There’s an old saying that laughter is good medicine.
There’s also an old saying that war is hell.
So can laughter and war go together?
Usually not. Nonetheless, there’s no denying that while most war movies are serious about depicting the horrors of war (such as Saving Private Ryan or Black Hawk Down), there are also a number of war films and shows that would also fall under the comedy genre (look no further than MASH). Furthermore, there are even some scenes in otherwise serious war movies that may qualify as being funny (or at least humorous).
So with all that said, here are the funniest scenes in war movies:
#1 The Entire Movie of Tropic Thunder
The entire 2008 film Tropic Thunder is a satire of war movies (and also makes fun of Hollywood as a whole). The film stars Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., and Jack Black as a trio of famous actors who are filming a movie about a (fictional) Vietnam War hero and his exploits in the war. It's basically a movie filmed within a movie.
The movie opens with an over-the-top battle scene in the jungles of Vietnam (although it was technically filmed in Hawaii) that spoofs the famous battle scene in the 1986 film Platoon where Willem Dafoe throws his arms up in the air after being shot.
The scene is then revealed to be fake as its merely a war scene being filmed (complete with a full film screw) when Ben Stiller's character is unable to cry during an emotional moment. Afterwards, the film's demolition experts mishears the young and inexperienced director and sets off a massive explosion when the cameras aren't rolling, sending the production into chaos and delaying filming by weeks.
With the production of Tropic Thunder stonewalled and the director being berated by the film's producer (played by an unrecognizable Tom Cruise), it is then decided to throw the actors into the actual jungles of Vietnam in the middle of a real war zone in order to get real footage, and the actors are forced to really become the soldiers they are portraying. As you can imagine, hilarity ensues.
#2 Inglorious Basterds
Is Inglorious Basterds really a comedy? If anything, it's probably more of a black comedy film, which is something that you would expect from a writer and director like Quentin Tarantino.
The film tells multiple interweaving stories in an alternate history version of World War II - American soldiers (the Basterds) who are air dropped into France to wreck havoc, a Jewish Resistance girl seeking revenge against the Germans for the death of her family, and a Nazi German officer searching for Jews across France.
The reason the film is best described as a black comedy is because it is technically a lighthearted film set against dark events such as World War II and the Holocaust, but it never gets to the point where you could say the film is 'making fun' of those events either. Just watch the movie to see for yourself.
#3 The Battle Scenes in 300
Does this one really count as being funny?
At the very least, you can't deny that the entire film of 300 is over the top, from the acting to the dialogue to the incredibly stylized action to the fact that essentially the whole movie is filmed in a blue screen or green screen and looks fake.
While the Spartans were indeed terrific warriors who trained for battle their entire lives, the movie 300 takes this concept and runs with it as much as it can. The "This is Sparta!" to "Persians, come and get them!" moments are certainly memorable, though probably weren't spoken by Leonidas or the Spartans in real life.
#4 Every Robin Williams Scene in Good Morning Vietnam
The 1987 film Good Morning Vietnam portrays Robin Williams as the real life Adrian Cronauer, a US Air Force Airman who worked as a disc jockey during the Vietnam War to boost morale among American troops.
The film is well known not only for its humor but for the fact that Robin Williams brilliantly improvised almost all of it. Williams was also nominated for an Academy Award for his performance.
#5 The Entire Film of Stripes
Stripes is an iconic war comedy for several reasons beyond the fact that Bill Murray plays the lead role.
If anything, this movie single handedly spawned the military sub-genre where the archetypal loser slack-off character leads a rebellion of other social misfits.
#6 Paint Tank Scene in Kelly’s Heroes
Kelly's Heroes is a 1970 war comedy film about a group of American soldiers who go rogue to search for gold during the Western Front in 1944, France. The film stars Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, and Donald Sutherland.
The entire movie as a whole has a mix of serious and funny moments, and is overall significantly more lighthearted than most other war films. A particularly funny moment in the movie occurs during the end in which Donald Sutherland's character, Oddball, loads his M4 Sherman tank with paint and then opens fire on a German Tiger tank, splattering it with the red paint like you see above.