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8 Best Memorial Day Films To Watch This Year

Best Memorial Day Movies
Ghosts of War

Like every important holiday in the United States, we all understand how important Memorial Day is. The military has been serving the country for a long time and sometimes, the soldiers have even put their own lives at stake in order to protect their fellow men. Memorial Day, in that perspective, gives respect and homage they deserve to these fallen soldiers who died while serving their nation. This day specializes in remembering our late soldiers as well as reflect on our privileges of being free because we have their shoulders to count on. The last Monday of the month of May is celebrated as Memorial Day in the United States and it happened to fall on the 31st of May 2021 this year. As a cultural norm, people are often cited visiting the cemeteries as well as the memorials on this day. By doing so, the people portray their honor while mourning for their loved ones who have passed away while serving their country in the military of the United States.

Other cultural practices include placing a flag on the graves of military personnel while their graves lie peacefully in the national cemeteries. There is a lot of significance to this day in the United States as the summer unofficially begins from here. After President Abraham Lincoln, the first black President of the United States was assassinated, a Civil War started within the country. This resulted in a lot of deaths and to honor each of these people, Memorial Day came into existence. Now, if you are a huge supporter of this cause, what is better than watching some movies which remind us all about the fact that we are free because there are people on the border fighting for our safety. Thus, here we have wrapped up a list of films that will help you reflect on the lives of people we have lost. The fun fact is that you can watch all these on Netflix, thus, you do not have to look much far.

1. Saving Private Ryan

This film was released back in 1998 and showcases the horror of wars like no other. The film starts with an old man who goes on to visit the Normandy Cemetery along with his entire family. While being here, he is seen falling to his knees with emotion and at this moment, we all can feel the pain that he is carrying. This is the point where the film starts to unravel its story as a flashback in 1944. On this bright day, the American soldiers all set foot on a beach in Omaha while there is an invasion in the area. There were a variety of attempts to assault the former German officials and because of it, many wars were waged. And obviously, we know that where there is war, there is a meaningless loss of life. People who get disheartened easily are advised not to watch this tale because it will surely shatter your soul with the number of dead bodies that are put together in one single scene.

Saving Private Ryan mostly runs in the past events and describes the events that led to the present. There are a lot of themes involved with the main war genre kept at the top. The friendship part is pretty strong where we see the bond that Ryan, as well as Miller, make during their tenure in the army. But later in the film, Miller dies and Ryan’s heart is full of grief for his dear friend. The camera spans back to the present event where we see that Ryan is saluting the grave where Miller sleeps peacefully and remembering all the time they spent together with his wife. This is a very emotional film and you can not help but shed a tear or two at the end.

2. Fury

This is obviously a war film whose script has been penned down by David Ayer and stars actor Brad Pitt in the lead role. The main plot starts back in 1945 when the Western Allied Invasion of Germany meets against the Schutzstaffel resistance. The whole film develops through the battlefield as we see the setting where men progress through the war and develop their Amos for yet another set of fights which is going to rock their land. We then witness Don Wardaddy Collier who has been in so many wars in his career in the military, that he just knows how to win. He is the First Sergeant in the United States Army in the 2nd Armored Division. After looking at the current events, he commands his team to wage war against the opposite army thinking about how inevitable they have always been in the war. But what happens next will blow your mind because the Sergeant’s plan does not go as scheduled and they end up losing a lot of life than they initially thought they would.

Also, you guys should also keep in mind that there is just an insane amount of violence employed in this film which will subject your eyes to some serious war scenes. This might affect some people and if you are one of those, it is advised to neglect Fury. As the movie further goes by, we see that the group also goes in deeper, despite all the deaths, into the German lands while they try to take an aim at the youth soldiers taken into the army by Hitler. This situation too does not fall in their favor and the group falls deeper into the arms of defeat. Obviously, you can not expect to watch a war film without subjecting yourself to some level of mental trauma. But with Fury, it comes in abundance. I must say, you guys should watch this film along with trusted family members because you may find yourself crying during it.

