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Top 10 War Related 'comedic' Satires


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#1 of 44 OFFLINE   Nils Luehrmann

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Posted March 20 2003 - 03:15 PM

(list will be continually updated as suggestions are posted)


In light of current events, and my fondness for satirical films, I thought it might be nice to put together a TOP 10 list of war related satires. I'm sure there are plenty of similar films that deserve to be on this list and bump a few of mine off, but either I can't recall them, or I have not heard of them yet. So just as I did for my 'TOP 10 & HONORABLE MENTIONS of Hollywood Celebrity/Film Making Satires!' list, please feel free to add your own recommendations of films of the same genre.


Current TOP 10 LIST:


Posted Image
1) 'Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb'
IMDB currently rates it as the 2nd best War movie of all time, and the 11th best movie of all time. Regardless of how you feel about it's IMDB ranking, for me it is a fantastic film and quite poignant. It also features Peter Sellars at his peak.


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2) 'The Great Dictator'
(submitted by: George Kaplan)
This Chaplin masterpiece was and is the best satires ever made about dictatorship.


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3) 'Bananas'
I can't believe I forgot this earlier as it is one of the better wartime satires and easily deserves to be on the Top 10 list!


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4) 'Stalag 17'
Billy Wilder's wonderful satire on POW life gave birth to a huge TV series hit "Hogan's Heroes", but in comparison is far more impressive and meaningful. It is not only a classic, but is surely a must see if you enjoy the genre.


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5) 'To Be or Not to Be'
(submitted by: George Kaplan)
I have not seen this film so I'll leave it to those that nominated it to describe it.


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6) 'M*A*S*H'
Yet another great classic that lead to one of the greatest TV series of all time.


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7) 'Catch-22'
I loved this film. Mike Nichols truly captured the bureaucratic insanity of war, and Alan Arkin gives one of his finest performances on film.


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8) 'No Man's Land'
This gem of a film could have easily slipped through the cracks were it not for the publicity it got after winning the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2002 and deservedly so.


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9) 'The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming'
This Norman Jewison classic gets me each and every time I watch it! It is more of a satire on the paranoia that many felt during the early part of the cold war rather than war itself, but even so I feel it deserves to be on the list.


Posted Image
10) 'Buffalo Soldiers'
Gregor Jordan made this highly regarded satire on war back in 2001 starring Joaquin Phoenix, Anna Paquin, Ed Harris, Scott Glenn, Dean Stockwell, Elizabeth McGovern, Gabriel Mann, and others, unfortunately its release has been plagued by untimely catastrophic world events, but it is now finally getting a limited release in the states starting July 25th!



HONORABLE MENTIONS:


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'Duck Soup'
(submitted by: George Kaplan)
You know you will never see war in the same way after you watch this classic Marx Brothers flick!


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'Le Roi de Coeur' (King of Hearts)
(submitted by: Joseph DeMartino)
This is a wonderful French satire of WWI and offers a tremendous performance by Alan Bates.


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'Mister Roberts'
John Ford has made some excellent films, but this is one of my favorites of his. He put together an amazing cast, but who could have imagined those actors performing together considering how different their previous roles have been? Henry Fonda, James Cagney, William Powell, and Jack Lemmon all worked brilliantly together easily making this an appropriate addition to the list.


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'The Mouse That Roared'
This is a better book than a movie, but Peter Sellars still puts on a worthy performance in this grand twist to the classic David vs Goliath tale.


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'South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut'
(submitted by: Lyle_JP)
OK, I'll have to admit that I have never seen this film, but reading the reviews and the strong nominations on this thread, I guess at the very least it should go near the top of the honorable mentions list?


Posted Image
'Love and Death'
This is another Woody Allen satire on war, but as I have never actually seen it I'll put it in the honorable mentions list. The reviews I have read make me think that perhaps it deserves to be on the Top 10, but I'll wait to hear what you all think.


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'The Americanization of Emily'
(submitted by: Joseph DeMartino)
I have no opinion of this film as I have not yet seen it, but from the nominations it would appear to be a worthy addition.


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'Wag the Dog'
This film is not my favorite, but I know of many others who really enjoyed it so I am adding it to the list. I normally enjoy most of Barry Levinson's films, but I felt that the film tried to be realistic and thus exposed too many flaws and logistic holes in the plot that distracted me from otherwise enjoying the film. I haven't screened this film since its release which was over five years ago so maybe I should give it another look.


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'Operation Petticoat'
(submitted by: George Kaplan)
This is a fun movie, and a great cast and certainly pokes fun at the US Navy brass.


