By Brig. Gen. Creighton W. Abrams, Jr., USA-Ret., Executive Director, The Army Historical Foundation
Rick Atkinson, the brilliant Pulitzer-winning author of The Liberation Trilogy on the U.S. Army in World War II, says that war reveals character. And revealing character is what most movies are all about, so it should come as no surprise that there have been a lot of war movies made over the years.
What astounds me, however, is finding out that 23 movies about war or which use war as an important backdrop have won the best picture Oscar, and that doesn’t count all the other very good war movies that were nominated or won the Oscar for best director, actor, cinematography, writing, etc. Here are those 23:
Saving Private Ryan (WWII), Patton (WWII), The Deer Hunter (Vietnam), Platoon (Vietnam), Mrs. Miniver (British family survives bombings and other exigencies), Lawrence of Arabia (WWI), Casablanca (1942—WWII is backdrop), The Best Years of Our Lives (WWII returning veterans), All Quiet On the Western Front (WWI), Wings (WW I), Gone With the Wind (Civil War), From Here to Eternity (WWII), The Bridge On the River Kwai (WWII), Ben-Hur (sea battle is key plot element; primary antagonist, Messala, is a Roman Tribune/Commander), Dances With Wolves (Civil War and Indian Wars), Schindler’s List (WWII as backdrop to the Holocaust—Schindler is war profiteer who has a conscience), Forest Gump (Vietnam), The Last Emperor (WWII, Chinese Civil War), Braveheart (Scottish War of Independence), The English Patient (WWII), Gladiator (opens with huge battle scene, the gladiator is also a Roman General), The Hurt Locker (Iraq, an explosive ordnance disposal unit) and The King’s Speech (World War II is key plot element).
Despite the greatness of those 23 winners, my Top Ten list includes some others as well as a few of the above, so here goes (in no particular order): +Continue Reading
Former Navy SEAL and Lone Survivor author Marcus Luttrell is one the most genuinely good guys we’ve had a chance to interview around here, someone who’s determined to use his celebrity to honor the memory of the men who died in Operation Redwings. That humility was an obvious influence and inspiration for everyone who worked on the Lone Survivor movie.
There are still a lot of folks who want to hear what Marcus has to say and, rather than just stick with the corporate speaking route, he’s created the Patriot Tour to highlight the stories of other notable men and women who’ve served their country. +Continue Reading
First-time Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Hannah Ferguson revealed that her parents met while both served in the Marines. Dad was a sniper and mom was a drill instructor.
Growing up in small town San Angelo, TX, Ferguson long had aspirations to model for SI. She told Reuters, “My Dad has Sports Illustrated calendars in his shop. I would always flip through them and look at them and daydream about one day being able to do that. I never thought it would come true.” +Continue Reading
One week ago, T.J. Oshie from Team USA hockey was a good NHL player for the St. Louis Blues. Since his incredible performance (four shootout goals in six attempts) in the USA’s dramatic overtime victory over Russia in the Sochi Olympics, Oshie has become the country’s most famous Olympic hockey player since the 1980 Miracle on Ice team’s Mike Eruzione.
He’s having one of those great sports moments, but Oshie has won even more fans because he knows it’s just that: a sports moment. When a reporter asked him what if felt like to be a hero, the player quickly replied, “No. The real heroes wear camo. I’m not one of them.” +Continue Reading
Louie Zamperini competed for the USA in the 1936 Olympics and later served as an Air Force Lieutenant during World War II. After his plane was shot down over the Pacific, Zamperini survived 47 days at sea before spending three years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. His incredible story was chronicled in Laura Hillenbrand’s bestseller Unbroken and that book is now the basis for a new movie directed by Angelia Jolie and written by Joel and Ethan Coen. +Continue Reading
Kelli Serio served as a Petty Officer in the Navy. Since her honorable discharge in 2012, she’s started school in California and found a new role as a model for Pin-Ups for Vets. +Continue Reading
Here at Military.com, we get a lot of pitches from people who have events or projects that “honor the military.” An alarming number of those folks are just looking to make a buck or have some overblown vision that end up paying tribute to nothing or no one in particular.
Finnigan’s War, a new documentary about Korean War vets by filmmaker Connor Timmis, is a really nice exception to that trend. Timmis’ grandfather (the “Finningan” of the title) served in Korea and he set out to interview vets about their experiences during the conflict. +Continue Reading
by Daniel Reeder
Betabrand is a clothing store in San Francisco. Apparently a couple of deployed TACPs want to win Betabrand’s 2ND Annual Mr. Valentine’s Day contest. If they win, their faces will be painted on the side of the company’s delivery van. If they lose, it will be the face of some hipster in front of the Eiffel Tower. I, George Washington and every bald eagle that ever lived want you to go vote for the two TACPs. +Continue Reading
First Lt. Alicia Quaco is a 2010 graduate of the Air Force Academy who’s stationed in Seattle and works to manage aircraft production for the USAF.
She’s also making her Super Bowl debut this Sunday as a member of the Seattle Seahawks’ Sea Gals cheerleading squad when her team takes on the Denver Broncos. +Continue Reading
Our favorite movie Marine (and real-life Vietnam vet) R. Lee Ermey returns to TV this April with Saving Private K-9 on the Sportsman Channel. The show will profile some of the 2,500 dogs that military and law enforcement.
Ermey joined the Sportsman Channel in Las Vegas for the SHOT Show (that’s the annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade show for our three readers who’ve never heard of it) to announce the show. (Ermey was also there as a spokesman for Glock to talk about the new Glock 42 .380 pistol. Check out all our SHOT Show coverage on Military.com’s Kit Up! blog.) +Continue Reading