3. 12 Strong

This film came out back in 2018 and stars actor Chris Hemsworth in its lead role. After completing this whole tale, you will find yourself stressing over the fact that the whole war and hate scenario is truly pointless and is unnecessary. The story starts with our character Mitch Nelson who is a captain at the United States Army at the Green Berets Operational Detachment Alpha 595. He gets a promotion and would have to move to another place along with his wife as well as a daughter where he will under the guidance of Lieutenant Colonel Bowers.

Soon enough, the war story starts taking shape, and the media, on the film, breaks out the news of terrorist attacks throughout the city. Thus, Nelson volunteers himself by keeping his life on the rack to lead the 595 teams into Afghanistan. Bowers is seen struggling with the decision and initially refuses to let such talented countrymen fall into the mouth of death. Although, after some of the consultation with his mates, Bowers agrees to Mitch to take 595 into command. This I the point where the story starts and is enough to give any person the chills they most probably have been avoiding. The film is all but highly emotional when we witness the death of our dear characters at the hands of terrorists and their attacks. It a great to reminisce the people who passed away on Memorial Day, you must watch 12 Strong.

4. Sand Castle

Sand Castle is a real-life movie that throws light on the aftermath that war leaves and how people get torn with the loss of lives. There is a lot of involvement of the Iraqi soldiers as the story goes by and we witness the entire army getting torn to pieces while fighting the opposite forces. This film came out back in 2017 and is about the Iraq war which happened in 2003. We witness a quite young civil affairs soldier with the Army Reserves who slams his hand inside the door of a Humvee just because he wanted to get sent home. As the story starts, we see that this guy enrolled in the military back in July of 2001 to get enough money for college. Sometime later, a cast appears on his arm, and thus, he is unsuccessful in the attempt to get home. Later, the army sends him over to Baghdad and during a battle, this guy named Matt Ocre witnesses just enough deaths of the people whom he knows, to melt his little heart.

Later when the war has come at a little peace than before, we see that Ocre as well as his group is given a task to go to the dangerous village of Baqubah in order to repair the broken water system. When they come to this village to do their work, they meet up with the Special Forces unit which is led by Captain Syverson. This is the point where the story starts and we see how young Ocre, with dreams and aspirations blooming in his eye once, has set his foot on a journey where anything could happen. The camera spans over all the hurdles he, as well as his team, had to go through when they are serving their time in a country far, far away. If you want to watch some film that will move your heart, I bet Sand Castle will do exactly that.

5. Forbidden Ground

This film came out back in 2013 and includes various themes related to war. It is an action and drama film that stars Johan Earl along with the many talented Australian actors. The timeline of this film is set at the backdrop of World War I. The plot of Forbidden Ground is all about three soldiers who served their time for Britain in World War I. They were placed for service in the western front back in 1916. Back when there was an abortive assault on the German Trenches, the three become trapped at a place called no man’s land and the night starts soon enough. As their troops are resting, attacks happen, and we see that one of the soldiers in their group gets injured quite badly and is in urgent need of medical care.

On the other hand, the place where they have made a camp is surely not safe and the other soldier knows this fact. They are well aware that if the group lingers here longer, huge artillery bombardments will start which will result in the death of their dear ones. This war film has a lot to offer along with the countless flashbacks which come to each soldier regarding the lives they have spent in England. There are various instances that make us understand how every person has their own share of lives that they have spent and now are all set to put that at stake just to serve their country. Forbidden Ground is hands down one of the best Memorial Day films if you are planning to watch.

