Taking the Long Way

A celebration of late bloomers.

Posts Tagged ‘To Hell and Back

Memorial Day Film Fest

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In honor of Memorial Day, I’ve made a list of my favorite war movies. That might seem like a strange thing to do, but I find that the news fails to bring the stories into our homes often enough and well enough for us to understand the sacrifice…but I find films – ones done well and not as propaganda pieces and that really seek to¬†find the humanity within the stories of the soldiers as well as the one’s who remain at home – make us more aware.

Note: This list is by no means a comprehensive one. Pleas share with me the ones that matter to you.


1. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

Director: William Wyler

Truly the first movie ever to deal with post traumatic stress syndrome as well as how hard it is for service people and the ones holding down the fort to readjust to life together.

2. Letters from Iwo Jima/Flags of Our Fathers (2006)

Director: Clint Eastwood

These back-to-back films illuminated how both the Americans and the Japanese – bitter enemies – weren’t so different after all. They play upon our concepts of “the other” and reveals that the Japanese soldiers, who knew Iwo Jima was a suicide mission, thought about their moms, wrote letters to their wives…same as the Americans.

3. To Hell and Back (1955)

The story of the most decorated soldier of World War II – a Texas boy named Audie Murphy. Interesting to note, actor Charles Durning was the second most decorated and the most decorated living veteran.

4. Platoon (1986)

Director: Oliver Stone

I remember seeing this film in college and walking into the lobby to find Vietnam vets crying, as if finally someone understood.

5. Hurt Locker (2009)

Director: Katheryn Bigelow

I had the good fortune of seeing this film at the Savannah Film Festival and of meeting the film’s cast, including Jeremy Renner. I found myself white-knuckled and unable to breath through much of the film…and that final scene, when you know he’s forever altered by battle.

6. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Director: Steven Spielberg

That first half hour and those last five minutes…they earned it.

7. A Few Good Men (1992)

Director: Rob Reiner

What I love about this film, which isn’t directly a war film, is that the writer Aaron Sorkin allows each of his characters to actually be right. That scene between Demi Moore and Jason Pollock sums it up: the deep need to feel protected versus picking on someone weaker.

Worth Mentioning: The television series China Beach, Schindler’s List, Beautiful, Patton…


Written by The Long Way

May 31, 2011 at 3:13 am