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!