“Only the Brave” is the latest in a long line of films celebrating hero’s. With that in mind, let’s take a look back at the 10 Best Heroic movies ever made. For this list, I have excluded superhero, sci-fi, and biblical based movies. Even though these are works of fiction, they must take place in the real world. All of these films are classics, and score a 0 out of 7 on my SUCK FACTOR. That being said, take a look at my heroic list…
10. “Three Kings” – 1999
Perhaps the most underrated war movie of all time, “Three Kings” is about why we go to war. To help people. George Clooney leads a team of disillusioned soldiers during the gulf war on a hunt for Saddam Hussein’s lost gold in the desert. Instead of a lifetime of riches, these soldiers find a group of people in serious need of help from an oppressive government. They do the right thing, they help.
9. “12 Angry Men” – 1957
Despite taking place in one room, “12 Angry Men” is riveting. 11 sweaty, tired jurors just want to sentence a clearly guilty man to death so they can go home. Juror #8 has other ideas, and questions if an innocent man is being accused for a crime he did not commit. One at a time, the jurors who were so certain of the story they were told in court begin to have doubts. “12 Angry Men” is a fantastic example of an individual being able to make a difference and fight for justice.
8. “Dunkirk” – 2017
Clearly the newest film on this list, and could potentially move up as the years go on. “Dunkirk” does two things incredibly well. First, it presents its conflict with urgency and humanity instead of through choreographed speeches. Second, the film confuses you the same way being a soldier in the middle of battle becomes confused. This is the greatest film about raw survival ever made.
7. “High Noon” – 1952
One of the giants of the western genre, “High Noon” keeps things very simple. A former sheriff has just married and plans on riding into the sunset. Then word comes that a group of outlaws are coming to his town for revenge. Instead of running, Gary Cooper chooses to stand and fight for what is right, even when no one in the town will stand with him. Doing the right thing can often be very lonely, but also makes for the best hero’s.
6. “Rocky” – 1976
Everyone knows this movie. A relatable underdog story about a poor, un-educated, forgotten boxer named Rocky Balboa who gets a shot to fight the world champion in front of a national audience. Rocky has no desire to be a hero, which is why he is the savior the every-man needs. Multiple sequels have diluted the story of Rocky, but this original classic remains a movie everyone can root for. No matter what your background is, you are crossing your fingers for Rocky to win.
5. “The Best Years of Our Lives” – 1946
“The Best Years of Our Lives” is about what happens to hero’s when they return home and attempt to live normal lives again. Made in 1946, it tells the story of three World War II vets returning to their families and communities, both of which are not the same as they remembered. Pop culture likes to build up battles and conflicts to glorify their hero’s, but sometimes it takes greater strength to try and become a normal person again.
4. “To Kill a Mockingbird” – 1962
Atticus Finch is a colossal figure in film and literature. Taking place in the depression-era south, “To Kill a Mockingbird” centers around a black man wrongly accused of raping a white girl. With an all white jury and a whole town against him, Atticus chooses to defend the rights of a fellow human being in hopes of saving the man’s life. We have taken great strides, but racism in America remains a huge problem. This film is important for every generation to see and never forget what black people have had to struggle with throughout history.
3. “On The Waterfront” – 1954
“I coulda been somebody. I coulda been a contender.” The famous words uttered by Marlon Brando, playing a man that simply never made the right decision in life. Terry Malloy, a once promising boxer turned longshoreman, moonlights as muscle for the local corrupt union bosses. It doesn’t happen all at once, but eventually Malloy can no longer watch the corruption in his community and stands up against powerful men, even if it could cost him his life. Shunning even his own corrupt brother, he sacrifices everything to do what’s right. That is a true hero.
2. “Schindler’s List” – 1993
Very little heroism came out of the Holocaust, one of the most horrific chapters in human history. Oskar Schindler was a businessman who initially wanted to use Jewish workers as free labor for his factories. He soon witnessed the gravity of what was happening to these innocent people, and decided he had to save as many lives as he could. Through his actions, Schindler was responsible for saving the lives of thousands of Jews, and will be remembered as one of the small pieces of hope in an otherwise awful time in history.
1. “Casablanca” – 1942
Throughout the years, “Casablanca” has become known more for it’s romantic moments and classic lines. Yet, when you really think about this film, its about a man that sacrifices his own happiness to do the right thing. He sends off the woman he loves to be with another man, and in the process assists in getting important information for the French war effort out of Natzi occupied Casablanca. “Here’s lookin’ at you kid” sounds very romantic in a card, but in the film it’s a heartbreaking moment of sacrifice that Bogart’s character must make. He is a true hero, just don’t try to tell him that.
Written by Byrd
Did your favorite heroic film make it on my list? Let us know in the comments below!