Can You Match the Military Movie to the Real-Life War It Depicts?

Tasha Moore

Image: Frank Rossoto Stocktrek / DigitalVision / Getty Images

About This Quiz

There's a simple reason why military movies are so popular among the masses. The genre encapsulates an assortment of themes that speak to the human spirit. Just about every war movie has elements of romance, intrigue and suspense. This type of film is an emotional roller coaster, and we love it ... which is why you'll love this quiz. Are you ready to show how well you know military movies? See if you can match the films to the real-life wars they illustrate.

There are epic scenes from military movies that are forever lodged in our minds. Filmmakers are able to explore and magnify aspects of major war campaigns that are hard to describe in words. This is the magic of motion film. There are a number of movies about the same conflicts, but rarely are episodes portrayed in the same fashion. Producers have a large arsenal of techniques and tools to retell the same stories in interesting ways. Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds" is styled to embellish the raw irony so typical of his films, yet the stark realities of World War II are never lost in the movie. "The Pianist," another World War II film, takes a more solemn approach to the subject -- and both films are excellent!

Let's see how well you know the conflicts depicted in many film favorites, no matter how they are portrayed. Flex your film wisdom in just a few scrolls! 

A U.S. war hero is portrayed in the film "American Sniper." Can you identify the real-life war it depicts?

Clint Eastwood directed "American Sniper" (2014), a film based on the life of U.S. Navy Seal Chris Kyle, who was acknowledged as the deadliest sniper in U.S. history. In the film, actor Bradley Cooper plays Kyle, who served in the Iraq War.

Religion is a major theme in "Hacksaw Ridge." Which major war does the film cover?

"Hacksaw Ridge" (2016) is a World War II tale directed by Mel Gibson. The movie illustrates the real-life story of Desmond Doss, played by Andrew Garfield. Doss enlisted in the Army despite his strong religious beliefs, which propelled him to save lives rather than take them during the war.

Which movie is about the War in Afghanistan?

Mark Wahlberg stars in "Lone Survivor," a 2013 war film that details the secret mission of four U.S. Navy Seals who set out to defeat a top-level Al Qaeda operative. The four Seals were ultimately attacked in the mountains of Afghanistan.

Director Quentin Tarantino uses a noir-comedy style to convey themes in "Inglourious Basterds." Which conflict did Tarantino choose to depict?

Hollywood director Quentin Tarantino imagines World War II in his 2009 movie "Inglourious Basterds," which stars Brad Pitt as Lt. Aldo Raine. The film is set in German-occupied France in June 1944.

"The Hurt Locker" centers on a bomb squad that suffers internal strife during which war?

The 2008 film "The Hurt Locker" was directed by Kathryn Bigelow and stars Jeremy Renner, who plays the leader of an elite bomb squad, an Explosive Ordnance Disposal team, in Baghdad. "The Hurt Locker" was written by Mark Boal, an American journalist who covered the war in 2004.

Can you name the war that "The Pianist" recounts?

Roman Polanski's 2002 film "The Pianist" explains the life trials of Wladyslaw Szpilman, an accomplished pianist who had been detained with his Jewish family in a Warsaw ghetto during World War II. Szpilman's talent ultimately saved his life.

Adolf Hitler is cast in curious fashion in "Downfall." Which war does this film illustrate?

"Downfall" depicts the last days of the Third Reich. Bruno Ganz plays a disgruntled Adolf Hitler in the 2004 film, which was directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel. In the movie, Hitler is severely mocked in his last days.

Do you know which conflict "Enemy at the Gates" covers?

"Enemy at the Gates" is a World War II film based on the true story of the siege at Stalingrad. In the film, Hollywood actor Jude Law portrays Vasily, a sniper for the Russian army.

Can you name the engagement described in "Full Metal Jacket"?

A brutal U.S. Marine sergeant puts a handful of younger Marines to the test in Stanley Kubrick's classic Vietnam War movie "Full Metal Jacket." The movie's vivid title is the term for the standard-issued gun cartridge used during the war.

"We Were Soldiers" illustrates a brutal episode that occurred during which major conflict?

Mel Gibson plays Lt. Col. Harold G. Moore in "We Were Soldiers," a movie about the Battle of Ia Drang Valley, which occurred in November 1965 during the Vietnam War. Approximately 2,000 North Vietnamese fighters surrounded nearly 400 American soldiers in the bloody conflict that lasted 34 days.

