Best War Movies Streaming Right Now on Netflix

Maverick imagines what it would be like to have his own holiday. (Paramount)

If you're looking for the best war movies on Netflix we're here to help you stop the scrolling, move past the algorithm and find what you're looking for. Netflix has a massive catalog of movies and shows, and sometimes it's hard to find exactly what you want to watch. This list can help you cut through the war movie noise and get to the good stuff.

While the movies on our list are all focused on wars from one era of human history or another, we also have a bonus list of TV shows streaming on Netflix that features military documentaries and spy stories. There's enough military viewing here on Netflix to last most of us a long, long time.

War Movies on Netflix

All Quiet on the Western Front

This 2022 movie is the first German-language movie version of the 1928 Erich Maria Remarque novel about the horrors of World War I. The 1930 version of the movie won an Oscar for Best Picture, and this new one is up for nine awards, including Best Picture and Best International Feature Film.

Director and screenwriter Edward Berger has widened the focus of the story to include more background about WWI while maintaining the heart of the story about the brutal experiences of German soldiers in the trenches.

Top Gun

Hot take: The original 1986 classic may be one of the most iconic military movies ever made, but now it plays like a prequel to the even better 2022 movie "Top Gun: Maverick." "Top Gun" is still one of the most rewatchable Hollywood movies ever made, a film that has aged far better than almost all of its counterparts from the Reagan era.

"Top Gun" sent Tom Cruise's career into the stratosphere, inspired a generation of aspiring Navy aviators and convinced the Pentagon that cooperating with Hollywood could be an amazing recruiting tool. It also made the military cool again for a generation too young to remember Vietnam.

Apocalypse Now Redux

Francis Ford Coppola's Vietnam War epic was notoriously one of the most difficult location shoots of all time, and there were stories at the time that the director had no real fix on the exact story he was trying to tell.

There was a substantial amount of footage cut from the version released in 1979. That version was immediately recognized as a classic when it won the Palme d'Or, the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival. It went on to be nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, and winning Best Cinematography for Vittorio Storaro.

Still, Coppola wasn't happy with the final product, and two decades later, he re-edited the movie to make "Apocalypse Now Redux" and added back 49 minutes of footage he hadn't used in the original cut. Most of the additional footage takes place on the de Marais family's rubber plantation during the trip upriver. That's the version streaming on Netflix.

There's another version of the movie, "Apocalypse Now Final Cut," that was released in 2019 that cuts 20 of the added minutes from "Redux." That's Coppola's preferred version now. All three versions are classics, and there are plenty of people who will think longer is better.

12 Strong

"12 Strong" is the 2018 movie about the secret Army units that entered Afghanistan in October 2001 to lay the groundwork for the U.S. invasion of the country in the days after the 9/11 attacks. Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon, Michael Peña and Marine veteran Rob Riggle star in one of the best movies about our 21st-century military conflicts.

Darkest Hour

Gary Oldman won a Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of U.K. Prime Minister Winston Churchill in this drama about the early days of World War II. Churchill got a lot of blowback from his cabinet and the opposition when he refused to make a peace deal with Adolf Hitler, and the movie effectively dramatizes that crisis.

His administration survived a disastrous loss on the battlefields of France in 1939 and won over the people with the evacuation of troops from the beaches at Dunkirk. "Darkest Hour" ends with the prime minister's legendary "We shall fight on the beaches" speech to Parliament.

Forrest Gump

When you go back and watch "Forrest Gump," you might be surprised to learn just how little of its 2½-hour running time is devoted to Gump's service in Vietnam and his friendship with Lt. Dan Taylor.

It's Gary Sinise's performance as Lt. Dan that sticks with viewers three decades later, even though the actor didn't win the Oscar he deserved. Tom Hanks won Best Actor, and the movie was named Best Picture and picked up four more awards that night.

The greatest legacy of "Forrest Gump" may be that the experience of making it introduced Sinise to veterans issues, and he's gone on to become one of the greatest advocates the military community has ever seen.

Da 5 Bloods

Director Spike Lee offers a Vietnam War-era twist on the WWII heist story of "troops who hide Nazi gold and plan to go back." A group of Black soldiers come across a CIA plane loaded with gold earmarked to fight the Viet Cong.

The movie takes place in the present day with the group reuniting in Ho Chi Minh City to go on a mission to locate their horde. Delroy Lindo, Clarke Peters, Norm Lewis and Isiah Whitlock Jr. As they head out to search for the gold, the group is haunted by memories of their commanding officer (Chadwick Boseman), who was killed in a firefight back in the day. Lindo's son (played by a pre-fame Jonathan Majors) is also along for the trip.

The great thing is that "Da 5 Bloods" works both as a straight-up action picture with betrayals and gunfights while also telling a story about Black veterans of the Vietnam War.

Sand Castle

"Sand Castle" follows a group of Army Reserve civil affairs soldiers at the start of the Gulf War in 2003. Tasked with repairing broken water systems, the group attempts to recruit locals to aid in the rebuilding and speed up their mission.

Henry Cavill ("Superman") is the big name in the cast, but he's joined by a group of younger actors who were about to become famous. At the top of that list is Glen Powell ("Top Gun: Maverick," "Devotion"), but there's also Nicholas Hoult ("X-Men"), Logan Marshall-Green ("Upgrade"), Sam Spruell ("Outlaw King") and Beau Knapp ("The Good Lord Bird").

