November 9, 2010 at 3:35 pm #114694
So Veterans Day is coming up on Thursday, and it always gets me thinking about my grandfather who fought in World War II like so many of his peers. I’ve never served in the military, though I considered Naval ROTC in college and respect the men and women who’ve served throughout our nation’s history.And I don’t mean to naively romanticize or trivialize the service of our vets, and I don’t think we can capture their sacrifices in a movie…but I’ve got to say that there are some incredible big screen depictions that give us a glimpse of their heroic endeavors. Here are a few of my favorites:– Blackhawk Down– Memphis Belle– Platoon– Saving Private RyanCheck out Moviefone’s Top 25 War Movies.What’s your favorite movie that honors Veterans?
November 9, 2010 at 3:46 pm #114746
So if I say Pearl Harbor do I lose man points? No seriously mine has to be Glory I love that movie. “Give em Hell 54th.” Also it’s not a movie but I remember watching Hogan’s Heroes with my grandpa all the time growing up.
November 9, 2010 at 4:01 pm #114744
There is a scene in David Lynch’s lovely film “The Straight Story”, where the main character, so wonderfully portrayed with so much dignity by the late Richard Farnsworth, is talking with another older vet in a dingy small-town bar about their war experiences. Each has secrets they’ve kept from the world for decades, that are just eating them up, and have shaped their lives since those days so long ago. The two men never look at each other; they just talk, knowing that they’re in the company of someone who will understand. It is achingly beautiful, and never fails to get me misty-eyed with its naked honesty.
I don’t know that I’d say it “honours” the men, because what they describe has no honour. But it respects them as veterans. That is, they have been through war, sacrificed then, sacrifice still, and feel things the rest of us never will. There is no glorification of war, justification of it, or condemnation of it. Indeed, because war has no presence in the film except for its residue on the soul, and that passing scene, it is more about veterans than a great many films I’ve seen that confuse soldiering and being a veteran. That they are fundamentally good men, even after all they have been through, is probably where the honour comes into it.
I’m getting a little farklemt thinking about it. Highly recommended, and with the exception of a few naughty words said here and there, quite suitable for family viewing.
November 9, 2010 at 4:14 pm #114742
The Deer Hunter – can’t miss with Meryl Streep, Robert DeNiro, John Cazale, John Savage, Christopher Walken. Probably not suitable for family viewing, though.
November 9, 2010 at 5:29 pm #114740
Along with the great list of movies already listed, Windtalker is another movie that I thought shed some lights on the involvement of Native Americans in WWII.
November 9, 2010 at 7:11 pm #114738
November 9, 2010 at 8:03 pm #114736
Really beautifully said, Mark…all of it. I haven’t seen the movie, but your excellent writing is evocative. And that second paragraph really captures the set up I was trying to achieve with this forum…thank you.
November 9, 2010 at 8:03 pm #114734
Yes! Great selection, Vang!
November 9, 2010 at 8:08 pm #114732
There’s a scene in Glory where the troops are gathered around the campfire and they begin singing that just inspires me every time…
November 9, 2010 at 8:25 pm #114730
All’s Quiet on the Western Front. I totally thought it would be about the allies in WWI. Great movie.
November 10, 2010 at 4:22 am #114728
Tropic Thunder (although this one doesn’t so much honor veterans as skewer actors!)
Hmm…I just realized that all of my favorite war movies are comedies. I might have to think about the significance of that, especially as most of the men (and one woman) in my family have served in the military (including my hubby who recently returned from his second deployment with his Marine Reserve unit).
November 10, 2010 at 4:25 am #114726
Wow, after reading your description, I have got to see this movie. It sounds like a beautiful film.
