Comrades with Arms: Warm Up to These 10 Cold War Movies
With Tom Hanks’ ‘Bridge of Spies’ set to hit theaters this week, there’s no better time to take a peek behind the Iron Curtain for a look at some other great Cold War films.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
Gary Oldman received a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal of George Smiley, a super sleuth who’s brought out of retirement to track down a Russian spy within the British Secret Service. Although Oldman’s career spanned over 30 years at the time of the film’s release, this movie represented his first-ever Academy Award nomination for acting.
Good Night, and Good Luck (2005)
Set in 1953, during the height of the Cold War, the film tells the story of newsman Edward R. Murrow (David Strathairn) and his producer, Fred Friendly (George Clooney), as they attempt to bring down Senator Joseph McCarthy during his crusade to expose Communist supporters in the U.S. Written and directed by Clooney, the film picked up six Oscar nominations, including a Best Director nomination for the star.
Crimson Tide (1995)
American tensions are high when Russian rebels take over a key Soviet base and threaten war. When counterattack orders are given, two American submarine officers (Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman) find themselves at odds whether or not to carry through with the strike.
Rocky IV (1985)
Who says all soldiers of the Cold War wear a military uniform? When a brutal Russian fighter (Dolph Lundgren) kills Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) in the ring, Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) heads behind the Iron Curtain to unleash a few missiles of his own during 15 rounds of revenge against the Russian thug.
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
Nominated for four Oscars including Best Picture, this black comedy satirizes the Cold War fears of a nuclear conflict between the Soviet Union and the U.S. Directed, produced and cowritten by Stanley Kubrick, the film stars Peter Sellers (playing three different roles) as the only one able to save the superpowers from destroying each other.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Set against the backdrop of the Cold War, Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) must face the dangers of the jungle, the supernatural and Mother Russia when he becomes entangled in a Soviet plot to uncover the secret behind a mysterious artifact. Although some considered Ford too old to play the adventurer, the actor kept himself in such good shape over the years that his costume measurements for this film had not changed from those in ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ (1989), nearly 20 years earlier.
The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
This suspense thriller stars Frank Sinatra as a former Korean War POW who is brainwashed by Communists into becoming a political assassin. Rumor had it that studio head Arthur Krim initially wanted nothing to do with the film, calling it anti-American. However, when Sinatra personally gained approval from President John F. Kennedy (whose 1960 campaign had benefited from the two million dollars Sinatra had reportedly raised), Krim had a change of heart and gave the film his blessing.
War Games (1983)
Long before there was the 'Call of Duty' video game, there was the movie ‘War Games,’ a fan favorite starring Matthew Broderick as a young computer whiz kid who accidentally connects into a top-secret supercomputer and innocently starts a countdown to nuclear war between the United States and Russia. The movie hit a bit too close to home for the U.S. Congress, which was inspired to create the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1984 for fear the film’s events could possibly play out in real life.
Charlie Wilson’s War (2007)
Featuring a star-studded cast led by Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman, the film tells the true story of a hard-living Texas congressman who joins with a maverick CIA agent to provide weapons to Afghan freedom fighters in their battle to be liberated from the Soviets. Hoffman earned an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of the titular politician.
The Hunt for Red October (1990)
Based on the brilliant Tom Clancy novel by the same name, this fan favorite stars Sean Connery as a Soviet submarine captain trying to defect to the United States... with his submarine. Alec Baldwin stars as Jack Ryan, the military mastermind determined to prove the Russian is on the run, not starting World War III.