The Longest Day: How to Spend Your Memorial Day Weekend on Netflix

For many of us, Memorial Day means two things: sleeping in and not getting mail. But in the spirit of commemorating fallen soldiers, wouldn't it be appropriate to watch some heavy war films and remember the sacrifices made by our troops? Plus, with endless streaming movie options, you don't even have to leave the house to do it.

Here's a list I've curated from Netflix's Instant Watch options. Spend the rest of the weekend thinking about how war is hell — with visual aids.

Thin Red Line (dir. Terrence Malick)
Year: 1998
Runtime: 171 minutes
War: World War II
Why war is hell: Terrence Malick's heavily stylized film is aesthetically gorgeous — but that doesn't make the lasting effect any less depressing.

A Farewell to Arms (dir. Frank Borzage)
Year: 1932
Runtime: 85 minutes
War: World War I
Why was is hell: Even the power of true love can't bring about a happy ending in the face of a wartime separation. (Spoiler alert.)

The Men (dir. Fred Zinnemann)
Year: 1950
Runtime: 85 minutes
War: World War II
Why war is hell: The soldiers who survive the war are never the same again. In Marlon Brando's first film role, he plays a young lieutenant who returns home a paraplegic.

No End in Sight (dir. Charles Ferguson)
Year: 2007
Runtime: 102 minutes
War: Iraq War
Why war is hell: Because we go into it for all the wrong reasons. Our misguided journey to Iraq makes the sacrifice of the soldiers that much more senseless.

Jarhead (dir. Sam Mendes)
Year: 2005
Runtime: 123 minutes
War: Gulf War
Why war is hell: Focusing on a more recent war, Jarhead shows how young people eager to fight for a cause are challenged by the morality of the war they find themselves caught in.

Letters From Iwo Jima (dir. Clint Eastwood)
Year: 2006
Runtime: 141 minutes
War: World War II
Why war is hell: Seeing the war from a different perspective reminds us of the other side's essential humanity, no matter how hard we might try to demonize them.

Restrepo (dir. Tim Hetherington, Sebastian Junger)
Year: 2010
Runtime: 93 minutes
War: Afghanistan War
Why war is hell: For those of us who are only able to view war from a distance, Restrepo provides a rare (and unsettling) firsthand account of what soldiers experience.

Ken Burns' The War (dir. Ken Burns, Lynn Novick)
Year: 2007
Runtime: 14 hours
War: World War II
Why war is hell: Because it's endless. Sit through all 14 hours of this documentary and you'll start to get that.

The Longest Day (dir. Various)
Year: 1962
Runtime: 178 minutes
War: World War II
Why war is hell: While not quite as long as Ken Burns' documentary, The Longest War does show the massive scope of war and its destructive, far-reaching effects.

The Messenger (dir. Owen Moverman)
Year: 2009
Runtime: 113 minutes
War: Iraq War
Why war is hell: It's not just the soldiers who lose their lives in wars — it's the families and friends they leave behind. This deals with the aftermath.

If your favorite depressing war film didn't make the cut, feel free to shout it out in the comments. Bonus points if we'll almost definitely lose sleep over it.

[Image via Shutterstock]