After graduating from basic training, you’ll either be off to your first duty station or additional specialty training. We’re not saying you’ll have a lot of free time, but you’re likely to have more downtime than you did in basic training. Here are our picks for the best military movies to watch when you get bored.
Military Movies: World War II Era
Saving Private Ryan
During basic training, you learn about honor, leadership, and integrity . Considered one of the greatest military movies, Saving Private Ryan takes you on a journey following several men who struggle to find the purpose behind their mission. Saving Private Ryan is a great representation of the importance of camaraderie in the military and the lifelong impact that camaraderie has on service members.
Based on a true story, this movie tells the story of a squadron of African American pilots who faced segregation and prejudice during their time in the military. Proving themselves worthy of combat they became one of the most highly respected fighter groups during World War II, paving the way for full integration in the U.S. military.
Tuskegee Airmen, the movie, shows the value of believing in yourself and in your team – two qualities that will benefit you throughout your military career.
An artistic piece of cinema from Christopher Nolan with little dialogue that covers the Battle of Dunkirk in May 1940. This movie gives an overview of one of the most historic battles from World War II, making it perfect for history buffs. Dunkirk will have you glued to the screen.
Military Movies: Vietnam War Era
Full Metal Jacket
See if this movie accurately reflects your time at boot camp. During the first part of the movie, you’ll follow recruits going through Marine boot camp. Then, follow them on to their first combat zone – Vietnam. Full Metal Jacket is both difficult to watch and incredibly riveting.
We Were Soldiers
Watch the story of a three-day battle between American Soldiers who are heavily outnumbered by the Northern Vietnamese during one of their first battles. We Were Soldiers spotlights the realities of facing an enemy for the first time. While Army Soldiers fight for their survival, their wives are anxiously awaiting their return back home
Military Movies: Modern-Day
You’re bound to have already watched Top Gun before, but it’s an iconic movie that just never gets old. With action, emotion, and an amazing soundtrack, Top Gun is a fun movie for any viewer. Grab your buddies and see who can quote the movie the best.
Black Hawk Down
Inspired by real events, Black Hawk Down tells the story of U.S. Soldiers sent to Somalia to assist in humanitarian aid and weaken the current government. The failed mission forces Soldiers to survive and fight against unsuspected heavily armed insurgents while awaiting reinforcements. Black Hawk Down characterizes the bond made between brothers in arms.
Bradley Cooper stars as Chris Kyle, one of the most lethal snipers in U.S. military history, who is sent to Iraq on four tours of duty. American Sniper is a powerful story about the reality of war, and the effect it has on the service members it sends home.
Ever heard of the MURPH Challange? It’s a Memorial Day tradition, that invites people all over the world to partake in a physically challenging workout in honor of LT. Michael P. Murphy, a Navy SEAL who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Lone Survivor is the firsthand account of four Navy SEALs who were sent on a mission, that becomes compromised. This gripping movie shows the selfless sacrifices made by a team who proved that we are all capable of doing more than we think, and that you’re never out of the fight.
The Marvel Series
Sometimes movies that too closely depict or capture reality are not the most enjoyable to watch. So, if you’re into action movies but don’t want to see the often all too realistic recreations of war, the Marvel Series is a great alternative.
With 22 movies to watch, you can’t go wrong with any. Though, we challenge you to start from the beginning and watch them in their official order.