July 8 2006:
War movies have come up with some of the most poignant and dramatic scenes ever produced in the cinema. Some movies can boast more than one such scene that sticks in a person's mind. Which of these scenes have been the most memorable? Here are ten such scenes in no particular order.
10. Battleground (1949). The chaplain's sermon asking, "Was this trip necessary?" This not only strikes a tone that explained why the United States had to fight in World War II, but it also had words that resonate with today's war on terror - and the chaplain's comment about people forgetting, as the years go by, seems sadly prophetic.
9. Gettysburg (1993). Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain's briefing to the officers of the 20th Maine. Here is a classic case of laying out a difficult mission for a unit to accomplish. In this one, what is at stake during the coming Battle of Little Round Top, are laid out clearly.
8. The Longest Day (1962). Richard Burton, playing RAF pilot David Campbell, comments on how the problem with being one of the "few" is the way that they kept becoming "fewer". In a very real sense, what he is saying is happening.
7. The Gallant Hours (1959). Admiral Halsey's speech to an officer who had requested relief from command after losing half his squadron, explains how lonely command can be.
6. We Were Soldiers (2002). The closing narration by Joseph Galloway lays out why soldiers have fought, as it is intermingled with the return of many soldiers from the battle.
5. Midway (1976). The attack by the dive bombers from Enterprise and Yorktown in the late morning of June 4. This is perhaps the only depiction of one of the decisive actions of the Pacific Theater. Even with the limitations of mid-1970s special effects, this is one of the better scenes showing a turning point in a war.
4. The Battle of Britain (1969). A pair of scenes close together. The first has an officer taking over a section in an RAF Spitfire squadron - the two new pilots in his section have a total of 17 hours in the plane. In the second scene, there is the discussion of the situation - the British, at the height of the battle, are leaving no reserves.
3. The Gallant Hours (1959). Admiral Halsey's discussion with Admirals Scott and Callaghan before sending them to protect Guadalcanal's Henderson Field, prior to a Japanese attempt to bombard it.
2. Gettysburg (1993). General Hancock's statement in the middle of the massive artillery bombardment preceding Pickett's Charge, "There are times when a corps commander's life does not count."
1. Black Hawk Down (2001). Delta Force operators Randall Shughart and Gary Gordon volunteer to attempt the rescue of Michael Durant from the second crash scene. Their effort would result in posthumous Medals of Honor for both men.
War movies can boat memorable scenes. In a real sense, many of these scenes have overshadowed fictional passages on novels of scenes in a movie. - Harold C. Hutchison (firstname.lastname@example.org)