If you were to run a Google Search on “ex-military filmmakers”, you’d be likely to come across this nifty little article, listing 20 popular movie icons that you probably didn’t know were ex-military.
Surprising as some of these names may be, when you really stop to think about it, what is more interesting is the fact that the list comprises of not just filmmakers, but very very good filmmakers. Not only that, but most of these actors have also played roles in war-time films at one point in their career on another.
1. Humphrey Bogart
“The whole world is three drinks behind. If everyone in the world would take three drinks, we would have no trouble. If Stalin, Truman and everybody else in the world had three drinks right now, we’d all loosen up and we wouldn’t need the United Nations.”
Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine in Casablanca (1942)
2. James Earl Jones
All people have to be prepared. If we are going to be the police, we also have to be the guardians. We can no longer play games. I was not against the war in Bosnia. I was against it taking so long. I was not against the war in Somalia. Again, it took too long, and we didn’t finish the job. We should’ve stayed and finished the job. About this pending war, I just think we should’ve finished that war the first time.
James Earl Jones as Jack Jefferson in The Great White Hope (1970)
3. Sir Michael Cain
I was nearly killed. There were four of us on patrol in a valley in the middle of the rice paddies. The Chinese were closing in on us and the officer said, ‘Let’s run towards their line – they won’t expect it because they’ll be expecting us to run away towards our lines.’ So we did that and we ended up going right around them. They couldn’t find us because they were looking in the wrong place and we got away. But we’d faced that moment that we thought was the end.
That night we went back to our bunkers and celebrated with a beer. We were just happy to be alive… I faced a moment when I knew I was going to die and I didn’t run, I wasn’t a coward, and it affected me deeply. I was at peace with myself and that’s guided my life, not just in terms of whether someone’s going to kill me, but in everything.
Michael Caine as Lt. Gonville Bromhead in Zulu (1964)
4. David Niven
Going to war was the only unselfish thing I have ever done for humanity.
David Niven as Sir James Bond in Casino Royale (1967)
5. Clint Eastwood
The Korean War was only a few years after World War II. We all went. But you couldn’t help but think, Shit. What the hell? What have we gained? One minute you’re unleashing the tremendous power of nuclear fission, and then a few years later you’re jockeying back and forth on the 38th parallel. It seemed so futile.
Clint Eastwood as Harry in Dirty Harry (1971)
6. Sir Christopher Lee
“I’ve seen many men die right in front of me – so many in fact that I’ve become almost hardened to it. Having seen the worst that human beings can do to each other, the results of torture, mutilation and seeing someone blown to pieces by a bomb, you develop a kind of shell. But you had to. You had to. Otherwise we would never have won.”
Christoper Lee as Lord Summerisle in The Wicker Man (1973)
For more details on the other movie icons who also served in the armed forces, click on the link below: 20 Movie Icons You Didn’t Know Were In The Military