war is hell A synopsis that shortens the millions of lives lost but doesn’t fully appreciate the cruelty that has befallen them. Words can never replace soldiers’ unwarranted trauma. Turning the “war” into a “reward” takes the glory out of fighting and killing another man’s fight and enemy. Despite the political game of treating men like pawns, no one has to go through hell alone. Between bloodshed and death, a camaraderie forms that lasts a lifetime.
The simultaneous suffering of the slings and arrows makes the pain bearable. Survive the pain, a teacher of resilience; a reminder to protect humanity without senseless violence. Battles can be fought and won, but war in all its cinematic representations will always be the low point of human nature. Here are the biggest fight scenes in all of cinema:
Updated August 30, 2023 by Timothy Lindsey: This article has been updated with additional content to keep the discussion fresh and relevant with even more information and new entries.
13 Battle of Exegol
The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
Rise of Skywalker is the latest edition of the war of stars Saga. It shows Rey and the rest of the Resistance making a final push to put an end to the First Order and the return of Emperor Palpatine. The film’s final battle is the greatest as The Resistance travels to the hidden world of the Sith known as Exegol.
Not only must they prevent the largest fleet the galaxy has ever seen from taking off and destroying other planets, but Rey must also defeat Palpatine, her grandfather. With the added help of Finn, Poe, and an old friend in Lando Calrissian who handles business in the sky, Rey is able to harness the power of all Jedi before her to defeat Palpatine. They save the galaxy from disaster and pain.
12 Battle of Thermopylae
300 falls under the historical imagination with its retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae fought during the Greco-Persian Wars. The Persians demanded in 480 BC. to assert their claim and supremacy over the Spartans. Faced with the Spartans’ pursuit of excellence in education and military strategy, they view the attempt as a threat and oppose the Persians.
The Spartan army numbered no more than 7,000 men, while the Persian army numbered between 120,000 and 300,000 soldiers. The challenge was met with a fight to the death and 300 Spartans remained, making the Battle of Thermopylae one of the greatest last stand in history.
11 Battle of Stirling Bridge
Brave heart (1995)
Brave heart tells the story of the First War of Scottish Independence, led by Scottish warrior Sir William Wallace in the late 13th century. He and his countrymen took on the English invasion under King Edward I of England.
The High Middle Ages were full of conquests and dangers, but Wallace and his men rejected the king’s suzerainty. The battle was won by the Scots, who henceforth appointed Wallace “Guardian of the Kingdom of Scotland and Commander of its Army”.
10 Battle of Midway
Midway is one of the best war films of the last decade. It tells the story of American reaction after the events of Pearl Harbor. The first major battle after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was the Battle of Midway Island. If the Japanese win the battle, they will be one step closer to conquering Hawaii and possibly the west coast of the United States.
With the help of Admiral Chester Nimitz, Lieutenant Dick Best and Commander Edwin Layton, the United States succeeds in defeating the Japanese at Midway. Apart from the top gun franchise, it’s extremely difficult to find a film with better dogfight scenes.
9 Battle of Yavin
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
A turning point in the Galactic Civil War and one of the most famous scenes in the war of stars Saga: At the Battle of Yavin, the Rebel Alliance destroyed the first Death Star. The moon-sized weapon had already destroyed an entire planet, proving it posed a deadly threat.
Using the plans of the Empire’s space station smuggled by Princess Leia Organa, the rebels find the weapon’s weak point. In a dogfight full of X-Wings and TIE fighters, Luke Skywalker flies in to launch a proton torpedo through an exhaust port to reach the main reactor and destroy the Death Star.
8th Battle of Helm’s Deep
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
Located in the White Mountains of Middle-earth, Helm’s Deep is a valley in which the fortress of Hornburg is located. It houses an army of men and elves prepared to fight the Orc Uruk-hai army led by the power-hungry wizard Saruman.
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Harnessing a massive wave of orc hostility and the fortitude of humans and elves, it clashes in a massive tide of warfare that today’s CGI can no longer match.
