Great Guy Movies

I love movies. And I’m a guy. Which means the films that reach the top of my favorites list are probably quite different from those on a gal’s list. The movies listed below are varied in genre, but they all have something in common: the protagonists are manly men. No sissies allowed.

Saving Private Ryan (1997), [R]
A masterpiece, in nearly every sense of the word. The directing, acting, script, and cinematography are all absolutely phenomenal; and the depiction of modern combat – including a gut-wrenching 20-minute recreation of Omaha beach – is the most realistic you will ever see on the silver screen. Period. Battles are chaotic, savage affairs of ultraviolence, full of rolling smoke, whizzing bullets, and mangled flesh. Combining such visceral imagery with an incredibly powerful story of sacrifice and heroism, Spielberg pulls together a war epic  that surpasses all others. It’s a sincere and heartfelt homage to the courageous U.S. soldiers of World War II.
The Last of the Mohicans (1992), [R]
Based on the book by James Fenimore Cooper. Although it takes some liberties with the original story, Michael Mann’s frontier epic is nevertheless a magnificent piece of filmmaking, with a perfectly balanced mixture of action, adventure, and romance that paves the way for a breathtaking finale. The performances are uniformly good, the cinematography is jaw-dropping, and the vicious brutality of hand-to-hand combat is captured to stunning effect in the film’s impressive battle sequences. Definitely a must-see.
Master & Commander (2004)[PG-13]
Based on the novels by Patrick O’Brian. Sea adventures don’t get any better than this. The cinematography is amazing, the acting is superb, and the historical accuracy is spot-on. Really a spectacular film, and a must-see for anyone interested in naval history and warfare.
Gladiator (2000)[R]
There are some historical inaccuracies, but overall, Gladiator is a superb historical epic and a real eye-opener to the glory, brutality, and corruptness of Rome. As for Crowe… well, it’s not hard to see why he garnered an Oscar for his role. He plays the heroic protagonist with absolute perfection: his Maximus is a manly man, a man of honor and unflinching resolve, a man who loves his country, loves his family,  and who never backs down from fighting for what is right.
The Patriot (2000), [R]
The Patriot is not a definitive drama about the Revolutionary War, but it succeeds admirably on its own terms. There’s great cinematography, and the story, while nothing new, is smart and engrossing. Gibson gives a superb, brooding performance as the troubled but determined war hero, and the supporting cast (especially Ledger and Isaacs) is equally good. And while the historical accuracy isn’t always perfect, overall this film offers a pretty solid depiction of some of the most important years in America’s  history.
Cinderella Man (2005), [PG-13]
After watching this, I immediately put it down on my list of favorites. It truly is a wholesome, inspiring piece of filmmaking of the type seldom produced by Hollywood these days, and by the time I got to the end credits, I wanted to stand up and cheer. Because Cinderella Man isn’t merely the story of a great boxer: it’s the story of a man fighting for his family. Zellweger is excellent, Giamati is steller as manager Joe Gould, and Russell Crowe gives one of the most moving, tenacious performances of his entire career.
The Road (2009), [R]
Based on the book by Cormac McCarthy. The Road is a disturbing yet poignant post-apocalyptic tale that’s genuinely hard to watch sometimes, even if you have a strong stomach. On the one hand, it presents with gritty realism the wickedness that the depraved man is naturally inclined to – the scenario with the cannibals is more realistic than one might think at first. On the other hand, it is also an incredibly powerful story of sacrifice and of the fierce love that burns between a father and his son.
The Matrix (1999), [R]
As one critic noted, “… [The Matrix] is much more than an out-and-out action yarn; it’s a thinking man’s journey into the realm of futuristic fantasy.” Fusing a one-of-a-kind premise with mind-blowing special effects (most notably “bullet-time”), this is a classic film that sci-fi fans (especially guys) will not want to miss. And there’s plenty to think about long after the credits have finished rolling. Biblical themes – such as Original Sin – are easily found beneath the enthralling storyline.
The Bourne Trilogy (2002-2007), [PG-13]
Based on the books by Robert Ludlum. Top notch action thrillers that bring a superb sense of gritty reality to a genre that’s too often over-produced. The story is intelligent and believable, the characters are well conceived, and the action sequences are absolutely stunning to watch.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003), [PG-13]
Based on the books by J.R.R. Tolkien. Told with epic energy and passion, and chock full of biblical themes, The Lord of the Rings is a masterful fantasy film trilogy that is certain to stand as an adventure for all time. Director Peter Jackson’s book-to-screen adaption is one of the best I’ve ever encountered, and he is to be highly commended for staying so faithful to Tolkien’s vision.

Got any favorites of your own? Be my guest and share ’em down in the comments section If you’re a guy, I, personally, will benefit from your recommendations; if you’re a gal, my Mom will.

