We all know that the Iraq war has been one of the bloodiest wars in history and millions of lives were lost. The effects of this war are still felt today. Some films have captured these impacts and explored what it was like to be a casualty in the Iraq War.
Movies About Iraq War
1. The Hurt Locker
This movie is set in Iraq, and follows a three-man bomb disposal team as they risk their lives to make the Iraqi streets safe. It’s directed by Kathryn Bigelow, with award-winning performances from Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie. It was awarded seven Academy Award nominations in 2010 including Best Picture, Directing, Writing and Original Screenplay.
2. Zero Dark Thirty
This film focuses on the decade-long hunt for Osama bin Laden following the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001; it also deals extensively with the Iraq War that followed this event. The film garnered widespread praise for its realistic portrayal of both the characters and events, and its exploration of complex, difficult moral issues. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Picture and Directing.
3. American Sniper
American Sniper is a dramatization based on the autobiography American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History by Chris Kyle, with Bradley Cooper starring as Kyle himself. Beginning his sniper career in 2003, Kyle became one of America’s most decorated soldiers during his eight-year warfare career fighting in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). He was killed four years later at a shooting range in Texas in 2013.
4. Lone Survivor
Loosely based on the book Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10, by Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson, this film tells the story of a U.S. Navy SEAL mission in Afghanistan that goes awry in 2005. It stars Mark Wahlberg as Marcus Luttrell, Taylor Kitsch as Danny Dietz, Emile Hirsch as Matthew Axelson and Ben Foster as Thomas Hudner (the film is also told from Dietz’s point of view), and focuses on their survival against overwhelming odds after their helicopter crashes during a rescue attempt for a downed comrade.
This tense movie starts Ryan Reynolds as Paul Conroy, who wakes up in a wooden coffin and realizes that he can’t move a muscle. He has no idea where he is or how he got there, but his captors—whoever they are know exactly when to feed him and how much water to give him over the next few days. It’s an intense tale of one man’s fight against seemingly insurmountable odds. The film was directed by Rodrigo Cortés, written by Chris Sparling and produced by Christa Campbell, Lati Grobman and David Mimran.
6. Last Flag Flying
This is a drama movie based on the novel of the same name by Darryl Ponicsan, who co-wrote the screenplay with director Richard Linklater. The movie plays out in flashback form as its three principal characters, all Vietnam veterans, meet up in 2003 to attend their son’s funeral. It stars Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston and Laurence Fishburne as the three leads.
7. Megan Leavey
This film depicts a true story about a young female Marine corporal who struggles to find herself after returning home from her first deployment in Iraq. Megan is at odds with her conservative family and struggles to find a new direction for herself. When she is unexpectedly called back to active duty in 2008, she is faced with a difficult choice: Should she accept her military reassignment or risk losing everything by choosing to stay in New Mexico?
8. Thank You For Your Service
A dramatization based on the autobiography of U.S. Marine Staff Sergeant Mark Koernke, this film tells the story of his time as an infantry rifleman and machine gunner in Iraq during the worst of the war. After being discharged from the Marine Corps, Koernke suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and he struggles to adjust to civilian life. Meanwhile, his friend, who was wounded in Iraq, is facing a long road to recovery. Their friendship helps both men heal as they work together to pursue the American dream. The film was directed by Jason Hall and stars Miles Teller as Mark Koernke and Beulah Koale as Sonny Tavita.
9. 12 Strong
Based on Doug Stanton’s nonfiction book Horse Soldiers, 12 Strong tells the story of U.S. Special Forces deployed in Afghanistan after the September 11 attacks in 2001. Under the leadership of Green Beret Major Doug Brown (Chris Hemsworth), they are tasked with identifying the Taliban leaders responsible for planning the attacks. The film was directed by Nicolai Fuglsig, and also stars Michael Shannon, Michael Peña and Navid Negahban.
There are more war movies about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan than any other type. Most of these films were made within a few years from when the war began, which is good for them to represent the general public’s view toward the war at that time.