Movie Lists

10 Gritty Movies About Guerrilla Warfare

Discover the grittiest and most visceral films including guerrilla warfare.

At their finest, war films permit audiences to stroll in soldiers’ boots, acknowledge their brave sacrifices, and have compassion with their traumatic experiences in extensive methods. Yet, while the war genre is almost as old as the cinematic format, there are far less examples of guerrilla warfare illustrated on screen compared to big commercial military skirmishes amongst warring countries.

Guerrilla warfare relate to militias, rebels, residents, and non-military forces that utilize non-traditional battling techniques to conquer their downsides on the battleground.

With Alex Garland’s Civil War headed towards theaters in April 2024, it deserves questioning how the movie will stack up with the all-time finest films including gritty and extreme guerrilla warfare. After all, the most unforgettable examples tend to utilize guerrilla filmmaking methods to mirror the disorderly environment of a violent dispute.

Here are the 10 grittiest war films that include guerilla methods.

The Fight of Algiers (1966 )

Soldiers march in the street in The Battle of Algiers
Allied Artists

In what still stays the most essential, practical, and traumatic example on record, Gillo Pontecorvo’s The Fight of Algiers is the very best of its kind. With sensational documentary-like naturalism, the film portrays the Algerian Transformation throughout the 1950s, revealing point of views from the Algerian and French sides of the war.

Significantly subdued by the French forces, the Algerian nationals rally and resist by any methods needed, showing a solid accomplishment of will. Apart from blazing the path for more guerrilla war films to come, the stunning credibility of the film is tough to beat.

Beyond the strength of the fights, battles, and abuse, the grittiness originates from the rash hand-held cam work, documentary-like newsreel video footage, fly-on-the-wall spectatorship, and other unscripted methods that make audiences feel as if they are right there in the middle of the skirmish when seeing the experimental ’60s movie.

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State of Siege (1972 )

A public gathering takes place in State of Siege
Constantin Movie

Greek filmmaker Costa-Gavras is understood for making the most intriguing political thrillers on record. In his 1972 movie State of Siege, the director concentrates on the advanced war in between the Uruguayan federal government and the Tupamaro Guerrillas in the early ’70s to inform a gritty tale about the fog of war. The plot worries an American counter-insurgent fitness instructor who is abducted by guerrillas in South America and the extreme clash of wits, weapons, and wiles that takes place.

Comparable to The Fight of Algiers, State of Siege was based upon a modern real story that contributes to the seriousness and immediacy of the movie. The occasions illustrated in the movie happened simply 3 years before the film was made, providing it a sense of gritty realism that’s tough to withstand. In truth, Costa-Gavras took the author of The Fight of Algiers, Franco Solinas, to Uruguay to assist him establish the story. The outcome integrates gritty action with an ethically dirty message that bears repeat watchings.

Stream State of Siege on The Criterion Channel

The Criminal Josey Wales (1976 )

The Outlaw Josey Wales

The Outlaw Josey Wales

Release Date

July 14, 1976.


Clint Eastwood


Clint Eastwood

, Chief Dan George.

,Sondra Locke

, Costs McKinney.

, John Vernon.

, Paula Trueman.



Main Category


Directed by and starring Clint Eastwood, The Criminal Josey Wales is an action-packed affair set throughout the American Civil War. The story follows Josey Wales, an ex-farmer from Missouri who signs up with a band of Confederate guerrillas with strategies to avenge the Northerners who butchered his household. Although it is not based upon a real story per se, the hyper-violent grittiness is beyond reproach.

Past the ultra-grisly shootouts and ruthless acts of violence, Josey’s odd relation to the guerrillas in the film is truly engaging. On one hand, Josey is a gruff loner determined on avenging his fallen household. On the other, he gradually ends up being the de facto leader of a group of displaced westward inhabitants, slowly presuming a messianic function that guides them towards redemption.

As far as Westerns go, the film refreshingly bucks conventional conventions. As a film about guerrilla warfare, the movie mines American history to inform an individual and nationwide story simultaneously.

Rent The Outlaw Josey Wales on Apple TV

Dune (1984, 2021-2024)

Dune (1984)

Dune (1984)

Release Date

December 14, 1984.


David Lynch


Kyle MacLachlan

,Virginia Madsen

, Francesca Annis.

, Leonardo Cimino.

,Brad Dourif

, Patrick Stewart



Main Category

Science Fiction

Adjusted from the traditional Frank Herbert sci-fi classic, Dune is a epic-scale story of intergalactic war. On the surface area, the tale follows Paul Atriedes, a worthy from Home Atreides who need to battle an extreme war for control of the desert world Arrakis. Along the method, Paul signs up with forces with the Fremen, a group of warriors who turn to innovative guerrilla methods to beat Arrakis’ royal forces.

RELATED: 10 Best War Movies That Take Place in the Future

While possibly not as rooted in history as the others, there’s no rejecting how brave and barbarous the guerrilla warriors remain in Dune. Whether David Lynch’s or Denis Villeneuve’s variation, the Fremen browse the surface by riding sandworms, depending on ambushes and surprise attacks to damage their opponents, and on the part of the Infiltrators, utilizing invisibility to pit the Arrakis landscape versus the imperials.

The Skirmishers supply grenades, the Fedaykins style crysknives, and the Kulon caravans supply stealth to make sure the guerrilla warfare methods prosper.

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Red Dawn (1984 )

The boys hold rifles in Red Dawn

John Milius’ Red Dawn channels American fears and paranoia of Cold War movies and turns that into the capacity for World War III. The story pictures the unexpected intrusion of the U.S. by Russian forces, triggering a mangy band of young Americans called the Wolverines to assemble makeshift weapons, resist, and safeguard their nation to death in the rural mountains of Colorado.

