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The Best Fictional Movie Armies Of All Time

Some movies wow you with an amazing hero, willing and able to take on overwhelming odds in the name of justice. Others showcase an entire team of skilled fighters battling as a single unit.

Then there are those films that leave your jaw hanging on the floor as you witness an unbelievably powerful army marching across a battlefield to engage the enemy. Some of these armies fight for worthy causes; others serve the bad guys. 

Yet, whether they come from the "Star Wars" franchise, "Lord of the Rings" movies, or the Marvel Cinematic Universe, many of them give an excellent answer to the question, "You and what army?" with their awesome arrays of weapons, vehicles, and impossibly huge infantries.

If you'd like to know which cinematic army you should enlist in, read on. We're about to provide the rundown on the best fictional movie armies that leave enemies quaking in their boots.

Star Wars: The Grand Army of the Republic

From the moment audiences saw the newly-created clone army stand at attention in "Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones" (2002), they knew the game was changing. Cloned from the genetic material of Mandalorian bounty hunter Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison), the Clone Troopers were seemingly bred for a single purpose — to serve the Jedi and counter the threat of the Separatists' droid army, which was threatening the Galactic Republic. Unfortunately, we later learned the clones were also programmed with an extra directive, Order 66, which made them turn on the Jedi in "Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" (2005) and usher in the age of the Empire.

While the clones appear to be mostly anonymous soldiers in the live-action movies, the animated series "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" does much to flesh out their personalities and show they were loyal and dedicated men with minds and personalities of their own. Many established genuine friendships with the Jedi and their ability to think creatively even caused many to question the war they were fighting in. While the clones appeared to all become brainwashed soldiers, a number of them retained their individuality and continued fighting for their own brand of justice in shows like "The Bad Batch."

Star Trek: The Borg Collective

If armies were graded on their ability to get people to enlist, the Borg Collective would easily top the list. This race of cybernetic beings doesn't bother wooing you with propaganda ads or flashy benefit programs — they just inject a stream of nanoprobes into your neck and assimilate you into their hive mind.

Granted, you lose your individuality and free will — but on the plus side, you don't have to engage in a strenuous period of training. Borg drones simply amputate your weak fleshy body parts and replace them with superhumanly strong mechanical limbs. And if you're too young? Just spend some time in a Borg maturation chamber and emerge a perfectly aged cybernetic soldier ready to assist the Collective in adding the biological and technological distinctiveness of countless other species to your team.

Over the years, the Borg have continued to evolve, with some drones splintering off from the main collective and forming their own separate units under Borg leaders like Hugh (Jonathan Del Arco) who helped a number of "xBs" regain their individuality in "Star Trek: Picard." Other drones like Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) joined the crew of the Federation starship Voyager and forged their own paths. For the most part though, when you join the Borg, you're in for life. It might not be the most comfortable army to be in, but it has terrific job security.

Avengers: Endgame: All the MCU Superheroes

"I have an army," brags Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) in "The Avengers" (2012) as his legions of Chitauri soldiers prepare for their invasion of Earth.

Stark's rebuttal? "We have a Hulk."

He wasn't making an idle threat, either. A single punch from the Green Goliath was enough to take out an entire Chitauri ship and kick off the climactic "Battle of New York" where the newly-formed Avengers took down an entire army of alien warriors. And while Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) later claimed in a deleted "Avengers: Endgame" (2019) scene that the Chitauri were "the suckiest army in the galaxy" due to their ability to be deactivated by blowing up their mothership, the Avengers still went through a massive baptism by fire.

A few years later, however, the Avengers fought in a war that made the "Battle of New York" look like a minor skirmish. Facing off against Thanos (Josh Brolin) and his entire Black Order army in "Avengers: Endgame," the Avengers now had even more powerful forces in their ranks, thanks to the entire Wakandan Army, the space-faring Ravagers, and the sorcerers of Kamar Taj. Reinforced by powerhouses like Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), the amazing assemblage — which included virtually every MCU superhero and Howard the Duck — was enough to make even Thanos press the panic button.

Harry Potter: Dumbledore's Army/Order of the Phoenix

Some armies win wars with down-and-dirty fights. Then there's the Order of the Phoenix from the Harry Potter franchise who make that fighting look good with stylishly-devastating spells and eye-pleasing wand duels. Assembled to combat the rising threat of Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and his Death Eaters, the Order consisted of powerful wizards and witches including Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon), Sirius Black (Gary Oldman), and Severus Snape (Alan Rickman).

