Most of us, the lucky ones, have only experienced warfare in the movies. But many of us feel its sting through the loss of loved ones. War doesn’t just destroy, though – it creates, fueling artists with the need to express the sorrow, horror and loss of the experience.
These 10 moving, sometimes devastating war films make for perfect Memorial Day weekend viewing as you honor those who’ve lost their lives in service. All are available through streaming services such as Amazon Prime, YouTube, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play.
10. ‘They Were Expendable’ (1945)
Fresh from filming American propaganda films during World War II, John Ford had war in his blood when he teamed up with John Wayne to tackle the subject on a set. An adaptation of William L. White’s book, “They Were Expendable” relates the exploits of a squadron of PT-boat crews defending the Philippines from the invading Japanese. Wayne didn’t serve in the war, but he makes for a fine fictional soldier alongside Robert Montgomery as they bicker with Navy brass.
9. ‘Full Metal Jacket’ (1987)
Stanley Kubrick made two of the best movies ever about war, and this decidedly is the more violent and viscerally upsetting of the two. The film follows a platoon of Marines through training, where the bumbling but well-intentioned private nicknamed Gomer Pyle (Vincent D’Onofrio) is bullied and hazed into a mental breakdown that’s one of the most unsettling ever set to film. And that’s just the first half of the movie: There’s still the madness of combat in Vietnam to contend with.