Since Memorial Day is right around the corner, I thought I could share with you all the best movies to watch on this important holiday. If you’re feeling patriotic or missing a loved one, these movies may be what you need!

To all the men and women who have served or are currently serving, thank you for your service. This post is dedicated to the armed forces who have fought to protect this nation, and tragically lost their life. Like Justin Moore said, “This is for the ones who didn’t make it back home.”

First Blood:

Sylvester Stallone stars as John Rambo, a veteran from the Vietnam War, comes back to the States only to be treated like he’s the enemy. He struggles to differentiate reality and his past, mainly stemming from his PTSD. At the end, when speaking with his former commander, Rambo exposes a side of veterans most people are unfamiliar with, or barely know of. He breaks down remembering all the things he saw and the friends he lost. This movie’s ending is certainly a tear-jerker. Perhaps not for the kids, as there’s a lot of cursing in it, but definitely one the watch on Memorial Day.

Rambo First Blood Part Two:

The second installment of the Rambo series was almost as good as the first. In this movie you see how the U.S. government really think of our men who served. Rambo decides to show the men in charge the people they’re forgetting are the reason they exist. Rambo, played by Stallone, says something at the end of the movie that rings true today: “I want, what they want, and every other guy who came over here and spilled his guts and gave everything he had, wants! For our country to love us as much as we love it! That’s what I want!”

American Sniper:

The Clint Eastwood movie starring Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle. This movie was revered and loved by many. Despite the popularity in box office, critics did point out how the movie ignored Chris’ failings, like dealing with the balancing home and the war going on in his head. Many said he was not properly shown on the big screen. It’s up to you to decide what you think of the movie.


Angelina Jolie has received her fair share of criticisms, but this movie (surprisingly) stayed almost true to the original story. The only part she left out, upsetting many viewers, was when the main character, Louis Zamperini, got his faith. Aside from that, it is a great story on perseverance and determination to beat the odds you’re facing.

The Great Escape:

This is an older movie (1963), but still is an intriguing story of men trapped in a prison camp during WWII, fighting to escape. It’s one you have to pay close attention to, otherwise you’ll lose the plot. Ironically, in my leadership class at UF, my professor had each group in the class watch a movie then identity leadership traits. This was my group’s movie. I didn’t think I’d like it so much, but it was pretty good!

Top Gun:

One of Tom Cruise’s most famous movies. A great classic about learning to humble yourself and see some fighter pilot action. If you want a laid back, not so serious movie to watch on Memorial Day, this is it!

Black Hawk Down:

Certainly a more graphic movie depicting what happens when things don’t go as planned. The movie shows the army people fighting for their lives after their helicopter, which was bringing supplies to the people of Somalia in 1993, were shot down. From there, they fight to survive. Another movie that is pretty graphic (in terms of goriness) and probably not suitable for children, but I’d recommend watching still! If you’ve seen Tears of the Sun with Bruce Willis, it has a similar theme.

12 Strong:

Based on the true story of the 12 men who took the first steps in fighting back against the Taliban. This one captivated you. I couldn’t stop watching, and I know you won’t be able to either. You have to see what happens next!

Hacksaw Ridge:

The Mel Gibson movie was a HUGE hit at the box office. When the premiere was released, the cast received a 10-minute standing ovation. This movie discusses a unique approach to fighting, as the main star of the movie (played by Andrew Garfield) decides to fight, not with guns, but with his words and actions. This was also based on a true story. He was tested by everyone in his platoon, yet he still proved that actions speak louder. Great one to watch on this holiday!

Hope you enjoy these movies and finish them feeling a bit more patriotic!

Hannah is a graduate from the University of Florida, where she studies Business Administration with a minor in Communication Studies. Hannah likes to write about politics on her blog (Young Patriot Rising), drink coffee, listen to country music and Bollywood, and watch Sylvester Stallone movies. 

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