With Memorial Day upon us, it's a good time to reflect on the sacrifices our armed forces have made for our freedom throughout our country's history. Here are some of Hollywood's heroic portrayals through the years.
Saving Private Ryan
A team of American soldiers, led by Tom Hanks, is sent into the cauldron of WWII on a mission to rescue one man, whose other three brothers have already been killed in battle.
Twelve O'Clock High
Gregory Peck stars in this WWII air force drama as a stern combat veteran whose job is to transform his unit of flyers. It's well known as an accurate depiction of the psychological effects of war on even the strongest of soldiers.
Born on the Fourth of July
Based on a true story, Tom Cruise stars as Ron Kovic, a Vietnam vet who, after returning injured to an ambivalent, often-hostile homeland, speaks out courageously against the war.
Black Hawk Down
An ensemble cast retells the Battle of Mogadishu in 1993, in which elite soldiers caught in a violent battle against Somali warlords fight to get each other out the line of fire.
Zero Dark Thirty
The hunt for Osama Bin Laden is chronicled here, from the earliest stages of tracking him, to Seal Team 6's heroic siege on the al-Qaeda leader's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Matthew Broderick is assigned to lead the 54th Massachusetts Voluntary Infantry, the first all-African-American regiment in the Civil War. And in the process, "freedom" comes to be defined in many different ways.
Drums Along the Mohawk
In this John Ford film from 1939, an American colonist couple (Claudette Colbert and Henry Fonda) must defend their homestead, enduring attacks by the British army and Native American tribes.
Flags of Our Fathers
WWII heroes hoist a flag atop the Japanese island of Iwo Jima after a particularly costly battle. A photo is taken. Years later, that photo has become a symbol for U.S. victory, but those who raised it are also traumatized by the experience.
George C. Scott stars in one of the best-known roles in Hollywood history as George S. Patton, a powerful U.S. general whose mark on WWII is a patchwork of passion, patriotism and egomaniacal drive.
The Great Escape
The Germans think they have finally created an escape-proof prison camp. But the heroic allied prisoners, led by Steve McQueen, make it their mission to find a way out.
The Dirty Dozen
Heroes come in all sorts. Here, they're in the form of 12 soldiers convicted of felonies who are turned into a commando squad on a suicide mission behind enemy lines on D-Day, WWII.
The Bridge on the River Kwai
Legendary director David Lean tells a story of heroism during WWII, as American POW William Holden plots his escape from a Japanese prison.
The Hurt Locker
The heroism of real war is rarely cut and dried. Here, Jeremy Renner stars as a U.S. sergeant in Iraq whose arrogance and recklessness are both at odds with and complementary to his skills as an explosives expert.
The movie that inspired the legendary TV series, MASH is set during the Korean War, where brave surgeons, nurses and admin staff must see the humor in their circumstances in order to survive the horrors of war.
Good Morning, Vietnam
You don't always have to be on the front lines to be a hero. Robin Williams stars as a DJ in Vietnam who creates a rebellious, irreverent radio broadcast that angers the establishment but keeps spirits high among the enlisted men.