Veterans and active-duty troops have a love-hate relationship with war movies. There are many great war movies out there. And then there are the horrible ones… Movies so bad that will make your eyes blast out of their sockets and leave you begging for mercy faster than an al-Shabaab terrorist begs. But SOFREP’s brave writing staff decided to sacrifice itself for you, watch the dregs of the war-movie genre, and pick the worst war movies of all time!
Some of our picks may surprise you. Let us know your worst war movies in the comments below.
So, in no particular order, we have:
1) Battleship (2012)
If you walked into a room expecting to be mentally tortured with a two-hour presentation on Insurance Actuarial Tables and they showed you Battleship instead, 15 minutes into the film you’d be stomping your feet and screaming, “GIVE US THE ACTUARIALS NOW!”
Battleship is what happens when you spend $250 million to keep the Computer Graphics team from the Transformers series working between movies and you get your script from a Reddit thread for free.
In Battleship, aliens invade the Earth with just five ships. But they are the worst space navigators ever. Their comms ship hits a satellite on the way in and manages to crash-land in Hong Kong while the other four ships miss the continents of Asia and North America altogether and crash into the water off Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands.
When a U.S. Navy destroyer makes contact with the aliens it’s up to the group of Navy heroes to torture our eyes and brain.
While the action is fast-paced and well-rendered in CG, the military advisor the producers hired probably got all his military experience as a non-paying member of World Of Warships.
So if you’re looking for some background noise while you clean your house, this might be the one.
2) Revolution (1985)
This utterly horrible Revolutionary War film could as easily have been titled “Michael Corleone Takes on the Redcoats.”
It isn’t like the filmmakers took huge liberties with the facts, it’s that they ignored them completely.
The film stars Al Pacino. who moves freely through the battlefields of the Revolutionary War as if Scotty from the Starship Enterprise was beaming him from battle to battle.
As if this weren’t enough, Pacino’s Brooklyn accent is about 150 years out of time. Ow, and the colonists are portrayed as a bunch of drunken rowdies with no clue as to why they are about to take on the greatest army in the world.
Conditions on the set were so bad that the extras walked off one day and didn’t return. How’s that for workplace abuse? Actress Annie Lennox was so put off by the film that she swore off acting. And Pacino himself quit acting in films for five years after this stinker sticking only to Broadway. Awful.
It was named the worst film of the year. It only grossed $385,000 at the box office. There are no zeros missing.
3) The Hurt Locker (2008)
You probably didn’t expect to see this one in a worst war movies list. The Hurt Locker came out while I was on my first deployment. We knew that back in the States the movie was being lauded, so we were excited. Well, we finally received a DVD of the film and sat in a movie theater made from MRE boxes, clustered around a laptop, and hit play.
We had worked with Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) technicians and liked and respected the guys. They worked their asses off to make our Area of Operations a lot safer. We had watched them blow up IEDs left and right in the fields of Helmand Province so we had an idea of how they worked and what they did. Well, nothing in The Hurt Locker had any connection with that.
Clearly, not a single adviser was brought in for The Hurt Locker. Or any adviser was constantly drunk. We get segments showing soldiers abandoning Humvees and leaving weapons behind, a weird segment where a team of three EOD guys teams up with bounty hunters to fight snipers, and a scene in which a soldier leaves the Forward Operating Base to go on a run.
The glaring inaccuracies make this a fantasy movie and not a war movie. If I knew I was watching the Neverending Story, maybe I’d be less harsh.
4) Outside the Wire (2021)
Here’s a synopsis of Outside the Wire’s plot, according to IMDb: “In the near future, a drone pilot sent into a war zone finds himself paired with a top-secret android officer on a mission to stop a nuclear attack.”
If this isn’t enough to include it on a list of the worst war movies of all time, get ready cause there’s more. What made us want to rip our eyeballs was the complete lack of understanding of military rank structure or even branch of service.
Outside the Wire has Marines wearing Air Force uniforms and calling each other “soldier” and officers revering the privates. At least they didn’t clean their boots, too. It was mind-numbing and we still hurt.
But, if you are a veteran and you’re looking to get super pissed off in the first 10 minutes of a movie, then grab a drink and get ready to flippin’ lose it!
5) Green Zone (2010)
Green Zone stars A-list actor Matt Damon as Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller charged with finding weapons of mass destruction. While it may be entertaining, the movie will make any veteran cringe.
First, what is the Green Zone? The Green Zone is roughly a four-square-mile area surrounding Baghdad’s international airport and is protected by the Iraqi government. The rest of Baghdad is considered the Red Zone, which implies it’s more dangerous.
Having been in Baghdad during that time, I can say that it was a little bit of the Wild West, meaning who works for whom was a little confusing at times. But the Green Zone takes it to a whole other level as Matt Damon is seemingly working for himself, never reports to anyone, and has no boss at all. Yeah… that would fly well.
The movie leads you to believe that the government is willing to kill American troops to cover up its conspiracies… Well, at least this explains the MREs.
On top of that, Matt Damon is pretty much a single-man Operational Detachment Alpha as he bursts in, blasts away, and rides in the sunset. Time after time.
Depending on your disposition, the wild ridiculousness of events in the movie will either be cringe-worthy or hilariously bad. In either case, it has earned its spot in the worst war movies of all time.