19 Movies to Watch During Memorial Day Weekend

Including Apocalypse Now, Top Gun, and Saving Private Ryan.

On the set of Apocalypse Now
Sunset BoulevardGetty Images

Memorial Day is an American holiday for remembering and honoring fallen members of the Armed Forces. We encourage you to spend time with loved ones on this solemn day, and should you be interested in streaming war-themed movies during your long weekend, Netflix and Amazon have plenty to offer. Read on for our guide to Memorial Day movies, including Apocalypse Now, The Hurt Locker, Black Hawk Down, and more.

Warning: Many of these films feature violent scenes that may be difficult to watch. The picks on our list are not recommended for children under 18.

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On the set of Apocalypse Now
Sunset BoulevardGetty Images
Apocalypse Now (1979)

This classic film follows Martin Sheen as an Army captain who sets out on a dangerous mission to kill an American colonel. The drama led to eight Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director.

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Top Gun

If you feel the need for speed, Top Gun is your best bet to stream on Memorial Day. Meet gutsy fighter pilot Pete "Maverick" Mitchell (Tom Cruise), who encounters both an epic romance and bromance (who doesn't love Goose?). 

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Josh Hartnett In 'Black Hawk Down'
Hulton ArchiveGetty Images
Black Hawk Down (2001)

Bringing light to a long-forgotten mission in Somalia, this film follows the U.S. forces who attempted to kidnap two lieutenants working under a Somali warlord. It won two Oscars and received nods for Best Director and Best Cinematography.

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On the set of Born on the Fourth of July
Sunset BoulevardGetty Images
Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

Ron Kovic learned so much from being paralyzed on his second tour during the Vietnam War, mainly about the importance of peace. In this film (inspired by his ), Tom Cruise portrays Kovic navigating his feelings about patriotism.

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The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

When Fred, Al, and Homer return from World War II, adjusting to civilian life isn't as seamless as they had anticipated. This classic film took home seven Oscars, including Best Picture. 

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image
Summit Entertainment
The Hurt Locker (2008)

You'll need to catch your breath during several moments in this critically-acclaimed film starring Jeremy Renner. Professional bomb defusers have an important, extremely dangerous job, and no one was surprised to see the movie take home the Oscar for Best Picture.

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Warner Bros. Pictures
American Sniper (2014)

Directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper, we follow the life of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. Regarded as the most lethal sniper in military history, Kyle's story is one of triumph, anguish, and love. It's also a tribute to the late veteran, who was tragically murdered about two years before the film's release.  

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The Longest Day (1962)

For the Allied forces who stormed the beaches of Normandy in 1944, D-Day truly was the longest day. In the 57 years since its premiere, The Longest Day is considered one of the best World War II films of all time. 

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D-Day - Best Memorial Day Movies
Netflix
D-Day (2004)

This graphic retelling of the day when more than 160,000 Allied troops invaded France through the beach in Normandy will leave watchers at the edge of their seats.

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Mine - Best Memorial Day Movies
Netflix
Mine (2016)

Armie Hammer stars in a suspenseful drama about a Marine stuck behind enemy lines ... with his foot on a landmine. With no one to come to his rescue, his story of survival will have you on the edge of your seat.

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Platoon (1986)

Familiar faces like Willem Dafoe and Charlie Sheen light up the screen in this film about the Vietnam War. Caught between his two superiors, Sheen's character Chris Taylor faces more battles than he ever imagined. 

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Glory (1989)
$7.99

Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, and Morgan Freeman star in this movie about the first unit of African-American soldiers who fought in the Civil War. Based on the true story of Robert Gould Shaw, there's conflict and camaraderie in this powerful film. 

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They Were Expendable (1945)

John Wayne stars as Lt. "Rusty" Ryan, a Navy commander fighting to show the efficacy of PT boats in World War II. Along with his pal Lt. Brickley (Robert Montgomery), they demonstrate how unstoppable they can be — though they may not be able to overcome their biggest challenge in the Philippines. 

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Paramount
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (2016)

Jim Halpert, who? John Krasinski stars as a former soldier working as part of a security team in Benghazi. When the U.S. ambassador's compound is attacked, the team does all they can to protect their fellow Americans. 

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Sand Castle - Best Memorial Day Movies
Netflix
Sand Castle (2017)


Nicholas Hoult plays a young private stationed in Iraq, who is less-than-enthusiastic about his role, and even more concerned when his platoon is assigned a dangerous mission. witnessed by screenwriter Chris Roessner, this film focuses on the conflicts and triumphs that come from war.

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Lincoln - Best Memorial Day Movies
Netflix

Memorial Day was initially commemorated because of the Civil War, which took place during . This film captures Daniel Day-Lewis portraying one of the most well-known U.S. presidents in history, as well as what happens on the battlefield.

RELATED: This Woman Had No Idea a Makeup Artist Was Turning Her Into Abraham Lincoln

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Dreamworks
Flags of Our Fathers (2006)

We've all seen the iconic photo of the six men who raised the flag at the Battle of Iwo Jima, but now we can see the story come to life on screen. From Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg, we see how these U.S. troops won a crucial World War II battle. 

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Quentin Aanenson, a WWII fighter pilot who is featured in th
The Washington PostGetty Images
The War (2007)

War history buffs will watch this with rapt attention. Directed by Ken Burns, the season-long docu-series also won three Emmys.

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We, The Marines - Best Memorial Day Movies
Netflix
We, the Marines (2017)

Not enough time to watch a full feature film? We, the Marines packs plenty of inspiration and heart into a 37-minute film about joining the US Marine Corps.

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