Top WWII Movies To Watch For D-Day

Kevin Jensen | Contributor

June 6, 1944. D-Day.

That date marks one of the greatest moments in global history — when the Allied forces of World War II staged the largest amphibious invasion ever attempted on the Normandy coast of Nazi-occupied France.

American, British and Canadian forces stormed the beachhead under heavy fire and were able to secure a foothold on the European mainland, jump-starting the chain of events which would lead to the downfall of Nazi tyranny. (RELATED: Here Are The Best D-Day Tributes On The Internet For The 74th Anniversary)

With the 75th anniversary of D-Day coming up, it’s important to remember the sacrifices the courageous soldiers of the Allied nations made to ensure the longevity of freedom and democracy. The film industry offers many touching, albeit gruesome, portrayals of the events of World War II, from the jungle warfare of the Pacific to the door-to-door conflicts in Eastern Germany.

In modern times, it’s tough to fathom such large-scale conflict and suffering, but these movies put into perspective how brutal the fighting really was, and how much we owe to those brave combatants. (RELATED: WWII Vet’s Harmonica Rendition Of The National Anthem Brings Down The House)

Below are five World War II movies to watch for the anniversary of D-Day to help you remember the soldiers of the Allied Forces, and all they gave to ensure your life, liberty and happiness.

 

Top WWII Movies To Watch For D-DayYouTube Screenshot, Movieclips

 

These five tremendous movies allow us to truly appreciate those who fought to secure our freedom in World War II.

1 “Saving Private Ryan”
Steven Spielberg's harrowing depiction of the Omaha Beach invasion in "Saving Private Ryan" is perhaps one of the most striking and realistic depictions of warfare ever put to screen. The story follows a group of American soldiers led by Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) ordered to find a lone paratrooper (Matt Damon) who's three brothers were killed in action, warranting him a ticket home. From the opening beach landing to the grueling final battle, this film will leave you amazed, terrified, heartbroken, and most-importantly — grateful. YouTube Screenshot, TrueMovies Trailer

Steven Spielberg’s harrowing depiction of the Omaha Beach invasion in “Saving Private Ryan” is perhaps one of the most striking and realistic depictions of warfare ever put to screen. The story follows a group of American soldiers led by Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) ordered to find a lone paratrooper (Matt Damon) who’s three brothers were killed in action, warranting him a ticket home. From the opening beach landing to the grueling final battle, this film will leave you amazed, terrified, heartbroken, and most-importantly — grateful.

2 “The Longest Day”
This three-hour epic provides an in-depth look into the many facets which played into the Normandy Invasion, from the Allied paratrooper operations the day before to the fighting along the various beachheads on D-Day. The star-studded cast of "The Longest Day" includes notable Oscar-winners John Wayne, Sean Connery, Henry Fonda, and many more, with the film itself depicting how the Allied success was a massive joint effort between nations to come together to defeat their common enemy. YouTube Screenshot, Movieclips

This three-hour epic provides an in-depth look into the many facets which played into the Normandy Invasion, from the Allied paratrooper operations the day before to the fighting along the various beachheads on D-Day. The star-studded cast of “The Longest Day” includes notable Oscar-winners John Wayne, Sean Connery, Henry Fonda, and many more, with the film itself depicting how the Allied success was a massive joint effort between nations to come together to defeat their common enemy.

3 Unbroken
Moving over to the Pacific Theater, "Unbroken" follows the remarkable true story of Captain Louis Zamperini, an Olympian and bomber-crew member in the United States Air Force. After his plane was shot down on a mission, Zamperini survived for weeks floating adrift on a raft in the Pacific, only to be captured by the Japanese Navy and taken as a prisoner of war. This film depicts Zamperini's incredible spirit and determination in the face of tremendous adversity, and tissues are an absolute necessity when watching.YouTube Screenshot, Movieclips

Moving over to the Pacific Theater, “Unbroken” follows the remarkable true story of Captain Louis Zamperini, an Olympian and bomber-crew member in the United States Air Force. After his plane was shot down on a mission, Zamperini survived for weeks floating adrift on a raft in the Pacific, only to be captured by the Japanese Navy and taken as a prisoner of war. This film depicts Zamperini’s incredible spirit and determination in the face of tremendous adversity, and tissues are an absolute necessity when watching.

4 Hacksaw Ridge
Another true story: Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge follows Pvt. Desmond Doss, a combat medic in the United States Army. As a conscientious objector, Doss refused to carry a firearm into combat, as his religious beliefs prohibited violence in any form. The film follows Doss's initial conflict with his fellow soldiers, their eventual acceptance of him, and their shared ordeals during the Battle of Okinawa, during which Doss's actions warranted him a Congressional Medal of Honor. A tear-jerker to say the least, this film holds nothing back in its hellish depiction of front-line combat during the war in the Pacific. YouTube Screenshot, Kimer Lorens

Another true story: Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge follows Pvt. Desmond Doss, a combat medic in the United States Army. As a conscientious objector, Doss refused to carry a firearm into combat, as his religious beliefs prohibited violence in any form. The film follows Doss’s initial conflict with his fellow soldiers, their eventual acceptance of him, and their shared ordeals during the Battle of Okinawa, during which Doss’s actions warranted him a Congressional Medal of Honor. A tear-jerker to say the least, this film holds nothing back in its hellish depiction of front-line combat during the war in the Pacific.

5 Fury
Gritty, Unrelenting, Sobering. These are just a few words to describe David Ayer's film Fury, which follows a United States tank crew along their journey through Nazi Germany. With the cast spearheaded by Brad Pitt, this film emphasizes both the grueling physical demands and the troubling psychological conflicts soldiers coped with during the war, while also not shying away from the horrors of combat. Tough to watch, this film puts much into perspective regarding the sacrifices of those who fought in the Second World War.YouTube Screenshot, Movieclips Trailers

Gritty, Unrelenting, Sobering. These are just a few words to describe David Ayer’s film Fury, which follows a United States tank crew along their journey through Nazi Germany. With the cast spearheaded by Brad Pitt, this film emphasizes both the grueling physical demands and the troubling psychological conflicts soldiers coped with during the war, while also not shying away from the horrors of combat. Tough to watch, this film puts much into perspective regarding the sacrifices of those who fought in the Second World War.


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