10 of Our Top Picked Movies on Gulf War in 2023

Listen to the Podcast:

After Iraq invaded Kuwait, a 35-country military coalition fought the Gulf War from 1990 to 1991. The small number of films about the Gulf War is striking, especially if we compare it to the Iraq War. However, we tried to compile a list of the movies on gulf war. 

The Gulf War was sparked by Iraq’s claim that Kuwait was part of its territory and that Kuwait was stealing oil from a shared oil field. The United States and its allies launched a massive air and ground assault against Iraq. The war lasted only 42 days, with the coalition forces achieving a swift victory. The Iraqi military was quickly defeated, and Kuwait was liberated.

The war remained marked in the memory of the millions of viewers who saw it live for the first time. The war also devastated the Iraqi people, resulting in thousands of civilian deaths and infrastructure destruction.

Without further ado, let’s come to the topic of movies on Gulf War.

Movies on the Gulf War: the Shortlist

Gulf war movies

Below we put an alphabetic list of the movies on Gulf War.

  1. Airlift
  2. Ahlaam
  3. Back to Babylon
  4. Bravo Two Zero
  5. Collateral Damage
  6. Contact
  7. Courage Under Fire
  8. Dawn of the World
  9. The Finest Hour
  10. Fires of Kuwait
  11. The Heroes of Desert Storm
  12. House of Saddam
  13. The Human Shield
  14. Jarhead
  15. Live from Baghdad
  16. Lessons of Darkness
  17. Sand Castle
  18. The One That Got Away
  19. The Man Who Stares at Goats
  20. Three Kings
  21. To Sell a War
  22. Turtles Can Fly
  23. The Manchurian Candidate
  24. Uncle Sam
  25. War Dogs

Interesting Read: Best Rugby Movies Ever Made

Best Movies on Gulf War

Here are our top picks of movies about the Gulf War. You will find a summary with the release year and movie trailer link. We have also put the IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes ratings.

Three Kings

  • Director: David O. Russell
  • Release Year: 1999

David O. Russell was nobody in Hollywood until he directed this black comedy, at least initially, about a group of soldiers who, at the end of the first Gulf War, decided to venture into Iraqi territory on their own to get gold, in turn, stolen from Kuwait. They are George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube, and Spike Jonze. At first, they are just unscrupulous scoundrels, but soon they will show that they have their little hearts and will stand in solidarity with the rebels oppressed by the evil of Iraq.

  • IMDB: 7.1
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 94%

Courage Under Fire

  • Director: Edward Zwick
  • Release Year: 1996

The story follows Lieutenant Colonel Nathaniel Serling, played by Denzel Washington, tasked with investigating the death of a female helicopter pilot, Captain Karen Walden, played by Meg Ryan, who is being considered for a posthumous Medal of Honor.

As Serling investigates the incident, he uncovers conflicting accounts of what happened and must navigate a web of lies and cover-ups. The film deals with themes of guilt, redemption, and war trauma.

  • IMDB: 6.6
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 86%

Lessons of Darkness

(Video Credit: Dedalus05)

  • Director: Werner Herzog
  • Release Year: 1992

The film is a visual meditation on the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War, which Herzog depicts as a surreal, apocalyptic landscape.

Herzog’s camera captures the oil fires that burned across Kuwait and the desolate and destroyed landscape left after the war. The film lacks dialogue and narration, instead relying on powerful images and a haunting score to convey its message.

  • IMDB: 8.0
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 100%


  • Director: Sam Mendes
  • Release year: 2005

Sam Mendes brought to the screen the memoirs of Marine Anthony Swofford, who participated in Operation Desert Storm. Jake Gyllenhaal brings him to life, accompanied by Chris Cooper, Peter Sarsgaard, and Jamie Foxx. The film had war sequels, a second and third part of which it is better not to speak. Cooper and Foxx didn’t take long to enlist again but to shoot ‘The Kingdom’s Shadow’ (Peter Berg, 2007), which takes place in Saudi Arabia.

  • IMDB: 7.0
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 61%

The Manchurian Candidate

  • Director: Jonathan Demme
  • Release Year: 2004

The movie is a remake of the 1962 film of the same name. It follows a similar plot about a soldier named Ben Marco, played by Denzel Washington, who investigates a conspiracy involving a brainwashed war hero named Raymond Shaw, played by Liev Schreiber.