In "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" (2007), 15-year-old Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) created an additional fighting force in Dumbledore's Army, a group of Hogwarts students who wanted to join in the fight against the Dark Lord. Instructed by Harry himself, the "DA" joined forces with the Order of the Phoenix and proved instrumental in creating an active resistance when Voldemort took over Hogwarts. While Harry Potter might be the hero of this film series, he wouldn't have made it very far without these two magical armies supporting him.

Lord of the Rings: Saruman's Army

When one of the films in the "Lord of the Rings" franchise is titled "The Battle of the Five Armies" (2014), you know the military forces of Middle-Earth are something special. However, the most formidable were Saruman's Army, which showed its savagery in "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" (2002). When sycophant Wormtongue (Brad Dourif) argued to the Wizard Saruman (Christopher Lee) that it would take an army of thousands to breach the defenses of Helm's Deep and overtake their enemies, Saruman countered that it would take tens of thousands — and then proceeded to reveal that he had just such an army at his disposal.

As if the size of this army wasn't enough to send people running for the hills, the foot soldiers in its infantry included the horrific Uruk-hai, the wild men from Dunland, and hundreds of Half-orcs. Given that the defense forces of Helm's Deep consisted largely of elderly men and boys who hadn't hit puberty yet, the battle seemed un-winnable.

Fortunately, reinforcements arrived in the Elves of Lothlórien, who fought in a bloody siege that lasted throughout the night. However, the tide didn't turn until the Wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellan) arrived with reinforcements and the tree-like Ents killed the remaining Uruk-hai. Regarded as one of the greatest battles in cinema history, the Battle of Helm's Deep was made all the more dramatic by the impossibly huge ranks of Saruman's Army.

Justice League: An Army of Heroes

Both the theatrically released "Justice League" (2017) and the darker "Snyder Cut" (2021) depict a team of god-like beings facing off against the demigod Darkseid (Ray Porter), his lackey Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds), and their army of Parademons. Fortunately, when your ranks include a Kryptonian, an Amazon, an Atlantean, two modern-day gods of technology and speed, and a genius vigilante with unlimited resources, even a heavily-armed alien army can't break through your formations.

But even the modern Justice League doesn't hold a candle to the army from the "Age of Heroes" that Diana (Gal Gadot) describes to Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) in the early scenes from both movies. Where the newly-formed Justice League has six members, the original army was supported by entire legions of Amazons, Atlanteans, Greek Gods, human warriors, and members of the Green Lantern Corps who accomplished what no other world ever had — make Darkseid abandon his conquest of a planet.

Granted, the way Darkseid was defeated was rather anticlimactic. After killing a Green Lantern, Darkseid gets shot with some arrows, blasted by Zeus' lightning, and struck by Ares' axe, sending him limping back to his ship for a hasty getaway. While this assault would have been devastating for any other general, it seems a rather inglorious end for someone who can kill gods with his bare hands. 

Ready Player One: The Gunter Army

Some armies include heavily armored warriors, genetically gifted fighters, or magic-using warlords to gain an edge. Then there's the Gunter Army of "Ready Player One" (2018) that includes everyone from the Iron Giant to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to a demonic Chucky doll in its ranks.

Set in the OASIS, a virtual construct accessed by sophisticated VR headsets, the climactic battle of "Ready Player One" is by turns exciting, nerve-racking, and downright hilarious. After solving multiple Easter Egg puzzles left by the OASIS creator James Halliday (Mark Rylance), die-hard Egg hunter (or "Gunter") Parzival (Tye Sheridan) and his team needed to enter the heavily-guarded Castle Anorak on Planet Doom to solve the final puzzle and keep the OASIS from falling into the hands of greedy CEO Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn).

Needing help to breach the defenses, Parzival sent out a distress call to all OASIS players, causing an army of Halo warriors, Battletoads, and thousands of other pop culture icons to descend upon Castle Anorak with the Twisted Sister tune "We're Not Gonna Take It" blaring in the background. Not to be undone, Sorrento transformed into the unstoppable Mechagodzilla, but the Gunter army distracted everyone long enough for Parzival to solve the final puzzle and gain control of the OASIS. Real-life wars may be ugly and grotesque, but this VR battle offered plenty of pop culture eye candy.

Star Wars: The Rebels/Resistance

Of all the armies in the "Star Wars" franchise, the Rebels are easily the most pathetic looking. Whereas the Clone Army has a seemingly unlimited number of soldiers and the Empire is backed by planet-killing space stations, the Rebels appear to always be teetering on the brink of defeat. Their army bases keep getting bombed by the enemy. Most of their soldiers can't afford to wear body armor. And when they sent out a distress call at the end of 2017's "Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi," nobody answered.

