Basing its plotline on Homer’s Iliad (loosely, some may say), this high-budget Hollywood interpretation of the story stars Brad Pitt in the leading role of Achilles, fiercely attacking the walls of Troy. Complete with gruesome battle sequences and dizzying special effects, Troy offers a uniquely visual interpretation of this story of love, betrayal and the cost of war. Directed by Wolfgang Peterson, the star-studded cast also features Orlando Bloom, Diane Kruger, Eric Bana and Peter O’Toole.
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Francis Ford Coppola’s modern war epic centering on the conflict in Vietnam has become one of the great contemporary classics. Army Captain Williard (Martin Sheen) is sent on an epic quest in the jungles of Cambodia with the goal of assassinating an American colonel named Kurtz (Marlon Brando), who has been overcome by the horrors of the war surrounding him. Harshly realistic and oftentimes painful, Coppola provides a peek into the humanity and the violence one of the world’s most controversial and brutal wars.
In a somewhat overwrought, but entirely enjoyable portrait of the Battle of Thermopylae, 300 gives a new perspective on ancient war. Shot in a highly stylized visual landscape sourced from the original graphic novel by Frank Miller, this questionably accurate account of the 300 Spartan warriors who fought to the death against the attacking King Xerxes features elongated swordfights, slow motion, a whole lot of fake blood and a ridiculous number of six-packs. Not for the faint of heart.