Today is Veteran’s Day…The day that the United States Honors is Veterans. I could think of no better tribute than to post what I think are 10 greatest movies to watch on Veteran’s Day. This is in honor of those who have served.

Thank You Veterans.


Band of Brothers

41T0mmgRe5L._SL160_Based on the bestseller by Stephen E. Ambrose, the epic 10-part miniseries Band of Brothers tells the story of Easy Company, 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, U.S. Army. Drawn from interviews with survivors of Easy Company, as well as soldiers’ journals and letters, Band of Brothers chronicles the experiences of these men who knew extraordinary bravery and extraordinary fear. They were an elite rifle company parachuting into France early on D-Day morning, fighting in the Battle of the Bulge and capturing Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest at Berchtesgaden. They were also a unit that suffered 150 percent casualties, and whose lives became legend.

This is my all time favorite War Movie even though its a mini-series.  The brotherhood born in training sealed in combat and blood lasts forever. The greatest generation showed guts and determination that current generation lacks.

Favorite Quote: The only hope you have is to accept the fact that you’re already dead. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you’ll be able to function as a soldier is supposed to function: without mercy, without compassion, without remorse. All war depends upon it. –Ronald C. Speirs


Patton

PattonA critically acclaimed film that won a total of eight 1970 Academy Awards (Including Best Picture), Patton is a riveting portrait of one of the 20th century’s greatest military geniuses. One of its Oscars went to George Patton, the only Allied general truly feared by the Nazis. Charismatic and Flamboyant, Patton designed his own uniforms, sported ivory-handled six-shooters, and believed he was a warrior in past lives. He outmaneuvered Rommel in Africa, and after D-Day led his troops in an unstoppable campaign across Europe. But he was rebellious as well insight and poignancy, his own volatile personality was one enemy he could never defeat.

General Patton was one of the biggest legends of all time. He was a courageous leader who motivated troops. George C Scott plays him perfectly.

Favorite Quote: Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country. More Quotes


Saving Private Ryan

A stalwart Tom Hanks plays Captain Miller, a soldier’s soldier, who takes a small band of troops behind enemy lines to retrieve a private whose three brothers have recently been killed in action. It’s a public relations move for the Army, but it has historical precedent dating back to the Civil War. Some critics of the film have labeled the central characters stereotypes. If that is so, this movie gives stereotypes a good name: Tom Sizemore as the deft sergeant, Edward Burns as the hotheaded Private Reiben, Barry Pepper as the religious sniper, Adam Goldberg as the lone Jew, Vin Diesel as the oversize Private Caparzo, Giovanni Ribisi as the soulful medic, and Jeremy Davies, who as a meek corporal gives the film its most memorable performance.

Another classic World War II epic that shows the fog of war. I think this movie has some of the best dialog in any war movie.

Favorite Quote: Private Jackson: Sir… I have an opinion on this matter.

Captain Miller: Well, by all means, share it with the squad.

Private Jackson: Well, from my way of thinking, sir, this entire mission is a serious misallocation of valuable military resources.

Captain Miller: Yeah. Go on.

Private Jackson: Well, it seems to me, sir, that God gave me a special gift, made me a fine instrument of warfare.

Captain Miller: Reiben, pay attention. Now, this is the way to gripe. Continue, Jackson.

Private Jackson: Well, what I mean by that, sir, is… if you was to put me and this here sniper rifle anywhere up to and including one mile of Adolf Hitler with a clear line of sight, sir… pack your bags, fellas, war’s over. Amen.

Private Reiben: Oh, that’s brilliant, bumpkin. Hey, so, Captain, what about you? I mean, you don’t gripe at all?

Captain Miller: I don’t gripe to *you*, Reiben. I’m a captain. There’s a chain of command. Gripes go up, not down. Always up. You gripe to me, I gripe to my superior officer, so on, so on, and so on. I don’t gripe to you. I don’t gripe in front of you. You should know that as a Ranger.

Private Reiben: I’m sorry, sir, but uh… let’s say you weren’t a captain, or maybe I was a major. What would you say then?

