5 best Netflix war movies to watch on Father’s Day weekend

George MacKay as Schofield in a trench | 1917 VFX
Universal Studios / Universal Studios

Any dad worth his salt has at least a small soft spot for the war movie. The stereotypical father is likely obsessed with military history, and loving a great war movie goes part and parcel with understanding these fights and how they really unfolded.

If you’re looking for great war movies, there’s plenty of them to be found on Netflix. Picking the right one to check out this Father’s Day might be a challenge, though, which is why we’ve put together this list of the perfect titles to choose from as you settle in for this year’s festivities.

1917 (2019)

1917 - Official Trailer [HD]

A war movie made to look like it’s one continuous shot, 1917 tells the story of a pair of infantrymen who are given a hugely important assignment to deliver a message to the front lines and prevent an ambush. The movie follows their journey across enemy territory to deliver the message.

In addition to being a hugely impressive technical achievement (which it undeniably is), 1917 is also a surprisingly solid showcase for its lead actors, who form an endearing bond as they deal with the hardships of war. World War I doesn’t get as much cinematic representation as its real-world sequel, but this movie does an excellent job representing all of its epic scale and gruesome violence.

You can watch 1917 on Netflix.

All Quiet on the Western Front (2022)

All Quiet on the Western Front | Official Trailer | Netflix

This adaptation of a centuries-old novel provides another great example of World War I representation. The film, which is in German, tells the story of a teenager who graduates during World War I and is eager to serve his country in the war. When he arrives on the front lines, though, he realizes that the glory he was seeking is not how war actually works.

Instead, he experiences a parade of horrors. Director Edward Berger manages to find a lot of beauty in the film’s terrible scenes of war and violence, which is part of the reason the movie picked up so many Oscars.

You can watch All Quiet on the Western Front on Netflix.

Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

Born on the Fourth of July Official Trailer #1 - Tom Cruise Movie (1989) HD

Telling the true story of Ron Kovic, a New York teenager who joins the Marines during Vietnam because he sees it as his civic duty, Born on the Fourth of July is a story of how one man went from joining up to being an impassioned critic of the war.

The movie also gets at the difficult reality that no one who didn’t experience the war themselves truly understands what he went through, so he finds himself trying to critique a war that the policymakers he’s battling against don’t actually understand. Tom Cruise is brilliant in the central role, if you’re looking for proof that he’s a genuinely great actor.

You can watch Born on the Fourth of July on Netflix.

The Guns of Navarone (1961)

THE GUNS OF NAVARONE [1961] - Official Trailer (HD)

Telling the story of one small mission that was part of World War II, The Guns of Navarone follows an international squad that is assigned to destroy German guns on the Greek island of Navarone. As they move toward their ultimate goal, though, personal grievances spill out into the open, putting their ultimate mission in jeopardy.

The Guns of Navarone features a great cast working at the top of their game, and it’s a classic war movie that’s perfect for any dad out there who loves Gregory Peck or appreciates classic Hollywood cinema.

You can watch The Guns of Navarone on Netflix.

Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

Based on the true story of a pacifist who nevertheless earned the Congressional Medal of Honor for his service in World War II, Hacksaw Ridge is a story of one man’s heroism even as he adheres to his own beliefs. Andrew Garfield (former Spider-Man, future Oscar nominee) plays Desmond Doss, a man who is drafted by refuses to fight on religious grounds.

He’s naturally ostracized for this refusal, but in spite of that ostracism, he manages to save 75 men in the Battle of Okinawa without picking up a single weapon. Garfield’s remarkable central performance grounds the entire effort from start to finish.

You can watch Hacksaw Ridge on Netflix.