10 War Films That Will Make You Want to Hug a Veteran

Jenny Erikson | Nov 11, 2015 Movies

In addition to thanking your friends and/or family members who have served this Veterans Day (scroll through your Facebook friends -- it's more likely than not that you know a soldier, or at least know someone who has been a part of military life), why don't you turn off Scandal or Empire for a night and watch a war movie to honor our vets instead?

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Here are some of the best movies to pop in when you want to feel proud of the amazing things our military does every day. Actors may play the parts, but there are brave men and women out there doing this in real life.

Thanks, guys and gals, not just on Veterans Day, but every day.


Image via Archive Photos/Stringer/Getty Images

  • 'The Deer Hunter' (1978)


    This five-time Academy Award winner is about the effect of the Vietnam War on residents of a small town in industrial Pennsylvania. It's become infamous for its "Russian Roulette" scene, and stars Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, and Christopher Walken.

  • 'Good Morning, Vietnam' (1987)


    No one wanted to be in Saigon in 1965, but a radio DJ on Armed Forces Radio Service (played by Robin Williams) made it just a little more bearable for the soldiers in the movie. Plus it was loosely based on a real story!

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  • 'Legends of the Fall' (1994)


    Three brothers grow up in the last frontier in Montana and their lives are interrupted by World War I. And a woman. But that always seems to be the case. Guys will love the wild west and the war; gals will love Brad Pitt as Tristan. Okay, guys will love Tristan too. He took a claw off a bear, people.

  • 'Gran Torino' (2008)


    Before you get upset -- I know this isn't technically a war movie. But it's a great one about a tough old vet who shows the impact of what it means to sacrifice. It's one of Clint Eastwood's bests, in my humble opinion.

  • 'G.I. Jane' (1997)


    So what if it was critically panned? Demi Moore shaves her head, smokes cigars, and proves she can hang with the big boys. If that doesn't inspire you to respond with a polite "no thank you" to the next school fund-raising request made of you, I don't know what will.

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  • 'Saving Private Ryan' (1998)


    This critically acclaimed, Steven Spielberg–produced World War II drama is set on the shores of Normandy and stars Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, Vin Diesel, Giovanni Ribisi, Adam Goldberg, Jeremy Davies, and Matt Damon. What more could you possibly want?

  • 'Born on the Fourth of July' (1989)


    Tom Cruise plays a Vietnam War vet paralyzed from the waist down after his service. Deeply affected by his service, he hits rock bottom before turning his life around to become an activist. This one was based on the true story of Ron Kovic, who also cowrote the film.

  • 'Flags of Our Fathers' (2006)


    Another one from Clint Eastwood, this film focuses on the men who were depicted in the historic World War II photo of soldiers raising the American flag over Iwo Jima.

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  • 'Inglourious Basterds' (2009)


    So this one is completely not historically accurate, but who doesn't love reimagining the Americans help kill the crap out of Hitler? Plus there's Brad Pitt. Just saying.

  • 'Zero Dark Thirty' (2012)


    Jessica Chastain plays a CIA operative who works behind the scenes gathering intelligence (many times through controversial means) that ultimately leads to the capture and killing of Osama Bin Laden.