The Best Movies About Soldiers Coming Home

The best movies about soldiers coming home from war are some of the most powerful and moving films ever made. They're also some of the best movies about the horror of war, period. These films will make you cry, laugh, and cheer for these brave men and women who have sacrificed to protect our freedom. Look for classics like Born on the Fourth of July and modern films such as American Sniper.

Some of these great soldier movies feature returning veterans dealing with PTSD or other mental health issues after their service is done. Others focus on soldiers who have been injured in combat or those who have lost friends in battle. Still, others tell stories about military families coping with a loved one's deployment or return from war. Whatever the plot may be, these films all feature characters (and actors) portraying fictional or real-life soldiers coming home from active duty to their loved ones at home – whether they're welcomed back with open arms or not.

Which films do you think are good movies about a soldier returning home? Vote up your favorites below.

 


  • The Deer Hunter
    Photo: The Deer Hunter
    In 1968, Michael (Robert De Niro), Nick (Christopher Walken) and Steven (John Savage), lifelong friends from a working-class Pennsylvania steel town, prepare to ship out overseas following Steven's elaborate wedding and one final group hunting trip. In Vietnam, their dreams of military honor are quickly shattered by the inhumanities of war; even those who survive are haunted by the experience, as is Nick's hometown sweetheart, Linda (Meryl Streep).
    • Actors: Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, John Savage, John Cazale, Meryl Streep
    • Released: 1978
    • Directed by: Michael Cimino

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  • Born on the Fourth of July
    Photo: Born on the Fourth of July
    In the mid 1960s, suburban New York teenager Ron Kovic (Tom Cruise) enlists in the Marines, fulfilling what he sees as his patriotic duty. During his second tour in Vietnam, he accidentally kills a fellow soldier during a retreat and later becomes permanently paralyzed in battle. Returning home to an uncaring Veterans Administration bureaucracy and to people on both sides of the political divide who don't understand what he went through, Kovic becomes an impassioned critic of the war.
    • Actors: Tom Cruise, Willem Dafoe, Kyra Sedgwick, Raymond J. Barry, Caroline Kava
    • Released: 1989
    • Directed by: Oliver Stone

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  • The Best Years of Our Lives
    Photo: The Best Years of Our Lives
    Fred, Al and Homer are three World War II veterans facing difficulties as they re-enter civilian life. Fred (Dana Andrews) is a war hero who, unable to compete with more highly skilled workers, has to return to his low-wage soda jerk job. Bank executive Al (Fredric March) gets into trouble for offering favorable loans to veterans. After losing both hands in the war, Homer (Harold Russell) returns to his loving fiancée, but must struggle to adjust.
    • Actors: Fredric March, Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews, Teresa Wright, Virginia Mayo
    • Released: 1946
    • Directed by: William Wyler

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  • First Blood
    Photo: First Blood
    4
    17 votes
    Vietnam veteran and drifter John J. Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) wanders into a small Washington town in search of an old friend, but is met with intolerance and brutality by the local sheriff, Will Teasle (Brian Dennehy). When Teasle and his deputies restrain and shave Rambo, he flashes back to his time as a prisoner of war and unleashes his fury on the officers. He narrowly escapes the manhunt, but it will take his former commander (Richard Crenna) to save the hunters from the hunted.
    • Actors: Sylvester Stallone, Richard Crenna, Brian Dennehy, David Caruso, Jack Starrett
    • Released: 1982
    • Directed by: Ted Kotcheff

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  • Courage Under Fire
    Photo: Courage Under Fire
    During the 1991 Gulf War, Lieutenant Colonel Nathaniel Serling (Denzel Washington) accidentally caused a friendly fire incident, a mistake that was hushed up by his superiors. Following the war, he is assigned to investigate the case of Army Captain Karen Walden (Meg Ryan), killed in action when her Medevac unit was attempting to rescue the crew of a downed helicopter. But, as Serling interviews the members of Walden's crew, he realizes their stories about the incident don't add up.
    • Actors: Denzel Washington, Meg Ryan, Lou Diamond Phillips, Michael Moriarty, Bronson Pinchot
    • Released: 1996
    • Directed by: Edward Zwick

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  • 6
    10 votes
    After being injured in Iraq, soldier Will Montgomery (Ben Foster) returns home to finish the rest of his tour of duty in the Army's Casualty Notification service. Teamed with veteran officer Tony Stone (Woody Harrelson), Will tries to come to terms with his own pain while dealing with the cold realities of his new mission. Will finds himself in the grip of an ethical problem when he becomes involved with Olivia (Samantha Morton), the widow of a fallen soldier.
    • Actors: Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson, Samantha Morton, Jena Malone, Steve Buscemi
    • Released: 2009
    • Directed by: Oren Moverman

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