"The Thin Red Line" reproduces events during which war?

Director Terrence Malick adapted James Jones's 1962 war novel "The Thin Red Line" for this 1998 film about the Pacific War. The film introduces viewers to Charlie Company, an infantry unit in the Army that fought during the Battle of Guadalcanal.

"Apocalypse Now" is one of the most popular war movies centered on which conflict?

Filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola crafted his hallucinogenic Vietnam War tale "Apocalypse Now" after Joseph Conrad's 1899 novel "Heart of Darkness." Coppola's rendition exits in two versions: the original 1979 film and a 2001 "Redux" edition that includes 49 minutes of additional film footage.

If you saw "Fury," you'd know the film is about which of these wars?

American actor Brad Pitt portrays the leader of a tank squad in writer-director David Ayer's 2014 depiction of World War II. Many critics agreed that Ayer's rendition of the war focused on the psychological implications of war in general.

Can you identify the war campaign in "Flags of Our Fathers"?

Directed by Clint Eastwood, "Flags of Our Fathers" is a tale about the Iwo Jima invasion, a moment that was chronicled in a controversial photograph of U.S. soldiers raising the U.S. flag there. Eastwood also released "Letters From Iwo Jima," which gives a Japanese view of events.

"Platoon" won several Academy Awards for its successful portrayal of which of these wars?

Oliver Stone's Vietnam War film "Platoon" won best picture at the 1987 Academy Awards. Stone expresses much of his own war experience in the film and gives subtle commentary on U.S. class hostilities.

Actor Christian Bale gets tested in "Rescue Dawn," a film that highlights a unique aspect of which confrontation?

"Rescue Dawn" depicts the experiences of a German-born U.S. pilot whose aircraft was shot down during the Vietnam War. Christian Bale plays the daring Navy pilot Dieter Dengler, who flew from an aircraft carrier positioned just off the Vietnam coast during the war.

The late 1970s saw the release of the war thriller "The Deer Hunter," which covered which conflict?

Michael Cimino's film "The Deer Hunter," which stars Robert De Niro, stirred controversy at the movie's 1978 release for its uniquely disturbing war imagery. Roughly two-thirds of the three-hour film takes place in the United States.

"The Longest Day" reproduces moments from which major war?

Widely considered one of the most influential film's about World War II, "The Longest Day" (1962) illustrates events that took place during the invasion of France's beaches on June 6, 1944, which has been subsequently dubbed "D-Day." Darryl Zanuck produced the nostalgic classic.

"All Quiet on the Western Front" communicates antiwar themes concerning a major conflict. Do you know which one?

"All Quiet on the Western Front" is renowned for its vivid reconstruction of horrific wartime events. The 1930 movie, directed by Lewis Milestone, follows the feats of American Army soldiers and is based on the 1929 antiwar novel of the same name by German novelist Erich Maria Remarque.

Can you identify the war that "Cold Mountain" covers?

In the opening scene of "Cold Mountain," Confederate soldiers corner and ambush Union soldiers during the blood-drenched Civil War Battle of the Crater, which took place in Petersburg, Virginia. The film stars Nicole Kidman, Renee Zellweger and Jude Law.

"Ode to My Father" is an epic war drama about the ________.

"Ode to My Father" is a South Korean film that follows one family from the time of the Korean Civil War of the early 1950s to present day. The first scene opens with Deok-soo, a sickly grandfather who reflects upon harrowing details of his early childhood.

"Empire of the Sun" is critically acclaimed for how it renders which confrontation?

English novelist J. G. Ballard penned the autobiographical story titled "Empire of the Sun" that inspired the film of the same name. The film explores Ballard's childhood experiences as a prisoner in a Japanese prison camp based in China.

"A Very Long Engagement" illustrates lengthy instances of which war?

French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Jeunet wrote and directed this nearly three-hour war-romance movie. "A Very Long Engagement" is set in 1917, when five French soldiers self-inflicted gunshot wounds in a failed attempt to evade the brutal war. The men were subsequently court-martialed.

Mel Gibson stars in "The Patriot." Can you name the war this film depicts?

Actor Mel Gibson portrays pacifist Benjamin Martin, a single father of seven who had served during the French and Indian War. Martin's son defies his father's wishes and joins the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.

"Hamburger Hill" is a compellingly titled movie about which of these wars?

