This Monday is Memorial Day, a national day of remembrance for the men and women who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. While many people will choose to mark this solemn holiday with traditional commemoration activities, you can also remember the sacrifice that fallen military veterans have made by revisiting some of the great films that have been made about historical battles in which Americans have died fighting for their country. Here are five classic American war movies to mark this year’s Memorial Day.
1. Glory (1989)
Memorial Day actually evolved from “Decoration Day,” a holiday that commemorated soldiers who died in the American Civil War. With a story that is based on the real exploits of the Civil War era 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, Glory is an especially appropriate movie to watch on Memorial Day. The film tells the compelling true story of a Union Army unit that was made up entirely of African-American men — although it was led by white officers. The film was critically acclaimed and garnered three Academy Awards, including a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Denzel Washington. The film currently has a 93 percent “Certified Fresh” rating from the critics at Rotten Tomatoes.
2. Flags of Our Fathers (2006)
Based on a bestselling book of the same name, this Clint Eastwood-directed film tells the stories of the veterans depicted in the iconic “Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima” World War II photograph. As noted in the film, three of the men pictured in the photograph were subsequently killed in action over the next several days. Eastwood’s cinematic tribute to the men who fought on Iwo Jima was hailed by the critics and the film currently has a 73 percent “Certified Fresh” rating from the critics at Rotten Tomatoes.