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'Oh! What a Lovely War'
(submitted by: James Lambert)
Yet another film that seems to be a popular recommendation on this thread and so for now I'll place it in the honorable mentions.


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'La Grande Vadrouille'
(submitted by: Eric Berger)
I have not seen or heard of this film before, but from the reviews it appears it may very well deserve to be on the list?


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'Castle Keep'
I had never heard of this Sydney Pollack film before until I saw a trailer for it on Bravo, and I am glad I did. Burt Lancaster and Peter Falk were marvelous in this unique satire on war being played out during WWII and a battle over a 10th century castle.


Posted Image
'Top Secret!'
(submitted by: John Williamson)
I'm not exactly sure how I feel about adding this film to the list. While I think its very funny, I always thought it was a satire of spy movies - but I'll included it and see how folks react.


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'How I Won the War'
(submitted by: Jay E)
You just have to know that any war movie featuring John Lennon must be a satire!


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'Starship Troopers'
OK, before you commit me for adding this film to the list, let me just say this. As a satire on neo fascism and war, it's actually a bloody darn good film. I think those that disliked the film often disliked it for the wrong reason as they didn't realize it was meant as a satire, and was not meant to be taken seriously.


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'Start the Revolution Without Me'
Is a quirky satire on of all things, the French Revolution and thank to the over-the-top performances by Gene Wilder and Donald Sutherland this movie could have easily been unbearable.


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'1941'
(submitted by: George Kaplan)
A flawed yet watch-able film full of great satire, just not well organized.


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'Canadian Bacon'
(submitted by: Wes C)
Not one of Michael Moore's or John Candy's better films, but it does have a place here on the honorable mentions list.



Well there is the list as it stands now, but please feel free to comment and add to it.


Here are a few other 'TOP 10 LISTS':
'TOP 10 & HONORABLE MENTIONS LIST of Films Featuring Poker'
'Top 10 War Related (comedic) Satires'
'TOP 10 & HONORABLE MENTIONS of Hollywood Celebrity/Film Making Satires!'
'Favorite Recent Phychological Horror/Thriller Films & those made in the 60's'
'Favorite Classic Detective Film-Noirs'
'Favorite Modern Detective Film-Noirs'
'Favorite "Guy's Guy" Movies/Games' (pt1)
'Favorite "Guy's Guy" Movies/Games' (pt2)
'Favorite Horror Films on DVD - Classic & Modern'
'Favorite Horror Films on DVD - Classic & Modern' (continued)
(for more just scroll down the page from that post)

#2 of 44 OFFLINE   george kaplan

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Posted March 20 2003 - 03:28 PM

I agree with

Dr. Strangelove
Stalag 17
MASH
Mister Roberts

and would add

Duck Soup
To Be or Not to Be (1942)
1941
The Great Dictator
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Operation Petticoat
Father Goose
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#3 of 44 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted March 20 2003 - 04:22 PM

The Great Dictator is the ultimate war satire.

I strongly advise anyone who hasn't seen it to go rent it (buy the July 1st DVD). It's as important as it was in 1940. It's a big cream pie in the face of facism...

My quote is sampled from Charlie Chaplin's heart-felt (if just a tad corny) monologue from the end of the film.

I'd also look for wartime cartoons such as Russian Rhapsody, Herr Meets Hare, Blitz Wolf, and Scrap Happy Daffy. Sure, they make fun of Hitler, but also the silliness of a dictator. (Of course, you'll see two "heroic" Stalin references...as if he was any nicer than Hitler!)

#4 of 44 OFFLINE   Nils Luehrmann

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Posted March 20 2003 - 04:34 PM

George,

I can't believe I forgot about Chaplin's 'The Great Dictator'! Excellent choice. So is the Marxs Brothers' 'Duck Soup'. I'll also add both '1941' and 'Operation Petticoat' to the honarable mentions list.

As for 'Father Goose', while I think its a great movie, and certainly funny, it isn't really a satire. It is more like a situation comedy. Still an excellent film!

I am really not sure why you added 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' to your list. It's a great adventure film but I can't ever see it being referred to as a satire let alone a satire on war.

I have not seen 'To Be or Not to Be', can you give me a synapses on what qualities it has that would qualify it for this particular list?

Excellent suggestions of which most I will put in the list.

I also remembered another great satire on war, 'The Mouse That Roared', so I'll try and find a spot for it as well.

#5 of 44 OFFLINE   Edwin-S

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Posted March 20 2003 - 04:51 PM

The Boys in Company C

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#6 of 44 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted March 20 2003 - 05:33 PM

To Be or Not to Be. At least six films have used this title, but only two fit the parameters of this thread, and they're both based on the same story:

Quote:
In occupied Poland during WWII, a troupe of ham stage actors (led by Joseph Tura and his wife Maria) match wits with the Nazis. A spy has information which would be very damaging to the Polish resistance and they must prevent it's being delivered to the Germans.

