15 of the best movies to watch this Veterans Day

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On Veterans Day, we pay our respects to all men and women who served in the armed forces and coincides with foreign holidays such as Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, which celebrate the end of World War I (which formally ended at 11 a.m. of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918). So Nov 11th.

While supporting veterans can take many forms, including charitable donations, hiring veterans into your business, and supporting sober foreign policy, we can all remember those who served throughout history, namely through from movie. Here are thirteen great war films, some more directly about veterans and others more directly about the wars themselves, to watch this Veterans Day or weekend.

They’re not all American movies either, because I believe that war — and its aftermath — is something that transcends national boundaries. Veterans of all wars and from all countries share a bond.

Obviously these kinds of lists are limited (otherwise they would be way too long), but please let me know what your favorite war and/or veteran movies are Twitter or Facebook.

Privately Saving Ryan (1998)

Steven Spielberg’s masterful WWII film is simply one of the best war films ever made. Though it only touches veterans, it provides a stark and graphic portrayal of the violence and heroism of the brave men who fought on the beaches of Normandy and in Nazi-occupied Europe. Spielberg also directed Schindler’s List, another harrowing WWII film focusing on the Holocaust.

Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

Hacksaw Ridge tells the true story of Pfc. Desmond T. Doss (Andrew Garfield) who won the Congressional Medal Of Honor despite refusing to hold a gun based on his religious beliefs. The pacifist Doss was first mocked and later praised for his bravery and bravery. Mel Gibson – a controversial figure to say the least – is here at his best in the director’s chair.

Da 5 Bloods (2020)

The story of five veterans who return to Vietnam years after the war to find buried gold and retrieve the body of a fallen friend. If you like Spike Lee movies, you will like this one too. A story of friendship and suffering and loss, with some great performances.

A Few Good Men (1992)

Not a war story, but still one of the best military movies ever made. Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise both knock it out of the park in this legal drama surrounding the murder of a soldier at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base.

Full metal jacket (1987)

Stanley Kubrick’s Full metal jacket remains one of the best and most iconic Vietnam War films of all time. It follows a group of soldiers from Basic Training – an experience almost as harrowing as the war itself – in the chaos of Vietnam. As much black comedy as historical fiction.

Apocalypse Now (1979)

Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam War masterpiece is as trippy and dark as any on this list, a weird journey into the heart of darkness (the Joseph Conrad book it was based on) that’s just as much a journey to the spirit as to the bowels of war. The cast alone makes this a must-see war movie: Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Martin Sheen, Dennis Hopper, all at the top of their game.

Patton (1970)

patton won 7 Academy Awards when it came out in 1970, including Best Picture, Best Director (Franklin J. Schaffner), and George C. Scott won Best Actor for his incredible performance of the famous General. Fun Facts: Lee Marvin, Burt Lancaster, John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, and Rod Steiger all turned down the role before Scott was cast. Steiger later said it was his biggest mistake, but it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Scott in the role right now!

Born on July 4 (1989)

This is one of the more anti-war films on this list, but also the most focused on the lives of veterans. Tom Cruise plays Ron Kovic, a veteran who became paralyzed in Vietnam. The story is autobiographical and based on Kovic’s autobiography. Oliver Stone directs. It won Best Director and Tom Cruise received his first nomination for Best Actor.

The Deer Hunter (1978)

Robert DeNiro, Christopher Walken, Meryl Streep—The Deer Hunters phenomenal cast and brilliant writing and directing have made it to countless ‘greatest movies ever made’ lists. The story is set in both Vietnam and Clairton, Pennsylvania and deals with both the war and the aftermath of the war in the lives of these characters.

American sniper (2014)

The Bradley Cooper-led, Clint Eastwood-directed American sniper was highly controversial when it was released in 2014, thanks to the controversial nature of the man whose story it told. Chris Kyle was a decorated war veteran and ace sniper, but when he came home and became a more public figure, he caused controversy with his writings and statements. Still, the film itself was very good, painting a grim picture of both the Iraq War and the struggles of veterans with PTSD when they return home. (I wrote at the time that unlike some critics, I didn’t see the film as pro-war propaganda at all, quite the contrary).

Forrest Gump (1994)

I admit, Forrest Gump doesn’t hold up very well compared to many of these, though Tom Hanks is brilliant in the titular role. It’s a 90s movie in many ways, but it sure is charming and Gump runs through my hometown of Flagstaff, AZ on his cross-country tour, so I have a little extra fondness for the fairy tale. I’m including it here because of Lieutenant Dan, the wounded war veteran and friend of Gump, who has one of the more powerful roles in the story outside of Forrest and Jenny. Lieutenant Dan is played by Gary Sinise who founded the Gary Sinise Foundation in 2011. The charity is very nice and helps veterans in many different ways, including providing specially adapted smart homes for seriously injured veterans for free. More about the foundation can be found here. Sinise is undoubtedly a class act.

1917 (2019)

One of the best modern war movies, 1917 creates the illusion of being filmed in just one continuous shot. A tense, visually stunning depiction of World War I, it tells a small but important story about two men on a desperate mission to save lives. Absolutely worth it.

They Won’t Get Old (2018)

We’ve been hearing a lot about director Peter Jackson lately thanks to Power rings draw a lot of comparisons with Under the spell of the Ring trilogy. His more recent photo is the war documentary They won’t grow old which uses original World War I footage – most of it never seen before – as well as TBEN audio interviews of British military personnel. The footage has been restored and colored. It’s a breathtaking production that offers one of the most extraordinary glimpses into history imaginable, taking us back in time more than a century ago.

Glory (1989)

The Story of a Regiment of Black Soldiers in the American Civil War, Glory tells a poignant story of courage in the face of prejudice in one of the deadliest wars in American history. Denzel Washington won Best Supporting Actor for his role in the film.

Gallipoli (1981)

Peter Weir .’s Australian War Film Gallipolia is one of Mel Gibson’s first films. Gibson and Mark Lee star as young recruits in World War I who eventually fight under British command at the Battle of Gallipoli. What follows is poignant and tragic. It’s a brilliant film and a coming of age story that shows how brutal trench warfare was and how unprepared the world was for industrialized warfare.

Bonus: Band Of Brothers (2001 TV series)

While not a movie, the WWII show is based on Stephen E. Ambrose’s 1992 non-fiction book of the same name, a historical look at the hardships faced by American paratroopers as they make their way to Germany, while en route. freeze and starve. A great cast that you’ll recognize from countless other shows and movies makes this one worth watching (and the book is excellent too).