And yet ... somehow this ragtag team of idealists, scoundrels, and noble warriors always finds a way to pull through and live to fight another day. Maybe it's because they're led by die-hard inspirational figures like Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher). Maybe it's because they attract powerful Force users like Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Rey (Daisy Ridley). Or maybe it's because every time they seem ready to collapse beneath the pressure of a battle, reinforcements arrive at the last second in the form of an armada of rogue spaceships or an army of teddy bear Ewoks.

Regardless, the Rebels always come out on top (at least, until the next regime change and subsequent war). Light will always rise to meet darkness in the "Star Wars" universe, so despite their unassuming appearance, you should always bet on the Rebels.

Godzilla: The Kaiju Army

If Godzilla is the King of the Monsters, imagine how powerful an army made up of his entourage must be. That's what classic monster movies like "Destroy All Monsters" (1968) and the more recent "Godzilla: King of the Monsters" (2019) reveal when the giant kaiju monsters awaken from their slumber, leave Monster Island, and start taking back their world.

Accompanied by Akira Ifukube's stirring score, "Gojira no Tēma" (Godzilla's Theme), which sounds like a military march, the kaiju/titans prove a formidable fighting force as each monster basically has the firepower of an entire human army (or several armies in the case of Godzilla). Sometimes, the kaiju fight for humanity. Other times, they're controlled by an alien force like the three-headed dragon King Ghidorah, and threaten the planet. But wherever they go, cities will crumble and carnage will reign.

For those who love big-scale destruction, the sight of seeing multiple kaiju monsters toppling skyscrapers and crushing prime real estate can't be beat. Just be sure you're watching from a safe distance. You wouldn't want to be part of their collateral damage.

Star Trek: Starfleet

The "Star Trek" universe may be filled with horrifying threats like the Borg Collective or Dominion Army, but fortunately they can usually be driven back by Starfleet, an interplanetary space force maintained by the United Federation of Planets. Although created for deep space exploration, research, and diplomacy purposes, Starfleet officers are fully capable of mobilizing into a defense and peacekeeping fleet — and they have the technology and firepower to back their more militaristic purposes.

Multiple movies and TV shows have portrayed just how formidable Starfleet can be given the right circumstances. Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) mobilized a fleet to destroy a planet-assimilating Borg cube in "Star Trek: First Contact" (1996). Hundreds of brave Starfleet officers managed to overcome a conflict against the combined forces of the Dominion, the Cardassian Union, and Breen Confederacy after several seasons of fighting in "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine."

However, Starfleet's greatest strength is in its ability to turn enemies into allies. Although tensions between humans and alien species like the Klingons and Romulans have led to much bloodshed, the Federation has been able to forge alliances with both of these long-term enemies and convince them to fight at their side. The battles may not showcase the utopia that showrunner Gene Roddenberry envisioned, but they do maintain a certain idealistic slant.

Terminator: Skynet

When it comes to firepower and military precision, few armies can match the efficiency of Skynet's Machine Army from the "Terminator" franchise. Not only is this army supported by legions of Terminator foot soldiers, but each Terminator unit can also be engineered to look and sound like virtually anyone, making infiltration a breeze.

In "Terminator 2: Judgement Day" (1991), the Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) even revealed Skynet was able to take control of the entire U.S. nuclear arsenal and launch a strike against Russia, knowing a Russian counter strike would wipe out most of its opposition before Skynet even began its ground force attack. Such brilliant military strategies kept the humans locked into a war that lasted over thirty years and kept the majority of the human survivors hiding underground or locked in Skynet prison camps.

Of course, no army is without its flaws, and Skynet has multiple weaknesses. The Terminators might be formidable machines, but they can also be easily reprogrammed to fight for the humans, leading to plenty of turncoats. Then there's the fact that Skynet's constant attempts to send assassins back in time and kill Human Resistance leader John Connor keeps failing (or results in the rise of another unstoppable Human Resistance leader). Depending on where you're standing, this could mean Skynet is destined to lose — or endure throughout every timeline, as its agents also ensure Skynet's own survival. They might lose a few battles, but Skynet — like its most famous soldier — will always be back.

