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Added by The Flagship

on 1 Dec 2008 02:32

 
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50775 Views   27 Comments

Actors who went to war

Sort by: Showing 24 items
Average listal rating (969 ratings) 7.6  IMDB Rating
1. Christopher Lee
Nationality: British
Branch: Royal Air Force
Occupation: Intelligence Officer
Rank: Flight Lieutenant

Lee volunteered to fight with Finish forces at the outbreak of the Finish-Russian war in 1940, before joining the RAF and serving in North Africa, Sicily and Italy.


War films: 1941
The Flagship's rating:

Average listal rating (84 ratings) 7  IMDB Rating
2. Denholm Elliott
Nationality: British
Branch: Royal Air Force
Occupation: Radioman and Navigator

Whilst serving in Bomber Command, Denholm was shot down over Denmark in 1942 and spent the rest of the war in a POW camp.

War films: A Bridge Too Far, Too Late the Hero, The Cruel Sea

Average listal rating (291 ratings) 8.1  IMDB Rating
3. Alec Guinness
Nationality: British
Branch: Royal Navy
Occupation: Landing Craftsman

Guinness was part of the allied amphibious landings at Sicily and Elba, before becoming involved with the ferrying of supplies to Yugoslavian rebels in the latter stage of the war.

War films: Bridge over the River Kwai
The Flagship's rating:

Average listal rating (890 ratings) 8.3  IMDB Rating
4. Michael Caine
Nationality: British
Branch: British Army
Occupation: Fusilier

Michael Caine fought as a rifleman in the Royal Fusiliers during the Korean War conflict. Caine was enlisted from 1952 to 1954.

War films: Zulu, The Last Valley, A Bridge Too Far, Battle of Britain
The Flagship's rating:

Average listal rating (119 ratings) 7.7  IMDB Rating
5. David Niven
Nationality: British
Branch: British Army
Occupation: Rifleman, Later Commando

Was initially present at the Dunkirk evacuation, before later seeing combat action during Normandy. Also took part in missions behind enemy lines as a Royal Marine Commando.

War films: The Guns of Navarone,

Average listal rating (54 ratings) 8.2  IMDB Rating
6. Dirk Bogarde
Nationality: British
Branch: British Army
Occupation: Intelligence Office
Rank: Major

Dirk served in both the Pacific and European theatres of war. Was involved in the liberation of the Belsen death camp and allegedly developed a severe hatred for German citizens from this point forward for the rest of his life.

War films: A Bridge Too Far

Average listal rating (16 ratings) 7.7  IMDB Rating
7. Harry Andrews
Nationality: British
Branch: British Army
Occupation: Royal Artilleryman
Rank: Acting Major

Andrews served as an artilleryman throughout the entirety of World War II.

War films: Battle of Britain, Too Late the Hero, The Hill

Average listal rating (11 ratings) 7.5  IMDB Rating
8. Richard Todd
Nationality: British
Branch: British Army
Occupation: Paratrooper

Todd was one of the first British officers to land in occupied Europe on D-Day. A member of the British 6th Airborne Division, Todd famously saw action at Pegasus Bridge.

War films: The Dam Busters, The Longest Day, D-Day: The 6th of June, Operation Crossbow

Average listal rating (15 ratings) 8.8  IMDB Rating
9. Audie Murphy
Nationality: American
Branch: United States Army
Occupation: GI
Rank: First Lieutenant
Medals: Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star (x2), Legion of Merit, Bronze Star (x2), Purple Heart (x3), French Legion of Honor, French Croix de Guerre, Belgian Croix de Guerre

Audie Murphy became one of the most highly decorated soldiers of World War II. After lying about his age in order to enlist at 16-years-old, Murphy was rejected several times from different military branches for his small stature. Murphy was prolific in Sicily and Italy, before his division invaded France where he won the Medal of Honor.

War films: To Hell and Back,

Average listal rating (69 ratings) 6  IMDB Rating
10. Charles Durning
Nationality: American
Branch: United States Army
Occupation: GI
Rank: Private First Class
Medals: Silver Star, Purple Heart

Durning was drafted into the army at 21 and served as an artilleryman who took part in the landings on Normandy Beach. Despite extensive injuries obtained from a German mine, Durning recovered quickly and returned to action in time for the Battle of the Bulge.

War films:The Final Countdown

Average listal rating (9 ratings) 7.4  IMDB Rating
11. Neville Brand
Nationality: American
Branch: United States Army
Occupation: GI
Rank: Sergeant
Medals: Silver Star, Purple Heart

Served for over nine months in the American army during World War II, battling through the Ardennes, Rhineland and through central Europe, before being wounded one month short of VE day.

War films: Stalag 17, Tora! Tora! Tora!

Average listal rating (431 ratings) 8.8  IMDB Rating
12. James Stewart
Nationality: American
Branch: United States Air Force
Occupation: Bomber Pilot
Rank: Brigadier General
Medals: Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross (x2), Air Medal (x4), Army Commendation Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Presidential Medal of Freedom, French Croix de Guerre .