November 10, 2010 at 2:04 pm #114724
How about the Longest Day? I visited Normandy cemetery the week after Uncle Dave, our last patriarch, died. I saw a statue of a man leaping into the air and knew his name was (Spirit of American) “Youth”. I looked at the names of all the missing in action, and thought of their mothers pining for their return the rest of their days, and I started to cry. When the music played America the beautiful I thought of its third verse:
…..“Oh, beautiful, for heroes proved in liberating strife;
…..who more than self their country loved and mercy more than life.
…..America, America, May God thy gold refine
…..till all success be nobleness and every gain divine”
I cried a lot and was just holding in chest heaving sobs when the Australian we were traveling with came up and asked if I was okay. The Americans sneered at me and asked when we were leaving for lunch. On the beach I looked at the nearly vertical and completely unprotected cliffs which the D-Day soldiers climbed under Nazi machine gun fire, and marveled at the valor of “ordinary” men like Harry, Albert, Dave and Eddie Davison…
My sister and I both are vets. I spend Veteran’s day remembering and watch movies of steel chopping men to sausage meat for no apparent win to remember men’s sacrifice and the horror of such an undertaking.
November 10, 2010 at 2:08 pm #114722
My company allowed us time last year right before Veteran’s Day to watch the movie Taking Chance, starrring Kevin Bacon. I was the only one that took them up on the offer and WOW, what an extremely moving film. It follows the story of how a fallen soldier gets back home.
I wouldn’t recommend watching it at work, since it made me cry multiple times, but I highly recommend watching it if you get the opportunity.
Here is the trailer on YouTube.
November 10, 2010 at 2:41 pm #114720
Can you say more about this one, Michele?Hard to decipher backdrop from title…but intrigued!
November 10, 2010 at 2:42 pm #114718
Catharsis and coping? It’s hard to have them away…and sometimes you have to just laugh so you can keep from weepin’, eh?
November 10, 2010 at 2:43 pm #114716
Horrors we cannot fathom…
November 10, 2010 at 2:44 pm #114714
Thanks, Heather…I’m adding this to my Netflix queu…
Okay, so I said the above before watching the trailer. You’re right – incredibly moving. I love the clip of the scene where the cars are flashing their lights and form an ad hoc funeral procession. Wow. All I can say is, “wow.” This one’s now at the TOP of my queu.
November 10, 2010 at 2:49 pm #114712
I’d have to say it’s between “Sands of Iwo Jima” and “The Longest Day” but I also like “Big Red One” and “Saving Private Ryan” so it’s hard to choose any one favorite.
November 10, 2010 at 4:30 pm #114710
Even though these movies were made before I was born, I like The Longest Day for it’s thorough recreation of the D-Day invasion. I also enjoy watching Patton for the insight they portray on the general…
November 10, 2010 at 4:37 pm #114708
I have to say *M*A*S*H* — both the movie and the TV series. Great depiction of the day by day challenges of war in the context of soldiers keeping a focus on living life to the fullest day by day….
November 10, 2010 at 5:21 pm #114706
November 10, 2010 at 5:37 pm #114704
Believe me, it will really change you just by watching it. I remember an announcement recently in a Vermont newspaper about the procession of a fallen soldier and I passed it on to my friends and family there so they could participate if they wanted to. Would love to hear your thoughts after you watch it.
November 10, 2010 at 6:34 pm #114702
Joyeux Noel! A great film (nominated for an Oscar in 2005) about WWI on the battlefields of France. Based on actual events – on Christmas Eve1914 – numerous sections of the Western Front called an informal (and unauthorized!) truce where the various front-line soldiers of the conflict (French, British and German) peacefully met each other in No Man’s Land and cease fighting for the night.
November 11, 2010 at 1:31 pm #114700
Apacalypse Now… a great, yet disturbing account of the true experience for many who served in VietNam!
November 11, 2010 at 1:33 pm #114698
Independence Day is another movie that fairly depicts the drama and post-trauma of war for those who’ve served in defense of our country.
November 11, 2010 at 8:23 pm #114696
This movie had me bawling crying and still gives me goose bumps thinking about it. Great movie and wonderful suggestion!
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