Captain Miller: Well, in that case… I’d say, “This is an excellent mission, sir, with an extremely valuable objective, sir, worthy of my best efforts, sir. Moreover… I feel heartfelt sorrow for the mother of Private James Ryan and am willing to lay down my life and the lives of my men – especially you, Reiben – to ease her suffering.”

Mellish:

[chuckles] He’s good.

Private Caparzo: I love him.[they make mocking kissy-faces at each other]


The Bridge on the River Kwai

I included this movie for several reasons. Its nostalgic to me. I watched the movie every summer on the local independent station that showed classic movies every night during the summer.  I love the story of the prisoners building a bridge and being more concerned with the positives about it than helping the enemy. They wanted a quality bridge to stand for their work even though it was slave labor.

The story centers on a Japanese prison camp isolated deep in the jungles of Southeast Asia, where the remorseless Colonel Saito (Sessue Hayakawa) has been charged with building a vitally important railway bridge. His clash of wills with a British prisoner, the charismatic Colonel Nicholson (Alec Guinness), escalates into a duel of honor, Nicholson defying his captor’s demands to win concessions for his troops. How the two officers reach a compromise, and Nicholson becomes obsessed with building that bridge, provides the story’s thematic spine; the parallel movement of a team of commandos dispatched to stop the project, led by a British major (Jack Hawkins) and guided by an American escapee (William Holden), supplies the story’s suspense and forward momentum.

Favorite Quote: You make me sick with your heroics! There’s a stench of death about you. You carry it in your pack like the plague. Explosives and L-pills – they go well together, don’t they? And with you it’s just one thing or the other: destroy a bridge or destroy yourself. This is just a game, this war! You and Colonel Nicholson, you’re two of a kind, crazy with courage. For what? How to die like a gentleman… how to die by the rules – when the only important thing is how to live like a human being. -Major Shears


The Patriot

Many people consider this a corny movie. I don’t disagree but I still love it. It has an excellent villain played by Jason Isaacs.

It is the late 18th century, in South Carolina. Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson) is a veteran of the French and Indian War and a widower raising his seven children on his farm. Gabriel (Heath Ledger), the eldest, is anxious to join the American forces fighting the British in the Revolutionary War, even if it means doing so without his father’s permission. Ben, who knows from first-hand experience the horrifying carnage that war presents from his experience in the French and Indian War, wants to discourage his son from participating.

Favorite Quote: I have long feared that my sins would return to visit me, and the cost is more than I can bear. -Benjamin Martin


The Great Escape

Does it get any better than a war movie with Steve McQueen, James Garner, Charles Bronson and James Colburn? I love how the British and the Germans are played as idiots just like in Hogan’s Heros. Its kind of a funny commentary on life.

In 1943, the Germans opened Stalag Luft North, a maximum-security prisoner-of-war camp, designed tohold even the craftiest escape artists. In doing so, however, the Nazis unwittingly assembled the finest escape team in military historybrilliantly portrayed here by Steve McQueen, James Garner, Charles Bronson and James Coburn who worked on what became the largest prison breakout ever attempted. One of the most ingenious and suspenseful adventure films of all time, The Great Escape is a masterful collaboration between director John Sturges (The Magnificent Seven), screenwriters James Clavell (Shogun) and W.R. Burnett (Little Caesar), and composer Elmer Bernstein. Based on a true story, The Great Escape is epic entertainment that “entertains,captivates, thrills and stirs” (Variety).

Favorite Quote: Von Luger: Are all American officers so ill-mannered?
Hilts: Yeah, about 99 percent.
Von Luger: Then perhaps while you are with us you will have a chance to learn some. Ten days isolation, Hilts.
Hilts: CAPTAIN Hilts.
Von Luger: Twenty days.
Hilts: Right. Oh, uh, you’ll still be here when I get out?
Von Luger: [visibly annoyed] Cooler!


Tora! Tora! Tora!

More nostalgia for me, watching this with my parents on Sunday evenings when it seemed it always played as the Sunday night movie. Maybe its because my grandfather was at Pearl Harbor.

