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The 15 best war movies on Netflix (June 2021)

Netflix war movies
Da 5 Bloods and Green Zone. Pic credit: Netflix/Universal

Netflix is a perfect streaming service for movie fans, as there are great options for every genre of movies, and this is true for war movies as well.

Whether it is movies taking place during real-world wars, sci-fi movies with battles against aliens or robots, or films that take place with the war as a backdrop, there are several great war movies on Netflix for fans to enjoy.

Whether it is a Netflix original or a movie licensed from another studio, there is something here for everyone.

As with all Netflix movies and TV shows, there are several that leave the streaming service every month. The good news is that many films and TV shows are replacing them each month.

Make sure to bookmark this page as we will update it every month with the new releases while also removing those movies that have left Netflix.

Updated in June 2021: Every month, movies leave Netflix, and others show up to replace them. This means some of the best movies we might list here as recommendations are no longer available to view the streaming giant.

The good news is that we will be coming back to this article every month and removing those movies no longer available, and replacing them with new options that are of equal, or in some cases, superior quality.

The Pianist (2002)

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Adrien Brody in The Pianist. Pic credit: StudioCanal

Roman Polanski directed the Holocaust movie The Pianist in 2002 and the film won him an Oscar while actor Adrien Brody picked up an award as well.

Brody stars as a Jewish pianist living in Poland during World War II. Just when it looks like Britain and France might save Poland when they join the war, Germany overruns the country.

Through the movie, the pianist loses everything, including his family, to the Nazi extermination camps, and has to go into hiding thanks to protection from a sympathetic member of the Jewish Ghetto Police.

War Dogs (2016)

Jonah Hill and Miles Teller in War Dogs.
Jonah Hill and Miles Teller in War Dogs. Pic credit: Warner Bros.

War Dogs is a drama-comedy about two guys who find a way to profit off the war.

Miles Teller is David, a massage therapist living in Miami who loses all his life savings on a failed business deal. He soon runs into an old friend in Jonah Hill’s Efraim, who has a company that sells arms to the U.S. government during the way in Iraq.

The goal is to find military equipment orders that large companies ignore, but are still worth millions. When one deal goes bad, the two head over to Jordan to figure things out and strike it rich.

However, Efraim makes some bad deals, and David ends up in danger as everything goes bad.

Green Zone (2010) 

Green Zone (2010)
Matt Damon and Jason Isaacs in Green Zone. Pic credit: Universal

Matt Damon was the lead in the Paul Greengrass war action thriller, Green Zone.

Damon is a U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer named Roy Miller, who man searching for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. However, when he learns the info is wrong and the true story about these weapons is blocked by the U.S. government.

The other lead is Yigal Naor who played General Mohammed Al-Rawi, who is hiding in Baghdad during the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Greengrass created the movie based on his disillusion of the war with Iraq.

The Patriot (2000)

The Patriot
Mel Gibson in The Patriot. Pic credit: Sony

The Patriot goes back much further when it comes to war movies, as this film takes place during the American Revolution.

This is a Roland Emmerich movie, one of the few non-disaster movies that he has made. Much like many of Emmerich’s films, it is more of a fantastical look.

The story takes part in the Southern theater of the American Revolutionary War and Gibson stars as Colonel Benjamin Martin, a man who fears a war with Great Britain but watches in horror as his son Gabriel (Heath Ledger) joins the Continentals.

Free State of Jones (2016)

Free State of Jones
Matthew McConaughey in Free State of Jones. Pic credit: STX Entertainment

Released in 2016, Free State of Jones was a Gary Ross movie inspired by the life of Newton Knight, a man who led an armed revolt against the Confederacy in Mississippi during the Civil War.

Matthew McConaughey starred as Newton Knight, a poor farmer serving as a Confederate nurse who deserts when he watches his nephew shot and killed.

When he learns the Confederacy stole crops and livestock from poor farmers, he helped a family resist one raid and raises an armed revolt to defend their homes and property.

Alexander (2004)

Colin Farrell, Val Kilmer, and Angelina Jolie in Alexander. Pic credit: Warner Bros

Alexander is the Oliver Stone movie about Alexander the Great, with Colin Farrell starring as Alexander.

The movie takes Alexander from his childhood with tutor Aristotle, where he then finds love and success in wartime.

Angelina Jolie stars as Queen Olympias while Val Kilmer took on the role of King Philip II. The all-star cast also included Anthony Hopkins as Ptolemy, Jared Leto as Hephaestion, Rosario Dawson as Roxana, and Christopher Plummer as Aristotle.

The Outpost (2020)

The 15 best war movies on Netflix
The Outpost. Pic credit: Screen Media Gems

The Outpost was a Screen Media Gems release in 2020 that was based on the non-fiction book by Jake Tapper.

The book and movie take place during the Battle of Kamdesh in the war in Afghanistan.

The cast is top-notch, with Orlando Bloom, Scott Eastwood, Caleb Landry Jones, and Jack Kesy. It was supposed to premiere at South by Southwest in 2020 but that was canceled due to COVID-19 and it is now available on Netflix.

The Outpost has a great 92% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Outlaw King (2018)

The 15 best war movies on Netflix
Chris Pine in Outlaw King. Pic credit: Netflix

Outlaw King is a 2018 Netflix original war movie starring Chris Pine as Robert the Bruce.

