Best War Movies of 1964
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
After the insane General Jack D. Ripper initiates a nuclear strike on the Soviet Union, a war room full of politicians, generals and a Russian diplomat all frantically try to stop the nuclear strike.
Because of a technical defect an American bomber team mistakenly orders the destruction of Moscow. The President of the United States has but little time to prevent an atomic catastrophe from occurring.
As the Allied forces approach Paris in August 1944, German Colonel Von Waldheim is desperate to take all of France's greatest paintings to Germany. He manages to secure a train to transport the valuable art works even as the chaos of retreat descends upon them. The French resistance however wants to stop them from stealing their national treasures but have received orders from London that they are not to be destroyed. The station master, Labiche, is tasked with scheduling the train and making it all happen smoothly but he is also part of a dwindling group of resistance fighters tasked with preventing the theft. He and others stage an elaborate ruse to keep the train from ever leaving French territory.
In 1879, during the Zulu wars, man-of-the-people, Lt. John Chard and snooty Lt Gonville Bromhead were in charge of defending the isolated Natal outpost of Rorke's Drift from tribal hordes, holding out during an Alamo-like siege until they are overwhelmed, losing the battle, but going down in history as heroes. 150 soldiers defended a supply station against some 4000 Zulus, aided by the Martini-Henry rifle "with some guts behind it". In the hundred years since the Victoria Cross was created for valour and extreme courage beyond that normally expected of the British soldier in face of the enemy only 1344 have been awarded. Eleven of these were won by the defenders of the mission station at Rorke's Drift, Natal, January 22nd to the 23rd 1879.
The Fall of the Roman Empire
Drawn from the same events that later inspired Gladiator, the film charts the power-hungry greed and father-son betrayal that led to Rome's collapse at the bloody hands of the Barbarians.
When Norwegian resistance leader Lieutenant Erik Bergman reports the location of a German V-2 rocket fuel plant, the Royal Air Force's 633 Squadron is assigned the mission to destroy it. The plant is in a seemingly-impregnable location beneath an overhanging cliff at the end of a long, narrow fjord lined with anti-aircraft guns. The only way to destroy the plant is by collapsing the cliff on top of it.
Behold a Pale Horse
Manuel Artiguez, a famous bandit during the Spanish civil war, has lived in French exile for 20 years. When his mother is dying he considers visiting her secretly in his Spanish home town. But his biggest enemy, the Spanish police officer Vinolas, prepared a trap at the hospital as a chance to finally catch Artiguez.
The Finest Hours
A biography of Winston Churchill, shown through re-creations and actual film footage and told by Orson Welles.
A ultra-realistic depiction of life in a Marine Corps brig (or jail) at a camp in Japan in 1957. Marine prisoners are awakened and put through work details for the course of a single day, submitting in the course of it to extremely harsh and shocking physical and mental degradation and abuse.
The Thin Red Line
Set during the Allied invasion of the island of Guadalcanal in the Pacific theater during WWII, this film is based on the novel by James Jones. Keir Dullea is Private Doll, who dreads the invasion and steals a pistol to help him protect himself. Sergeant Welsh (Jack Warden), a caustic, battle-scarred veteran, hates Doll, whom he considers a coward. In battle, Doll kills a Japanese soldier and is filled with remorse, which further angers the sergeant. The next day, an emboldened Doll wipes out an entire enemy machine gun post and begins to feel as sadistic as Welsh. The two must work together to clear away some mines, but as they do, their platoon is surprised by a Japanese raid.