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Greatest Classic War Movie Characters: 6 Roles That Live On Through Big Screen

Image: Greatest Classic War Movie Characters: 6 Roles That Live On Through Big Screen
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By    |   Thursday, 23 Apr 2015 01:39 PM

Bleak, violent, and suspenseful, war movies often commemorate historical figures or use fictional characters to reference real events. Classic characters from war movies often show bravery and grace under pressure.

However, often the most memorable characters are controversial or villainous. Here's a look at some of those especially memorable characters:

1. George Patton


The 1970 film "Patton" follows the life of George Patton, a controversial WWII hero. The historical Patton was a great public speaker, possessed compelling leadership ability, and had a tendency to make political missteps. These traits, in addition to his famous colorful personality, make him a memorable person and character. According to film critic Robert Ebert, George C. Scott's portrayal of Patton was spot-on. The film won seven Oscars.

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2. Oskar Schindler

In the 1993 movie "Schindler's List," Oskar Schindler (played by Liam Neeson) is a member of the Nazi Party who works to save the lives of Polish-Jewish refugees by employing them in his factories during WWII. Schindler's heroism combined with his courage and even-mindedness make him an admirable character. The harsh environment in which he operated makes his heroism truly memorable. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a remarkably high rating of 96 percent.

3. T.E. Lawrence

A 1962 British film based on the life of T.E. Lawrence, "Lawrence of Arabia" won seven Academy Awards and six Golden Globes. T.E. Lawrence was a British army officer who achieved great success in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign of WWI and the Arab Revolt. According to the Smithsonian, Lawrence perfected the art of blowing up bridges: he left them ruined, but still standing. Peter O'Toole played the character of T.E. Lawrence.

4. Alvin C. York


One of the most decorated soldiers in WWI, Alvin C. York brought in a total of 132 German soldiers after attacking a German stronghold in the Argonne Forest on October 8th, 1918. The 1941 film "Sergeant York" is about his life and military accomplishments. It was the highest-grossing film in 1941, according to IMDb. In the movie, Gary Cooper played the role of York.

5. Capt. John H. Miller

Played by Tom Hanks, the fictional character Capt. John H. Miller is the protagonist of the 1998 movie "Saving Private Ryan." The New York Times applauded the movie for its anguished portrayal of war. In "Saving Private Ryan," Miller receives a special mission to save Private Ryan, a WWII paratrooper and the last surviving of four brothers. Miller's rationality, tenacity, and self-sacrifice mark him as a classic character.

6. Vassili Zaitsev

Played by Jude Law in the 2001 movie "Enemy at the Gates," Vassili Zaitsey was a sniper for the Soviet Union during WWII. Though Zaitsey came from humble origins, his shooting ability marked him as anything but ordinary. Rolling Stone credits the film and Law with doing a remarkable job of bringing history to life. Zaitsey's heroism in protecting the city of Stalingrad from the German Army defines the film.

Vote Now: Which of These Actors Stands the Test of Time?

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Bleak, violent, and suspenseful, war movies often commemorate historical figures or use fictional characters to reference real events. Classic characters from war movies often show bravery and grace under pressure.
classic war movie characters, war movies, roles
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Thursday, 23 Apr 2015 01:39 PM
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