Memorial Day Special: Pictorial Tribute to U.S. Soldiers in the Movies

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The final Monday of May is a Memorial Day holiday here, which is a day to remember the fallen men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. As a U.S. resident, I’m definitely grateful of the service of Military men and women. Freedom is definitely NOT free and the people serving in the various U.S. military branches – Navy, Army, Air Force and the Marines – risk their lives to protect their country and its citizens.

So today, as I reflect on their bravery and dedication, I thought I’d do a pictorial tribute to memorable portrayal of American soldiers in the movies from various era and genres. Obviously I have not seen too many war/military-themed movies so these are meant to only be a sampling of military roles represented.

So here are (roughly) 27 of them, simply to coincide with today’s date of May 27:

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Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith) – ‘Independence Day’
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Sergeant First Class William James (Jeremy Renner) & Sergeant JT Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) – ‘The Hurt Locker’
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Lt. Commander Ron Hunter (Denzel Washington) & Capt. Frank Ramsey (Gene Hackman) – ‘Crimson Tide’
Major "Dutch" Schaefer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) – 'Predator'
Major “Dutch” Schaefer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) – ‘Predator’
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Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) & Colonel Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones) – ‘Captain America’
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U.S. Army Private Witt (Jim Caviezel) – ‘The Thin Red Line’
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Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) & Lt. Dan (Gary Sinise) – ‘Forrest Gump’
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Marine Sergeant Ron Kovic (Tom Cruise) – ‘Born on the Fourth of July’
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John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) – ‘Rambo’
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Captain Karen Walden (Meg Ryan) & Lt. Colonel Serling (Denzel Washington) – ‘Courage Under Fire’
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Gen. ‘Buck’ Turgidson (George C. Scott) – ‘Dr. Strangelove’
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US Army helicopter pilot Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) – ‘Source Code’
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LT Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise), Col. Nathan Jessup (Jack Nicholson), Lt. Cdr. JoAnne Galloway (Demi Moore) – ‘A Few Good Men’
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Navy Commander Shears (William Holden) – ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’
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Major Archie Gate (George Clooney), Sergeant First Class Troy Barlow (Mark Wahlberg), Staff Sergeant Chief Elgin (Ice Cube) – ‘Three Kings’
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Gen. Frank Savage (Gregory Peck) – ‘Twelve O’Clock High’
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Sgt. Emil Foley (Louis Gossett Jr.) & Officer Zack Mayo (Richard Gere) – ‘An Officer and a Gentleman’

Now, I made an exception with this last pick. Even though I have not seen Saving Private Ryan yet, but everything I’ve read (including this fine review by good friend Mark) about this Steven Spielberg masterpiece suggests that Tom Hanks as Captain Miller is more than worthy to be included.

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Happy Memorial Day to my fellow Americans!


Now, which other U.S. military movie characters would YOU add to the list? Let me know in the comments!

4th of July Music Break: Captain America End Title Sequence

Happy Fourth of July to my American friends!

Hope you get today’s off from work and get to spend sometime celebratin’ Independence Day. Do you watch certain movies for the Fourth? Something with a patriotic theme perhaps? Well, instead of featuring one of those movies like I did last year, I figure why not do a music break instead?

The one thing that immediately spring to mind is this awesome retro end-credits war-propaganda sequence for Captain America. One certainly doesn’t get more patriotic than that guy, right? I mean his entire outfit is the American flag! 😀

The rousing, old-school music by Alan Silvestri fits perfectly for the tone of this film. It’s brimming with enthusiasm, valor and everything Steve Rogers stood for and aspire to be. It’s also one of those iconic theme you can easily hum to and almost adds a certain spring in your step as you hum it, too.

That end credits sequence is certainly one of the best I’ve ever seen and it was such a wonderful complement to the movie. The Art of the Title did a feature of it and interviewed the creative director, Steve Viola, from Method Design (formerly Rock!it Studio) hired by Marvel. He mentioned that director Joe Johnston, who began his career as a concept designer and art director himself, was heavily involved in the process. Even producer Kevin Feige was involved in selecting the war propaganda posters to use in the sequence.


Hope you enjoy the music and video! Now tell me, what’s YOUR favorite movie opening/end credits sequence?

Weekend Viewing Roundup & My Top Fave Summer Movies

So the weekend just flew by… poof, that was fast! It’s actually been pretty hectic, back to the usual after a super mellow one last weekend as we recovered from our holiday. We saw Rango Friday night and yesterday, after a hot and humid day visiting a local art fair, we cooled off in a movie theater to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

I’ll have the reviews later this week but first I just want to share my thoughts of the Summer movies I’ve seen so far. It’s interesting that the movies which trailers didn’t impress me initially end up being the ones I enjoy more, ok with the exception of X-Men: First Class as I like both the trailer and the movie itself. The one that surprises me the most is the ‘Ape’ movie as I never had much interest in the ‘franchise’ if you will, never having seen the original with Charlton Heston. But after seeing this, I’m now curious to see it and I’ve added it to my Netflix queue. My husband said we actually rented the Tim Burton version a while go, but I completely forgot about it (maybe I fell asleep watching that? ahah).

Turns out that the Apes prequel to the 1968 film definitely um, rises to the occasion with $54 million, making it the box office winner this weekend. Per box office mojo, despite narrowly beating The Smurfs last weekend with $36 mil, Cowboys & Aliens fell to third place this time, losing out to the little blue people by about $5 mil (Ouch, that’s got to hurt Jon Favreau!)

Well, if I had to rank the Summer big-budget movies I managed to see this year (those released from May until now), it’d look like this:

  1. X-Men: First Class
  2. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  3. THOR
  4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II
  5. Captain America

I’m kind of going back on forth between #4 and #5, I think I like both of them equally so both Captain America and HP 7.2 could easily be a tie. The only other movie I want to see in August is The Debt, which is scheduled to open on 8/31 but hopefully that is a wide release instead of a limited one.


Well, what did you end up seeing this weekend, folks? And how would you rank the Summer films you’ve seen this year?