War Movies over Memorial Day Weekend


My husband and I watched three old war movies (thanks, Turner Classic Movies!) during our Memorial Day weekend get-away.  Here’s what I learned about war from Hollywood:

  • The enemy does not play by the rules, and Americans must make difficult choices.


In Torpedo Run (1958), a submarine commander (Glenn Ford) is sent to sink the Japanese aircraft carrier from which the attack on Pearl Harbor was launched.  But the enemy is hiding behind a transport ship filled with POW’s from the Philippines. The commander’s wife and daughter are on that ship.  Will he do his duty?  Will he sacrifice the American and Filipino prisoners?  Will his crew support him in his decision?

  • New military tactics are sidelined until they prove their worth in battle.


In They Were Expendable (1945), Navy PT boat commanders (Robert Montgomery and John Wayne) fight to demonstrate that these swift boats can torpedo enemy ships with great success, and shouldn’t just be given messenger duty.  This movie give glimpses of the courage shown by the Filipino people, the cut-off Marines, the bare-bones Army hospital personnel, and the Navy in the face of certain defeat in the Pacific early in WWII.

  • A few sacrifice so all can be free.

a sergeant york gary cooper SERGEANT_YORK_D1-12

Sergeant York (1941) is based on the true story of a sharp-shooting country boy (Gary Cooper) who is against killing, yet doesn’t qualify for a religious exemption during WWI.  His commanding officer reminds him that many have fought before him in the Revolutionary War and Civil War so that he may be free.  In the heat of battle, when his troop is being attacked, he does what he needs to in order to stop the guns that are killing his friends.

Thank you to all our American soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, past and present, who have made difficult decisions in the face of battle, who have worked to make our forces stronger and more advanced, and who have sacrificed so that we can be free!

1 Comment

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One response to “War Movies over Memorial Day Weekend

  1. Pingback: Torpedo Run (1958) | timneath

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