Issues & Insights
Staff Sgt. Carrie Castillo

What We’re Watching Today: Movies That Remind Us Of The Sacrifices We Honor On Memorial Day

Today we remember those who fell to protect this country, who fell so the rest of us could stand. Their stories have been told in newspapers, in books, and on television. But sometimes their stories are best told by movies. Here are the ones we’re watching.

Memphis Belle — The scenes from the final bombing run bring a surge of raw emotion, waves and waves of fear, and make it clear there are no safe spaces when fighting a war to preserve freedom, not even when cocooned in a B-17 bomber five miles above the ground. — J. Frank Bullitt

American Sniper — Any American (or Limey, or Canadian, or Aussie, or Kiwi, or Scotsman, or Frenchman) who doesn’t get choked up and feel their heart is being torn out while watching this Clint Eastwood classic doesn’t possess normal human emotions. — JFB

Battle of the Bulge — A movie from a much different era. It can’t be watched without developing a great respect for those who believed in the righteous cause of protecting civilization from falling under tyranny. — JFB

Dirty DozenTwelve Americans soldiers awaiting execution or hard prison time for crimes committed while in uniform are given a second chance to serve their country, and all, save Telly Savalas’ character Archer Maggott, overtaken by his criminal urges, get the job done. — JFB

Eye of the Needle — A clever thriller and as far as you can get from a typical World War II film, with Donald Sutherland impeccable as a coldly ruthless undercover Nazi who will give Germany victory if his lover fails to stop him. — Tom McArdle

Stalag 17 — American POWs in a Luftwaffe camp near the Danube have a spy in their midst, but it seems impossible to know whom. Otto Preminger as Nazi commandant! — TMcA

Force 10 From Navarone — Sequel to 1961’s “Guns of Navarone” and to some a more enjoyable movie, especially if you find Robert Shaw a more interesting actor than Gregory Peck. — TMcA

Hacksaw Ridge — Mel Gibson brilliantly tells the story of Desmond Doss, a Seventh Day Adventist who enlists in World War II despite his pacifism, refuses to carry a weapon, and ends up winning the Medal of Honor for incredible bravery under fire. — John Merline

Patton — The opening speech alone is worth it. George C. Scott’s performance is absolutely amazing. Plus, Karl Malden. — JM

Bridge on the River Kwai — Alec Guinness is a British POW who organizes and effort to build a bridge for his Japanese captors for the sake of his men, and is conflicted when the allies set about to blow it up. An epic war movie in every sense of the word. — JM

Anything with Alec Guinness is good, even if people are dying all around. — Andrew Malcolm

To Hell and Back — True story of Audie Murphy, America’s most-decorated soldier, played by the man himself, perhaps the casting idea that Eastwood used in “The 15:17 to Paris.” — AM


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  • Sgt York, Saving Private Ryan, We Were Soldiers Once, and w/TV series exemption — Band of Brothers.

    Watched The Deer Hunter recently after having seen it once in 1979(?). It was really very terrible.

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