‘Saving Private Ryan’ (1998)
When Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece first premiered, the veterans who actually stormed the beach on D-Day said the movie got it right. Spielberg recreated the World War II beach battle so realistically that watching the movie was like living through history as it happened, giving civilians a small taste of what war is really like. The filmmakers aimed to reproduce historic details with painstaking accuracy right down to the tanks and weapons. Tom Hanks portrays Captain Miller, an English teacher by trade who’s tasked with finding and returning the last surviving Ryan brother home to his mom. After gut-wrenching battles, Miller tells Matt Damon (as Private Ryan) to “earn this.” It’s a message for us all, as are the 16 military movie quotes that will fill you with adrenaline.
‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’ (1942)
James Cagney’s charisma as a song and dance man shines in this classic musical set in the early days of World War II. Cagney plays real life Broadway legend George M. Cohan, known for penning the beloved tune “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” Musical highlights also include “Over There” and “It’s a Grand Old Flag.” The Broadway numbers show the pageantry and opulence of military uniforms and formations at their best. Stirring visuals, sparkling costumes, and epic set-pieces deliver patriotism galore. Cohan’s music captured the American spirit at the time, and the film shows exactly how music can unite us. When Cagney joins the marching soldiers at the end and sings the rousing tune (“prepare, say a prayer,”), you might just find yourself singing along as well. While you’re wathing, check out our 25 favorite military cartoons of all time.