Americans have been celebrating Veterans Day since 1954. Created to honor those who put their lives on the line for their country, Veterans Day coincides with Armistice Day. On November 11, 1918, the World War I Allies and Germany signed an armistice to end hostilities on the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month." As a way to remember the sacrifice of so many, Hollywood has a vast collection of films and television series to show military appreciation. Here are a few shows and military movies to recall those who gave so much for our freedom. Watch On Demand, on Netflix, and on the American Heroes Channel.
This 2001 miniseries comes courtesy of Tom Hanks and Stephen Ambrose and follows the 101st Airborne Division from Operation Overlord to V-E Day. Based on real interviews with survivors of Easy Company, the fictionalized 10-part series offers a vivid look at the tragedy and triumphs infantry faced in World War II.
On the other side of the world, young Americans were fighting brutal battles in the Pacific Theater. The Pacific captures the terror and camaraderie on these tiny spits of land unknown to most Americans through a 10-part miniseries. From Guadalcanal to Iwo Jima to Okinawa, Stephen Spielberg covers it all in this compelling drama.
Looking back, it’s hard to imagine that this touching tale was released just a year after World War II ended. In this story, three veterans struggle to reintegrate back into civilian society. The emotionally raw film is worth a revisit.
It’s no question that filmmaker Ken Burns is unmatched in documenting and preserving history. He’s done it time and again with documentaries such as Baseball, The Civil War, The Roosevelts, and Jackie Robinson. But his most recent masterpiece is his 10-part series, The Vietnam War, co-directed with Lynn Novick. Using interviews with survivors, Burns and Novick have reexamined one of the most chilling portions of American history.
Veterans often say that what compelled them to fight on was their comrades in arms. Memphis Belle shows the youthful closeness of men who relied on each other to make it home. Chock full of stars like John Lithgow, Matthew Modine, Tate Donovan, Harry Connick, Jr., and Sean Astin, the cast carries this hard-to-believe story to its finish.
World War II’s Normandy Invasion comes to life in Steven Spielberg’s 1998 opus. A young Matt Damon plays Private James Ryan, a soldier who, unbeknownst to him, has lost two of his brothers in the war. Inspired by the story of the Sullivan brothers, the Army sends a squad of rangers to rescue Ryan. Noted for its vivid combat depictions, the powerful cast brings the horrors of war to life.
This suspenseful Oscar-winning film about the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940 gives the audience a taste of the anxiety that would fill soldiers not knowing if they’d escape this encirclement. From the cockpit of spitfires to the surf of the English Channel, this put viewers in a front seat of war.
This military documentary series from HISTORY Vault uses rare footage shot by Vietnam soldiers in action that has been digitally restored to high definition. When paired with first-hand accounts from thirteen soldiers and narration by Michael C. Hall, the six-part series brings a never-before-seen look at the Vietnam War.
History buffs will love this series from the American Heroes Channel about the men and women who survived World War II. Featuring first-hand accounts, the in-depth retelling of some of the key moments of the Second World War — from Pearl Harbor to D-Day — bring a truly human perspective to its stories.
From the National Geographic Channel comes the story of the Charlie Company, one of the last combat companies to be drafted and sent to Vietnam. The two-hour documentary gives an honest insight into the actual events of the Vietnam War thanks to interviews with surviving members of the Charlie Company on firsthand and restored archival footage.
Restrepo is considered one of the most accurate documentary depictions of the ongoing Afghan conflicts. American journalist Sebastian Junger and British photojournalist Tim Hetherington are embedded in the deadly Korengal Valley with the Second Platoon, B Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. The chilling film won the Grand Jury Prize for best documentary at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.
During Veterans and Military Families Month, consider watching one of these films and remembering those who have risked their lives to serve our country. Xfinity honors and thanks our servicemembers and their families. Shop for Xfinity deals especially for military families.