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Top 10 Movie Battles

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In this video, WatchMojo picks their Top 10 Greatest Battle Scenes in Movies. There aren’t any sci-fi or fantasy sequences here.

Number ten is the Battle of Mogadishu, “Black Hawk Down” (2001). This is a case of real life being more thrilling than fiction. The movie reenacts the 1993 military operation where Delta Force and Army Rangers rappelled into Somalia from Black Hawk helicopters. When they are surrounded by militia men, the scenes are gripping.

At nine is the Battle of Metapontum in “Spartacus” (1960). Led by Kirk Douglas’ Spartacus, the slaves launch a rebellion against the corrupt Roman Republic. They march towards Italy where several battalions of Roman soldiers are waiting. The survivors refuse to betray Spartacus, making for an emotional scene.

Eight is the Battle in Germania in “Gladiator” (2000). Borrowing elements from Spartacus, this movie features Russell Crowe as a general who leads the Roman soldiers to victory at a barbarian stronghold. The battle revived Hollywood’s love of the sword-and-sandal genre, it also provided an epic archery and catapult field spectacle.

In seventh place is the Battle of Rourke’s Drift in “Zulu” (1964). While stationed at a field hospital, 150 British soldiers are swarmed by 4,000 Zulus. This remains the greatest example of a British army getting defeated by an indigenous and technologically inferior population. It is essentially a tidal wave of death.

Coming in sixth is the Parachute Drop, “A Bridge Too Far” (1977). Brought to life by an international cast, this iconic film shows the Allied forces’ unsuccessful attempt to end World War II early. The plan was to break through German lines to seize control of bridges, but blind ambition and underestimating the enemy proved fatal.

Fifth is the Castle Attack in “Ran” (1985). Considered the greatest scene ever produced by a Japanese filmmaker, Akira Kurosawa’s battle is globally recognized for its powerful images, use of colors and sweeping musical score.

Number four is the infamous reenactment of the Attack on Pearl Harbor in “Tora! Tora! Tora!” (1970). This depiction is focused on the boldness of the Japanese army when launching their notorious aerial raid on Pearl Harbor. Of the film’s three directors, two were Japanese, and spared no expense at making this the polar opposite of the other movie on this naval base attack, starring Ben Affleck.

At number three is the Helicopter Attack in “Apocalypse Now” (1979). What makes this Vietnam War movie’s battle scene stand out is the use of Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” over loudspeakers to intimidate the locals and motivate the soldiers.

Second is the Battle of Stirling in “Braveheart” (1995). Mel Gibson’s fierce, Scottish rebel warrior William Wallace leads the Scots in a war for independence against England. This battle is all about the face paint, kilts, longswords, axes, brutality and lack of compassion for the horses. The movie features the infamous line, “They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom.”

And in first place is the Omaha Beach Invasion in “Saving Private Ryan” (1998). This depiction of the real-life D-Day invasion of Normandy by Allied Forces on June 6, 1944 shows the tragically flawed military victory that finally put an end to World War II. The battle scene holds nothing back, and does anything but glorify war. It is the most chilling representation of war ever put on screen, a bloodbath unlike never before or since seen on the big screen.

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