Honoring Our Veterans: Our Favorite Movies about Vets
Ninety-two years ago President Woodrow Wilson decreed that November 11 would be a day to honor the armistice signed between the Allied forces of WWI, in addition to honoring the fallen soldiers who brought an end to the war. In 1954, Congress amended the day to be called Veterans Day, as a tribute to all those who have served.
To honor the day, here are Art Attack's favorite movies dedicated to veterans.
The Deer Hunter
Controversial for its time, The Deer Hunter focuses on a group of steelworkers in Pittsburgh and their harrowing time in Vietnam. The movie won five Academy Awards and scared the bejesus out of people with its legendary Russian roulette scene.
Born on the Fourth of July Tom Cruise, in one of his best roles to date, portrays real-life Vietnam vet Ron Kovic. After becoming paralyzed in combat, Cruise returns to a very different hometown than the one he left, and as a completely different person. The Manchurian Candidate (1962) A Communist conspiracy plot, a cutthroat performance by Angela Lansbury, hypnotization by playing cards and Old Blue Eyes Sinatra make this (original) film feel like you've walked into a scary episode of The Twilight Zone.
Gran Torino Clint Eastwood directs and stars in this film about an embittered, racist Korean War veteran who befriends a Hmong brother and sister team who awaken his good spirits and change his life. Eastwood is so good as a crotchety old man you can almost feel an aura of "get off my lawn" emitting off his body, especially in the scene where he tells a gang of Hmong kids to get off his lawn.
Slaughterhouse-Five It might not be fair to include this as a best film, since it is really a best novel. Based on author Kurt Vonnegut's book of the same title, the film version stays very true to the book's sentiment and feel of a World War II veteran who jumps in and out of periods of his life in no particular order. The movie was released in 1972, so it has that delicious '70s feel to it, especially noticeable when the main character finds himself on the alien planet of Tralfamadore. Sounds bizarre? That's because it is.
Jacob's Ladder Tim Robbins returns to his "normal" life after being deployed to Vietnam to find that things have gone a little haywire on him. Is he dreaming, is he crazy or was he drugged by the military in an experimental chemical warfare division? We've seen the movie multiple times and we're not even sure ourselves.
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