contributed by Melissa Lucas, senior staff writer
The War on Terror began in response to the Al-Qaeda attacks on the U.S., which took place on September 11, 2001. This campaign lasted for twenty years and was nearly limitless in scope. Perhaps this is why there are so many War Movies of the 2000’s, depicting everything from special military operations to the impact of the war at home. Here are our top ten movies about the War on Terror.
Perhaps one of the best true story military movies made to date, American Sniper tells the tale of U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle – one of the most lethal snipers in American history. The film unfolds during Kyle’s fourth and final tour of duty where his precision and accuracy with a rifle continue to make him both a war hero and prime target for insurgents.
Four Navy SEALs deploy to Afghanistan on a surveillance mission. They choose to spare a group of goatheard who spot them moving through the landscape, which turns out to be a deadly decision. One of the natives alerts the Taliban to the groups’ presence and the SEALs find themselves outnumbered and outgunned. Lone Survivor is one of the best Hollywood movies based on Afghanistan war events of the 2000’s.
One of the top 9/11 movies of all time has to be Zero Dark Thirty. This film depicts the true story of the operative who located Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and the Navy SEALs who ultimately kill him in a nighttime strike on his compound in Pakistan.
Over the course of the 20 years following 9/11, much of the military’s effort was focused in Afghanistan. War Movies, of course, are often set here as well. 12 Strong is no exception. Deep in Taliban country, American Special Forces form a partnership with the Northern Alliance in an effort to take down both Taliban and Al-Qaeda operatives. In a tale all too familiar, Americans troops are outnumbered and must face overwhelming odds to accomplish their goals.
Exactly eleven years after the September 11th attacks, Islamic militants storm the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi and assassinate Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and Sean Smith – a Foreign Service officer. In one of our favorite movies related to the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath, 13 Hours, an annex security team stationed just down the road is tasked with protecting the diplomats and operatives who survived. Over the course of 13 hours, the men engage in fierce combat to save as many Americans as possible.
Of all the movies about U.S. forces in Iraq post 9/11, the Hurt Locker is one of the best reviewed of all time. After a well respected staff sergeant is killed, a replacement is sent to lead his unit. Conflict ensues when this new leader, Staff Sergeant William James arrives with a very different approach to war.
Among the movies related to 9/11 on Netflix you’ll find Green Zone. An elaborate coverup involving Iraq’s stockpile of weapons of mass destruction sends Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller and his team on a mission to locate them. Matt Damon stars in one of the best movies about 9/11 and the Iraqi War on Terror, which definitely ranks in our top ten.
This documentary is unnarrated, making it a very unique movie about U.S. Forces in Afghanistan and sets it apart from other middle east war movies. Restrepo follows photographer Tim Hetherington and journalist Sebastian Junger in the middle east. The men document the day-to-day happenings of Second Platoon, Battle Company, 173rd Airborne Brigade as they navigate the realities of the War on Terror.
Soldier Will Montgomery returns home to complete his service in the Army’s Office of Casualty Notification. He works not only to deal with his own trauma and pain, but he winds up smack in the middle of an ethical dilemma of the romantic variety. With its poignant depiction of the emotion which many veterans must work through after returning home, The Messenger has got to be one of the most touching post 9/11 war movies to watch.
None other than Charlize Theron, playing an American detective, assists a retired Army sergeant in his search for his son who went missing soon after he returned home from service in Iraq. The Valley of Elah is part crime drama and part Iraq war movie based on a true story. It explores the themes of the war, abuse of prisoners and post-traumatic stress disorder – it’s not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure.
The list of war movies of the 2000’s is a long one! In fact, there are probably too many 9/11 movies on Netflix and other streaming services to count. But, in case you want more, here are a few additional modern war movies which didn’t quite make the top ten list but are still well worth a watch!
For the best war movies, post 9/11 or otherwise, check out our Greatest War Movies Series. We have top ten lists for war films of every major U.S. conflict from the American Revolution through the Cold War, and of course the Wars in the Middle East. Stay tuned for our series recap in December!
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