During this episode I mentioned several movies detailing various portrayals of wars fought by members of the US military.
This subject was selected for our inaugural podcast because we were recording it during the week of the Memorial Day Holiday. I was moved to comment because I had recently watched a couple of films from the World War II area that week and one, Memphis Belle, resonated with me because it detailed the actions and fears experienced by the crew of a B-17 air craft. It was significant for me because my father had served on a B-17 and flew 24 bombing missions over Germany.
The Memphis Belle was important because it was it was the first plane and crew to complete a full 25 missions which was the required service period for those crews. Unfortunately, the chances of completing that number of missions was slim. Only about 20% of crews would likely accomplish that number. It was extremely doubtful to occur, especially during that period early in the bombing campaign (May, 1943 is the time covered in the movie) while Germany was still near its zenith in war capacity.
When the war finally engaged the US following Pearl Harbor my father was not initially called because he was married and in the transportation industry. It was only when the demand for additional manpower was needed for crews and pilots that he was called. He originally was in pilot training but was moved to gunnery school because there were sufficient pilots but there was a greater need for crews to man the ever increasing number of aircraft built for use in Europe. This resulted in his arriving in England to commence his service for the period of late 1944-1945. He beat the odds and made it through 24 missions and was spared the need to go for 25 when the war ended in May, 1945.
Like most veterans who had seen combat he never spoke about the war other than those times spent with his fellow mates while on leave in London. He also echoed what most World War II veterans tend to say when they are asked about their service. Relieved at having survived and committed to commemorating the memories of those who made the ultimate sacrifice, Dad always said, “the heroes are the ones who didn’t come back.”
That is one reason, I believe, for us to watch these older as well as more recent films (such as Saving Private Ryan and Dunkirk). Not only can we reconnect with such events and have a better understanding of the challenges individuals face in war, we can also have an appreciation for the actors and the times in which these films were created. Those produced during or shortly after WWII have a different feel than those made in the 1960’s. Likewise, films depicting Viet Nam when compared to films of other wars often reflect a cynical or somewhat outraged viewpoint. This is another reason film can help us understand the thoughts and feelings of other times and places.
In case you are unfamiliar with many of the films in the “war” genre I mentioned on the podcast I am providing a list of those mentioned along with this commentary. I also have taken the liberty of including a few I did not mention which will serve to expand the selection and include a few more from an era other than World War II for younger listeners
I hope this will encourage you to learn more about those events that had a profound effect on the world and our society. And, it will serve to further reinforce the power and influence that film can have when they depict monumental events as experienced by the characters.
Until next time.
The following lists detail a selection of war movies for our listeners to seek out for viewing if they wish. The first list denotes films Eddie and I discussed during the podcast. The second list contains films that I have arbitrarily selected so our listeners can attain a broader exposure to films of which many may not be aware. To help in deciding if you wish to view, I have provided a brief synopsis of each film.
II. Johnny’s additional selections that may be of interest to view. Some are not specifically “war” movies but are related to events that happened during war. Those are noted as such (*).
Copyright 2021 We're Talkin'