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8 Patriotic Movies That Are Perfect Viewing for Memorial Day — Plus, How to Watch Them

These films will leave you feeling patriotic and filled with emotion

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This Memorial Day, there would be nothing better than sitting down to watch films that reflect American values and honor our heroes.

Whether it’s an inspiring true story or a poignant film ripped from historic events, these patriotic movies will have you feeling grateful to be a part of this beautiful country. From National Treasure (2004) to Hacksaw Ridge (2016), they’re all available to stream at any time.

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1. Saving Private Ryan (1998): Patriotic movies

Men with weapons ready; patriotic movies
Saving Private Ryan (1998) moviestillsdb.com/Dreamworks Pictures

This five-time Oscar winning film will certainly move you and make you feel love for America. Directed by Steven Spielberg, Saving Private Ryan begins with the events surrounding the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) takes his men behind enemy lines to find Private Ryan, a soldier whose three brothers were killed in combat, meaning he is the last to carry the family name.

Throughout the movie, each soldier featured has his own personal journey of discovering their inner strength while in the midst of a dangerous mission. Behind the scenes, it should be noted, filming was no walk in the park either. Hanks shared the fact that he and the other cast members trained with drill sergeant Dale Dye on how to better perform their parts, but doing so was hard work.

“Dale Dye said, ‘You’re embodying the lives and uniforms of men who did something for real, and you’re not going to do them dishonor.’ He said this while we’re all standing in the freezing rain, and there was no arguing with that.”

Watch Saving Private Ryan on Pluto TV now!

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2. National Treasure (2004)

Man holding a torch
Nicolas Cage in National Treasure (2004) moviestillsdb.com/Walt Disney Pictures

This fictionalized version of events follows a treasure hunt led by historian Ben Gates (Nicolas Cage). When Ben learns about a “national treasure” from his grandfather, he goes on a quest to find it. The only problem — the treasure could literally be anywhere in the country.

With very few clues accessible to him, Ben and his partner, Riley (Justin Bartha), decide to steal the Declaration of Independence to figure out their next step. Soon, the duo meets archive curator Abigail (Diane Kruger), who decides to join them on their journey. They travel all over the country in search of the treasure, Ben even asking his father, who searched for over 20 years, for help.

This action/thriller, an entertaining patriotic adventure, will leave you wanting more. Conveniently, you get it in the form of 2007’s National Treasure: Book of Secrets, also available to stream on Disney + and it’s worth the watch if you’re invested.

Watch National Treasure on Disney + now!

3. Hamilton (2020): Patriotic movies

Man looking off and woman holding his hand
Lin-Manuel Miranda and Phillipa Soo in ‘Hamilton’ (2020) moviestillsdb.com/Walt Disney Pictures

Everybody knows Hamilton the musical. It’s been the talk of the town (in fact, almost every town) since its first performance in 2015, detailing the life of Alexander Hamilton. But lucky for folks who couldn’t get a seat for the stage version, the musical was adapted into a film in 2020.

Disney + allows members access to the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical, the theme of which remains the same. This musically-backed version of events is as entertaining as it is informative, and perfect if you’re searching for the best patriotic movies this Memorial Day.

Watch Hamilton on Disney + now!

4. Miracle (2004)

Man cheering at hockey game; patriotic movies
Kurt Russell and the cast in ‘Miracle’ (2004) moviestillsdb.com/Walt Disney Pictures

One of the more uplifting patriotic movies is Miracle. Kurt Russell stars as college coach Herb Brooks, who is tasked with bringing the 1980 U.S. Men’s Olympic hockey team to victory. Based on true events, the new team unites to beat the favored, seemingly invincible, Soviet team.

While trying to snag the gold medal and overcome insurmountable odds, the U.S. team does its bit to represent American patriotism during the Cold War. The popular film centers around an underdog team pulling off a “miracle.” If this movie doesn’t make you feel the patriotic spirit, we’re not sure what will (but this one definitely will).

Watch Miracle on Disney + now!

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5. Hacksaw Ridge: Patriotic movies

Men with weapons standing
Andrew Garfield in ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ (2016) moviestillsdb.com/Summit Entertainment

Hacksaw Ridge is based on the incredibly true story of Desmond Doss, a man who saved the lives of 75 soldiers without firing a single shot. Doss, played by Andrew Garfield, believed killing was not the answer and therefore joined the army with one contingency: he wouldn’t carry a weapon.

Although dozens of producers wanted to film this movie, Doss’ son, Desmond Jr, recalled his father insisted on the film’s accuracy. He even shared that his father was truly humble regarding the events that earned him a Medal of Honor. “He just wanted to give all the glory to God and never seemed to acknowledge his role,” Desmond Jr. noted.

Watch Hacksaw Ridge on Netflix now!

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6. Purple Hearts (2022)

Man and woman holding each other ; patriotic movies
Sofia Carson and Nicholas Galitzine in ‘Purple Heart’ (2022) moviestillsdb.com/Alloy Entertainment

This 2022 film took the world by storm when it was released. Starring Nicholas Galitzine and Sofia Carson, Purple Hearts follows Cassie, a struggling musician, and Luke, a troubled Marine, who decide to marry for military benefits. Although they start off at odds, the “couple” grow closer when Luke returns home due to a injury.

Despite the film having a blurred line between right and wrong, this remains a feel-good story that focuses on our country and the people who fight for it, enhanced by the fact that the military was involved in the film’s production. The director, Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum, worked with Marine veteran James Deaver, who secured the production permission to film on a Marine Corps base.

Watch Purple Hearts on Netflix now!

7. A League of Their Own (1992): Patriotic movies

Women and man on base in game
Cast of ‘A League of Their Own’ (1992) moviestillsdb.com/Alloy Entertainment

A fictionalized version of the real All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. When the majority of athletic young men are sent to fight in World War II, an all-female baseball league is formed. A League of Their Own follows America’s favorite pastime, baseball, being led by strong women.

There’s a dual focus on patriotism and feminism, with star Geena Davis sharing how rare it was to have a film uplifting women, but finding those qualities in Thelma and Louise and A League of Their Own, which she shot one after the others. “Few movies give women an opportunity to come out feeling jazzed and empowered [like Thelma and Louise did] … my very next movie was A League of Their Own, which seemed to have the same reaction,” Davis said.

Watch A League of Their Own on Tubi now!

8. Platoon (1986)

Three men standing together
Charlie Sheen, Willem Dafoe and Tom Berenger in Platoon (1986) moviestillsdb.com/Hemdale

This 4-time Oscar winning film is an intense way to round off our guide to patriotic movies to stream. After Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen) leaves school to enlist in combat in Vietnam, he finds himself stuck between good and bad: two sergeants with opposite views of war and proper conduct during it.  

Loosely based on the experiences of the film’s director, Oliver Stone, Platoon looks at the lives of real soldiers in combat. Sheen shared that Stone put the cast through rigorous training to prepare them for filming. “Oliver dumped us in the jungle and put us through a grueling training course. It was insane … I thought we’d go out in the day, then return to the hotel at night, but at sundown on the first day, there was no bus pulling up. I looked at Johnny Depp and Forest Whitaker and said: ‘I guess we’re just staying here.’”

Watch Platoon on Tubi now!

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