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Military Movies and Shows on Netflix: September 2016

saving private ryan d day

Netflix finally delivers some strong titles in September, leading with “Saving Private Ryan,,” the greatest WWII movie to ever be robbed of a Best Picture Oscar. Plus a fact-based WWII thriller about resisting the Nazis in Belarus and a completely made-up WWII thriller about American submariners stealing an Enigma machine. And “Top Gun” is back.

1. Saving Private Ryan

What can you say about this one? The D-Day invasion at the beginning is greatest military action sequence in movie history. Everything good about the entire “Band of Brothers” TV series (which is still awesome) gets distilled down into less than 3 hours. Tom Hanks has never been better and an entire generation learned to appreciate the sacrifices and heroism during WWII for the first time. (1998)

2. Defiance

Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber star as Tuva and Zus Bielski, Jewish brothers who led a guerrilla resistance against Nazi troops in Belarus during WWII. Based on real events, it got a limited release and deserves a much bigger audience than it found in theaters. (2008)

3. U-571

Sailors from the British destroyer HMS Bulldog really did capture an Enigma machine from Germany’s U-110 U-boat in 1941. Hollywood must’ve though that was boring, so they made up a story involving the U.S. submarine S-33 and the German U-571. Brits were mad about the movie, but if you can get past the made-up story, it’s a fine submarine thriller. (2000)

4. Top Gun

Is Tony Scott's movie about Naval aviators technically accurate? No way. Is it even dramatically effective? Absolutely not. But Tom Cruise's Maverick, Val Kilmer's Iceman and Anthony Edwards' Goose managed to inspire a generation of young men to pursue their flyboy dreams. It's hard to imagine that the upcoming sequel will mean as much to people, especially if they ruin the original vibe by shifting to properly staged dogfights. (1986)

5. Twelve O’Clock High

Gregory Peck won a Best Actor Oscar for his performance as Brigadier General Frank Savage in this 1949 movie about the United States Army’s Eight Air Force and its bombing raids against Nazi Germany and occupied France during the early days of U.S. involvement in the war. Savage is a hardass commander who initially alienates his men but, eventually, his leadership wins them over. (1949)

6. Hyena Road

Canadian snipers take on the Taliban in this inspired-by-true-events documentary-style drama. The Canadians try to enlist The Ghost, legendary Afghan freedom fighter forced into seclusion by the Taliban, in the fight against their common enemy. (2016)

7. War Pigs

A disgraced Army captain (Luke Goss) can redeem himself by leading a misfit infantry unit against the Nazis behind enemy lines. Dolph Lundgren plays the anti-Nazi German captain serving in the French Foreign Legion. Mickey Rourke is veteran major who served in WWI. And Chuck Liddell plays a sergeant. Utah locations fill in for Europe and everyone learns to work together. (2015)

8. A War

This Danish drama is one of the finest movies ever about a family’s experiences at war, both on the front lines and back at home. Nominated for Best Foreign Picture at the Oscars, it’s not flashy but the incredible performances will have you thinking about the film for months after. You can watch it in Danish with English subtitles (recommended) or dubbed into English if you think you can’t handle a foreign movie. (2016)

9. In the Valley of Elah

A soldier recently returned from Iraq goes missing and is found dead. His father, a military police veteran played by Tommy Lee Jones, decides that he doesn’t like the police investigation and sets out to find the truth. That ugly truth involves his platoon mates and the suggestion that PTSD played a role in his death. It was writer/director Paul Haggis’ next movie after his Oscar-winning “Crash” and it’s based on a “Playboy” magazine story by future “The Hurt Locker” and “Zero Dark Thirty” screenwriter Mark Boal. (2007)

10. Rock the Kasbah

Bill Murray is a washed-up rock manager who takes an American singer on a USO tour. He ends up abandoned and penniless in Kabul but discovers a talented young singer and guides her to compete on “Afghan Star,” a local version of “American Idol.” The movie filmed in Morocco instead of Afghanistan and it’s got some negative reviews, but nothing will Bill is completely unwatchable. Plus you get Bruce Willis, Danny McBride, Kate Hudson and Zooey Deschanel. (2015)

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