The 15 Best Navy SEAL Movies
From Act of Valor (2012) to Zero Dark Thirty (2012), these are the best Navy SEAL movies.
The United States Navy SEALs (SEa, Air, Land) are an elite special operations force within the US military. They are trained to operate in a variety of environments including land, air and sea, and they are often involved in highly classified and dangerous missions to protect national security.
With creative freedom, these elite superheroes have often been portrayed in Hollywood. Most of the greatest Navy SEAL movies are entirely fictional. However, sometimes, they depict true events. From war dramas to spy thrillers, they feature Navy SEALs undertaking high-stakes missions involving physically and mentally grueling combat and activities. But whether they are inspired by true events or purely fictional, these films pay tribute to those who bravely protect the nation by risking their lives every day.
Shortly thereafter, here’s our ranking of the best Navy SEAL movies:
Best Navy SEAL Movies, Ranked
15. Rescue (2021)
Image source: Letterboxd
Rescue is a thrilling documentary that tells the inspiring story of the rescue of twelve boys from a junior soccer team and their coach from a submerged cave in northern Thailand . His chances of survival are slim as not even the Thai Navy SEALs have been able to save him. That is, until some middle-aged Briton shows up.
Filmmakers Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin keep us engaged yet again with scenes that demonstrate human resilience in the face of crisis. Jux taping scenes where the oxygen level in the cave dips with those from the rain falling outside the cave, they keep us on the edge of our seats.
14. SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden (2012)
Image source: The New York Times
The story unfolds in May 2011 when a skilled group of US Navy SEALs raid a Pakistani stronghold and bring Lana , the most wanted terrorist in the world, to a halt. Produced by Harvey Weinstein, the documentary gives us a gory portrayal of a pivotal event in the fight against terrorism.
Directed by John Stockwell from a script by Kendall Lampkin, the narrative uses several techniques such as direct-to-camera interviews with characters, news-program style, and interview snippets with President Obama. lending it authenticity.
13. Act of Heroism (2012)
Image Source: Reddit
A Navy SEAL team begins a worldwide manhunt after their most recent mission uncovers a deadly terrorist plot against the United States. As they follow a terrorist network to the border between the United States and Mexico, each new piece of information they uncover reveals a devastating plot.
Producer-director duo Mike McCoy-Scott Waugh use a variety of camera angles to create moments of extreme suspense and suspense. While the action sequences showcase the film’s positive qualities, the drama and the attempt at character development are undoubtedly its weak aspects.
12. GI Jane (1997)
Image source: Mubi
Senator Lillian DeHaven (Anne Bancroft) puts political pressure on the US Navy to start a program that will allow women to join its military. Lieutenant Jordan O’Neill (Demi Moore), apparently chosen for her femininity, is put in charge of a grueling training program by John James Urgel (Viggo Mortensen).
G.I. is an action-drama film directed by Jane Ridley Scott, starring Moore as the first female Navy SEAL trainee. The film follows her character as she fights to prove that women are capable of serving in combat roles in the US military.
11. Hunter Killer (2018)
Image source: Indiewear
Donovan Marsh’s thriller chronicles the investigation led by Commander Glass (Gerard Butler) when a submarine mysteriously disappears in the Arctic Ocean. While Glass is trying to determine what happened to the lost submarine, a Navy SEAL squad monitors a Russian submarine they believe may be connected to the missing American submarine.
The film features a fair amount of slick, gory violence, particularly in the scenes that follow a squad of Navy SEALs that raid a Russian base. However, the characters in the film do not interest the director as much as the submarines.
10. Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse (2021)
Image Source: Nadja Kaliar © 2020 Paramount Pictures
After a group of Russian soldiers murder the family of Senior Chief John Kelly (Michael B. Jordan) , his involvement in a top-secret operation leads Kelly to hunt down the killers. But his mission accidentally exposes a covert operation that could escalate conflict between the US and Russia.
Director Stefano Solima has done a fine job staging the action sequences to maintain the pace and excitement while engaging us in the script. Michael B. Jordan ‘s powerful performance and fast-paced action sequences keep the film engaging.
9. 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (2016)
Image Source: Vanity Fair
The story unfolds on September 11, 2012, when Islamic terrorists attack the US Consulate in Benghazi, Lib yes killing some senior officials. As a result, members of the Annex security team, consisting of six ex-servicemen, are stationed less than a mile from the consulate. They engage the terrorists in a brutal firefight as the assault continues in an attempt to rescue the remaining Americans trapped in the embassy.
It’s a gripping, devastating war thriller that gives us a real insight into what happened that night. While director Michael Bay handles the film maturely, it doesn’t live up to its fact-based subject matter.
