5 Movies to Watch This Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day is a time for reflection, gratitude, and remembrance. The men and women who sacrifice their lives on a daily basis for our freedom and the very principles of this great country deserve so much more than just one day. But we’ll make the most of the one given to us. To gain a greater understanding of the sacrifices of our military heroes who brought forth and preserve the “new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal”, to quote Abraham Lincoln, we have a few suggestions. First, thank a veteran. Secondly, gather with loved ones. Thirdly, watch movies that capture the spirit of service, bravery, and patriotism of our country’s bravest citizens. Here are five movies that are perfect for commemorating Memorial Day.

Parental Note: These movies are not appropriate for young children. Please use your own discretion.

The Patriot (2000)

The first on the list features the war that started it all. Starring Mel Gibson and directed by Roland Emmerich, “The Patriot” is set during the American Revolutionary War.  The story follows Benjamin Martin, a farmer turned militia leader, as he fights for freedom and justice against the backdrop of colonial America fighting for liberty. The film’s inspiring portrayal of sacrifice, resilience, and the fight for independence resonates deeply with the themes of Memorial Day, helping us to remember those who gave their lives for what they believed in.

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Steven Spielberg’s iconic war drama follows a group of U.S. soldiers during World War II as they embark on a dangerous mission to find and bring home Private James Ryan—the last of the Ryan siblings. Ryan’s three brothers have been killed in combat, prompting the higher ups to enact a Sole Survivor-like clause and bring Ryan home to his mother. The film’s intense battle scenes and heartfelt exploration of sacrifice make it a fitting tribute to fallen soldiers.

American Sniper (2014)

Based on the autobiography of Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, “American Sniper” portrays Kyle’s experiences while serving in Iraq. Directed by Clint Eastwood, the film offers a gripping look at the challenges faced by soldiers on the front lines and the toll war takes on individuals and their loved ones.

Lone Survivor (2013)

In director Peter Berg’s captivating film, we follow the true story of Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell. “Lone Survivor” recounts a mission gone tragically wrong in Afghanistan, and highlights the courage, brotherhood, and sacrifice of the men who served together, honoring their memory and the bonds that unite them.

Black Hawk Down (2001)

Directed by Ridley Scott, “Black Hawk Down” recounts the harrowing true story of a U.S. military operation gone awry in Somalia. The film captures the chaos, bravery, and camaraderie of soldiers as they face the overwhelming odds in the heat of battle.

Each movie offers a poignant reminder of the courage, resilience, and commitment of our military heroes. Though a small, and perhaps trivial undertaking, watching these films can be a humbling experience that recenters your perspective this Memorial Day. We will never fully understand everything our Army, Navy, Airforce, Marines, and Coast Guard members go through, but through these well-told and often true stories, we can broaden our appreciation and attempt to thoroughly honor the memory of those who have served and sacrificed for our country—ensuring their legacy is never forgotten.