What films feature scenes with shots of war and situation rooms with characters examining maps?
April 25, 2012 6:28 AM   Subscribe

What films feature scenes with shots of war and situation rooms with characters examining maps?

I'm working on an article on situation/war rooms and am looking for scenes in films with characters gathered around maps (on tables or displays). Some prominent examples include "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb", "Cleopatra", etc. What else is out there? We're trying to get clearances for publication so any and all suggestions would be appreciated.

Given this is being prepared for a design publication, film suggestions with better production design = more useful. Thanks in advance film and/or military nerds!
posted by serial_consign to Media & Arts (32 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Well, Downfall (source of all those "Hitler reacts to X" videos) comes immediately to mind.
posted by gemmy at 6:31 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

The ending to WarGames.
posted by griphus at 6:33 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Also: relevant TV Tropes article.
posted by griphus at 6:34 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

You will find lots of useful ideas on TV Tropes' "The Big Board."
posted by bcwinters at 6:35 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, and this scene from X-Men: First Class.
posted by griphus at 6:36 AM on April 25, 2012

Pretty sure Patton has some scenes with map discussions.
The Longest Day definitely does.
posted by annekenstein at 6:36 AM on April 25, 2012

Hey, we are off to a good start! I forgot to mention that "WarGames" was on our radar – but it is definitely a key precedent and films made in 1983 tend to get the production design right. Thanks to the folks who have answered already.
posted by serial_consign at 6:44 AM on April 25, 2012

Star Wars (fine, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope) has this during the Death Star attack scene. People gathered around a display showing the Death Star's orbit around the planet/moon.
posted by bondcliff at 6:46 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Inglourious Basterds and Seven Samurai. (You'll have to scroll a bit on the latter.)
posted by beaucoupkevin at 6:46 AM on April 25, 2012

Duck Soup!
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 6:52 AM on April 25, 2012

Not a film, but the rebooted Battlestar Galactica has dozens of 'move model ships around a 2D flat map' scenes (even though they're fighting in a 3D space and it's almost entirely for the viewers benefit.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:53 AM on April 25, 2012

Pushing Tin.
posted by griphus at 6:55 AM on April 25, 2012

There is a memorable map scene in Top Secret.
posted by eedele at 7:01 AM on April 25, 2012

Any movie set during the London Blitz seems to invariably include the ubiquitous scene of uniformed women with headphones (and long wires extending up to the ceiling) using long sticks to move little wood icons around a giant tabletop map.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:01 AM on April 25, 2012

Mars Attacks! includes a Strangelove-esque war room.
posted by hnnrs at 7:04 AM on April 25, 2012

This is great, we are getting loads of options and I really appreciate it. I realize this military-types gathering around a map within high-tech surroundings is definitely a trope (cliché even), so while I say keep any and all suggestions coming – films with higher production value might be the most useful here.

Thanks everybody!
posted by serial_consign at 7:07 AM on April 25, 2012

Not a map, and to even look at it is to experience a major spoiler, but the (excellent, excellent) Cabin in the Woods features a hilarious chart that has inspired a fair share of frame-grabbery and study.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:11 AM on April 25, 2012

The Downfall - the famous sequence which was used for the Blu-Ray parody.

The Hunt for Red October - scene where the Captain and Ryan are examining the electronic map of the Atlantic. "They're not trying to find Ramius, they're trying to drive him - the hounds to the hunters."

Thirteen Days (particularly around 2:30)

Standing in the war room watching live satellite thermal images of the covert op in Patriot Games.
posted by ceribus peribus at 7:22 AM on April 25, 2012

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. (1:22)

posted by Sayuri. at 7:33 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Battle of Britain.
posted by Ideefixe at 7:57 AM on April 25, 2012

Apologies to gemmy who mentioned Downfall already. So here are some suggestions to compensate:

Although it's a non-military, non-war context, how about the requisite scene in heist movies where the crew gathers over the building blueprints to review the plan? The Bank Job, for example. See also Ocean's Eleven, The Italian Job, etc.

Political election movies often have scenes with the campaign staff gathered in a "war room" around a map - an electoral map. I can only think of specific examples from The West Wing, though. I'm not sure if it's appropriate for your needs or not, but the war room approach has been adopted for several non-military activities: emergency disaster headquarters, police detectives working on a big case, onsite command posts for hostage negotiation, NASA control center, and others.
posted by ceribus peribus at 7:57 AM on April 25, 2012

Captain America.
posted by snowjoe at 8:08 AM on April 25, 2012

Tora Tora Tora
posted by cazoo at 8:23 AM on April 25, 2012

And that famous scene in Lawrence of Arabia where Lawrence puts out the match was centered around a map.
posted by cazoo at 8:28 AM on April 25, 2012

Independence Day.

Also, there are a great couple of scenes like this in Megaforce. If you have never seen this incredible film, go get it. Just bananas how hilariously bad and awesome it is at the same time. The one scene somewhere near the end, they diagram their escape plan like a football play. Best movie ever. A ridiculously sexy Barry Bostwick, lasers, and the motorcycle scene at the end is absolute legend.

Here is another scene where they have a C64 keyboard hooked up to a giant monochrome display that also features the globe from the USA Today logo. Production value level Zombocom.
posted by cashman at 8:36 AM on April 25, 2012

Fail Safe (both the 1964 version and the 2000 remake).
posted by perhapses at 9:12 AM on April 25, 2012

Also, On the Beach (1959) has a few scenes, I think.
posted by perhapses at 9:13 AM on April 25, 2012

It's technically pre-war, but Watchmen had a darkly funny war room scene with a faux Nixon considering the (literal) fallout of a Russian nuclear attack on the "Harvard establishment" in the northeast.
posted by Rhaomi at 9:16 AM on April 25, 2012

Sink the Bismarck
Dr Strangelove
posted by TheRaven at 11:15 AM on April 25, 2012

Contagion had a map in the room when discussing the spread of the pandemic.
posted by spanishbombs at 4:43 PM on April 25, 2012

The Andromeda Strain has a scene like this at the very end, where one of the doctors watches a tv showing a map of the west coast - 2 hours 8 minutes in. There is another one at around 1 hour 50 minutes in. And I think another earlier in the film.
posted by cashman at 5:39 PM on April 25, 2012

A Beautiful Mind
posted by Bokmakierie at 7:23 PM on April 25, 2012

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