A few days ago, a co-worker and I were talking about different types of movies and she mentioned she hated war movies. She thought they were too violent and not necessary. Mind you, in almost her next breath she said she hoped to go see The Hunger Games on the weekend. Talk about a violent and unnecessary movie -- children killing children as a form of entertainment for that world's viewing entertainment, not to mention our own. But that's another blog post for another time.
While I tend to stay away from overtly violent movies, I said I felt war movies were important. Well, certain types of war movies -- those that try to depict war in a realistic and/or historic way, not the ones that seem to glorify it.
I think these are important for our young people to see. While most of our younger generations have grown up or are growing up during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, I don't think it registers with them the sacrifices our military personnel have made for our country unless they have lost a family member personally.
Both wars are happening half a world away and while there is plenty of news coverage about them, it seems our younger generations view these wars like they are something happening that doesn't affect us or has no bearing on them. I don't think they truly understand what war is actually like. Some war movies that try to give an accurate or semi-accurate accounting can help our younger generations see that war truly is hell.
Saving Private Ryan with its opening sequence is said to be a very close depiction of what our WWII vets experienced on Omaha Beach in 1944. Some other movies I feel are important to be viewed and discussed with our young people are Band Of Brothers, The Hurt Locker, The Thin Red Line, Hamburger Hill, Platoon, and Gone With the Wind. (Okay, this is really a love story, but the depictions of the burning of Atlanta and the scenes showing the hundreds of wounded and dying soldiers in a field make it worth including.) I'm sure there are other movies that should be included, but these are the ones that came directly to mind.
Two other movies I would include in this list, while not technically war movies, are just as important -- Schindler's List and The Pianist.
What do you think? Are war movies important or just more movies of gratuitous violence?