Christmas is a time of peace, love, goodwill toward men and, apparently, watching war movies.
Two notable war flicks, “American Sniper” and “Unbroken,” debut Christmas Day. Both of them are based on true stories, but so far “American Sniper” has gotten the best reception from critics.
For those who don’t care to venture into a movie theater on Christmas Day but still want to see a good war movie, The Telegraph sampled members of the Middle Georgia military community to get their favorite.
Brig. Gen. Walter Lindsley, commander of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, said his love of war movies growing up is one of the reasons he joined the military.
He said he “could go on all day” about the subject, but he didn’t hesitate when asked to name his favorite.
“Force 10 from Navarone,” he said. “I liked the fact that it was misfits given these impossible missions that the only way they were able to pull off is by extraordinary heroism.”
Retired Lt. Gen. Charles Stenner, president of the 21st Century Partnership, cited a different movie as his favorite but for a similar reason. He likes “The Dirty Dozen,” which is about a group of convicted killers sent on a dangerous mission during World War II.
“I like that it’s about this disparate group of individuals that comes together,” he said.
Warner Robins Mayor Randy Toms served in the Air Force, but he is quick to note that it was during peacetime. He said the Vietnam War film “Green Berets” gave him an appreciation of what military members go through in combat.
“For me it just showed the dedication that our military people have,” he said. “It’s just humbling to know that there are people out there even today fighting for us. I don’t think you can put that into words, and I think that movie demonstrated that to me even at a young age.”
Lindsley, incidentally, also cited “Green Berets” as a favorite.
William Head, a Robins Air Force Base historian, not surprisingly likes war movies that are historically accurate.
In an email he cited “Twelve O’clock High” for its realism and lack of cheering about how difficult it was to be part B-17 bomber crews in World War II in skies over Europe.”
He also likes “Tora Tora Tora” because it portrayed the attack on Pearl Harbor from both the U.S. and Japanese sides.
Other historically accurate movies he cited as favorites are “Sands of Iwo Jima,” “Objective, Burma!,” “Gettysburg,” “Gods and Generals,” “Saving Private Ryan” and “We Were Soldiers.”
Mike Rowland, curator of the Museum of Aviation, also cited “Gettysburg” as a historically accurate favorite.
“It’s an epic story that has good acting and uses a large number of re-enactors on the actual Gettysburg battleground,” he said in an email. “It’s a long film but goes into the motivations for fighting of several characters in a very important battle in U.S. history.”
Bill Paul, collection manager at the museum, said “The Longest Day,” which is about D-Day, is his favorite.
“It gives you a sense of the enormity of the operation and just how close the battle was,” he said in an email. “It’s unique in giving an honest look at the participants on both sides without the military stereotypes seen in many films. It also gives a good depiction of the confusion at all levels of that often sets in once a battle begins and how the bravery and determination of the individual soldier helped turned the tide.”
Chief Master Sgt. Mary A. Lewis, superintendent of the 78th Force Support Squadron, likes “Patton.”
“I was very young when it came out, but I remember watching it when I was a little older with my father and both my grandfathers who both served in World War II,” she said in an email. “... It was interesting to watch the movie with them and listen to them tell their stories as they remembered it. I can watch that movie now, remember our conversations, appreciate that knowledge and actually watch it a little differently now that I have been serving for over 24 years.”
Roland Leach, spokesman for Robins Air Force Base, likes “We Were Soldiers” and “Red Tails.”
“I have met several original Tuskegee airmen over the years and watching ‘Red Tails’ gives you a sense of what they experienced as a combat unit stationed in Italy and flying against enemy forces in Europe,” he said in an email.
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.