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Top 5 War Movies for Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day weekend is much more than cookouts and hot dogs. It’s the time for Americans to honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our great country. For those brave souls and their families, thank you so very much.

2020 Memorial Day offers a different experience. Most of America is at home social distancing and fighting an invisible enemy in COVID-19. While at home this weekend there will be several war movies on television. Here are my top five war movies of all-time:

1. FURY

Fury’s place at number one may come as a shocker to many, but it’s my all-time favorite. The movie is based on a 1945 WWII tank crew and encapsulates the uncomfortableness that accompanies a soldier’s life. Many twists and turns are involved as the ending is solid. Brad Pitt provides an amazing performance as “WarDaddy.” The decision to fight it out on the crossroads and the unexpected peace that followed was nearly perfect.

2. MIDWAY (ORIGINAL)

I can remember watching this movie at a theatre in Lexington in 1976. Real war footage and newly invented sound effects were about too much for this young hillbilly to take. I walked out of that theatre with my mind made up that I was going to join the military. I was seven. As for the film, Midway consisted of an all-star cast and showcased the ultra-important battle in the Pacific. America’s victory at Midway is considered the turning point in World War II.

3. SAVING PRIVATE RYAN

Great movie. Just a great, great movie that leaves you speechless at the end is the only way to describe Saving Private Ryan. Tom Hanks hits a home run here and is surrounded by a fantastic supporting cast. One hidden aspect of this movie that I like is how it explains the different elements of the Army from Chief of Staff to battalion to squad.

4. THE GREEN BERETS

John Wayne’s performance was excellent. The Green Berets is a war movie that was set in Vietnam and actually filmed during the war in the same year as the Tet Offensive. Most war movies are filmed years after the fact; not this one. This film highlighted the capabilities of the Green Berets. Much like Midway, after watching this movie, I made my mind up to join the Army.

5. AMERICAN SNIPER

This Clint Eastwood production is a biographical war drama based on the life of Navy Seal Chris Kyle. Eastwood does a tremendous job painting the picture of combat stress on Kyle as well as his young family. He also brought out the entire version of Kyle from childhood to pre-Navy to warrior to PTSD. Chris Kyle is a legend. Rest in Peace. Bradley Cooper was tremendous and nailed his role as Chis Kyle.

There you have it. My list may be different than yours but that’s ok. Happy Memorial Day and God Bless America.

Article written by Freddie Maggard

Former University of Kentucky Quarterback and Andy Griffith Fan Club President

27 Comments for Top 5 War Movies for Memorial Day Weekend



  1. SpontaneousHumanCombustion
    2:13 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

    The World War 1 movie, Paths of Glory, is excellent, too.



    • SpontaneousHumanCombustion
      4:01 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

      A few more…. A Bridge Too Far, The Red Badge of Courage & Black Hawk Down



  2. Han
    2:25 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

    I’ll go with the 10-episode movie that is Band of Brothers.



    • chief_cat
      2:42 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

      Quite possibly the best TV series ever made! Band of Brothers is a must watch!!



    • 2andToodleLoo
      4:19 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

      Yes yes yes!



  3. CombatMedic_98
    2:48 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

    SIR, I concur with ALL…! Great article and refresher..!



  4. SADmaninKy
    3:04 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

    Freddie,
    Thank you for your service.
    Steve



  5. eyebleedblue
    3:19 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

    Thank You for your service and your football content.



  6. burk
    3:23 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

    Dunkirk, hard to follow at times but good scenes. Midway the new one ain’t too bad. Freddie, I do like those choices! All good!



  7. J. Did
    3:36 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

    Wow!
    All very worthy film selections for War Movies and Memorial Day.

    I’d like to add, in no particular order:

    Full Metal jacket
    Platoon
    Inglorious Basterds
    Apocalypse Now
    Patton
    The Deer Hunter
    The Dirty Dozen
    Hacksaw Ridge

    Thanks!



  8. Heavy C
    3:42 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

    PATTON….One of my favorites of all time. And BTW…Gobble(How friggin appropriate is that)Your mom said she ain’t giving it up again until you brush your stanky ass tooth.



  9. runningunnin.454
    3:45 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

    If you want a somewhat different perspective, check out “Gardens of Stone”. Good movie.



  10. sKYzthelimit
    5:15 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

    Add:
    We Were Soldiers
    Hamburger Hill



  11. J. Did
    5:21 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

    @sKYzthelimit – Man, good call: Both worthy films. Thanks!



    • sKYzthelimit
      5:44 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

      The book “We Were Soldiers Once…and Young” is much better than the movie of course. There were two devastating ambushes in the true story, and the movie only had time to cover one.

      Hamburger Hill is a grade B movie, but the end, music playing while Major O’Donnell’s message is playing? Well, that is the very essence of war and the sacrifice of those who fight!

      “If you are able, save for them a place inside of you and save one backward glance when you are leaving for the places they can no longer go. Be not ashamed to say you loved them, though you may not have always. Take what they have left and what they have taught you with their dying and keep it with your own. And in that time when men decide and feel safe to call the war insane, take one moment to embrace those gentle heroes you left behind.”
      – Major Michael Davis O’Donnell, January 1, 1970, Dak To, Vietnam



  12. Lip Man 1
    5:46 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

    Patton, the Longest Day, the Battle of the Bulge.



  13. ukyelecteng
    5:55 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

    Bridge Over the River Kwai



    • sKYzthelimit
      6:02 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

      Yes! Beat me to it.



  14. sKYzthelimit
    6:01 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

    We’re going to get the top 100 war movies soon! I must add Unbroken and 12 Strong- a story so amazing I couldn’t believe it was true.

    For Memorial Day, we should probably stick with movies about American soldiers, but if you like this genre, you will also like Gallipoli, Dunkirk, and 1917. And the classic upgrade of old war reel footage- They Shall Not Grow Old.



    • runningunnin.454
      6:28 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

      Gallipoli was a horrific campaign; French, British, Irish, Australians, and New Zealand troops suffered heavy losses. Yes, the movie was good.



  15. grammarpoliceUK
    7:02 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

    Saving Private Ryan, Patton, and Battle of the Bulge for personal reasons.My father was on that Normandy beach that morning. Then put under Patton’s command and fought across those foreign countries and through the battle of the bulge. My father died at the tender age of 51, a month after I turned 12 of a heart attack.He could no longer live with what he saw and had to do. WE underestimate sometimes the costs incurred by some.



  16. dkcr96
    11:02 pm May 24, 2020 Permalink

    Deer Hunter
    Platoon
    Apocalypse Now
    Full Metal Jacket
    Saving Private Ryan



  17. nocode96
    11:19 pm May 24, 2020 Permalink

    No mention of Tropic Thunder?



  18. KyZoneBlitz
    11:59 pm May 24, 2020 Permalink

    Dont know if it’s been mentioned because 44 comments is way too many for me to read but, Lone Survivor starring Mark Wahlberg is a great war movie. Loved Fury as well as American Sniper and of course Saving Private Ryan is a classic. Also really liked the Miracle at St Ana.



  19. hamillerjr
    12:46 pm May 27, 2020 Permalink

    1. Band of Brothers
    2. The Best Years of Our Lived
    3. The Longest Day
    4. Saving Private Ryan
    5. The Bridges of Toko-Ri
    6. All Quiet on the Western Front
    7. Gettysburg
    8. Taking Chance
    9. Fail-Safe
    10. On The Beach

    Some of these are more anti-war movies!