Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day occurs on the last Monday of May and became an official holiday in 1971, although it originated shortly after the Civil War.
For many Americans Memorial Day is a time of mourning, remembering those who have fought and died for the freedoms that we enjoy today. While it’s also the unofficial start of summer, it’s important to remember why we have a long weekend and the hardships that our service men and women have endured to secure our freedoms.
One way to remember those sacrifices is through film. For generation war has been the subject – often times fascination – of some of the worlds greatest film makers; the results are some of the greatest cinematic representations of war ever seen by those who haven’t experienced it first-hand. Often times gruesome and ugly, but always remembering why they fought, the following cinematic gems are the cornerstone of war films for your viewing pleasure this Memorial Day weekend. (Synopsis and run times taken from IMDB.com).
To watch on Amazon Video, simply click the picture of the movie you would like to see to be taken to the page.
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Following the Normandy Landings, a group of U.S. soldiers go behind enemy lines to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action. (169 mins.)
The Great Escape (1963)
Allied prisoners of war plan for several hundred of their number to escape from a German camp during World War II. (172 mins.)
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
A pragmatic U.S. Marine observes the dehumanizing effects the Vietnam War has on his fellow recruits from their brutal boot camp training to the bloody street fighting in Hue. (116 mins.)
American Sniper (2014)
Navy S.E.A.L. sniper Chris Kyle’s pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and turns him into a legend. Back home to his wife and kids after four tours of duty, however, Chris finds that it is the war he can’t leave behind. (133 mins.)
In Casablanca in December 1941, a cynical American expatriate encounters a former lover, with unforeseen complications. (102 mins.)
Black Hawk Down (2001)
160 elite U.S. soldiers drop into Somalia to capture two top lieutenants of a renegade warlord and find themselves in a desperate battle with a large force of heavily-armed Somalis. (144 mins.)
The Longest Day (1962)
The events of D-Day, told on a grand scale from both the Allied and German points of view. (178 mins.)
13 Hours (2016)
During an attack on a U.S. compound in Libya, a security team struggles to make sense out of the chaos. (144 mins.)
We Were Soldiers (2002)
The story of the first major battle of the American phase of the Vietnam War and the soldiers on both sides that fought it. (138 mins.)