7 Battle of Minas Tirith
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King presents viewers with several major battles as it is the final film Lord of the rings Franchise. The first major battle takes place in the city of kings called Minas Tirith, the largest city in the land of Gondor. The city is just outside the outskirts of Mordor.
The armies of Gondor and Rohan, led by the wizard Gandalf, Aragorn, future king of Gondor, and Théoden, king of Rohan, join forces against the armies of Mordor. If they cannot withstand the army of orcs, goblins and mercenaries, the land of Gondor will be taken over by evil. But with the help of an army of the dead, they defeat the evil armies of Mordor in the first of two major battles in the series’ final film.
6 castle siege
Ran takes place during the Sengoku period, a period of constant social upheaval in war-torn Japan. Warlord Hidetora Ichimonji has relinquished his position as ruler and divided rulership of his three castles between his three loyal sons, Taro, Jiro, and Saburo.
The once-close family ties are now severed by the brothers as their father’s past still weighs heavily on them. The struggle for power develops into a political turf war that drives the Ichimonji clan to ruin after the sons’ respective armies clash one last time.
5 Battle of Aqaba
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Lawrence of Arabia tells of the experiences of British archaeologist Thomas Edward Lawrence and his struggle between his loyalty to the British Empire and his newfound Arab Brotherhood.
The attack on Aqaba was a 600-mile voyage recommended by Lawrence as the British needed their Red Sea port to support them in World War I. Lawrence later helped set up the provisional government, the Arab National Council, putting an end to the warring tribes and the Ottoman Empire.
4 no mans land
nothing new in the West (1930)
nothing new in the West depicts the trench warfare of World War I with haunting accuracy. The earth explodes beneath the feet of the Allies and the German army to the unnatural noise of mortar shells screaming for their deaths.
They hold and break through each other’s front lines crusted with dirt and blood. Attacking the enemy with machine gun fire, only to be confronted with a bayonet knife or melee combat is a harrowing experience.
3 Battle of Endor
Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)
The third film of the original war of stars Series, Return of the Jedi follows the Rebellion Army as it sets out to destroy the dreaded Death Star once more. However, you must do so in the presence of Emperor Palpatine, as he is dedicated to crushing the rebellion and turning Luke Skywalker to the dark side. To attack the Death Star, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, an army of rebels, and an army of Ewoks must disable the shield generator on the nearby forest moon of Endor.
A battle ensues between stormtroopers and Imperial forces near the generator. Although Leia is wounded and R2-D2 is shot, the rebels are able to plant explosives and blow up the shield generator. This allows General Lando Calrissian and company to fly into the Death Star and blow it up from the inside. It could well be considered the most important battle in a galaxy far, far away.
2 Omaha Beach
The soldier James Ryan (1998)
On June 6, 1944, also known as D-Day, the Allied invasion of Normandy began at the height of World War II. The US Army landed at Omaha Beach, part of German-occupied France. The men are showered with artillery and mortar fire as they disembark their Higgins boats for shore.
Some are in a catatonic state; others scream to go home while the few wade through their fallen comrades. The fight scene in The soldier James Ryan summarized the largest naval offensive in history that liberated France and Europe, but also emphasized the realistic attacks and PTSD veterans who witnessed them.
1 Battle for Earth
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
In what may be the greatest superhero battle of all time, the Battle of Earth Avengers: Endgame pitted all of the Avengers against Thanos and his army, who have time traveled from the past to destroy any chance of the Avengers saving the universe. This fight is special because half of the Avengers that Thanos snatched away in the previous film have returned. Friends are reunited and all MCU heroes have answered the call to destroy Thanos.
In the end, after the heroes just about figure out a way to stop Thanos from snapping his fingers one more time in the Infinity Gauntlet, Iron Man snaps his fingers and sends Thanos away. Tony Stark made the ultimate sacrifice, which Captain America says he was unable to make at first avenger Movie (2011). It will be difficult for Marvel to ever top this fight scene.