Initially rejected from the air force for being underweight, Stewart beefed up and became the first major Hollywood star to enlist during World War II. Stewart eventually flew in 25 bombing missions over occupied Europe as well as starting a pilot training school which educated 200,000 pilots during the course of the conflict.

War films: Strategic Air Command
The Flagship's rating:

Average listal rating (167 ratings) 7.8  IMDB Rating
13. Charles Bronson
Nationality: American
Branch: United States Air Force
Occupation: Tail-gunner
Medals: Purple Heart

Bronson served as a tail-gunner in 25 long-range bombing runs over Japan. Received a purple heart for wounds sustained when his B-29 was hit by anti-aircraft fire.

War films: The Dirty Dozen, The Great Escape, Battle of the Bulge

Average listal rating (446 ratings) 8.7  IMDB Rating
14. Paul Newman
Nationality: American
Branch: United States Air Force
Occupation: Gunner and Radioman

Due to his colour-blindness, Newman was denied a pilot's licence and instead was consigned to radio operations and gunnery detail. Served in the Torpedo Squadron aboard the U.S carrier USS Bunker Hill. His squadron was ordered to reinforce this carrier, but his pilot was unable to fly due to illness. The rest of his squadron were destroyed by kamikaze attacks on the carrier shortly afterwards.

War films: Fat Man and Little Boy, The Secret War of Harry Frigg

Average listal rating (251 ratings) 8.3  IMDB Rating
15. Clark Gable
Nationality: American
Branch: United States Air Force
Occupation: Air Reconnaissance, Gunner
Rank: Major
Medals: Air Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross

Clarke was utilised as a recruitment officer and spent most of World War II at RAF base Polebrook. Gable eventually flew combat missions over Europe as a gunner aboard a B-17 Flying Fortress. It is alleged that Adolf Hitler regarded Gable so highly that he offered a sizeable award to anyone who could bring him in alive.

War films: Combat America

Average listal rating (200 ratings) 8.8  IMDB Rating
16. Toshirô Mifune
Nationality: Japanese
Branch: Imperial Japanese Air Force
Occupation: Air Reconnaissance

Mifune was drafted into the Japanese Air Force, despite spending the majority of his youth in China. He served as an aerial reconnaissance man before embarking on an extremely successful film career.

War films: Hell in the Pacific, 1941, Midway
The Flagship's rating:

Average listal rating (121 ratings) 8  IMDB Rating
17. Lee Marvin
Nationality: American
Branch: Department of the Navy
Occupation: United States Marine

Fought with the US Marines in the Pacific theatre of World War II. Wounded during the Battle of Saipan.

War films: The Dirty Dozen, The Big Red One, Hell in the Pacific
The Flagship's rating:

Average listal rating (30 ratings) 5.4  IMDB Rating
18. Dale Dye
Nationality: American
Branch: Department of the Navy
Occupation: United States Marine
Rank: Master Sergeant
Medals: Purple Heart (x2), Bronze Star.

Dye served in Vietnam as a Marine Combat Correspondent. During this time he became a veteran of over 30 combat missions and obtained the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

War films: Platoon, Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, Casualties of War
The Flagship's rating:

Average listal rating (15 ratings) 7.7  IMDB Rating
19. Hardy Krüger
Nationality: German
Branch: Wehrmacht
Occupation: Waffen-SS

Drafted directly from the Hitler Youth into a Waffen-SS unit which saw heavy fighting against U.S Armoured Divisions. After repeated routing of the SS unit, remaining soldiers were eventually captured in Chiemsee, Germamy.

War films: The One That Got Away, A Bridge Too Far, The Wild Geese

Average listal rating (88 ratings) 7.4  IMDB Rating
20. Rod Steiger
Nationality: American
Branch: Department of the Navy
Occupation: Naval Ensign

Steiger served aboard a Destroyer and was part of the convoy escorting the USS Hornet en route to the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo. Alleged to have machine gunned and sunk an unarmed Japanese civilian fishing vessel during this mission. Under orders of course!

War films: Lion of the Desert, Waterloo, The Longest Day

Average listal rating (248 ratings) 8.6  IMDB Rating
21. Henry Fonda
Nationality: American
Branch: Department of the Navy
Occupation: Naval Ensign
Rank: Quarter-Master
Medals: Bronze Star

Also served in the Pacific, aboard the Destroyer USS Satterlee. Fonda had previously raised funds for the defence of Britain and was awarded a Bronze Star for bravery.

War films: The Longest Day, Midway, Battle of the Bulge
The Flagship's rating:

Average listal rating (109 ratings) 7.4  IMDB Rating
22. Ernest Borgnine
Nationality: American
Branch: Department of the Navy
Occupation:Navalman
Rank: Gunner's 1st Mate

Borgnine has remained a staunch supporter of the US Navy since his stint in the Pacific theatre during World War II.

War films: The Dirty Dozen, From Here to Eternity
The Flagship's rating:

Average listal rating (23 ratings) 7.7  IMDB Rating
23. Eddie Albert
Nationality: American
Branch: Department of the Navy
Occupation: Naval Ensign
Rank: Lieutenant
Medals: Bronze Star

Involved in the Battle of Tarawa during the Pacific campaigns. Awarded the Bronze Star for his exploits as a landing craft driver in Tarawa, for successfully extracting over 70 wounded allied soldiers whilst under enemy fire.

