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Movies to Watch on Memorial Day

Saving Private Ryan

Tom Hanks leads a group of soldiers behind enemy lines right after the landing at Normandy, in search of a paratrooper whose brothers have all been killed in action. Often touted as one of the most realistic war movies ever made, this film takes an emotional toll to watch.

Glory

Matthew Broderick plays the Colonel who leads the United States' first all-black volunteer company in the American Civil War. These brave soldiers fight prejudice within their own army, as well as combat from the enemy, while their leader faces ostracism from society simply from associating with his troops.

Born on the Fourth of July

Based on a true story, this film portrays Ron Kovic, a gung-ho soldier eager to serve his country in Viet Nam. After being paralyzed during the fighting, he comes home and reexamines his views, becoming an anti-war human rights activist after he finds out that his government has seemingly forgotten him after coming home wounded.

Platoon

A young soldier is faced with the realities of guerilla warfare and the horrors that war encompasses after being sent to Vietnam. Directed by Oliver Stone, this is one of Charlie Sheen's truly great performances.

M*A*S*H*

This cultural icon became a long-running and much loved television series, but the TV show toned down the serious side of the original film. It is a snarky look at the realities behind army bumbling, the environments enlisted people and officers are forced to live in, and the relationships that are built between people when forced together by the circumstances of war. Although it's billed as a comedy, this movie is a serious insider's look at the Korean War front lines.