42 Best War Movie Quotes

Updated March 9, 2023 | Infoplease Staff
Military salutes

War movies have captivated audiences for generations, and with good reason. They tell stories of heroism, sacrifice, and the struggle for survival in the face of unimaginable danger. To honor these films, we've compiled a list of some of the best war movie quotes of all time. These quotes capture the spirit of the films they come from, and remind us of the incredible bravery and strength of those who have fought for their country.

42 Best War Movie Quotes

  1. “What does it matter to me, I have only one life to lose...” — "All Quiet on the Western Front”, 1930.

    Source: Getty Images
  2. "I love the smell of napalm in the morning." — "Apocalypse Now”, 1979.

    This quote was spoken by the character Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore, played by Robert Duvall, in the Vietnam War epic “Apocalypse Now”.

  3. "Freedom isn't free." — "Team America: World Police", 2004.
    While not a war movie in the traditional sense, "Team America: World Police" satirizes the U.S.'s post-9/11 foreign policy, and this quote is a common refrain in American political rhetoric.

  4. "God will understand, my lord. And if he doesn't, then he is not God, and we need not worry." — "Kingdom of Heaven", 2005.

  5. “Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country.” — "Patton”, 1970.

  6. "War is hell." — "Full Metal Jacket", 1987.
    This quote was spoken by the character Private Joker, played by Matthew Modine, in "Full Metal Jacket," which was set during the Vietnam War.

  7. “There's enough bang in there to blow us all to Jesus. If I'm gonna die, I want to die comfortable.” — "The Hurt Locker”, 2008.

  8. “I can't promise you that I will bring you all home alive. But this I swear, before you and before Almighty God, that when we go into battle, I will be the first to set foot on the field, and I will be the last to step off, and I will leave no one behind. Dead or alive, we will all come home together. So help me, God.” — "We Were Soldiers”, 2002.

  9. “All right, sweethearts, you're a team and there's nothin' to worry about. We come here, and we gonna conquer, and we gonna kick some, is that understood?” — "Aliens”, 1986.

    Source: Getty Images
  10. "Earn this." — "Saving Private Ryan", 1998.
    This quote was spoken by Captain John H. Miller, played by Tom Hanks, to Private James Francis Ryan, played by Matt Damon, in the World War II drama "Saving Private Ryan".

  11. “Not anxious to die sir, just anxious to matter.” — "Pearl Harbor”, 2001.

  12. "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room." — "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb", 1964.
    This ironic quote was spoken by the character President Merkin Muffley, played by Peter Sellers, in this incredible and satirical Cold War movie.

  13. “The M16A2 service rifle is a lightweight air-cooled, gas-operated, magazine-fed shoulder weapon. It fires a 5.56 mm ball projectile at a muzzle velocity of 2,800 feet per second. This is my rifle. Repeat after me.” — "Jarhead”, 2005.

  14. "We were in the jungle, there were too many of us, we had access to too much money, too much equipment, and little by little we went insane." — "Apocalypse Now", 1979.
    This quote was spoken by the character Captain Benjamin Willard, played by Martin Sheen, in "Apocalypse Now", which was inspired by Joseph Conrad's book "Heart of Darkness".

  15. “How tall are you private?”
    “Sir, five foot nine, sir!”
    “Five foot nine, I didn’t know they stacked s*** that high!”
    — "Full Metal Jacket”, 1987.
    Gunnery Sgt. Hartman is one of the most iconic (and hilarious) characters in any military movie, giving us some of the best movie quotes of all time.

  16. "Platoon, salute the King of Battle!" — "Platoon", 1986.
    "The King of Battle" is a nickname for the artillery branch of the U.S. Army.

    Source: Getty Images
  17. "Spartans! Prepare for glory!" — "300", 2006.
    This quote was spoken by the character King Leonidas, played by Gerard Butler, in the epic action movie "300", which was based on the Battle of Thermopylae in ancient Greece and featured heavily stylized battle scenes.

  18. "I will not be intimidated by a criminal threat." — "A Few Good Men", 1992.
    In this film, Jack Nicholson plays a Marine colonel on trial for murder.

