and sacrifices. After watching Devotion, here are five more war films to explore if you’re looking for more epic battle sequences and inspiring stories of heroism.
The “other airplane movie” of 2022 happens to be the highest-grossing film of 2022. That movie would be Top Gun: Maverick, the sequel to 1986’s Top Gun. Tom Cruise reprises his role as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, the former Top Gun legend who avoids rank to stay as a test pilot in the Navy. Facing a discharge, former classmate Tom “Iceman” Kazansky (Val Kilmer) steps in to save Maverick’s career and provide him with an opportunity. Iceman wants his friend to train and prepare a group of Top gun graduates for a top-secret mission, which Maverick begrudgingly accepts.
Alongside Cruise and Kilmer, the ensemble cast features Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Ed Harris, Lewis Pullman, Monica Barbaro, and Devotion‘s Glen Powell. Directed by Joseph Kosinski, Maverick’s dazzling visual effects and cinematic action sequences catapulted the film to gross over $1.4 billion worldwide. With its impressive box office run and critical acclaim, 2022 will go down as the year of Maverick.
Top Gun: Maverick will stream on Paramount+ starting December 22.
Inspiring does not even begin to describe the real-life story of Louis Silvie Zamperini in Unbroken. As a troubled kid, Zamperini (Jack O’Connell) channeled his mischief into running, and the Italian-American eventually qualified for the 1936 Olympics. Although he finished eighth in the 5,000-meter race, Zamperini set a record for the fastest lap time.
Miraculously, that’s only the beginning of Zamperini’s unfathomable life. The film follows his time as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army during World War II. After surviving a plane crash, Zamperini lasted 47 days at sea before being captured by Japanese forces. Then, Zamperini would spend the next couple of years as a prisoner-of-war in an internment camp, where he would receive vicious beatings from the heartless Sgt. Mutsuhiro “The Bird” Watanabe (Miyavi). Zamperini’s will to survive is something that you need to see to believe.
Stream Unbroken on HBO Max.
Like Devotion, 1917 focuses on the friendship between two men: Lance Corporal Will Schofield (George MacKay) and Lance Corporal Tom Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman). The two young soldiers must deliver a message to another Colonel to call off an attack the next morning. Many of the 1,600 men involved in the attack, including Blake’s brother, will die if the message is not delivered in time.
1917 is a landmark technical achievement as director Sam Mendes shot the film to look like it was done in two takes. As the camera showcases the boys’ every movement, the audience is taken on a roller coaster ride as they follow the entire journey from start to finish. Schofield’s epic sprint on the battlefield is worth the price of admission.
No director understands spectacle more than Christopher Nolan. Between epic heist sequences in The Dark Knight, invigorating shootouts in Inception, and high-speed space travel in Interstellar, Nolan’s set pieces are examples of sheer brilliance. Nolan’s talent and creativity were on full display in 2017’s Dunkirk, an epic war film about the 1940 Dunkirk evacuation in WWII.
Nolan applied nonlinear storytelling to Dunkirk as the film focused on the fight on land, sea, and air. The ensemble cast features Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Harry Styles, Jack Lowden, Barry Keoghan, Cillian Murphy, Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, and Tom Hardy. As one of the best war films of the last 25 years, Dunkirk is a must-watch for any war film fan.
Stream Dunkirk on Tubi.
Roland Emmerich loves to direct epic films. Independence Day, Godzilla, The Patriot, The Day After Tomorrow, and 2012 are some of the better disaster epics in Emmerich’s filmography. Three years ago, Emmerich returned to his genre of choice with Midway. The epic war film depicted the Battle of Midway, which is known as one of the turning points during WWII.
Six months after Pearl Harbor, the U.S. decode Japanese messages that state their intention to attack Midway. The three-day battle is depicted on land and at sea as the Allies try to turn the tide for the Americans. The cast features Ed Skrein, Luke Evans, Nick Jonas, Patrick Wilson, Dennis Quaid, Mandy Moore, and Woody Harrelson. The aerial battles in Midway perfectly complement Devotion‘s stunning flight sequences.
Stream Midway on Peacock.