Though it's not an official federal holiday like Memorial Day or Veterans' Day, June 14th, the day Americans celebrate the creation of their flag, honors a special moment in United States history. (Fun trivia fact: June 14th is also the day Americans celebrate the birth of the United States Army.)
Flag Day officially marks the day that Francis Hopkinson—a signer of the Declaration of Independence, member of the Continental Congress, and federal judge—had his flag design approved by the Continental Congress. Over the years, the United States flag's design has changed to account for the addition of all its fifty states, but Hopkinson’s design laid the foundation for what’s arguably the most recognizable flag in the world.
Flag Day is a perfect time for DVD Netflix to celebrate the beauty and meaning of the American flag—and the birth of the United States Army—through films based on the rich history and military efforts of the United States.
Featuring men and women who actively served in the U.S. Navy Seals, Act of Valor is set in the Philippines, where a terrorist kills a United States Ambassador. In the meantime, Lisa Morales (played by Roselyn Sanchez) attempts to put a stop to a drug smuggler. But her plans fall short when her partner is killed and she herself is captured. It’s up to a team of Navy Seals to rescue her and put a stop to a terrorist network.
Importantly, the film is a valiant effort to honor those who serve. It ends with an acknowledgement of the men and women who protect the flag every day.
No list about Flag Day would be sufficient if it didn’t feature Clint Eastwood in some capacity. Thankfully, Eastwood applied his considerable acting chops to the film Flags Of Our Fathers in a directing capacity.
Based on a book, Flags Of Our Fathers explores the story of the three men who served in Iwo Jima during WW2. The film recreates, in detail, the horrors inflicted on American soldiers during the war. In particular, it shares the story of the six United States Marines who were involved in the famous Iwo Jima flag raisings and the story behind the war’s most iconic photography shot—and how many of the men behind the flag stayed silent after the war.
The Patriot unabashedly celebrates the American side of the war (understandably), following the story of Benjamin Martin, whose family is killed by British soldiers with low moral character. This drives Martin to the brink, enabling him to conjure up a plan that inevitably leads to the British defeat.
The film prefers drama and action over historicity and nuance. Instead, enjoy this movie for the ride and the glory of the patriots who build the road to freedom from scratch.
Patriotic movies demand the best action movie stars. Naturally, Tom Cruise is an excellent choice, and he shows that in his acclaimed performance in Born On The Fourth Of July.
The movie explores the impact of the Vietnam War. The film chronicles the complex life of United States Marine Kovic (played by Cruise) from a young age and follows his desire to fight for his country. But the perils of war complicate Kovic’s return home, and he’s left injured and fraught with physical and emotional injuries. After much internal struggle, Kovic’s perspective on the Vietnam War changes considerably.
It’s a powerful film that deserves to be added to your queue today.
Starring Tom Sizemore and the always memorable Tom Hanks, Saving Private Ryan tells a very personal story about an Omaha Beach based group of United States Army Rangers seeking to rescue a downed paratrooper who is the last of four sons living after his family of brothers have been also lost at war. It’s a movie known for its realistic portrayals of the horrors of war, as well as the brave sacrifices of those who protect us, with the opening scenes showing the immediate chaos soldiers encountered on the beaches.
The film intimately explores the difference between those who give the orders, and those who must lay their lives on the line in order to complete those orders. Eventually, the titular Private Ryan (played by Matt Damon) is found. But the perils each soldier had to face in order to save him hit deeper notes on the impacts of war, leaving the viewer whelmed with emotion.
No celebration of the United States Army would be complete without the HBO Miniseries Band of Brothers, co-produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. Band of Brothers is based on interviews conducted with the surviving members of Easy Company as well as their letters and journals, an elite Army rifle unit in World WWII as well as a book of the same name by Stephen E. Ambrose. These paratroopers were present at the Battle of the Bulge, and parachuted into Normandy's beaches on D-Day. They bear witness not only to the horrors of war, but also the courage of the members of the United States Army.