Top Movies: In honor of Memorial Day

Memorial Day graphic

Memorial Day is Monday, May 31, and in honor of those who have fought and continue to fight for their country, we at Disc Dish offer our pick of 10 great war movies from the past 10 decades of American filmmaking.


Birth of a Nation (1915)
D.W. Griffith’s seminal silent saga presents to us the Civil War and the accompanying growing pains—often quite violent and ugly—that created our country.
Available on DVD from Kino


The Big Parade (1925)
King Vidor’s silent World War I study follows enlisted American rich kid John Gilbert’s coming of age as his tour of duty takes him to a foxhole of France’s front.
Used VHS copies available online


The Dawn Patrol (1938)
Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone lead a squadron of British fighter pilots in life-or-death WWI missions in this classic action adventure.
Available on DVD from Warner


Sergeant York (1941)
Based on a true story, this sentimental favorite finds backwoods sharpshooter Gary Cooper trying to give peace a chance–until he joins the WWI fracas, captures 100+ German combatants and becomes one of America’s great war heroes.
Available on DVD from Warner

The Bridge on the River Kwai movie scene

The Bridge on the River Kwai


The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
Prisoner-of-war Alec Guinness and his men will build the strongest bridge they can for their Japanese captors, William Holden and his commando team be damned, in David Lean’s World War II classic.
Available on DVD from Sony


The Great Escape (1963)
Allied POWs scheme to tunnel out of a Nazi prison camp with the help of an all-star cast led by James Garner, Charles Bronson, James Coburn and Steve McQueen and his barbed wire fence-jumping ‘61 Triumph TR6 Trophy.
Available on DVD from MGM/Fox


Apocalypse Now (1979)
Francis Coppola’s surreal Vietnam epic capture the world’s first rock’n’roll war as a perverse, extravaganza designed for armchair viewers who watched its updates on TV.
Available on DVD from Paramount

Platoon movie scene with Charlie Sheen



Platoon (1986)
Former enlisted man Oliver Stone drops us into the jungle for his acclaimed grunts-eye view of the Vietnam War.
Available on DVD from MGM/Fox


A Midnight Clear (1992)
Fresh talents Gary Sinise, Ethan Hawke, John C. McGinley, Kevin Dillon and Frank Whaley are American G.I.s who put aside their differences with their German enemies for a Christmas celebration in Keith Gordon’s little-seen WWII drama.
Available on DVD from 101 Distribution


The Hurt Locker (2008)
From embedded journalist Mark Boal’s 2004 account of the Iraq War comes Kathryn Bigelow’s Oscar-winning day-to-day account of the lives of members in the U.S. Army’s bomb disposal unit.
Available on DVD and Blu-ray from Summit

About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.