It is Memorial Day and in honor of all who have given their blood, sweat, tears, and life to give us freedom I wanted to dedicate this list of my favorite war films.
10. Where Eagles Dare- Action-packed Alistair McClean-penned rescue mission with perfect pairing of Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood infiltrating an Alpine German stronghold. Never gets old!
9. Patton- Excellent performance by George C. Scott who famously refused the Oscar for best actor in this biography of the toughest general of WWII.
8. Apocalypse Now- Francis Ford Coppola's masterpiece about the madness of war has great performances by Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall and Martin Sheen. The "Flight of the Valkries" sequence is still one of the best in movie history.
7. Tora, Tora, Tora!- Don't waste your time watching Pearl Harbor, this is the best and most accurate film version of the December 7, 1941 attack. With both the Japanese and American accounts of the day this is an excellent historical piece of filmmaking even though it may bring tears to your eyes.
6. We Were Soldiers- After reading the book I was even more impressed with this film and it's honest portrayal of the United States' first combat in Vietnam. This is the first film about Vietnam that does justice to the brave young men who died on that battlefield.
5. All Quiet On The Western Front- Best Picture 1930. A stark view of WWI from the German side, this sobering anti-war film is among the best ever made.
4. Sergeant York- Gary Cooper is excellent as WWI's greatest hero. A wonderful story from beginning to end and another perfect example of valor and the sometime necessity of war.
3. Glory- The best film by director Edward Zwick with an Oscar winning performance from Denzel Washington and other great ones from Matthew Broderick and Morgan Freeman. Powerful battle scenes show The Civil War in all of it's gruesomeness. This one moves me every time I see it.
2. The Longest Day- Like Tora, Tora, Tora!, this historically accurate film shows all sides (German, British, and American) during the invasion of Normandy, D-Day, on June 6, 1944. An international cast which included John Wayne, Richard Burton, Henry Fonda, and Robert Mitchum makes this one of the best war films ever made.
1. Saving Private Ryan- What has quickly come to be regarded as the best war film of all-time, Saving Private Ryan puts the viewer in the middle of WWII like no other film, because every shot is from eye-level. Besides Schindler's List, this is Spielberg's greatest work and in my opinion should be mandatory viewing for high school seniors to understand what our "Greatest Generation" endured and accomplished to give us our freedom.
God bless all of our veterans and all of those men and women serving our country today! Happy Memorial Day!