Stories about war cover a lot of ground; there’s a war movie for every taste. There are direct tales of battle and engagement, and stories of what happens between and after the firing is over. There are imagined stories of heroism and true tales of incredible bravery. Over the next couple of months, all those and more are coming to theaters.
Here are five great war movies — covering every angle of human conflict — opening this fall.
Gerard Butler may be the only man who can prevent World War III. So how is this a war movie, you ask, if the whole thing is about stopping war? Good question! Butler plays Joe Glass, the untested captain of an American submarine. He’s leading a rescue mission when a huge problem becomes apparent. The Russian president has been taken captive in a would-be coup, and Glass has to pull together a Navy SEAL team to rescue him and preserve world peace. If that all sounds a little surprising given our current tense relations with Russia, know that Hunter Killer is based on the novel Firing Point by George Wallace, and went into development in 2011 and was delayed by legal issues between studios. Gary Oldman, Common, Linda Cardellini, and Michael Nyqvist also star. (October 26)
On the opposite end of the spectrum from Hunter Killer is Indivisible, based on the true story of Army Chaplain Darren Turner (Justin Bruening). This faith-based film follows Turner and his wife Heather (Sarah Drew) as they deal with Turner’s deployment to Iraq immediately upon completing seminary and basic training. The long tour of duty overseas is challenging for Chaplain Turner, who has to deal with losses and damage on the battlefield, and for Heather, who has to raise their children alone while trying to support other families on the base. Then Turner finally returns home, and things only get more difficult. Can their marriage survive on faith? (October 26)
A Private War
Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl, Jack Reacher) plays war correspondent Marie Colvin, an American journalist who worked for the British paper The Sunday Times for nearly thirty years. Colvin’s work took her to violent front lines around the world, from Chechnya and Kosovo to Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, and East Timor. An RPG in Sri Lanka took her eye in 2001, but she continued to report stories even afterward. A Private War tracks Colvin’s brave and/or brash work, and her fierce determination to give voice to those who otherwise went unheard. Finally, the story follows her and war photographer Paul Conroy (Jamie Dornan) to the siege of the Syrian city of Homs, which will turn out to be more dangerous than any other conflict in Colvin’s career. (November 2)
This one is by far the least realistic war film of the year. It is, however, a great conclusion to Halloween’s season of horror. The World War II thriller Overlord comes from Bad Robot, and has some of the same tones as the Cloverfield films. A squad of US Army soldiers is given a difficult task. They must destroy a radio antenna at a German-held fortress so that Allied forces can begin the D-Day attack. Trouble is, the fortress is also the site of horrific experiments that are creating mutated super-soldier monsters. So the grunts have to clear them out before they can destroy the radio array. Wyatt Russell and Jovan Adepo play the soldiers who shoulder most of the work. With the help of a local woman played by Mathilde Ollivier, they face off against a ruthless German soldier played by Pilou Asbæk. (November 9)
One of Steven Spielberg’s greatest films returns to theaters in December. Liam Neeson stars as German businessman Oskar Schindler, who saved the lives of more than a thousand Polish Jews during World War II. Initially, a profit-minded member of the Nazi party, Schindler inadvertently saved people by hiring them because he could pay lower wages to Jewish workers. After seeing a massacre in the d Kraków Ghetto, however, Schindler begins to focus on preserving lives. Spielberg’s film, shot in black and white (and a touch of red) with a stark documentary feel, is one of the greatest films of the 20th century, and an essential story of the Holocaust. This digitally remastered version is being released to celebrate the film’s 25th anniversary. (December 7)