21 thoughts on “Great Guy Movies”

  1. Young Man, you are so far advanced in your reading than I am,. If I remember
    correctly, I saw the Patriot and Saving Private Ryan (That was a tear jerker for me

    1. I think Saving Private Ryan is a tear-jerker for just about everybody. It’s a very unsettling, emotional movie. I know it choked me up. And that isn’t an easy thing to do, usually. :)

      What?! Am I to understand that you consider LOTR silly? How dare… um, never mind. You are entitled to your opinion, I guess. *sniff* ;)

      I think you’d really enjoy Cinderella Man. Maybe when you’re out here next we can watch it with you.

      Love you, Memaw!

  2. I liked Inception quite a bit. I wish they had explained more of the science behind it.

    I love Star Wars 4-6, but I’m a nerd. :-)

    For your mom, I have almost every Jane Austen adaptation and enjoy those to varying degrees. Some of the old BBC ones are more accurate, although the costumes are very polyester.

    1. I loved Inception… one of the greatest sci-fi films ever made, in my opinion. Glad you enjoyed it as well!

      That’s the original trilogy, right? I enjoyed The Empire Strikes Back, but just couldn’t really get into the other two. (I haven’t seen the prequels, so I can’t speak for them.)

      Ah, yes, Mom has quite a few of the Jane Austen adaptions, as well as some based on books by Charles Dickens and Elizabeth Gaskell. Even I watch those with her… and usually enjoy them, too. I thought Pride & Prejudice (with Colin Firth) was good, and I also liked North & South.

  3. I LOVE Cinderella Man!! That one is excellent! Did you ever see The Greatest Game Ever Played? I think there was a little language.
    I also really enjoy The Patriot, although it is a bit… um… gory for my taste.
    Others I liked… Charade with Cary Grant, Secretariat is GREAT!

    I haven’t seen all the ones you mentioned, so we will have to get them. :)

    1. Like I said, Cinderella Man was one of those movies where I wanted to stand up and cheer at the end. Great stuff.

      I have seen the Greatest Game Ever Played. I’m not much into golf, but I actually enjoyed it quite a bit.

      Yeah, The Patriot isn’t mild fare, but if you can stomach the realism of the warfare, it’s a great movie to watch.

      I liked Charade, too. Talk about twists and turns! I have yet to see Secretariat, but I’ve heard good things about it. Maybe we’ll rent it sometime soon.

  4. With a husband and three sons I’ve seen every DVD you mentioned (except The Road). Well, at least the beginning… My coping strategy is to go into the kitchen and explore the archives of a new blog I’ve found when the, ahem, action gets too much. I snookered my sons into watching a few Austen flicks by telling them the girls would be mightily impressed.

    I *highly* recommend the series Band of Brothers; Enemy at the Gates; The Lost Battalion. They qualify as guy movies.

    1. Haha! My Mom’s coping strategy is to cover her eyes and ask me to tell her when it’s over. :)

      I’ve watched my fair share of Austen/Dickens/Gaskell adaptions, and I usually enjoy them to varying degrees (Pride & Prejudice and North & South were both great). I figure if a guy expects his wife to watch action movies with him, he’d better not balk at returning the favor by watching films that she enjoys.

      Thanks for the recommendations! They look great!

      1. You have a great attitude! This week my husband is watching the newest BBC version of Emma with me. I don’t know if he will admit to “enjoying” a well-done chick flick, but I think he secretly does.

  5. Hey!

    Ok, I loved Inception, Cinderella Man, LOTR triology (of course!), and I want to see the patriot. So there. lol!! I bet all of the others are great movies. :-)


  6. I read somewhere that a good marriage needs a balance between Bullet Movies and Bonnet Movies. I’ve watched a number of BBC adaptations of Dickens and Austen and enjoyed most of them quite a bit (Little Dorrit is really, really good), but I’m more into Bullet Movies.

    Cinderella Man is a wonderful pick. Just a great flick. I’d also throw Band of Brothers in, because it’s a great companion to Saving Private Ryan and just incredibly moving to me.

    I also love The Shawshank Redemption, though it’s certainly not an easy movie to watch sometimes. But the portrayal of male friendships has seldom been so perfectly represented.

    I’d also give a nod to Braveheart and Henry V. Great stuff.

    1. “… a good marriage needs a balance between Bullet Movies and Bonnet Movies.” That’s a great way to put it! :)

      Band of Brothers is definitely on my To Be Seen list. I’ve heard tons of rave reviews about it.

      I’ve heard of Shawshank Redemption, but have been kind of on the fence about whether it’s worth watching. I may just have to check it out, though.

      I didn’t really care for Braveheart (due to the way Scottish history and Wallace’s character were mercilessly butchered), but I loved Henry V. The St. Crispin’s Day speech is rousing, to be sure! I need to re-watch it sometime soon…

  7. Exceptional list! I’m a guy movies fan. One on the list here that I can watch over and over is Master and Commander. The other day my husband had on Hope Floats (Bullock and Connick) and I made fun of him and turned it over to Guns of Navarone :) So yea, bring on the guy movies!!

  8. We just watched the new True Grit last night. Now there is a good guy movie! Very quirky, but satisfying. I want to watch it again before I mail to Netflix; I think a lot of symbolism got by me. The music (the main theme was “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” done in a simple, plaintive style) was exceptional.

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