<p>The HBO mini-series <em>The Pacific</em>, about the Marine assault through the Pacific islands towards Japan in the second World War, is the <a href="https://www.thoughtco.com/best-and-worst-pacific-theater-movies-3438854" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="internalLink" data-ordinal="1">definitive narrative of the Pacific theatre</a>. Just take a look at that picture that accompanies this entry: Marines stuck in the mud, fighting in a charred wasteland that&#39;s been devastated by mortar attacks. (By comparison, the U.S. Army seems to have had it relatively light in western Europe where they got to fight in quaint French villages!) The battles that occur in this mini-series, in Guadacanal, in Iwo Jima, are the very definition of hell on Earth: Men just tossed into the war machine, charging fortified machine gun bunkers, fighting and dying for every inch of land. That&#39;s not a job the U.S. Army could handle. That&#39;s a job only the Marines could handle.</p><p>In , Clint Eastwood plays Gunnery Sergeant Tom Highway, perhaps his most iconic role, and a role which defines the proto-typical Marine: Bad mannered, profane, and tough as nails. The film opens with Sergeant Highway in a jail cell from a bar fight the previous night, the other prisoners all gathered around him as he colorfully relates war stories. When the jail&#39;s resident tough guy decides to take Sergeant Highway down a peg or two, Sergeant Highway shows him you don&#39;t mess with Marines. The film has Eastwood entering a gentrified Marine Corps as he has to whip a misfit platoon into shape right before they&#39;re called on to invade Grenada. In this film, Eastwood <em>is</em> the Marine Corps.</p><p>In <a href="https://www.thoughtco.com/flags-of-our-fathers-and-letters-from-iwo-jima-3438852" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="internalLink" data-ordinal="1"><em>Flags From Our Fathers</em></a>, Clint Eastwood directs the story of the flag raising over Iwo Jima. The film is half war story of infantryman in combat, and half a story of propaganda, about how one photo - the iconic flag raising - ends up inspiring a nation (even though the story that&#39;s proffered by the government, isn&#39;t necessarily true!)</p><p>In the opening of <em>Born on the 4th of July</em>, a Marine recruiter takes to the high school stage in front of all the students and says, &#34;Well you can join the Air Force, the Navy, or the Army...&#34; (the students chuckle and laugh knowing what comes next) &#34;...or you can join the Marines!&#34;</p><p>And it&#39;s to the Marines that Ron Kovic turns to when he voluntarily enlists to go to Vietnam as an infantry soldier. Although by the film&#39;s end Kovic will be an anti-war demonstrator, Kovic maintains that Marine gung-ho enthusiasm no matter what it is he&#39;s attempting: Rehab, being an infantry soldier in Vietnam, or protesting the war.</p><p>In this famous <a href="https://www.thoughtco.com/best-and-worst-legal-thriller-movies-3438382" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="internalLink" data-ordinal="1">court room military drama</a>, a Navy Jag attorney who has never left the D.C. area takes on the fierce Marine Colonel Jack Nicholson who may or may not have ordered his Marines to attack an under-performing Marine. The entire premise of the film is that Marines do what others can&#39;t and won&#39;t, which means that sometimes it&#39;s necessary for Marines to experience harsh discipline. The film&#39;s famous courtroom finale hinges on the truth (You can&#39;t handle the truth!) that Cruises&#39;s attorney doesn&#39;t want to hear: Marines live in a world onto their own.</p>James Cameron&#39;s alien monster movie is typically considered far superior to <em>Alien</em>, the first film in the series. Partly, what makes this sequel so outstanding is that it focuses on a colorful platoon of colonial marines sent to fight the xenomorph space alien. Even in space, Marines are the first to fight.<p>In <a href="https://www.thoughtco.com/full-metal-jacket-review-3438399" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="internalLink" data-ordinal="1">Full Metal Jacket</a>, director Stanley Kubrick spends the first half of the film at boot camp on Paris Island. These scenes are legendary because of the cruelty and harsh conditions that Marine recruits are shown to have experienced. Whereas the second half of the film shows Marines in combat in Vietnam as desensitized killing machines. This is one of the quintessential Marine movies.</p>Like <em>Full Metal Jacket</em>, <em>Jarhead</em> captures the Marine ethos of desiring to enter combat and test one&#39;s self. Except in <em>Jarhead</em>, the war is not Vietnam and is Desert Storm, meaning the war is over before the Marines have a chance to do much of anything, despite their training, and burning desire to participate in a full-on war.