Star Wars: The Empire

Okay, okay — everyone knows the Stormtroopers that make up the bulk of the Empire's army are nothing but a bunch of clueless buffoons with ridiculously bad aim and nonexistent peripheral vision. That being said — when your army has a space station capable of obliterating an entire planet with a single blast, you tend to be taken seriously by the people you're threatening.

Also, the guy running your entire organization is a Dark Lord of the Sith whose right-hand man Darth Vader can choke mouthy underlings with the Force from across the room — or even through video calls. Frankly, these two could probably run the entire galaxy alone thanks to the insanely high levels of fear and terror they evoke from the masses. Maybe your foot soldiers might be lacking in the combat skills department, but people tend to follow their commands anyway since they don't want to meet the big boss.

That being said ... their space stations do tend to get blown up a lot, often by hotshot pilots with uncommonly good aim. Granted, the Empire might be the greatest military power in the universe, but after losing a few Death Stars that military budget would undoubtedly erode, forcing higher taxes and increasing the number of malcontented civilians. No wonder the Rebels always have such an easy time recruiting new people to their cause.

G.I. Joe

How could we leave G.I. Joe off this list? The code name of an elite covert special mission unit operating under the United States Military, G.I. Joe evolved from a popular toy line into a massive franchise that included animated series and numerous live-action movies, including "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" (2009), "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" (2013), and the upcoming "Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins."

The films typically show the "Joes" taking on Cobra, a terrorist organization which originates from the corrupt company M.A.R.S. Industries in the movie timeline. Supported by highly advanced weapons and elite warriors, Cobra is a formidable force that succeeds in taking over the White House. Fortunately, G.I. Joe has its own powerful team of soldiers, tech experts, and ninja commandos that make them more than a match for the enemy. Plus, Bruce Willis shows up in the sequel as the original G.I. Joe, General Joseph Colton, so you know things are getting serious.

While originally created as representations of the real-life U.S. armed forces, G.I. Joe is now set firmly in the realm of science fiction-action. This military unit might not be an accurate depiction of true military combat, but its action sequences and memorable characters have earned them plenty of fans.

Transformers: Autobots/Decepticons

Stealthiness is an important aspect of many fighting forces, and few armies can hide in plain sight better than the Autobots and Decepticons of the "Transformers" franchise. Whether they become cars, jets, or vending machines, the Transformers constantly live up to their tagline: "more than meets the eye."

Of course, once the fighting starts, all those covert tactics go out the window and are replaced by the kind of big-budget action and gratuitous violence people expect from Michael Bay movies. When you have seasoned warriors like Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) facing off against ruthless antagonists like Megatron (Hugo Weaving), you're bound to see some very graphic shots of robots being ripped apart and turned into scrap metal. Heck, even the "friendly" Autobot Bumblebee dispatched multiple Decepticons with brutal efficiency in his spin-off film "Bumblebee" (2018)

One interesting thing about these armies is that the soldiers have a tendency to switch sides, as many "evil" Decepticons end up working with the "good" Autobots in "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" (2009) while Sentinel Prime (Leonard Nimoy), the former leader of the Autobots, threatens humanity in "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" (2011). Optimus Prime himself was brainwashed into becoming the villainous "Nemesis Prime" in "Transformers: The Last Knight" (2017). Such reversals make it hard to keep track of who's really on whose team in the movies — but in a film franchise about shapeshifting robots, that's almost expected.

Starship Troopers: Mobile Infantry

"Starship Troopers" depicts a future world where humans are expected to volunteer for the Mobile Infantry, the ground military component of the United Citizen Federation's Federal Armed Services. Those who join are sent to battle an insectoid species known as the Arachnids (or "Bugs") in an interstellar war. While the battles result in countless fatalities, people continue to volunteer for the Mobile Infantry due to propaganda and the fact that it's the only way of earning citizenship in the United Citizen Federation.

Upon enlisting, recruits undergo a period of ruthless basic training and receive powered exoskeletons that let them fight in Zero-G, make superhuman leaps, and even fly with the aid of jetpacks. While some aspects of this society seem progressive on the surface — like the infamous shower scene from the original "Starship Troopers" (1997) where men and women bathe together with no sexual issues — there's a disturbing undertone of fascism as the soldiers accept their government controls their lives and the only way to gain any freedom, from having babies to running for political office, is to serve in the military.

Based on Robert Heinlein's classic science fiction novel, the "Starship Troopers" movie series is now regarded as political satire and has spawned an entire franchise of live-action and computer-animated films. While joining the army might be expected in this future society, you might want to think twice before enlisting. Or else you might not like the government you're fighting for.