Best War Movies on Hulu to Watch Right Now


There is no doubt that with the increase in streaming services, every platform must fight to create a compelling database of movies and television shows that not only feature an epic story but are diverse in genres. In the past couple of years, Hulu has quietly amassed an impressive collection of movies ranging from comedies and crime dramas to slice-of-life and high-octane action flicks.




However, its library of war movies from all eras is what makes it stand out. From tense dramas to thrilling historical docs, Hulu has an array of wartime tales available to stream. While it may not have as flashy an interface as some competitors, buried within Hulu’s deep archives are cinematic war masterpieces. Whether it’s a recent thriller like Dunkirk or a more comedic take like The Death of Stalin, these movies can transport viewers to the exact environment of the time.

They offer fascinating glimpses into key moments in history and celebrate the unsung heroes. Several movies secure their place in the category of innovative filmmaking as well. Here are the 20 best war movies on Hulu to watch right now.

Updated on March 30th, 2024, by Neville Naidoo: This article has been updated with additional content to keep the discussion fresh and relevant with even more information and new entries.



19 Centurion (2010)

Centurion

Release Date
July 30, 2010

Main Genre
History

Dog Soldiers and The Descent‘s Neil Marshall took a break from masterful horror films to turn out a highly underrated sword-and-sandals flick. Led by Michael Fassbender (just before he made it big) and Olga Kurylenko, Centurion is one of the more underrated films of the 2010s, regardless of genre. The narrative follows the Roman Empire in AD 117 as they slaughter their way across Spain — that is, until they run into the Pict tribe.


Underrated Action

The acting in Centurion is top-notch, and the mystery surrounding its narrative (the real-world disappearance of the Roman Empire’s Ninth Legion) is compelling both in reality and in the movie. While the film’s low $12 million budget can show, given the scope of its narrative and the complexity of the action sequences, Centurion is overall a cohesive and worthwhile viewing. That said, more squeamish viewers might want to give it a pass.

18 The Death of Stalin (2017)

This hysterical political satire from Veep creator Armando Iannucci is a star-studded riot that has many logical complaints about bureaucracy. When Soviet leader Joseph Stalin passes away, everyone in his inner circle scrambles for the power he’s now lost. It’s absurd, witty, and timeless. Though the film is set in Soviet Russia, all the characters speak plain English without accents, making this stylish wartime comedy film a fantastic overall package.


Cutting Jabs and Ridiculous Backstabbing

The Death of Stalin, like all of Iannucci’s works, is talky, and that’s a good thing. Iannucci is a master of mixing well-versed government talk with hilarious insults that seem to come from a more modern time. The phenomenal cast includes Steve Buscemi, Jason Isaacs, Andrea Riseborough, and Paddy Considine, who are all perfectly cast. Political intrigue and military power struggles are given a breath of fresh air with constant wordplay and infectiously memorable punchlines.

17 The Cave (2019)


A Syrian-Danish documentary film, The Cave follows a group of female Syrian doctors who establish and run a secret field hospital underground in the province of Ghoutar, Syria. Using it to treat many children and civilians injured or maimed during the height of the war in Syria, the team of doctors and nurses is led by Dr. Amani, an aspiring Pediatrician. As the country is devastated by the war, Dr. Amani’s team work tirelessly to save lives while trying to maintain the secrecy of their makeshift operation.

Heartbreaking With a Hopeful Message

The film won the Cinema for Peace Award as the Most Valuable Documentary of 2019, as well as the People’s Choice Award for Documentaries at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. While it was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary too, it lost out to American Factory. A deeply touching and tragic story, it truly brings to light the sheer depth of suffering faced by the civilian victims of the war in Syria, most notably among innocent children. Heartbreaking in its necessary imagery to achieve this, it still managed to strike a chord of hope because of the remarkable doctors and nurses it featured.


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16 Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018)

Sicario: Day of the Soldado may not be nearly as powerful as the Denis Villeneuve film that preceded it, but it’s a fine addition to the canon nonetheless. Sicario:Day of the Soldado gives viewers a boots-on-the-ground view of the war on drugs. This time, there is extra tension involved, since, at the heart of all the blazing bullets, there is a young girl in danger. Stefano Sollima is in the director’s chair this time around, having previously worked on the beloved Gomorrah television series.


A Taught, Tense Action Flick

While Emily Blunt sat this one out, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, and Jeffrey Donovan are still utterly endearing and fully in their element. They reprise their roles as assassin Alejandro Gillick, CIA officer Matt Graver, and CIA officer Steve Forsing, respectively. However, the best aspect of Sicario: Day of the Soldado comes in the form of a newcomer. Before this, singer Isabela Merced’s only real macro-scale exposure was the poorly received Transformers: The Last Knight, and seeing her excel in a better film and better role is delightful.

