Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday in May. While it isn’t technically a day “celebrate”, it is a day on which those who died while in active military service are remembered. To all of these brave women and men, The Reel Godfather thanks you for your sacrifice. Out of respect for the memories of these individuals, I held off posting this article until late into the evening but I still wanted to run it on this special day. As this is a movie news and entertainment site after all, it’s list time again. Obviously with the Memorial Day holiday in mind, this list is all about military sacrifice. To cut down on the redundancy of so many other lists out there, these seven titles will only span the last five years. Enjoy.
American Sniper (2014)
U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) takes his sole mission — protect his comrades — to heart and becomes one of the most lethal snipers in American history. His pinpoint accuracy not only saves countless lives but also makes him a prime target of insurgents. Despite grave danger and his struggle to be a good husband and father to his family back in the States, Kyle serves four tours of duty in Iraq. However, when he finally returns home, he finds that he cannot leave the war behind.
Lone Survivor (2013)
In 2005 Afghanistan, Navy SEALs Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg), Michael Murphy (Taylor Kitsch), Danny Dietz (Emile Hirsch) and Matthew “Axe” Axelson (Ben Foster) deploy on a mission of surveillance and to take out Taliban leader Ahmad Shah. Though spotted by goatherds, Luttrell and his team decide not to kill them. But one of the Afghans alerts a group of Taliban fighters to the invaders, and a terrible battle ensues, in which the SEALs find themselves hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned.
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (2016)
On Sept. 11, 2012, Islamic militants attack the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and Sean Smith, an officer for the Foreign Service. Stationed less than one mile away are members (James Badge Dale, John Krasinski, Max Martini) of the Annex Security Team, former soldiers assigned to protect operatives and diplomats in the city. As the assault rages on, the six men engage the combatants in a fierce firefight to save the lives of the remaining Americans.*
Act of Valor (2012)
When its latest mission leads to the discovery of a deadly terrorist plot against the U.S., an elite team of Navy SEALs sets out on a global manhunt. As the men of Bandito Platoon race to stop an attack that could kill or maim thousands of American civilians, they must balance their commitment to their duty and family back home. Each new piece of intelligence they gather reveals a shocking twist to the plot as they track the terrorist ring to the U.S.- Mexico border.
The Wall (2017)
U.S. soldiers Allan “Ize” Isaac (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Shane Matthews (John Cena) answer a distress call in the desert of postwar Iraq. Suddenly, gunshots erupt, leaving Shane badly injured and Allan with a bullet in his leg. Forced to take cover behind a crumbling stone wall, Isaac now finds himself in a fight for survival against an unseen sniper who has all of the advantages.
In April 1945, the Allies are making their final push in the European theater. A battle-hardened Army sergeant named Don “Wardaddy” Collier (Brad Pitt), leading a Sherman tank and a five-man crew, undertakes a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Hopelessly outnumbered, outgunned and saddled with an inexperienced soldier (Logan Lerman) in their midst, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds as they move to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.
Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
The true story of Pfc. Desmond T. Doss (Andrew Garfield), who won the Congressional Medal of Honor despite refusing to bear arms during WWII on religious grounds. Doss was drafted and ostracized by fellow soldiers for his pacifist stance but went on to earn respect and adoration for his bravery, selflessness and compassion after he risked his life — without firing a shot — to save 75 men in the Battle of Okinawa.