ByDale Vincent L. Kakilala, writer at
Movies. Gaming. Anime. Heavy metal. Comics. You name any of these and I write for them.

Call of Duty WWII is coming on November 3 and we love Call of Duty for its cinematic level of production when it comes to their single player campaigns. Call of Duty is one of the many video game franchises that can be considered an amalgamation of some of the most successful brands in pop culture history. In this article, we cover some of the many movies that inspired Call of Duty as a video game series.

The Bourne Series

The Bourne Film Series has heavily influenced the thriller elements of the campaign mode in the first installment of the Modern Warfare series. If you think of the visual style of the Bourne series, then you get the visceral and gritty in-the-middle-of-the-action feel.

For those of you who do not know, the Bourne film series revolves around an amnesiac man whose memories of his past quickly return after being rescued by Italian fishermen. Throughout the duration of the series you will realize that the man is a product of a training program created by the CIA who has trained him as a lethal killer.

If you are a fan of films with a lot of action while uncovering a lot of lore in a story shrouded in mystery, the Bourne series is the go-to film series for you.

Modern Warfare 2 looked upon these films for inspiration when it came to increasing the body count, the action, and amount of adrenaline these films induce in their viewers. This is seen in most of its missions, especially the fourth where you are supposed to chase a target in the favelas of Brazil with the help of fellow operators from Task Force 141.

Black Hawk Down

160 elite U.S. soldiers drop into Somalia to capture two top lieutenants of a renegade warlord and find themselves in a desperate battle with a large force of heavily-armed Somalis.

Inspired by true events, this 2001 action war film is based off a non-fiction book chronicling the 1993 raid of Mogadishu by the US Military, aimed at capturing former general and diplomat Mohammed Farrah Aidid, who led the Somali National Alliance.

This film is directed by Ridley Scott who is the mastermind behind the Alien film series and stars Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor and William Fichtner. If you think about it, this film is the basis for Call of Duty 4's Shock and Awe mission and some of the dialogue pays homage to a line from this movie. However, Shock and Awe was not the only mission to take its cues from this film. Charlie Don't Surf, Team Player and Takedown do the same thing.

Without a doubt, this is considered as one of the grittiest, darkest and most political 21st century war films and this could even rival Saving Private Ryan in terms of narrative and pure viscera.

Body of Lies

A CIA agent on the ground in Jordan hunts down a powerful terrorist leader while being caught between the unclear intentions of his American supervisors and Jordan Intelligence.

Body of Lies is a 2008 action spy thriller and is another film directed by Ridley Scott. The film stars both Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe and is a story set in a post-9/11 era during the War on Terror where the two agents are on a hot pursuit of a cleric responsible for placing bombs all over Europe.

Some of the tactics used by both Soap and Captain Price are heavily reminiscent of what the two agents use to pursue the cleric. This movie was used as context for most of the operations that took place throughout the duration of Modern Warfare and is also inspiration for the Afghan-set missions.

The Rock

A mild-mannered chemist and an ex-con must lead the counterstrike when a rogue group of military men, led by a renegade general, threaten a nerve gas attack from Alcatraz against San Francisco.

One of the first Michael Bay movies released back in 1996, before the travesty that was the live action Transformers franchise, this was a decent movie with a lot of moments that kept us on the edge of our seats and a cast that features Nicolas Cage and Sean Connery.

This movie was used as basis for a level in Modern Warfare 2 where you are supposed to rescue a prisoner who is a very well-known character from the previous game. A scene also pays homage to a scene from the movie itself where it involves a soldier striking signal flares to desperately call off an imminent bombing of a city in the United States with Hans Zimmer's sounds thrown in.

Did you know? Hans Zimmer also co-scored the soundtrack of The Rock alongside Nick Glennie-Smith. Ed Harris who starred in The Rock has also provided the voice for Jason Hudson in Call of Duty: Black Ops.

Red Dawn

It is the dawn of World War III. In mid-western America, a group of teenagers bands together to defend their town, and their country, from invading Soviet forces.

Red Dawn is a 1984 action war movie about a group of teenagers who form a resistance group to defend their hometown and the entirety of the United States to fight against the threat of invading Soviet forces.

The name of the resistance group was used as a name of one of the many missions in the game itself. Yes, it is "Wolverines!" In the second installment of the Modern Warfare series, a huge conflict has erupted between America and Russia due to problems rooting from Russian affairs.

