The Intense Battle Scenes We Could Barely Sit Through

Courtesy of HBO
If you’re as squeamish as I am, then you probably watch Game of Thronesbattle scenes through fingers over your eyes, occasionally peering out to check when it’s done. And you definitely will be thrashing around in your seat while watching Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk, a two-hour war spectacular.That’s, at least, how I approach the gory choreography of battle scenes. While I appreciate their immense production value, they’re hard for me to stomach.
And isn’t that the point? Battle scenes shouldn’t be comfortable to watch. These scenes attempt to distill the chaos of war into something the camera and eye can follow. If the production is successful, viewers will, for a second, gain a shrivel of understanding for a terrifying experience so many people have endured in the past.
These are the most intense war scenes that I wasn’t able to watch. Unfortunately for us, only one of them involves Jon Snow.
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Movie: Dunkirk (2017)

Battle: The Battle of Dunkirk

Christopher Nolan's two-hour film zooms in the extraordinary effort the Allied Powers took to liberate 340,000 troops trapped on a French beach. Between May 26 and June 4, 1940, over 200 army ships and 800 civilian boats brought the stranded soldiers across the English channel. The entire movie is one long battle scene.
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Movie: Gladiator (2000)

Battle: The Germania Battle

Gladiator is known for a few things: Russell Crowe's eminently quotable speeches, seething masses in the Coliseum, the air of rebellion. And, oh yeah, a insane Roman Era battle scene at the movie's start.

Before Maximus became a gladiator/revolutionary, he was a general for the Roman army. Gladiator begins with Genera Maximus' last victory against hordes of Germanic tribes. Tired of travel, all Maximus wants is to hang out on a farm in Spain. Alas, fate has different things in store for him.
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TV Show: Game of Thrones (2016)

Battle: Battle of the Bastards

There are no shortage of epic battle scenes to choose from on Game of Thrones, and we're sure there will be some pretty intense scenes with White Walkers in the season to come.

But the Battle of the Bastards is the most memorable GoT war scene, because two ideologies went head-to-head, not just two armies. Though Jon Snow technically beat out Ramsay Bolton, we all know who the real winner of this battle was: Sansa Stark and her newly awakened strategic genius.
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Movie: Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Battle: Omaha Beach

Twenty seven minutes! That's the length of Saving Private Ryan's harrowing opening battle. The Steven Spielberg film astonished viewers by depicting the violence, unpredictability, and incomprehensibility of war, and dwelling on details that other WWII movies glaze over.
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Movie: Braveheart (1995)

Battle: Battle of Bannockburn

This scene lives on in cinema history for Mel Gibson's blue-faced freedom speech. But it has larger historical significance: The Battle of Bannockburn was a decisive victory during the First War of Scottish Independence. During the battle, a small army commanded by the King of Scots defeated the big, bad, English army.
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Movie: 300 (2006)

Battle: The Battle of Thermopylae

Unlike the hyper-realism of the other films' battle scenes, 300 takes a cue from its ancient, somewhat mythological roots, and depicts the scene with a grimly beautiful choreography. The deliberate color palette lends a sense of otherworldliness and artistry of the gruesome scene.
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Movie: Cold Mountain (2003)

Battle: The Battle of the Crater

Inman (Jude Law) is a North Carolina-born soldier who finds himself in one of the Civil War's most pivotal battles. Union soldiers tunnel under Confederate forts and detonate kegs of gunpowder. While recovering from the battle in a hospital, Inman deserts the army and heads home to Cold Mountain.
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Movie: Apocalypse Now (2003)

Battle: The Ride of the Valkyries

Director Francis Ford Coppola deliberately chose Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" to accompany this mad flight over the battlefield of Vietnam. Wagner's music has long been associated with the Third Reich, and so by playing this track specifically to accompany Americans' war actions, Coppola may have been making a political statement.
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Movie: Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

Battle: The Battle of Okinawa

Hacksaw Ridge tells the story of Desmond Doss, a pacifist who saved the lives of wounded soldiers without firing a single shot. But while Doss himself wasn't violent, the movie certainly is. It's impossible to depict the Battle of Okinawa without shocking violence.
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Movie: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2016)

Battle: The Battle of Helm's Deep

For a good 40 minutes, a force of elves, men, and a dwarf fight to stop the Uruk-hai army from breaching fortress walls. As the scene is so epic in length, director Peter Jackson manages to fit an entire story arc into the battle, from an inciting incident, obstacles, and a surprise climax.
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