The Wolverines show the precise sort of imagination and resourcefulness one may anticipate from a guerrilla gang. Utilizing a challenger’s strength versus them is among the main tenets of guerrilla warfare, and the Wolverines go to hyper-violent extremes to conquer their military drawback and risk their lives to avoid the Soviets from taking control of America.

Red Dawn is a macho and muscular action film that concludes by honoring the minor guerrillas who fearlessly united and compromised their lives for the improvement of their nation.

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Salvador (1986 )

Richard holds a camera by corpses in Salvador
Hemdale Movie Corporation

Oliver Stone is no complete stranger to war films. Yet while the majority of fans commemorate Stone’s Finest Picture-winning Squad, Salvador was launched the very same year to much less excitement. Which is an embarassment, as it’s probably the very best film that uses guerrilla filmmaking methods to straight show the guerrilla warfare happening in the film.

Salvador stars James Woods as Richard Boyle, a war professional photographer appointed to cover a transformation in Central America, where he gets captured in a whirlwind of political intrigue. Triggered by the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero, Boyle heads to El Salvador and is instantly immersed in the visceral civil war that pulls his commitments in opposite instructions.

The regional guerrillas desire Boyle to snap images of the war for the American press, while the Americans desire Boyle to catch images of the rebel forces. In spite of the ethical obscurity, couple of films about guerrilla warfare are as appealing, upsetting, and strongly disorderly.

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Trip With the Devil (1999 )

Jack fires a gun in Ride with the Devil
U.S.A. Movies

Directed by Ang Lee with amazing aplomb, Trip with the Devil occurs throughout the American Civil War in the 1860s. The story issues Jake (Tobey Maguire) and Jack (Skeet Ulrich), 2 good friends from Missouri who sign up with the Bushwhacker militia when the war breaks out, and use low-tech guerrilla techniques to safeguard the Confederacy. In spite of a wistful romantic subplot, the guerrilla battling action is on par with finest in class.

Called The Irregulars, Jake and Jack utilize numerous guerrilla methods to eliminate the Jayhawkers, causing the latter ending up being seriously hurt on the battleground. In between the violent raids, ambushes, amputations, gangrene contraction, and extreme winter season conditions, Lee stresses the unforgivable nature of war in the movie.

The gritty action reaches a fever pitch when the Irregulars are chased after by Union soldiers in the woods, culminating in a blistering shootout loaded with deadly violence.

Rent Ride with the Devil on Apple TV

Che (2008 )

Che (Part 1)

Che (Part 1)

Release Date

September 5, 2008.


Julia Ormond

,Benicio Del Toro

,Oscar Isaac

, Pablo Guevara.

, Franklin Díaz.

, Armando Suárez Cobián.



Main Category


Directed by Steven Soderbergh with fascinating vigor, Che is among the finest made and crucial war films on record. Significant by a tour-de-force efficiency by Benicio Del Toro as renowned Marxist advanced Ernesto “Che” Guevara, the stretching two-part impressive charts the extremely violent Cuban and Bolivian Transformations. Shot in a gritty cinéma vérité design, the film has a realistic documentary quality that contributes to its credibility.

RELATED: These Are The Best Revolutions Depicted on Film

Beyond the enthusiastic size and scope of the four-hour impressive and the extraordinary attention to information of the on-location movie shoot, it’s the historic import that provides Che such significant weight. On Par with The Fight of Algiers and State of Siege, the film is rooted in truth, concentrates on real-life advanced figures, and goes to significantly visceral lengths to illustrate the heroism needed to lead a guerrilla army.

Stream Che on AMC+

Monsters of No Country (2015 )

Beasts of No Nation

Beasts of No Nation

Release Date

September 11, 2015.


Cary Fukunaga


Abraham Attah.

, Emmanuel Affadzi.

, Ricky Adelayitor.

, Andrew Adote.

, Vera Nyarkoah Antwi.

, Ama Abebrese.



Main Category


Composed and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, Monsters of No Country occurs in an unnamed West African nation damaged by war. The stellar Netflix war movie follows Agu (Abraham Attah), a young African young boy who increases to prominence as a gallant guerrilla soldier safeguarding his land and his individuals throughout an intense civil war.

With the African federal government battling a gritty war with rebels on the ground, Agu leaves into the jungle before allying with the Native Defense Forces (NFD). Agu’s time in the NFD is exceptionally traumatic from the start, when he’s pushed into a callous initiation routine that needs him to slice an innocent victim to pieces with a machete.

Things just get more ruthless from there, with Agu and his young buddy Strika participating in numerous ultra-gory raids and ambushes that show their sense of commitment and sociability. The challenging product likewise requires circumstances of violent sexual attack, requiring Agu to mature far too quick in the defense of his heritage.

Stream Beasts of No Nation on Netflix

The Forever Purge (2021 )

the purge 5

The Purge 5 / The Forever Purge

Release Date

July 2, 2021.


Everardo Gout




1hr 43min.

While not technically a military film per se, The Purge franchise as a whole has actually been developing (or degenerating) towards an imaginary future American Civil War for almost a years. In The Forever Purge, a violent band of insurrectionists dedicates abhorrent criminal activities, triggering a group of Americans who want to leave the nation to step up and resist.

Burning, raiding, robbery, and hyper-violent ambushing are simply a few of the traumatic techniques utilized to attain their program. In a twisted variation of the American Flexibility Fighters of yore, The Forever Purge pictures how dark and dystopian a lawless guerrilla war can be taken in the future if preventive procedures are not instilled.

While taking to horrifying extremes to show a political point, series developer James DeMonaco continues to double down on his negative worldview of the future, cautioning Americans of how rare the present political environment is and the effects that might happen in the future.

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