Films that Honor American Heroes

Heroism and patriotism have always been a favorite subject in film. These narratives are a wonderful way to remind people about the importance of struggling against injustice and defending our community and country against all that threaten them. At the same time, these narratives also honor the bravery and sacrifices made by the people who chose to fight for what is right. Here are five American films that pay tribute to our modern day heroes:

All the President’s Men (1976) 

the film poster for Alan Pakula's All the President's Men

Alan Pakula’s All the President’s Men focuses on one of America’s most talked about controversy: the Watergate Scandal. Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford play Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, two journalists who try to uncover the secrets behind the strange burglary at the Watergate complex. Aided by a secret informant, who calls himself Deep Throat, the investigation leads the two newsmen to a startling discovery that might compromise the integrity of the president and the administration. Based on real-life events, this movie shows Bernstein’s and Woodward’s unbreakable commitment to the truth, to journalistic integrity, and to what they owe the public.

Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

Oliver Stone's Born on the Fourth of July

Born on the Fourth of July is part of Oliver Stone’s trilogy of films about the Vietnam War. This critically acclaimed movie takes the subject matter out of the deadly battlefield and brings it to the home front, in the invisible war that the media did not cover. Tom Cruise plays Ron Kovic, a soldier taken out of the war zone due to injuries sustained during combat. In his hometown, the audience becomes witness to his difficulty in adjusting to the life he once knew before seeing everything he had seen in Vietnam. He finally gets his bearings, realizes that he does not want what he experienced to happen to anyone, and joins a coalition protesting against the war. The film is a testament to the horrors of war while honoring the men and women who would put themselves in the line of fire for their country.

The American President (1995) 

Rob Reiner's The American President

Rob Reiner’s The American President is an enthralling look into the life and responsibilities of the world’s most powerful man. Written by award-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, this film focuses on President Andrew Shepherd, played by Michael Douglas, as he deals with re-election, a debate over a crime bill, the conflict in the Middle East, and an impending environmental crisis, while trying to make a relationship work with a liberal lobbyist. The film expertly showcases the dedication of a man in his efforts to improve a country and his willingness to sacrifice his personal happiness for the betterment of the electorate.

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan

Considered a modern-day masterpiece, Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan is a breathtaking and harrowing account of a small band of soldiers under orders to retrieve and bring home Private James Ryan, a paratrooper who had lost three of his brothers in World War II. With uncertainty, the soldiers plunge head-on into enemy territories, risking life and limb just to save one man. This film exhibits the bravery of our soldiers fighting out of the country and their dedication even in the face of death.

United 93 (2006)

Paul Greengrass' United 93

One of the most heartbreaking movies in our list, United 93 takes a look at the greatest tragedy of our times. On September 11, 2001, against the threat of an attack on US soil, the passengers of United 93 bond together and stop the nefarious plans of the Al Qaeda. Armed with nothing but their bravery, without any military training whatsoever, they fight off the terrorists and bring the plane down, just so they could save the capital from an act of violence designed to take hundreds of lives. This movie is beautiful and stands as an inspiring reminder that everyone can make a difference.

Remember the heroism of our dear countrymen with these stirring and inspiring film recommendations from Tree Classics.