If you’re a real American, you’re going to torrent American Sniper because you don’t want to spend the money! So, while you wait for screeners to pop up, you can start setting the “war film” mood by watching these selected films on Netflix.
Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper is now screening in theaters everywhere, and we’ve dubbed it as the quintessential “America! Fuck yeah– join the Military” movie that we were in dire need of since major flop The Lone Survivor let the country down. Starring Bradley Cooper as Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, who spends four tours in Afghanistan, American Sniper is possibly the most patriotic film of the year, but if that’s still not enough to get you off your couch, than we have some Netflix war picks you might like you might want to watch instead.
Here’s our list of Netflix films you’ll need to watch in preparation for American Sniper and the military man mindset you’ll be jumping into, which has seen more bloodshed than all Texas Chainsaw Massacre films combined. You’ll have a glimpse of how draining it is to leave for the battlefield and then abruptly come BACK. I’m not saying you have to watch every film listed, but I’ve organized this list to give you the full Chris Kyle experience.
Severe Clear (2009)
This documentary is comprised of footage filmed by First Lieutenant Mike Scotti who served on the front lines during the 21-day advance to Baghdad. Severe Clear sometimes mind blowing footage shows every ounce of what it means to be in the shit. Severe Clear offers viewers an unflinching look at life on the battlefield through the eyes of someone who was actually there. It will make you feel as if you were there with Lieutenant Mike, by his side, navigating through the war in Afghanistan and Iraq.
It’s not for the faint of heart, but if you’re willingly watching war documentaries for entertainment value… you probably don’t have a heart. So enjoy.
This award-winning documentary (as in Sundance award-winning) chronicles the deployment of a U.S. platoon of soldiers in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley, which holds the reputation of being possibly one of the most dangerous postings in the U.S. military. Restrepo mainly follows the stories of two young fellas in Korengal and the horrors they’ve seen.
It’s a pretty unflattering look at the conflict going on over there, and shows just how sporadic it can be on the field of duty (yes I said duty) when you are given long stretches of fun and merriment followed by almost immediate high anxiety moments that kill any good vibes you may have had.
A follow-up to Restrepo, Korengal follows the same platoon from Restrepo who are returning to the Korengal jungle for a second tour, after returning home for too short of a time. The request to come back to combat is met with different reactions from the troops; some wish to stay home with their loved ones, while others can’t wait to get back to active duty, which is all they really know.
Kyle from Restrepo is seen to return to the same places he battled during his first tour, which you discover isn’t uncommon for soldiers. Though Korengal is much more intense than the film it follows; regardless if you’ve seen Restrepo, you’ll bound to find yourself feeling just as fearful as the troops on screen.
Hell and Back Again (2011)
Similar to American Sniper, Hell and Back Again explores how a few tours of duty can take a toll on a troop. This documentary follows a sergeant who returns home after a second tour and the struggle to not mix normal life with life in the desert; he’s often unsure of where he is, acting out under pressure for the wrong reasons.
Hell and Back Again documents soldiers returning after their tours, whether it be their first tour or their third; what these soldiers share and what this doc presents, is just how much of a struggle it is for some troops to acclimate into normal life.
Battle for Haditha (2007)
You’ll likely get the impression from watching the trailer, this is another doc about being in the shit…but it isn’t! SHIT! This is a gritty British take on the Iraq war. Four U.S. Marines infiltrate the town of Haditha in retaliation after the death of a U.S. Marine killed by a roadside bombing. The movie follows the story of the Marines of Kilo Company, an Iraqi family, and the insurgents who plant the roadside bomb. Unlike other films mentioned before, Battle for Haditha explores the lives of the residents that wake up everyday to a war just outside their homes.
This is the HOLY FUCK choice. This film fully emcompasses what it means to be in battle. If the poster for Armadillo doesn’t grab you, the look of imminent fear on almost every member of this films faces will. Armadillo is an upfront account of adrenaline junkies we call young soldiers, on their first mission in Helmand, Afghanistan. Their platoon is stationed in Camp Armadillo, right on the Helmand frontline, fighting tough battles against the Taliban. Mistrust and paranoia are soon set in motion, causing alienation and disillusion between the soldiers and the Afghan people.
Nothing else on this list is as as intense and breath-taking as Armadillo