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Military Movies and Shows on Netflix: June 2017

brad pitt war machine

In June, Netflix premieres an original movie about the war in Afghanistan, a PBS documentary about a nuclear missile accident and director Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning movie about the Holocaust. Plus “Full Metal Jacket” and “Inglourious Basterds” are back.

1. War Machine

Brad Pitt stars as an American general who’s not really Stanley McChrystal but sure is based on things that happened to him. Writer/director David Michôd’s satire is definitely over-the-top but the movie ends up having respect for “General McMahon’s” belief in the American dream even as it blasts the counterinsurgency strategy that has defined U.S. war in the 21st century. (2017)

2. Command & Control

Based on the Eric Schlosser book of the same name, this PBS documentary suggests that it’s a miracle that we all survived the Cold War. Not because of the Soviet threat, but because there was a good chance that the USA could’ve blown itself up with one of its own nuclear weapons. This film gives a minute-by-minute account of a terrifying 1980 accident in a Titan II missile complex in Damascus, Arkansas. (2017)

3. Schindler’s List

Oskar Schindler was a real-life Nazi industrialist who slowly realized what his government was doing and saved over 600 Jews by employing them in his ammunitions factory in Poland. Liam Neeson portrays him in this black-and-white film shot in an almost documentary style. Steven Spielberg won a Best Director Oscar and the movie won Best Picture. (1993)

4. TURN - Washington’s Spies

Netflix has added the third season of AMC’s Revolutionary War drama. The show focuses on the intrigue and espionage that colonists used in their fight against the British. It’s a much more complicated view of the American Revolution than we got in our high school textbooks. (2016)

5. Full Metal Jacket

Is Gunnery Sgt. Hartman (played by veteran R. Lee Ermey) the greatest Marine in movies? Director Stanley Kubrick’s Vietnam War classic is a film worth watching over and over. Vincent D’Onofrio and Matthew Modine also give outstanding performances as young Marines who survive Gunny’s training regime. (1987)

6. Inglourious Basterds

Quentin Tarantino's alternate history of World War II stars Brad Pitt as Lt. Aldo Raine, who leads a squad of Nazi hunters who successfully carry out a plan to assassinate Hitler and his top brass in a movie theater. It's profane and funny: Tarantino is more interested in paying tribute to the low-rent drive-in war movies he saw as a kid than exploring the history of WWII. (2009)

7. Sand Castle

Army veteran Chris Roessner based his movie’s screenplay on his own experiences serving in Iraq with Civil Affairs unit of the 4th Infantry division. Nicholas Hoult (X-Men), Logan Marshall-Green (Quarry), Glen Powell (Everybody Wants Some), Henry Cavill (Superman Returns) star in a story that shows that all wartime service is dangerous. (2017)

8. Travis: A Soldier's Story

U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills lost all four limbs after roadside bomb injured him during his third tour of duty in Afghanistan. He decided to help soldiers who had suffered combat injuries and started a foundation. This documentary follows his recovery, shows his relationship with his family and details his personal recovery. (2017)

9. Five Came Back

This three-part documentary details the World War II service of five legendary Hollywood directors (Frank Capra, John Ford, George Stevens, William Wyler and John Huston) and the films they made in support of the war effort. Based on an excellent book by Mark Harris, the three-hour documentary shows highlights from the films as it talks about the role movies played in the war effort.Netflix has also added eleven of the WWII films to the service, so you can explore more after you watch the documentary. Capra directed “Know Your Enemy - Japan, “Prelude to War” and “Why We Fight: The Battle of Russia.” Wyler directed “Thunderbolt” and “The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress.” Huston directed “San Pietro,” “Let There Be Light” and “WWII: Report from the Aleutians.” Ford directed “Undercover: How to Operate Behind Enemy Lines.” The selection also includes “Tunisian Victory” and “The Negro Soldier.” (2017)

10. The Night Shift

NBC’s summer series follows a San Antonio hospital trauma unit staffed by doctors who learned their trade as military doctors and medics in Afghanistan. It’s found a loyal following for its treatment of veterans issues and Season Four premieres this summer. Season One and Season Two are now available to stream, so you can (mostly) catch up before new episodes air. (2014-2015)

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