The events of September 11, 2001 altered the course of U.S. history forever. In a long and ongoing history of U.S. military expansion, the ensuing 20-year war in Afghanistan was one of the longest and most costly. Tens of thousands of Afghans and more than 2,400 Americans were killed. The total cost of the conflict is estimated at more than 2 trillion dollars.
While embedded journalism in Afghanistan and news coverage of the war steadily waned over the years, there has been no shortage of war films and Hollywood productions in the United States. Some have seen huge commercial success.
The entertainment industry has imagined and re-imagined U.S. military conflicts since its inception. To reflect on the Afghan war on the anniversary of September 11, 24/7 Tempo reviewed box office and production budget data of more than 100 movies in which the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were central to the plot.
Some films about the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq show the personal effect armed conflict and deployment has on the men and women on the ground. Others focus on the behind-the-scenes of war. These films tell stories about warfare in the two decades since the Twin Towers fell.
Some war movies are based on true events and often tell the life story of exceptional individuals. These are the 50 best movies based on true events.
To determine the most profitable post 9/11 war movies, 24/7 Tempo reviewed box office and production budget data from The Numbers, an online movie database owned by consulting firm Nash Information Services. We considered more than 100 movies in which the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are central to the plot. Documentaries were excluded. The movies on the list are both fictional and based on true stories. The movies were ranked on the profit they made, which we calculated as the worldwide box office earnings minus the production budget.