15 The East (2020)


The East is a war film that centers around a young Dutch soldier who’s deployed to the Netherlands’ colony of Indonesia in an attempt to suppress the post-WWII independence rebellion. Seeing the depravity of the situation and the brutality of his commander, there’s a shift in his conscience. Rather than glorify ideas of war and colonization, The East takes care to do the exact opposite.

Colonization Through the Eyes of a Young Soldier

The East provides a closer look at the ills of colonization by creating a class divide where one man’s rebellion can be viewed as another man’s freedom. The film highlights the intricate relationship between duty and humanity. It’s propelled by great performances and Lennart Verstegen’s breathtaking cinematography.

14 Benediction (2021)


Benediction revolves around a poet, Siegfried Sassoon, who survives the horrors of the First World War only to be haunted by traumatic memories. As Sassoon struggles to find any meaning or joy in his day-to-day life, he also begins to struggle with his homosexuality, adding fuel to the fire. WWI left many young men in a precarious mental position, and Benediction does an excellent job of highlighting that through the story of a renowned poet. Benediction would also be the last full-length film directed and written by Terence Davies, who would pass away in late 2023.

War, Poetry, and Love

Jack Lowden does a terrific job starring as Siegfried Sassoon, layering him with complex emotions ranging from magnetic to melancholic. Since most of his struggle is internal, it’s hard to emote in terms of physicality, and that’s what makes Lowden’s rendition of Sasoon even more impressive. Lowden’s performance is a perfect example of the old “show don’t tell” adage.


13 Burial (2022)

Burial 2022 movie poster

Burial

Release Date
September 2, 2022

Runtime
1h 35m

Read our review

Set against the backdrop of WWII, Burial revolves around a group of elite Russian soldiers who are tasked with transporting the last mortal remains of Hitler to Stalin back in Russia. En route, they are savagely attacked by Nazi ‘werewolves,’ creating an ultimate face-off between two groups of highly-trained infantry. Charlotte Vega (Wrong Turn, American Assassin) does a fantastic job in the lead role of Brana Brodskaya, with additional cast members including the likes of Barry Ward, Bill Milner, Niall Murphy, and Tom Felton.


A Straightforward Take

As straightforward a premise as it is, Burial as a movie is a simple war thriller that really gives you a boots-on-the-ground perspective. Its brief length allows for brisk and snappy pacing, keeping the tension high while showcasing some impressive production values along the way. Though you may not find any actual lycanthropes in Burial, the visceral thrills of its deadly journey will still leave you with goosebumps.

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12 WarHunt (2022)

WARHUNT (2022)

WarHunt

Release Date
January 21, 2022

Director
Mauro Borrelli

Runtime
1h 33m


WarHunt follows a US military scout team that battles more than just enemy forces during the Second World War. After a plane crashes behind enemy lines in Germany’s Black Forest, the men venture deep into the forest to retrieve the plane’s contents. But they soon confront a supernatural shapeshifting entity stalking them through the shadowy woods.​​​​​​ Robert Knepper (Prison Break) and Jackson Rathbone (Twilight) co-star as Sergeants Brewer and Walsh, respectively.

Supernatural War-Based Horror

WarHunt takes things up a notch compared to the average war film by marrying trigger-happy soldiers with supernatural elements and striking the perfect balance between fear and adrenaline. This novel combination of gritty wartime action and chilling horror provides genuinely tense visuals as the soldiers try to make sense of their situation. War is horrifying enough on its own, and the genre-blending here pushes it over the edge.


11 Medieval (2022)

Medieval movie poster

Medieval

Release Date
September 9, 2022

Director
Petr Jakl

Runtime
2h 5m

Read our review

Director Petr Jákl fashions a bold and brutal movie, Medieval, that gives audiences a harsh look at the concept of power through the rise and fall of a Czech icon and warlord of the early 15th century — Jan Žižka. Filmed on location in the Czech Republic with brilliant cinematography but little historical accuracy, the movie immerses viewers in muddy battlefields, rich romance, and the political betrayals of the time.

A War Epic That Pulls No Punches

Ben Foster plays the character of Žižka with deep sincerity, communicating just how severe the clashes between warlords and brothers can be. Medieval portrays the era in a visceral and grounded way, with poignant commentary on violence and the deep scars it leaves behind. With a close and intimate feel, it’s a deeply affecting war story.


10 War Dogs (2016)

War Dogs

War Dogs

Release Date
August 17, 2016

Director
Todd Phillips

A hard-hitting black comedy-drama telling the remarkable story of two unlikely arms dealers, War Dogs was directed by Todd Phillips and starred Jonah Hill, Miles Teller, Ana de Armas, and Bradley Cooper. Based on his memoirs, Efraim Diveroli is a young man who ropes a childhood friend into becoming an international arms dealer. At a time when the war in Iraq was raging on, the pair took advantage of a government initiative that allowed businesses to apply for military contracts. The money they make soon leads to a high life that spins out of control as they wind up in business with some very dangerous people in order to fulfill a $300 million deal with the Afghan army.


