Entertainment

20 Memorial Day Movies To Watch As A Family This Year

From documentaries to action, these movies show that people will never forget.

Memorial Day officially kicks off the summer for many. But the day is more than just a long weekend or an excuse to eat burgers. Memorial Day honors those who have died while serving their country. So if you’re looking for a way to commemorate this year, there are several family-friendly Memorial Day movies that can help give little ones a better understanding of the holiday.

Since 1971, people across the United States have been honoring fallen soldiers who have lost their lives to war on Memorial Day, observed on the last Monday of May. There are many ways families can pay homage and recognize the sacrifices military members have made for their country. One simple way is watching a movie about war to get an idea of how people have and continue to fight for our freedom.

While these films might be a little graphic at times and some scenes might be really action-packed, they give us an ideas as to what might have gone on in the battles fought for our country. So use your extra day this Memorial Day weekend to sit down on the couch and watch any of these 20 films.

Battle of Britain

This film, from 1969, documents the events of the Battle of Britain — a military campaign in World War II, where the Royal Air Force defended the United Kingdom against large scale attacks from the Nazis.

Watch Battle of Britain, rated G, on YouTube Movies.

The Best Years Of Our Lives

Three WWII veterans struggle to readjust to civilian life after coming home in this Academy Award winning film from 1946.

Watch The Best Years of Our Lives, rated TV-PG, on Pluto TV.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks

A young witch in training decides to use her supernatural powers to defeat the Nazis invading England in this movie musical, which takes place during the Battle of Britain.

Watch Bedknobs and Broomsticks, rated G, on Disney+.

Dear John

Channing Tatum stars as a young soldier, John, who falls for a young college student named Savannah, played by Amanda Seyfried. The two lovers continue to keep in touch through letters as John is deployed to Afghanistan.

Watch Dear John, rated PG-13 for some sensuality and violence, on Amazon Prime.

Empire of the Sun

Christian Bale stars as a young man who goes from living with a wealthy family in Shanghai to becoming a prisoner of war in a Japanese internment camp during WWII.

Watch Empire of the Sun, rated PG, on tubitv.

Max

After a marine is killed in Afghanistan, his service dog, Max, is adopted by his family in the United States. As it turns out, Max and the family begin to bond — and he brings them closer to his previous owner than possible.

Rent Max, rated PG, on YouTube Movies for $2.99.

The Great Escape

This film, based on a true story, follows a group of allied men who are imprisoned in a high security WWII prison camp, and their attempts to escape.

Watch The Great Escape, not rated, on YouTube Movies.

Gettysburg

One of the biggest events of the Civil War, the Battle of Gettysburg, is retold in this 1993 film starring Jeff Daniels.

Rent Gettysburg, rated PG, on Google Play for $2.99.

Honor Flight

This documentary shadows a community coming together to honor WWII veterans by sending them to Washington, D.C. to see the memorials that have been built in their memory.

Rent Honor Flight, rated PG, on iTunes for $4.99.

The Longest Day

The events of D-Day, when forces stormed the beaches of Normandy during WWII, are told in this nearly three-hour long film from 1962.

Watch The Longest Day, rated G, on YouTube Movies.

Molly: An American Girl on the Home Front

Based on the American Girl doll character, this film follows how 10-year-old Molly’s daily life is impacted by WWII.

Rent Molly: An American Girl on the Home Front, not rated, on YouTube Movies for $1.99.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman

A dog and young boy travel through time where they visit several important leaders in history, including George Washington.

Watch Mr. Peabody & Sherman, rated PG, on Netflix.

National Treasure

A historian, played by Nicolas Cage, goes on an adventure for rumored treasure dating back to the creation of the United States.

Watch National Treasure, rated PG, on Disney+.

Patton

The life of General George S. Patton is recalled in this 1970 biographical film about the WWII war hero.

Rent Patton, rated PG, on Amazon Prime for $3.99.

Paper Clips

School officials in Tennessee look to teach their students about the scale of the Holocaust by collecting 6 million paper clips — to represent the 6 million people killed by the Nazis — in this 2004 documentary.

Rent Paper Clips, rated G, for $3.99 on Amazon Prime.

Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero

A young army private adopts a stray dog before WWI. Together, they embark on an adventure that takes them to the trenches of France.

Watch Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero, rated PG, on HBO Max.

Tora! Tora! Tora!

The events leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor are retold in this 1970 film.

Watch Tora! Tora! Tora!, rated G, on YouTube Movies.

Top Gun

Tom Cruise stars as Maverick Mitchell, a young flier who is training at the Top Gun Naval Fighter Weapons School to be the best of the best.

Rent Top Gun, rated PG, on YouTube Movies, for $7.99.

Valiant

The Battle of D-Day is told through this animated movie about a pigeon named Valiant who wants to contribute to the war effort.

Watch Valiant, rated G, on Disney+.

Yankee Doodle Dandy

Broadway legend George M. Cohan, writer and performer of patriotic songs like “Yankee Doodle Dandy” reflects on his life in this 1942 film.

Rent Yankee Doodle Dandy, not rated, for $2.99 on YouTube Movies.