-- From The Internet Movie Database. Summary by Ken Yousten


Jack Benny and Carole Lombard starred in the 1942 original, Mel Brooks and real-life wife Anne Bancroft ("Mrs. Robinson") in the 1983 remake.

And, of course, no such list would be complete with The Americanization of Emily (James Garner and Julie Andrews, never better) and King of Hearts (Alan Bates)

Regards,

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#7 of 44 OFFLINE   Wes C

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Posted March 20 2003 - 06:13 PM

Canadian Bacon?

#8 of 44 OFFLINE   Bill J

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Posted March 20 2003 - 06:41 PM

Three Kings - a stylish and exaggerated portrayal of the Gulf War.

#9 of 44 OFFLINE   James Lambert

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Posted March 21 2003 - 12:05 AM

David Attenboroughs musical "Oh What A Lovely War" is a fine film, yet I don't believe it has been released on DVD unfortunately.
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#10 of 44 OFFLINE   Jay E

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Posted March 21 2003 - 12:10 AM

Richard Lester's How I Won the War - It was supposed to come out on DVD by MGM, but for some reason it never materialized.

Also, I always liked Kelly's Heroes, especially Donald Sutherland as a pre-60's hippie.

#11 of 44 OFFLINE   george kaplan

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Posted March 21 2003 - 12:15 AM

As for 'Father Goose', while I think its a great movie, and certainly funny, it isn't really a satire. It is more like a situation comedy. Still an excellent film!

I am really not sure why you added 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' to your list. It's a great adventure film but I can't ever see it being referred to as a satire let alone a satire on war.

I have not seen 'To Be or Not to Be', can you give me a synapses on what qualities it has that would qualify it for this particular list?
As far as To Be or Not to Be, I'm definitely talking about the 1942 film with Jack Benny, and I think you'd really enjoy it, and should put it on your list. It's about a hammy actor who portrays Hitler and...well, if you have any doubts about it being satirical, just note that Mel Brooks redid it in 1983 (not as well as the original, but still pretty good).

As far as Father Goose, I guess it's not really very satirical (except for satire of coast watchers, and the Australian Navy Posted Image), so I guess it doesn't really belong.

And Raiders isn't what you're after either, although the portrayal of the nazis (and the U.S. Govt. at the end) is pretty satirical, which is why I had included it.
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#12 of 44 OFFLINE   Jeff Gatie

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Posted March 21 2003 - 01:33 AM

I nominate Kelly's Heroes also. Great satire and comedy, over the top plot and cynical commentary on the "spoils of war". But the scenes with actual fighting were spot on (Sutherland's Sherman antics aside).

#13 of 44 OFFLINE   Jesse Blacklow

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Posted March 21 2003 - 02:01 AM

I'm surprised only one other person has mentioned The Mouse that Roared. Along with Dr. Strangelove it's one of the finest examples of both Peter Sellers and satire of war. Very funny. Kelly's Heroes also got a couple of laughs from me.

I don't know if I'd count Three Kings as satire, although I like it because it illustrates the difference between what we said we would do in Iraq, and what actually happened.

EDIT: Took out some politicizing. Fixed some spelling. Back to work Posted Image.
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#14 of 44 OFFLINE   JamieD

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Posted March 21 2003 - 02:25 AM

I think this is a great thread, so I had asked that no one use Jesse's thread to get off on a political tangent, which isn't a problem, since he changed it a bit. Posted Image Thanks Jesse!

Hope no one minds. Great list!
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#15 of 44 OFFLINE   Marty M

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Posted March 21 2003 - 02:28 AM

This is a great list, but I would also include The Americanization of Emily. By the way, when is this great movie going to be released on DVD?
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#16 of 44 OFFLINE   Martin Ramanzini Sims

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Posted March 21 2003 - 05:13 AM

What about the monthy pythons The meaning of life?

Is a satire about many things, but it includes one or two segment for the war that I found really funny.
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#17 of 44 OFFLINE   Mark_vdH

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Posted March 21 2003 - 06:01 AM

Although it isn't my favorite film, I'm surprised nobody has mentioned La Vita é Bella (AKA Life is Beautiful) yet.

Dr Strangelove rules, though. Posted Image
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#18 of 44 OFFLINE   Nils Luehrmann

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Posted March 21 2003 - 08:03 AM

Wow! Excellent responses folks! I can already see several that will have to get on the list ASAP.

