What’s Your Favorite Korean War-Set Movie?

With Memorial Day Weekend on the horizon, MovieFanFare remembers the conflict known as “America’s Forgotten War” and asks which film set during the Korean War–from The Steel Helmet to Pork Chop Hill to M*A*S*H and others–is your favorite.



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  • Meryl


  • Jonathan Silverberg

    The Manchurian Candidate

  • ganderson

    “Forgotten war” indeed – as indicated by the limited number of motion pictures dealing with the subject.

    I have to confess that I never liked ‘M*A*S*H’ very much; it’s not a movie dealing with the Korean War, but rather it’s about the 60’s, when it was made (and what’s up with that Last Supper scene?). I think the TV series was better and had several thoughtful episodes that explored the war with sensitivity. Quote from Col Potter (Henry Morgan): “There’s two rules about war, rule number one is ‘Young men die’ – rule number two is ‘Doctors can’t change rule number one’.”

    For me it’s between ‘Pork Chop Hill,’ with Gregory Peck, and ‘The Bridges at Toko-Ri’ with William Holden. Both deal very poignantly with the futility of war in general and of that war in particular – in this, both films depart somewhat from the macho, gung-ho atmosphere of most war movies of the era. My vote goes to Toko-Ri.

  • T L Miller

    The only one on this list I’ve seen is “The Bridges at Toko-Ri” although “Submarine Command” was a pretty good movie, too.

  • Brian

    What about One Minute To Zero and The Hunters with Robert Mitchum?

  • mike

    I agree with Brian. Both were superb movies!

  • John F. Burton

    I do believe films about the 1950’s Korean conflict, made during that period, do get short shrift. Maybe it’s because by that time these movies by-and-large lack the flag-waving patriotic patina that so many movies made during WWII were glossed with. A lot of these films tend to be gritty, maybe cynical and oftentimes beginning to question government actions (by the Vietnam era this was standard issue, especially seen in M*A*S*H–a film about Koren made during the Vietnam War). Just look at movies like Pork Chop Hill and The Bridge of Toko-Ri, with such matinee level stars and Gregory Peck and William Holden, reflecting that war-weariness.
    Two of the best were those made by renegade-filmmaker Sam Fuller (The Steel Helmet, Fixed Bayonets), who, as a combat veteran, pulled no punches in his depictions. And this was taken even further with Men in War. Directed by the superb, but truly under-appreciated, Anthony Mann, this contained and truly tough little war movie speaks volumes about those in combat and maybe a little about the period. Guiding two terrific actors, Robert Ryan and Aldo Ray, Mann’s bleak, black and white film just oozes with tension, fear, bitterness and a sense of professionalism as these two very different dog-faces try do their jobs, get themselves and their charges back alive–and not kill each other in the face of their growing antagonism. Really good stuff.

  • Butch Knouse

    The movie version of MASH was the most overated piece of garbage in the history of cinema. I thought it was funny when I saw it at age 17, but then I grew up. The TV series was far superior, getting better every season. But the TV critics whined because every episode wasn’t a remake of the movies

  • nicolas

    to both John F Burton and Butch Knouse: I agree with John on Steel Helmet (which I voted for) and Fixed Bayonets. those are my one and two. I think that what really helps those films is the casting of Gene Evans (which Sam Fuller the director had to fight for). that he could not become a bigger star is a shame. while I haven’t seen Mash since I was 15 years old, I have occasionally looked at the TV series, and find it kind of pompous and the treatment of the Koreans in the film condescending.


    Why isn’t the question “What is your favorite film of Korean War after MASH”?

  • Quiggy

    I don’t know which is more unbelievable; The fact that you included Inchon in the poll, or the fact that it actually has one vote.., How did you get the list of movies for this anyway? Just googled Korean War movies? Inchon, the debacle financed by the Moonies, is on everybody’s list as one of the worst movies of all time.

  • AL