The 2004 version updates the original story with modern technology and a post-9/11 political context. The film also features strong performances by its cast, including Meryl Streep as a manipulative senator and Jon Voight as a corrupt defense contractor.

  • IMDB: 6.6
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 80%


  • Director: Mohamed Al Daradji
  • Release Year: 2006

The movie follows the story of three young Iraqis whose lives are forever changed by the war and its aftermath.

Ahlaam, played by the actress and singer Zahraa Ghandour, is a young woman held in a psychiatric hospital after witnessing the death of her family during the war. Ali, played by Aseel Adel, is a soldier who becomes disillusioned with the war and joins the insurgency. And Mehdi, played by Bassim Qassim, is a medical student who becomes a victim of the violence that plagues the country.

  • IMDB: 5.8
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 77%

Turtles Can Fly

  • Director: Bahman Ghobadi
  • Release Year: 2004

The movie is set in the aftermath of the Iraq War and tells the story of a group of Kurdish refugee children who live on the Iraqi-Turkish border.

(Video Credit: FirouzanFilms)

The film follows the lives of the children as they navigate the dangers of war and struggle to survive in a harsh and unforgiving landscape. The protagonist is a boy named Satellite, who earns his living by installing satellite dishes for the other villagers. He befriends a young girl named Agrin and her disabled brother, who has just arrived at the camp as refugees.

Turtles Can Fly is a powerful and poignant film that explores the devastating impact of war on children.

  • IMDB: 8.0
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 88%

Related Read: Best Action Movies on HBO Max

Gulf War Movies on Netflix

Netflix is very popular these days for watching movies at home. We have made a list of gulf war movies. Then we picked the best movies on the gulf war. Now it is time to provide information on gulf war movies on Netflix.

Sand Castle

  • Director: Fernando Coimbra
  • Release Year: 2017

The movie is set during the Iraq War and follows a group of American soldiers tasked with repairing a water pumping station in a small Iraqi village.

(Video Credit: Netflix)

The film is based on the experiences of screenwriter Chris Roessner, who served in Iraq in 2003. The protagonist is a young private named Matt Ocre, played by Nicholas Hoult, who is initially reluctant to serve in Iraq but gradually becomes more committed to the mission.

  • IMDB: 6.3
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 47%

The Men Who Stare at Goats

  • Director: Grant Heslov
  • Release year: 2009

The movie is based on a book by Jon Ronson and tells the story of a reporter named Bob Wilton, played by Ewan McGregor, who discovers a secret military unit that claims to have developed psychic powers.

The unit is led by a former Vietnam veteran named Bill Django, played by Jeff Bridges, who teaches the soldiers to use their psychic abilities for peaceful purposes. However, they face a different enemy when the unit is sent to Iraq.

  • IMDB: 6.2
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 51%

War Dogs

  • Director: Todd Phillips
  • Release Year: 2016

The movie is based on a true story and follows two friends, David Packouz and Efraim Diveroli, who became international arms dealers during the Iraq War.

The film explores the murky world of international arms dealing and the moral dilemmas faced by its protagonists as they become increasingly embroiled in illegal and unethical practices. War Dogs has been praised for its strong performances, particularly by Jonah Hill and Miles Teller, and its clever and insightful portrayal of the global arms trade.

  • IMDB: 7.1
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 61%

Final Thoughts

Overall, the best Gulf War movies go beyond the surface level of action and spectacle, delving into the deeper issues and themes that define the conflict. These movies challenge us to think critically about war and its causes and consequences and recognize the human cost of armed conflict. Doing so helps us better understand the world and our place within it.


Do I Have to Pay Taxes on My Insurance Settlement: Solution and Tips

Receiving an insurance settlement can feel like a huge...

How to Find Instagram Influencers to Grow Beauty Business in 2024

Are you struggling to navigate the vast sea of...

RusticOTV: Unique Streaming Gateway to Cinema and Entertainment in 2024

Are you overwhelmed by the sheer volume of streaming...

2024’s Game Changer: The Must-Have PS5 Accessories for Every Gamer

Are you looking to take your PS5 gaming experience...

Distortion Reports: A Mirage or Genuine Insight into Reality?

Distortion Reports refer to documents or analyses that highlight...