First of all, it sounds to me as if 'To Be or Not to Be' is deserving to be included what with the additional recommendations it is receiving, so I will do as such.

Joseph,
I had never heard of 'The Americanization of Emily' before, but what I have read so far leads me to support its addition to the list. 'Le Roi de Coeur' (King of Hearts) is a fantastic film and also deserves to be on the list.

Wes C,
Yes 'Canadian Bacon' does fit the criteria, but admittedly not a great film, but let's put it in the honorable mentions list just as we did for '1941'.

Bill,
'Three Kings' is an entertaining movie if nothing more than for its 'style', but I have to agree with the others and say that it doesn't satirize war.

Jay,
In fact for the same reason, as much as I really like the movie, 'Kelly's Heroes' also doesn't satirize war. Like 'Three Kings', its about a bunch of soldiers chasing after gold. Granted the characters are humorous, but the war itself isn't being made fun of. But if I am way off base, by all means help me better understand why it might be included in the list.

On the other hand, your other submission, 'How I Won the War' is quite appropriate and I kick myself for not remembering it.

Martin,
'Monty Python's The Meaning of Life' does include a couple excellent satires on war (a favorite target by this magnificent comedy group), but two skits I don't think qualify it to make it on the list - still a great recommendation.

Mark,
'La Vita é Bella' (AKA Life is Beautiful) while magnificent, does not in any way satirize war, but rather is about a Father's desire to hide the realities of war from his delicate son.


OK, some great submissions that I'll put in the list this evening. In the meantime here are a few others I had forgot to list:

Woody Allen's 'Bananas' has to find a spot on the top 10 list! What a great farce!

'Love and Death' is another Woody Allen film that may deserve to make it in the honorable mentions list. What do you all think?

'Start the Revolution Without Me' should certainly get in the honorable mentions list. Gene Wilder and Donald Sutherland were fantastic in this amusing satire of the French Revolution.

#19 of 44 OFFLINE   Lew Crippen

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Posted March 21 2003 - 08:19 AM

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp ought to be on the list.
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#20 of 44 OFFLINE   Larry P

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Posted March 21 2003 - 08:27 AM

Quote:
Starship Troopers. OK, before you commit me for adding this film to the list, let me just say this. As a satire on neo fascism and war, it's actually a bloody darn good film. I think those that disliked the film often disliked it for the wrong reason as they didn't realize it was meant as a satire, and was not meant to be taken seriously.


Starship Troopers obviously was a serious film when you watch it. Just like Robocop and Robocop 2 are serious films too. Yes, they are satire's and even though the directors intentions may have been to play a joke on everyone, this is not what they come across as, imo.

I think people try to make excuses for ST in particular, because they feel it doesn't work on it's own merits. Well, I think it does work on its own merits. It works rather wonderfully actually. I just don't think that anyone who watches the film without listening to the commentary or having read interviews with Verhoeven, would necessarily "get" that the good guys are actually supposed to be the bad guys; the evil fascists.

I'm not saying that it shouldn't be included in the list, but I don't think people's enjoyment of a movie should be because "it's *really* saying *this*". Obviously the movie is irreverent, but I think it's good science fiction in that it doesn't preach, and it does present a fair view of the political philosophy portrayed in the film. I think that telling people that the whole thing is a big joke is really undermining the film, but I think people feel they have to tell people that because most people don't seem to *get* this movie. I think if you have to explain things to people, then the movie is a failure.

I think, like Robocop and Robocop 2, this movie works on a lot of levels and I love it.

But I think this brings up an interesting point. How important are directors commentaries really? When talking about DVD's you really have to include the commentaries and all of the behind the scenes stuff as part of the whole viewing experience. So then is the film complete with all of that stuff or is it complete on it's own?

Obviously, if there are behind the scenes commentaries with the makers of the film, telling the viewers of the DVD that their film is really an allegory for "dee-doop-dee-deedly-doop" than is it at that moment of "realization" when the audience's viewing experience of the picture is complete?

Are there DVD's where you go out of your way not to listen to any of the behind the scenes stuff because it might taint your enjoyment of the film?

I guess this is one reason why some director's go out of their way not to do commentaries or behind the scenes interviews for their films' DVD's. Maybe that's what the world of films is becoming. They feel they can just throw anything up on the screen and then explain it all in the behind the scenes stuff on the DVD. Maybe that's interpretive art that nobody can interpretate so we provide you with the interpretation outside of the film itself, but as part of the package (in the DVD).

But anyway, back on topic, Starship Troopers does a very good job of explaining itself within the context of the film and frankly, I wouldn't recommend this movie to anyone who needs it to be explained to them.





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