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12 Movies to Watch on Memorial Day


Memorial Day is a national holiday set aside to remember all the men and women who died in military service. While not all the movies featured in this list have main characters that died while serving the nation, each movie pays tribute to the sacrifices soldiers make when defending our country. 

The Longest Day (1962)  -  Winner of two Oscars, the D-Day film is based on a  book by Cornelius Ryan and starred Richard Burton, Henry Fonda, and John Wayne.

The Thin Red Line (1998) – A World War II masterpiece, takes place during the battle of Guadalcanal. The film captures the emotional impact of war and how warfare impacts humans and the environment.

Saving Private Ryan (1998) – Steven Spielberg’s film follows a group of soldiers set out to retrieve a soldier (Matt Damon) from battle after his brothers were killed in war elsewhere.

Taking Chance (2009) – A Memorial Day movie,  Taking Chance is the true story of one soldier’s death in battle and the escort of his remains back home. The film shows the gratitude the nation has towards its fallen soldiers making it an ideal movie to watch on Memorial Day.

A Midnight Clear (1992)- Based on a William Wharton novel, this movie is set in 1944. Six inexperienced soldiers are selected for a special assignment.

The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) – A moving film following soldiers returning from  World War II only to discover their hometown has changed and that they have changed as well.

Black Hawk Down (2001) – A war drama and winner of 2 Oscars, Black Hawk Down follows 123 elite U.S. soldiers as they battle for their lives in Somalia. The movie was directed by Ridley Scott and stars Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor and Tom Sizemore.,

The Hurt Locker (2008) – Winner of 6 Oscars, The Hurt Locker is a thrilling war drama focused on an elite Army bomb squad unit that is special trained to handle Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Directed by Kathryn Bigelow and starring Jeremy Renner, Brian Geraghty and Anthony Mackie, this is a film that shows you how members of the military put their life on the line each and every day.

Hamburger Hill (1987) – Directed by John Irvin, this  realistic war drama captures a bloody battle during the Vietnam War.

The Big Red One (1980) A World War II drama directed by Samuel Fuller which follows a tough, hardened U.S. Army sergeant and his young squad into battle.

Glory (1989) -  Winner of 3 Oscar Awards, Glory was directed by Edward Zwick and stars Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington and Cary Elwes. This film provides a wonderful portrait of Civil War’s first black infantry.

Born on the Fourth of July (1989) – Tom Cruise plays Ron Kovic, a paralyzed Vietnam war veteran.  The  war drama was based off the book by Ron Kovic and directed by Oliver Stone for which he won an Academy Award for. 


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