  19. "There's no such thing as a civilized war." — "The Red Badge of Courage", 1951.
    This film is based on the novel of the same name by Stephen Crane, which depicts the Civil War.

  20. "This is the AK-47 assault rifle, the preferred weapon of your enemy. And it makes a distinctive sound when fired at you, so remember it." — "Lord of War", 2005.
    "Lord of War" is a film about an arms dealer.

  21. "Every man dies, not every man really lives." — "Braveheart", 1995.

  22. "I'm gonna kill every last one of them." — "Rambo: First Blood Part II", 1985.
    The "Rambo" films follow the exploits of a former Green Beret.

  23. "You can't handle the truth!" — "A Few Good Men", 1992.

  24. "I love the smell of victory in the morning." — "The Eagle Has Landed", 1976.
    "The Eagle Has Landed" is a film about a German plot to kidnap Winston Churchill.

    Military aircraft
    Source: Getty Images
  25. "I feel the need...the need for speed!" — "Top Gun", 1986.
    "Top Gun" follows a group of Navy pilots.

  26. "I don't know how I'm going to live with myself if I don't stay true to what I believe." — "Hacksaw Ridge", 2016.

  27. "I'm not a smart man...but I know what love is." — "Forrest Gump", 1994.
    While "Forrest Gump" is not a war movie per se, but it features scenes set during the Vietnam War when Tom Hanks' titular character experiences combat.

  28. "You can't change the past." — "Inglourious Basterds", 2009.
    "Inglourious Basterds" is a film about a group of Jewish American soldiers who plot to assassinate Nazi leaders.

  29. "What is your major malfunction?" — "Full Metal Jacket", 1987.

  30. “If it bleeds, we can kill it.” — "Predator”, 1987.

  31. "There's no such thing as an ex-Marine." — "Heartbreak Ridge", 1986.
    This quote was spoken by the character Gunnery Sergeant Tom Highway, played by Clint Eastwood, in the Cold War movie "Heartbreak Ridge".

  32. "I have not yet begun to fight." — "John Paul Jones", 1959.
    This quote was spoken by the titular character, played by Robert Stack, in the biographical film "John Paul Jones", which was based on the life of the American naval hero.

    Spartan helmet
    Source: Getty Images
  33. “All my life I've lived by a code; and the code is simple: honor the gods, love your woman, and defend your country.” — "Troy”, 2004

  34. “Power is when we have every justification to kill, and we don't.” — "Schindler’s List”, 1993.

  35. "What we do in life echoes in eternity." — "Gladiator", 2000.
    Although not a war movie in the traditional sense, "Gladiator" featured epic battle scenes, and this quote, spoken by the character Maximus, played by Russell Crowe, became one of the movie's most memorable lines.

  36. "I'm a soldier, I serve my country. But this is not my country. I was lying out there bleeding to death, thinking, if I die now, I leave nothing to my children but shame. I know now there is only one way to dedicate my life: to the people." — "The Last Samurai", 2003.

  37. “Well shoot back!” — "Black Hawk Down”, 2001.

  38. "I will show you no mercy." — "300", 2006.

  39. "They may take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom!" — "Braveheart", 1995.

  40. "Who dares, wins." — "The Dirty Dozen", 1967.
    This quote was the motto of the British Special Air Service (SAS) and it was also featured in the World War II movie "The Dirty Dozen".

    Military helicopter
    Source: Getty Images
  41. “Run, go! Get to the chopper!” — "Predator", 1987.

  42. "I wonder what will happen to us, to people like you and me, when there are no more wars to occupy us?" — "Band of Brothers", 2001.

War and Remembrance: Best War Movie Quotes

Herbert Hoover, the 31st president of the United States, once said that “older men declare war. But it is youth that must fight and die.” And when it comes to the best quotes from Hollywood, these war movie quotes encapsulate the very essence of bravery, sacrifice, and honor that goes hand-in-hand with combat and those who take part in it, from the Marine Corps to the Air Force.

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