"Hamburger Hill" is a Vietnam War film that details events of the May 1969 battle at Hamburger Hill, which is more appropriately termed Hill 937 or Ap Bia Mountain. The battle signified the conclusion of American ground operations during the war.

Do you which war "Drums Along the Mohawk" portrays?

Filmed in north Utah, the 1939 film "Drums Along the Mohawk" recounts the endeavors of a colonist who struggles to establish a home for his family in New York's Mohawk Valley. British and Indian forces hinder his noble pursuits.

Is it a challenge for you to choose the major conflict upon which "Sand Castle" is based?

Directed by Brazilian filmmaker Fernando Coimbra, "Sand Castle" chronicles the early days of U.S.-led Operation Iraqi Freedom. In the film, Pvt. Matt Ocre attempts to skirt military action by injuring his hand in a Hummer vehicle door.

"Gods and Generals" concerns the ________.

"Gods and Generals" is based on the same-titled book by American novelist Jeff Shaara. The gory Civil War tale highlights the relationship between Confederate General Stonewall Jackson and Anna, his wife.

Of these choices, which is associated with the film "Thank You for Your Service"?

"Thank You for Your Service" is an adaptation of American journalist David Finkel's book of the same name. The film gives an account of how war-traumatized soldiers try to adjust to civilian life.

"M*A*S*H" was a film before it was a television show. Can you correctly choose the war it depicts?

"M*A*S*H" is a film that was adapted for U.S. television in the '70s and '80s. The noir-comedy 1970 film is about the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital units that were first deployed during the Korean War.

"Casualties of War" reveals a side of war not typically shown. Which war does it illustrate?

Actor Sean Penn portrays a vicious sergeant in "Casualties of War," which Brian De Palma directed. In the movie, Michael J. Fox is a private who defies the sergeant's orders to engage in mistreating a Vietnamese girl that the sergeant kidnaps and repeatedly assaults during their war exploits.

Can you correctly select the conflict represented in "Allied"?

Actor Brad Pitt plays the part of a war spy in the war-romance flick "Allied," which is loosely based on true events. Pitt's character and his love interest, who is also a spy, conduct missions in remote locations while attempting to lead a normal married life in London.

Are you sure you know which of these films is about the attack on Pearl Harbor?

"Pearl Harbor" offers a vivid depiction of events that occurred on December 7, 1941 when Japanese fighter planes attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Territory. The United States formally entered World War II as a result of the surprise airstrike.

"Jarhead" gives a bleak account of events during which war?

"Jarhead" is based on Anthony Swofford's book and depicts the exploits of two Marines deployed to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Sam Mendes directed the film, which stars actor Jake Gyllenhaal as a stoic war hero.

"Ride With the Devil" depicts a major war. Can you identify the correct one?

Ang Lee directed "Ride With the Devil," a film about a gang of pro-Confederate guerrilla fighters who waged war against Union soldiers in the Kansas-Missouri border region. The movie is largely based on Daniel Woodrell's book "Woe to Live On."

"Defiance" reveals interesting facts about which war?

Daniel Craig plays the defiant Tuvia Bielski in the Nazi war drama "Defiance." The film is based on true events about how the Bielski partisans rescued hundreds of Jews from extermination camps.

"Das Boot" has been remade a few times. Do you know which war the film is about?

"Das Boot" (1981) is the second film adaptation of the German novel by Lothar-Günther Buchheim. The drama centers on a dangerous mission of a German U-boat in 1941. The boat and crew are subjected to a series of disasters that culminate at Gibraltar.

"For Greater Glory" centers on the ________.

"For Greater Glory" depicts the Cristero War, which immediately followed the end of the Mexican Revolution when Roman Catholics rebelled against an oppressive Mexican government. Pope John Paul II would later canonize 25 martyrs who died during the war.

Tom Cruise plays a war veteran in "Born on the Fourth of July." Which war is depicted in this movie?

Hollywood actor Tom Cruise plays a paraplegic Vietnam War veteran in Oliver Stone's "Born on the Fourth of July." The movie is an adaptation of the biography of Ron Kovic, a former soldier and anti-war activist who was paralyzed during the war.

A peculiar story unravels in "The Colt," a film that renders which event?

"The Colt" is a made-for-TV film about a colt that was born during the American Civil War. It's an emotional drama that emphasizes the young horse's effect on both Confederate and Union soldiers.

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