6. Ghosts of War

If the title of the movie itself does not give a whole perspective of the war scenario, then I have no idea what will. This film came out back in 2020 and is set during the time of World War 2. This tale has been directed by Eric Bress and has a cast that is studded with stars. The main focus of the film is on the five American Soldiers who are commanded by their officials to go to a French Castle and hold it. This place was previously occupied by the Nazi high command. As for the genre of this film, we surely have war as well as action, but it comes along mixed with supernatural elements which will surely entertain you throughout the movie. If you are someone who wants to watch a Memorial Day-themed film but do not want it to be highly emotional, then Ghosts of War should be your top priority.

As it so happens, the five American who are staying at this French castle starts to experience some inexplicable events. It is when their reality becomes too hard to deal with and the horrors are worse than what they have seen on a battlefield. To find out more about what happened next with these five American Soldiers, you will have to watch the film which is available on Netflix.

7. Defiance

This film was released back in 2008 and has the war as its central theme like the rest of the films on this list. The timeline of this tale is set during the occupation of Belarus that was carried out by the Nazi government. The plot of the tale has been adopted from the 1993 novel that goes by Defiance: The Bielski Partisans and has been penned down by Nechama Tech. As for the lead role, we have actor Daniel Craig along with the other cast members. Now, the story focuses on a group that was led by Polish Jewish brothers who saved a lot of Jews located in Belarus while the Second World War was going on. These events started happening back in August of 1941 when the Nazi task forces were going through Eastern Europe and were killing off Jews.

Among these were the Polish Jewish brothers we just discussed. Their parents have been murdered by the local police who were given the order of killing Jews by the German occupiers of this land. This was when these three brothers flee the area and have promised to take revenge for the death of their parents. The three brothers then form their own group as they come across many other Polish Jewish members who have also escaped the area like them. This is where the journey of these three brothers starts and it is very interesting to see how creatively these three brothers avenge the death of their folks at the hand of German occupants.

8. Unbroken

This is a war film from America which released back in 2014. What makes this film even more special is that it has been directed as well as produced by actress Angelina Jolie. The major inspiration behind this movie lies in the hands of a nonfiction book written by Laura Hillenbrand which goes by the title Unbroken: A World War II Story. This story will truly take your heart and strangle it, till you can not breathe with the weight of your tears. Yes, I am not exaggerating when I say that this film is one of those tales which makes your heart so heavy it is hard to breathe. The plot is about an Olympian from the United States of America as well as a US Army officer named Louis Zamperini.

The story tells how Louis managed to survive in a raft for 47 days after his bomber broke down and landed abruptly in the ocean. This all happens during the Second World War. After spending almost 47 days on the water, he was captured by the Japanese Forces and was sent to a variety of prisoner of war camps. Louie was an excellent Olympic athlete who finished in 8th place during the 1936 Summer Olympics and sets his own record. Although, as we have already discussed before, his entire life turns around when he gets stuck on International Waters. He is seen surviving with the other two crew members and his mate, that is, Phil and Mac and they just float around on two inflatable rafts.

One of them dies when they were struck by the Japanese raft and later, the rest two, Louis and Phil were captured by the Japanese Sailors. They are being tortured and tormented by the Japanese forces who want to get information out of the two American men about the strategies that are being opted by their army to defeat the Japanese forces. But as the sailors get to understand that it is meaningless to ask them any questions because they know nothing, the Force decides to send the two men to Japan.

Instead of killing them off, the Japanese send them over to their island country and here, Phil and Louis are separated from each other to join different camps of POW. Life in these organizations is like hell on Earth for Louis as well as Phil. They get beaten up often by the higher executives and the men in charge. Later, we see that the government of the United States marks Louis as KIA and he also gets an opportunity to go back home by broadcasting a message. But when he refuses to flash anything that goes against his own countrymen. This movie portrays a typical relationship between the capturer and the captured and a classic Memorial Day watch.

Also read: Top 5 Films Like Interstellar You Should Never Miss

Written By

Preksha is the young blood of our company she always tries to keep everyone updated regarding what is happening in the world. She contributes content about TV Shows, Movies, and Music. You can reach out to her at

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