The movie shows how Robert the Bruce launched a guerilla war against the large English army, starting when he rebelled against Edward I, becoming an outlaw, until the Battle of Loudoun Hill.

Pine (Wonder Woman) starred, alongside Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Avengers: Infinity War) and Florence Pugh (Black Widow).

The movie is bloody and doesn’t skimp on the battle scenes, picking up a nomination for its visual effects in 2019.

The 12th Man (2017)

The 12th Man
The 12th Man war movie. Pic credit: IFC Midnight

The 12th Man was a Norweigian war movie released in 2017.

The movie focuses on the escape of Jan Baalsrud (Thomas Gullestad) from the Nazis during World War II.

The title is based on the fact that there were 12 Norweigan resistance fighters in an attack on the Nazis. Their attack failed, and 11 of them are executed after interrogation and torture.

Jan is the 12th man, and the last alive, as he sets out on his escape, trying to get to neutral Sweden.

Unlike the book it is based on, the movie deals with the people who helped him escape and the courage of the local population. It is also a cat and mouse game, with his pursuers given the face of a Nazi pursuer played by Jonathan Rhys-Meyers.

Da 5 Bloods (2020)

Isiah Whitlock Jr.. as Melvin, Norm Lewis as Eddie, Delroy Lindo as Paul, Clarke Peters as Otis and Jonathan Majors as David in Da 5 Bloods
Isiah Whitlock Jr.. as Melvin, Norm Lewis as Eddie, Delroy Lindo as Paul, Clarke Peters as Otis, and Jonathan Majors as David in Da 5 Bloods. Pic credit: Netflix

Spike Lee chose Netflix to create his latest movie, and Da 5 Bloods hit the streaming service in June 2020.

In his first movie since winning an Oscar for BlackKklansman, Lee tells the story of a group of Vietnam War veterans returning to Vietnam to find their fallen squad leader’s remains.

They also want to retrieve some treasure they buried there.

The cast is fantastic, with Delroy Lindo, the late Chadwick Boseman, and more. Critics praised the movie, with a 92-percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Monsters & Critics John Dotson called it “magnificently tense as well as riveting.”

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

The best sad movies on Netflix (June 2020)
Guillermo Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth. Pic credit: Picturehouse

Guillermo Del Toro directed the fantasy movie Pan’s Labyrinth in 2006 – a fairy tale story about a young girl who discovers a fantastical undergrown world.

However, on top of the fantasy movie aspects, Pan’s Labyrinth is set against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War, haunting its every moment.

The film also takes the horrors of war and creates an almost alternate fantasy world that allows the little girl to escape the real horrors, only to find more horrific monsters at her final destination.

This is easily one of the best movies on Netflix and remains Del Toro’s masterpiece.

Extraction (2020)

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Chris Hemsworth in Extraction. Pic credit: Netflix

Extraction is a Netflix original movie starring Chris Hemsworth, better known to Marvel movie fans as Thor.

This movie takes place in Bangladesh, a war-ravaged country, and Hemsworth is a black-market mercenary named Tyler Rake, who is sent in to save Ovi, the son of an incarcerated Indian drug lord.

This movie might be one of the most violent films on Netflix, with more kills than most war movies, and almost all of them at the hands of Tyler Rake himself.

Thanks to its insane action and the star-power of Hemsworth, the film was watched by approximately 90 million households its first month of release, one of the more successful Netflix releases in 2020.

A Bridge Too Far (1977)

A Bridge Too Far
The cast of A Bridge Too Far. Pic credit: United Artists

In 1977, actor Richard Attenborough directed one of the best war movies of the ’70s with A Bridge Too Far.

Attenborough, who most people know as the financer John Hammond in the original Jurassic Park movie, had an all-star cast for this World War II movie.

James Caan, Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Gene Hackman, Anthony Hopkins, Laurence Olivier, Ryan O’Neal, and Robert Redford were among the Oscar winners who starred in this movie.

The film tells the story of the failed Operation Market Garden in World War II. It picked up eight BAFTA nominations, winning for four of them.

Defiance (2008)

Daniel Craig and Jamie Bell in Defiance. Pic credit: Paramount Vantage

Defiance is a war film from 2008 directed by Edward Zwick (Glory), and it told a war story from World War II.

Based on the book by Nechama Tec, this is about the Bielski partisans, a group of Jewish partisans who rescued Jewish people from extermination while also fighting the Nazi occupiers.

The main characters are brothers, Tuvia (Daniel Craig), Zus (Liev Schreiber), Asael (Jamie Bell), and Aron (George MacKay), whose parents were killed by German occupiers, and they set out to avenge their parent’s death.

These brothers started a unit that saved tens of thousands of people.

Beasts of No Nation (2015)

Beasts of No Nation
The Netflix original Beasts of No Nation. Pic credit: Netflix

Beasts of No Nation was the first movie that Netflix ever picked up as an original and did so in 2015.

Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective), this movie tells the story of a young boy who becomes a child soldier during a horrific war.

The film is based on the novel by Uzodinma Iweala, was part of the 72nd Venice International Film Festival, and was then picked up by Netflix and given a limited release.

Idris Elba was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor at the Golden Globes while winning the Screen Actors Guild Award for the same honor. The film was not nominated for an Oscar due to its early prejudice against Netflix.

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