War films: The Longest Day, Attack!,

Average listal rating (201 ratings) 8.2  IMDB Rating
24. Kirk Douglas
Nationality: American
Branch: Department of the Navy
Occupation: Communications Officer

Douglas was a member of an Anti-Submarine unit in the Pacific. Was injured after a depth charge exploded prematurely after being discharged. These injuries were sufficient to see Douglas sent home from the war.

War films: Paths of Glory, In Harms Way, Heroes of Telemark, The Final Countdown
The Flagship's rating:


 

This list pays homage to the men who answered the call of duty, despite having everything to lose. It's almost impossible to imagine any major celebrity in today's day and age agreeing to enlist in the army to fight a war, but these men put their glittering careers on hold in order to fight for the greater good.

The list is comprised primarily of actors who were famous before going to war, though contains several entrants who became Hollywood starlets after experiencing combat. Importantly, each person on the list then went on to portray war on the big screen.



Related List: World War II

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Comments

Posted: 5 years, 4 months ago at Dec 6 11:27
Good list but where is Elvis? I know he was more of a musician but for sometime he was also a actor.
Posted: 5 years, 4 months ago at Dec 6 11:54
Thanks. I don't think Elvis ever fought in a war, and I don't know if he then acted in a war film afterwards. If you know otherwise then let me know the details and I'll write him up!
Posted: 5 years, 4 months ago at Dec 7 8:16
No wonder some of their performances were so convincing!
Posted: 5 years, 4 months ago at Dec 9 12:11
Thanks for the suggestions kila, I'll add them to the list shortly.
Posted: 5 years, 4 months ago at Dec 15 17:10
I bet the guy who gave you this idea is kicking himself now.
Posted: 5 years, 3 months ago at Jan 10 1:02
British actor Torin Thatcher served with the British Royal Artillery during World War 2 and made it to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Posted: 4 years, 7 months ago at Sep 1 11:53
Rex Harrison, the oscar winning actor, served in the Royal Air Force, reaching rank of Flight Lieutenant.
Posted: 4 years, 4 months ago at Dec 11 11:00
I know that many of these became famous, after serving. However, some of them were already well-known but still stepped up and risked their lives, along with the regular folks. I admire that.
Posted: 3 years, 9 months ago at Jul 3 13:36
Michael Caine fought in Korea and appeared in many war films.
Posted: 3 years, 9 months ago at Jul 3 14:00
That's why he's number 4 on this list, chief!
Posted: 3 years, 5 months ago at Nov 19 18:40
It isn't listed in any particular order, that would be well disrespectful. Rather grouped into their proper service.
Posted: 3 years, 5 months ago at Nov 19 19:41
Leslie Howard went to war. I read some where that he went into acting as therapy and then later he went back into the war. So yeah... I think he qualifies for your list?
Posted: 3 years, 4 months ago at Dec 14 6:57
Posted: 3 years, 4 months ago at Dec 14 9:55
Elvis never saw any action, never actually left the continent I don't think. The closest thing to a war movie he was in would have to be G.I. Blues (1960).
Posted: 3 years, 4 months ago at Dec 14 9:56
Great list by the way, one of the best I've seen. I never knew a lot of these actors served in the wars. I wonder if there are any actresses that might have served? Even as a nurse or something similar?
Posted: 3 years, 2 months ago at Feb 12 12:10
This list brought tears to my eyes. THANK YOU!
Posted: 3 years, 2 months ago at Feb 12 12:12
BEST LIST EVER!!!!!!!!!!!


Are there any female actresses who served that could be added?
Posted: 2 years, 10 months ago at Jun 16 2:32
R. Lee Ermey [Link removed - login to see]

Drew Carey [Link removed - login to see]

Need to be added to this list.
Posted: 2 years, 7 months ago at Sep 5 23:43
LOL I misread the title of the list. At first I thought it said "Actors who went too far" LOL.
Posted: 2 years, 6 months ago at Sep 24 2:34
great list....
Posted: 2 years, 3 months ago at Dec 24 16:21
A very good read, one of (if not the most) the most interesting reads. You could also add english actor Richard Johnson, whom served in the Royal Navy.

This list certainly gets my vote.
Posted: 2 years, 3 months ago at Dec 25 21:01
While Elvis never saw action, he did leave the continent. He was stationed in Germany, where he met Priscilla. He worked in the motor pool, I think as a Jeep driver.

Glenn Miller was a was hero, but he didn't return, also he was not an actor, so forget that I mentioned it.

John Wayne's biggest source of ridicule was over the fact that he didn't serve in WWII. Especially with his Hawkish attitude of the Viet Nam War, his ultra-Conservative political views, and playing war heroes from practically every branch of the military in movies.
Posted: 2 years ago at Apr 1 16:35
Really great list, very educational, knew about Michael Caine but not many of the others. Thanks.
Posted: 1 year, 9 months ago at Jun 26 10:40
great list.... Thanks for the list..
Posted: 1 year, 7 months ago at Sep 2 5:34
Excellent list!

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