Outlaw King

Chris Pine stars as the King Robert the Bruce in a movie about the 14th-century Scottish Wars of Independence. "Outlaw King" was shot on location in Scotland and England, and there's plenty of period-correct locations and costumes to sell the story.

There's mud and blood and great sword-fighting battle scenes, so many that some might find the movie a bit light on plot and character motivation. Aaron Taylor-Johnson ("Bullet Train" and the possible next James Bond) and Florence Pugh ("Black Widow") also star.

The Woman King

"The Woman King" is based on the true story of the Agojie, an all-female group of warriors who liberated women sold into slavery in the African country of Dahomey in 1823. Viola Davis gives an unforgettable performance as Gen. Nanisca, the leader of the warriors who will eventually be crowned king of her people.

This 2022 film should appeal to anyone who enjoys epic historical war movies like "Gladiator" or "Braveheart." The combat scenes are impeccable, and Nanisca is an unforgettable character who has earned her place as one of the great movie military leaders.

Military TV Shows on Netflix

Five Came Back

"Five Came Back" is a WWII documentary series based on the book by movie historian Mark Harris. Hollywood movie directors John Ford ("The Searchers"), William Wyler ("The Best Years of Our Lives"), John Huston ("The African Queen"), Frank Capra ("It Happened One Night") and George Stevens ("Shane") all volunteered for service and made some of the most compelling films about combat during the era.

The series is both a war documentary and a history of the movies. Most of these men put themselves in harm's way in an attempt to give a true picture of the struggles that American military personnel faced both in the Pacific and the European theater of war.

Medal of Honor

"Medal of Honor" should've been a long-running series for Netflix, but the streaming service only made one season with eight episodes released in 2018. It's a great idea, telling the individual stories of Medal of Honor recipients in a compact form.

The series includes profiles of World War II heroes Sylvester Antolak (played by Joseph Cross, "Devotion"), Edward A. Carter Jr. (Aldis Hodge, "Black Adam") and Vito R. Bertoldo (Ben Schwartz, "Space Force"). We also get the Afghanistan War stories of Clint Romesha (Paul Wesley, "The Vampire Diaries") and Ty Carter (Jonny Weston, "Divergent"). We also get the Vietnam War story of Richard Etchberger (Oliver Hudson, "Nashville") and the Korean War stories of Hiroshi H. Miyamura (Derek Mio, "The Terror") and Joseph Vittori (Steven R. McQueen, "The Vampire Diaries").


Ryan Phillippe stars as Marine sniper veteran Bob Lee Swagger in this series based on the novel series by Stephen Hunter and the 2007 movie starring Mark Wahlberg. The series got a rough start back in 2016 when its premiere on the USA Network was delayed after the Dallas police shootings.

The show finally premiered late in the fall and went on to a three-season run, even though the show had further troubles when production on Season 2 was delayed when Phillippe broke his leg. "Shooter" now plays like a dry run for the kind of series that does so well for Amazon's Prime Video. Think of it as a basic-cable version of shows like "Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan," "Reacher" or "The Terminal List."

Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan

"Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan" is a documentary series that includes extensive reenactments of the wars that took place in feudal Japan in the 16th and 17th centuries. There's an endless web of betrayals and some excellent battle sequences.


"Valor" premiered on The CW network in the fall of 2017, the same time that "SEAL Team" premiered on CBS. "SEAL Team" went on to become one of the most popular military shows of all time, but "Valor" crashed and burned after 13 episodes.

The series follows the fictional 186th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, and because it was originally on The CW, viewers shouldn't be surprised that it emphasizes soapy interpersonal drama over action-filled missions. If you enjoy the stateside drama on "SEAL Team" but find yourself bored during the missions, give "Valor" a try.


When the limited series "Treason" premiered on Netflix just after Christmas 2022, it proved an immediate success around the world. Charlie Cox, best-known for playing Daredevil in Marvel movies and shows, stars as Adam Lawrence, a British agent who's elevated to the top job at MI6 when his boss is poisoned. He learns that an ex-lover is actually a Russian operative who's been pulling strings to advance his career. He's also being investigated by the British government and the CIA, who both have questions about his loyalty.

Hitler's Circle of Evil

Every streaming platform needs its own documentary that tells the story of the rise of the Third Reich, and Netflix delivers on the Evil Hitler front. This 10-episode documentary series mixes historical reenactments with interviews with British historian talking heads describing the evils of Hitler and his circle of henchmen.

All kidding aside, this is one of the better entries in the Nazi documentary genre.


If you don't watch shows with subtitles, you've been missing "Fauda," an Israeli series that focuses on the leader of the Israel Defense Forces' counterterrorism unit. Netflix has aired four seasons of the show, which has generated controversy for its unwillingness to offer sympathetic portrayals of people on both sides of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

The show's tempo is relentless, and there's plenty for fans of tactical action to enjoy over the 48 episodes (so far) of "Fauda."

The Spy

Sacha Baron Cohen stars as real-life Mossad agent Eli Cohen, who worked undercover in Syria with the secret identity as Kamel Amin Thaabet and worked his way up to become the Arab country's deputy defense minister in the years leading to the 1967 Six-Day War.

If you've only seen Cohen in comic roles like Borat, Ali G or Brüno, you may well be surprised at how good he is in this dramatic role. The series is in English, so those allergic to subtitles have nothing to worry about.

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