It Revealed Some Very Disturbing Truths

Featuring a great soundtrack and compelling performances from Hill and Teller, the film explored what was a very real and dark chapter of the military industry complex. The story was slated to downplay how negligent the Pentagon was in allowing such a recklessly run business to flourish at its expense. However, it still provides a riveting and often darkly humorous glimpse into a shocking reality of just how complex modern warfare can be and why business and politics are said to be such dangerous bedfellows.

9 Official Secrets (2019)

official secrets


Based on The Spy Who Tried to Stop a War, a recount of a riveting story written by Marcia & Thomas Mitchell, this outstanding film follows British intelligence officer Katharine Gun and her heroic act to stop the Iraq War. The year is 2003, and Gun has just received confidential information from the NSA that states that the United States has been spying on UN Security Council members to blackmail them into voting in favor of the war.

A Shocking War-Adjacent True Story

Keira Knightley is stunning in her fight for transparency. As a woman of good conscience, she chooses global peace over her safety. Official Secrets puts us right in the middle of the tense and nail-biting aftermath of a brave decision. For a film that deals with complicated themes of loyalty and patriotism, Official Secrets handles sensitive sequences well and creates an objective ethos that’s structured based on facts. It’s less of an outright war movie than some of its peers, but its adjacency to the Iraq War and central conflict of patriotism lands it in the war category.


8 The Last Full Measure (2020)

The Last Full Measure tells the story of William Pitsenbarger, a U.S. Air Force Pararescue medic who worked tirelessly during the Vietnam War and illuminated the humanity lost during wartime. Despite putting his life on the line and saving 60 men in the Army’s 1st Infantry Division, his efforts remained unsung for thirty-four years. The film marks the last on-screen film appearances of both Peter Fonda and Christopher Plummer, who play the roles of Jimmy Burr and Frank Pitsenbarger respectively.


Shining Light on a Hero

More often than not, the bravery and perseverance of those who showed great valor during the world’s darkest times go unnoticed and remain buried until years after — if they resurface at all. But this film brings forward Pentagon staffer Scott Huffman (played earnestly by Sebastian Stan), who is determined to get Pitsenbarger a Medal of Honor. In the process, however, Huffman finds himself untangling webs of bureaucracy and politics. This stirring war drama proves how purpose may emerge long after the “action is over.”

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7 Shadow in the Cloud (2020)

Shadow in the Cloud revolves around a pilot named Maude Garret (Chloë Grace Moretz) who’s tasked to take sensitive documents from New Zealand to Samoa during the Second World War. She has to fly a B-17 Flying Fortress with a bunch of men who don’t welcome the idea of having a butt-kicking woman in the plane, giving her a tough time with it by dishing out rude comments constantly. Ignoring the men’s crass behavior, Maude lies low, but soon discovers a sinister spy flying towards them.

Action Packed and Empowering

Chloë Grace Moretz delivers an astonishing performance as Garret, layering her performance with a balanced range of certainty and vulnerability. Directed by Roseanne Liang, Shadow in the Cloud offers an interesting take on the action-horror genre, set in a claustrophobic cabin with the physical action and roaring emotion serving as fuel for this adrenaline-packed blockbuster. It’s a pulpy war film at its core, but one that’s still highly enjoyable.


6 Retrograde (2022)

The United States’ 20-year war in Afghanistan was a grim time for both countries. With Afghanistan in ruins by the end of it, there wasn’t much the soldiers or the Army were willing to fight for. When the Taliban troops vied to take over, an Afghan general by the name of Sami Sadat and his corps stood tall to defend their home, with the U.S. special operations team fighting alongside them. Acclaimed director Matthew Heineman was behind the camera for this harrowing documentary, having previously produced the incredible Cartel Land and City of Ghosts documentaries in 2015 and 2017 respectively.


A Well-Crafted Documentary

Retrograde is an intimate and haunting documentary that films the final crucial months of the Afghanistan War. Told through the perspective of the Green Berets, Retrograde covers several aspects that went unnoticed, like the faces of men retiring from fields of duty and pain, civilians fleeing the country in fear, as well as the troops withdrawing into an uncertain tomorrow. Though the film wouldn’t secure any Academy Award nominations, it would recieve a nomination for Best Political Documentary at the Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards.

5 Quo Vadis, Aida? (2021)


Under the careful and sublime lens of Jasmila Žbanić, this empathetic and compelling portrait of a woman comes alive. Aida is a UN translator living in the small town of Srebrenica. Her job is to crack coded messages, but she also strives to shield her family and loved ones every chance she can. So when the Serbian army walks all over their town, Aida’s family, among thousands of other survivors, look for a haven at a UN camp, leaving her forced to negotiate an impossible choice between family, humanity, and her survival.