The first installment focused on a more political action war thriller oriented storyline while Modern Warfare 2 took a lot of cues from this film — though the main characters are not teenagers but well trained US Armed Forces operators.

Rambo: First Blood Part II

John Rambo is released from prison by the government for a top-secret covert mission to the last place on Earth he'd want to return - the jungles of Vietnam.

A year after Red Dawn, Rambo is back on the big screen with another installment of the Rambo series starring veteran action star Sylvester Stallone.

Rambo is released by his former superior Colonel Samuel Troutman for a top secret mission in Vietnam. Throughout the series, the usual action scenes showcased in the last Rambo movie are there and they are a lot more brutal too.

The 2010 installment in the Call of Duty series, named Black Ops, takes inspiration for its Vietnam missions, where you set your sights on one of the many masterminds of the events set in motion in this entertaining thrill ride of a campaign. The game also pays homage to a scene in this movie where you pilot a helicopter to take your fight to the NVA who captured you during the events of the movie. Sounds familiar, right? Yes, it is the climax of Rambo: First Blood Part II and this segment is a huge nod to that.

Apocalypse Now

During the Vietnam War, Captain Willard is sent on a dangerous mission into Cambodia to assassinate a renegade colonel who has set himself up as a god among a local tribe.

Inspired by the book Heart of Darkness written by Joseph Conrad, this 1979 psychological thriller is a very dark portrayal of the Vietnamese war.

Directed by Francis Coppola and starring an ensemble cast of big name actors, namely: Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, and Larry Fishburne. Despite it being a film set in the Vietnam War theater of the Cold War, the movie is not set in Vietnam but in Cambodia where Captain Willard is called upon by his superiors to embark on a dangerous mission to slay a renegade colonel.

Another movie that influenced Call of Duty: Black Ops, the game contains another mission that is a direct nod to the riverboat attack scenes ripped from the movie itself. This reflects on how influential Apocalypse Now has been to the world of pop culture and is to this day considered as a timeless classic and is a must watch for those who are looking for film that is a dark and cynical take on war while still romanticizing the carnage that went down.


A botched mid-air heist results in suitcases full of cash being searched for by various groups throughout the Rocky Mountains.

Many have considered this 1993 film to be the last great action movie directed by Sylvester Stallone. I beg to differ, but that topic is for another article.

Modern Warfare 2 once again took its cues from a movie for its second mission which takes its name directly from the movie. You and Soap MacTavish infiltrate a Russian airbase in the cold mountains of Kazakhstan to recover a module from a downed satellite to prevent the Russians from making use of its information and abilities.

There is also a scene in this mission that directly takes its cues from the movie too, involving a snow mobile escape chase scene. Also, the setting of this mission is pretty familiar, especially when it involves climbing mountains in a snowy region of Central Asia.

Enemy At The Gates

A Russian and a German sniper play a game of cat-and-mouse during the Battle of Stalingrad.

This movie is an interesting case because it has heavily influenced two games on this list: Call of Duty 2 and Call of Duty: World at War. Set during the events of the Eastern Front, this movie is the true to life story of Private Vasili Kozlov, a sniper of the 13th Guards Rifle Division who are one of the many squads sent to the frontlines of Moscow.

This 2002 war film, written and directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, stars Jude Law as Vasili and, once again, Ed Harris as the German sniper Major König. There are two scenes which have an important key influence to both separate missions in the Soviet Campaign of Call of Duty 2 and Call of Duty: World at War. The brutal boat scene where the German Luftwaffe Air Force swoop down to mow down the Russians with aircraft machine gun fire and the Stalingrad mass slaughter scene where you play as Dimitri Petrenko, who is being mentored by Viktor Reznov on the art of sniping.

Saving Private Ryan

Following the Normandy Landings, a group of U.S. soldiers go behind enemy lines to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action.

By far the most iconic movie on our list and another one of the best WWII films ever made, Saving Private Ryan is a 1998 film directed by Steven Spielberg and portrays one of the most raw and brutal depictions of war on film. We all know of the Normandy landings as one of the most remembered battles of World War II where millions of Americans landed on Omaha beach's shores to begin their invasion of France with the hope of liberating the country from Nazi opposition.

This moment has also been depicted in a lot of World War II video games and that goes for Call of Duty 2 as well.

What movie do you think has influenced the Call of Duty video game franchise the most?


Latest from our Creators