The 10 Bloodiest, Most Violent War Movies Ever Filmed

War movies are necessarily violent. This is one of the rules of war movies: Wars are violent, the movies that reflect them should be also.  Here are the top, bloodiest war films we've seen.

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Come and See (1985)

Come and See movie


This Russian movie about the second World War remains not only one of the best war movies of all time, but one of the most violent. Let's put it this way, the first 15 minutes of this film make the opening of Saving Private Ryan look like a casual stroll through the park. Perhaps, the best film ever at capturing the hallucinatory destruction of experiencing war and death. Be warned though, this film is not of Hollywood, and therefore does not follow the familiar beats and rhythms of normal war films. You'll have to go in with an open mind.  And a strong stomach.

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Braveheart (1995)


  Icon Entertainment International

Mel Gibson set out to make a film of epically violent proportions. He knew that battle in the Scottish Highlands circa 1300 was pretty awful, and he wanted the viewer to experience it. To this end, the film contains a non-stop deluge of hacked arms, split skulls, and severed legs.  After the battle, the field is stained a deep crimson red, with the dead bodies everywhere. Seeing Gibson in full blue battle paint, rivulets of blood on his face is a jarring and memorable moment.  Truly, one of the most violent war films ever made.  

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Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Saving Private Ryan


Although it's been watched by families all over the country, the opening D-Day attack in Saving Private Ryan remains one of the most gruesome and realistically violent war scenes of all time. Soldiers are mowed down by machine gun the moment they hit the beach, land mines blow off legs, and dead bodies immediately start piling up. One of the great details of that scene is that, fairly quickly, the tide which laps the sand at the beach is stained red with blood.

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Letters From Iwo Jima (2006)

Letters From Iwo Jima


Letters From Iwo Jima has the scenes you'd expect: Marines crawling through the muck getting mowed down by machine guns. Mortars blowing the legs off of Marines. Naval guns pounding the Japanese positions.  But there's one scene that's truly horrifying: Private Saigo (the film's protagonist) is deep in the caverns beneath Iwo Jima.  Word has come down that the tunnels are about to be breached by Marines -- the Japanese have lost. The Japanese soldiers are all ordered to commit suicide in order to save face for their dishonor of letting the Marines get as far as they have. One by one, the Japanese soldiers grab a grenade, pull the pin, and clutch it tightly. Yes, the scene is as gruesome as you're imagining right now, and it happens not once, not twice, but repeatedly.

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Fury (2014)


 Columbia Pictures

This Brad Pitt World War II tank movie doesn't hold back when it comes to the blood. Early in the film, the new recruit to the tank has to wash his predecessor out of the tank; this means scrubbing down all the blood​ and picking up the bits of flesh that dot the seat. Also, don't forget the face which is squished up on the controls. Later, tanks obliterate soldiers, burn soldiers, blow-up soldiers. It sorta continues like this throughout the entire film.

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Rambo (2008)




The fourth film in the franchise, simply called Rambo, without any suffix, was made for a fairly low budget. What the film lacks in big-budget spectacle and set pieces, it makes up for in blood and gore.  You can almost imagine the executives and Stallone sitting in a boardroom lamenting their modest budget and wondering how they would make their mark on a film that required restrained action scenes. Then Stallone says, "Well, we can just go crazy with blood...fake blood is cheap." Indeed it is, and in this film, Rambo gets behind a .50 caliber machine gun and mows down an entire battalion of Burmese troops, each of whose head explodes in slow motion. The jungles run crimson red in this film, which is extremely violent, even for a Rambo film starring Stallone.​

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Apocalypto (2006)


 Icon Entertainment

Mel Gibson's directorial follow-up after Passion of the Christ was the under-rated Apocalypto, perhaps the only film in cinema's history to focus on the Mayan Empire prior to the landing of the white man. The film's protagonist - a simple farmer - journeys to the capital where he finds a hedonistic society, where rape and murder are common, human sacrifice is normal, and bloodletting is everywhere. One of the most violent war films I've ever seen...(and I've seen quite a few)

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Lone Survivor

Lone Survivor

 Universal Pictures

There's not tons of blood in this film, per say, but the torture of the four SEALs as they attempt to escape from a much larger sized enemy force of Taliban fighters is drawn out for the entirety of the film, such that watching it begins to feel a bit like you're participating in an assault. The characters on-screen just collect bullet wounds and head wounds and they continue to fight until they're injured to the point where they sort of fall over and die. The violence is extreme, even if the on-screen blood is not. 

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Fires on the Plain

Fires on the Plain

 Daiei Studios

This film is more psychologically violent, then anything else. It's an experimental film that follows a Japanese soldier after the Japanese have surrendered in the Pacific during the Second World War. Without a goal other than to survive, the protagonist wanders the island, looking for food, while starving. Eventually, he succumbs to cannibalism. Need we say more? 

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We Were Soldiers

We Were Soldiers

  Icon Entertainment International

Detailing one of the most violent battles of the Vietnam conflict, this film tells the real-life story of a cavalry unit that ended up fighting an enemy force many times larger, with the U.S. soldiers out-numbered four to one. To survive, air strikes are called in, and the film shows the results of these air strikes in efficient, precise detail.