“Tora! Tora! Tora!” is the Japanese signal to attack – and the movie meticulously recreates the attack on Pearl Harbor and the events leading up to it. Opening scenes contrast the American and Japanese positions. Japanese imperialists decide to stage the attack. Top U.S. brass ignore it’s possibility. Intercepted Japanese messages warn of it – but never reach F.D.R.’s desk. Radar warnings are disregarded. Even the entrapment of a Japanese submarine in Pearl Harbor before the attack goes unreported. Ultimately the Day of Infamy arrives – in the most spectacular, gut-wrenching cavalcade of action-packed footage ever. You’ll see moments of unsurpassed spectacle and heroism: U.S. fighters trying to take off and being hit as they taxi; men blasted from the decks of torpedoed ships while trying to rescue buddies; savage aerial dogfights pitting lone American fliers against squadrons of Imperial war planes. It’s the most dazzling recreation of America’s darkest day – and some of her finest hours.

Favorite Quote: What a way to fly into a war….unarmed and out of gas……Oboe leader to Oboe flight….we’ve flown smack into the middle of a war…get out,as fast as you can…anywhere you can….if you can’t make Hickam try Bellows or Wheeler


Black Hawk Down

I loved this movie. It shows the chaos of war. Often people think of war as cut and dried but its not.

Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down conveys the raw, chaotic urgency of ground-force battle in a worst-case scenario. With exacting detail, the film re-creates the American siege of the Somalian city of Mogadishu in October 1993, when a 45-minute mission turned into a 16-hour ordeal of bloody urban warfare. Helicopter-borne U.S. Rangers were assigned to capture key lieutenants of Somali warlord Muhammad Farrah Aidid, but when two Black Hawk choppers were felled by rocket-propelled grenades, the U.S. soldiers were forced to fend for themselves in the battle-torn streets of Mogadishu, attacked from all sides by armed Aidid supporters. Based on author Mark Bowden’s bestselling account of the battle, Scott’s riveting, action-packed film follows a sharp ensemble cast in some of the most authentic battle sequences ever filmed. The loss of 18 soldiers turned American opinion against further involvement in Somalia, but Black Hawk Down makes it clear that the men involved were undeniably heroic. –Jeff Shannon

Favorite Quote: Steele: Sergeant, what’s the meaning of this?[Thinking he’s talking about the unauthorized pig picking] “Hoot”: Just a little aerial target practice, sir. Didn’t want to leave ’em behind.
Steele: I’m talking about your weapon, soldier. Now Delta or no-Delta, that’s still a hot weapon. Your safety should be on at all times.
“Hoot”: This is my safety, sir.[He holds up his index finger and bends motions as if squeezing a trigger and then walks off] Sanderson: Let it alone, sir. He hasn’t eaten in a few days.


Apocalypse Now

I loved this movie from the first time I saw it some time in the 1980’s.

Nominated for 8 Academy Awards, this classic and compelling Vietnam War epic stars Martin Sheen as Captain Willard, who is sent on a dangerous and mesmerizing odyssey into Cambodia to assassinate a renegade American Colonel named Kurtz (Marlon Brando), who has succumbed to the horrors of war and barricaded himself in a remote outpost. Also stars Robert Duvall, Laurence Fishburne, Dennis Hopper and Harrison Ford.

Favorite Quote: Chef: Why do all you guys sit on your helmets?
Soldier: So we don’t get our balls blown off.

I hope you enjoy these choices. These are some of my favorite movies.


All Quiet on the Western Front


I remember seeing it in 5th grade and 30 years later it still moves me.
One of the most powerful anti-war statements ever put on film, this gut-wrenching story concerns a group of friends who join the Army during World War I and are assigned to the Western Front, where their fiery patriotism is quickly turned to horror and misery by the harsh realities of combat. Director Lewis Milestone pioneered the use of the sweeping crane shot to capture a ghastly battlefield panorama of death and mud, and the cast, led by Lew Ayres, is terrific. It’s hard to pick a favorite scene