A War Story With Intimacy and Verisimilitude

Quo Vadis, Aida? unfolds with jarring realism, and throws viewers right in the face of the unique trials faced by women during the war. When, no matter the choice made, the aftermath will leave deep scars, is it better to fight for rescue or surrender in the face of death? The performances in this Oscar-nominated war film are as real and raw as they can be, almost giving it a documentary feel. Despite it being heartbreaking, Quo Vadis, Aida? should be seen by anyone interested in war films, because it poignantly portrays the ever-present duality of man, between the heights of compassion, and the depths of sheer cruelty.


4 Moffie (2020)

Set in 1981 in South Africa where men have to serve their mandatory two years in the military, Moffie tells the story of Nicholas van der Swart and his coming-of-age during the Angolan war. Knowing he was different from the very beginning, Nicholas tried his best to steer clear of any sort of trouble, but he was often bullied and ridiculed, and his sexuality was considered an “illness” that should be treated. Kai Luke Brümmer plays the lead role of Nicholas, with Ryan de Villiers and Hilton Pelser joining the supporting cast.


A Rarer Queer War Story

Moffie proves the point that racism and homophobia extend beyond borders and can be especially difficult in the military. Cathartic in emotion and cinematography, this biographical war drama has stark depictions of the brutality faced by queer men at the time. The title itself is a derivation of a uniquely South African homophobic slur used to dehumanize people. Overall, the movie is intense and grueling. At the British Independent Film Awards in 2019, it would secure nominations for Best Director, Breakthrough Producer, and Best Cinematography.

3 The Imitation Game (2014)


While so many brilliant war films are told from the POV of the soldiers who fought in them, The Imitation Game proved just how complex WWII actually was since it featured the role mathematicians played in it. A period film set in 1939, it followed the role of the then newly established British MI6 intelligence agency in recruiting mathematicians like Alan Turing for the war effort. Their role was to decipher Nazi codes, the most formidable of those coming from Enigma, thought to be an uncrackable German code machine — that was until Turing and his unlikely associate, Joan Clarke, began working on it.

A Poignant Story for Many Reasons

The film served as a poignant reminder of just how brilliant Turing was, and how overlooked female mathematicians were during the era. However, it chose to play more on the romantic angle between Turing and Clarke, which did exist, but in reality was overshadowed by Turing’s closeted homosexuality. Nevertheless, the film was a stirring account of just how brilliant they both were, and how much their efforts helped defeat the Nazis. Earning eight Academy Awards, including one each for Benedict Cumberbatch as Turing and Keira Knightley as Clarke, The Imitation Game became one of the most celebrated films of 2014.


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2 Sophie’s Choice (1982)

Sophie’s Choice (1983)

Release Date
March 4, 1983

Director
Alan J. Pakula

Cast
Meryl Streep , Kevin Kline , Peter MacNicol , Rita Karin , Stephen D. Newman , Greta Turken , Josh Mostel , Marcell Rosenblatt

Starring Meryl Streep in imperious form, Sophie’s Choice was an intense portrayal of the horrors of WWII told from the perspective of a Polish immigrant to the US years later. Based on the 1979 novel of the same name, Streep played Zofia “Sophie” Zawistowska, a woman who immigrated in the wake of the war and wound up living with an emotionally unstable man (played by Kevin Kline making his feature film debut). After meeting a young writer in their building, Sophie’s dark past soon emerges, forcing her to confront her horrific experiences during the war.


An Unthinkable Experience

Streep’s amazing performance won her a second Academy Award. She would, of course, go on to win a third for The Iron Lady, amid a record of 21 nominations to date. Another rousing role from her astounding career, the film was a brilliant story of pain and unfathomable grief that depicted the true extent of the atrocities suffered by millions of Jewish people during the Holocaust in disturbing detail.

1 Dunkirk (2017)


Another cinematic spectacle the likes of which only Christopher Nolan could depict with such unique quality, Dunkirk chronicles the Germans’ siege against Allied troops along the beaches of Dunkirk, France. While British and French troops provided air and ground cover, the besieged soldiers were methodically extracted from the beach through the use of various air and naval transportation. Amid the sprawling devastation around them, a miraculous rescue mission unfolded that saw over 300,000 Allied troops successfully evacuated from what would have been certain death.

An All-Round Cinematic Delight

Winning three Academy Awards amid eight nominations, Dunkirk was another colossal film destined to be counted among the iconic legacy that Christopher Nolan has already begun building as a filmmaker. Bearing his signature traits, the film was a riveting visual delight, punctuated by amazing cinematography, yet another Hanz Zimmer masterpiece of a score, and strong performances from the likes of Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy, bringing it all together brilliantly.

For more on intense war films, check out this video on the best war movies based on true stories:




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