8. Tears of the Sun (2003)
Image Source: Slant Magazine
In Tears of the Sun, Nigeria’s government has been overthrown, and civil war is about to break out. Dr. Lena Kendricks (Monica Bellucci) must be rescued from the Nigerian jungle by a group of soldiers under the command of Lieutenant AK Waters (Bruce Willis). When Waters and his team find Kendricks , she tells them that she will not allow the rebels to kill her helpless patients. As the team teams up with Kendricks and attempts to march the refugees to safety, they attract the wrath of both the American and Nigerian forces.
It’s a thrilling, thought-provoking film that tackles important issues and makes a scathing assessment of contemporary war procedures and ethics, helped by strong performances from Willis and Monica Bellucci.
7. Under Siege (1992)
Image Source: IMDb
Impersonating members of a rock band, the terrorists rent themselves out for a party on the USS Missouri, a battleship headed for Pearl Harbor. They intend to take the ship’s nuclear weapons. But their devious plan is interrupted by the appearance of the ship’s chef, a decorated former Navy SEAL played by Steven Seagal.
The relentlessly entertaining Under Siege boasts two gorgeous rogues portrayed by Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Busey. Seagull is charming as the invincible main character . Overall, the action film could have been better, if the plot had been fully exploited.
6. The Rock (1996)
Image Source: Fiction Machine
In Michael Bay’s popular rescue drama, General Francis X. Hummel (Ed Harris) threatens to launch chemical weapons from Alcatraz Island on San Francisco if he does not receive $100 million from the government. So FBI chemical warfare expert Stanley Goodspeed (Nicolas Cage) and former British agent John Patrick Mason (Sean Connery) are sent on an urgent mission to stop him. Upon their arrival, all members of the SEAL squad are killed. Now, Stanley and John are the only survivors who must face Francis’ team to stop the catastrophe.
Bay’s stylish action sequences draw us into the story with commendable ease. Cage’s performance subtly balances dark comic timing and intense empathy. Connery proved even at the age of 65 that he is the epitome of bravery.
5. American Sniper (2015)
Image Source: Youtube
In Clint Eastwood’s psychological warfare drama, Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper), a US Navy SEAL, trains himself to become one of the deadliest marksmen in American history. He served four tours of service in Iraq despite the extreme danger of the war zone. But when he returns home, he struggles to be a good husband and a caring father. Soon, he learns that the fight has followed him home.
The plot is clearly biased to support the righteous stance in favor of the war. Charise Cardenas and James J. Murakami’s production design, Tom Stern’s cinematography, and Joel Cox and Gary Roach’s editing help give the film a sense of realism.
4. Lone Survivor (2013)
Image Source: IMDb
In 2005, Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg) and his group of Navy SEALs travel to Afghanistan on a mission to kill Taliban leader Ahmad Shah (Yusuf Azmi). Despite being observed by the goat herders, Luttrell and his group choose not to kill them. This proves to be a grave mistake and the SEALs are mercilessly attacked by Taliban fighters.
The fight scenes offer a window into the heart of the conflict. Graphic and violent, they test the limits of human endurance. The film does a great job of capturing the deadly anxiety and pressure on the battlefield.
3. Captain Phillips (2013)
Image source: Variety
In April 2009, the American container ship Maersk Alabama was on its way through the Guardafui Channel to its destination of Mombasa, Kenya, when Somali pirates attacked the ship. Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks), the ship’s captain, tries to rescue his crew from hostile invaders and their commander Muse (Barkhad Abdi).
Paul Greengrass directs Captain Phillips with a dramatic intensity that expertly balances the imminent threat of lethal violence with a cinematic flair. He successfully creates realistic characters from real life who deliver some of his best performances.
2. Abyss (1989)
Image source: The Guardian
In James Cameron’s underwater thriller, formerly married petroleum engineers Virgil (Ed Harris) and Lindsey (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) are chosen to help Lt. Hiram Coffey (Michael Behan) Navy SEALs mysteriously board a nuclear submarine. with a top-secret recovery operation after being ambushed and sunk in the world’s deepest oceans.
This logistically challenging and technically masterful film is ambitious and visually stunning, featuring some of the best underwater scenes ever captured on camera. As the quiet but brave rig foreman, Ed Harris is solidly cast, while Mastrantonio is incredibly convincing as his stern but bright wife.
1. Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
Image Source: IMDb
The film tells the story of the search for al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden after the September 11 attacks. We follow CIA operative Maya (Jessica Chastain), a key player in the search for bin Laden, who works with a team of intelligence analysts and US Navy SEALs to track him down.
Kathryn Bigelow’s Academy Award-nominated procedural drama is made even more engaging by brilliant editing and heart-pounding fight sequences. Using the primary character as an allegory of American law and order, Bigelow eschews traditional character development.
These films have grown in popularity significantly in the last century following the huge success of Lone Survivor and American Sniper . Sadly, despite this crowd-pleasing trend, relatively few Navy SEAL movies have been made. Perhaps because many of the books and movies based around him are still met with strong hostility within the SEAL community. What are your favorite Navy SEAL movies?
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