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MEMORIAL DAY: Military movies, shows, more
May 27, 2011  | By Diane Werts

Hollywood has always found ways to honor those who gave their lives for us -- even sometimes in stories that wonder about war in the first place.

This Memorial Day weekend is filled with military films on Turner Classic Movies, Fox Movie Channel and AMC, among others. You'll also find TV shows like M*A*S*H, documentaries like Gettysburg, and live coverage of holiday music and parades.

Some of what TV has on tap:

Turner Classic Movies unreels its annual four-day marathon of war films, starting with Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster in the 1958 submarine adventure Run SIlent, Run Deep (Friday at 8 p.m. ET). Other highlights include John Wayne's Flying Leathernecks (photo above; airs on TCM Saturday night at midnight ET), the early talkie masterpiece All Quiet on the Western Front (Sunday at 10:45 a.m. ET), and a movie made nearly 50 years later, A Bridge Too Far (Monday at 5 p.m. ET), with Robert Redford, Sean Connery and Laurence Olivier. In between: GI comedy from Abbott & Costello in the '40s fave Buck Privates (Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET), Lon Chaney's silent Tell It to the Marines (Sunday night at 12:15 a.m. ET), and Andrzej Wajda's 1958 Polish film Ashes and Diamonds (late Sunday night at 2:15 a.m. ET). See TCM's entire marathon lineup here.

Fox Movie Channel's
annual USO salute on Memorial Day offers more music, from Betty Grable's '40s hit Call Me Mister (Monday at 6 a.m. ET) to Bette Midler's look-back saga For the Boys (Monday night at midnight and 2:30 a.m. ET). See FMC's full schedule here, more about FMC's films here.


AMC goes epic with sprawling World War II action Monday, with familiar crowdpleasers (all times ET): Twelve O'Clock High (9 a.m.), Patton (noon; photo at right), The Longest Day (4 p.m.), Midway (8 and 11 p.m.), and The Dirty Dozen (2 a.m.). Vote on top war movies here. Watch four war movies online here.

M*A*S*H fills TV Land's overnight hours (all times ET: Friday night at 2 a.m.-Saturday 8 a.m., Saturday night at 2 a.m.-Sunday 8 a.m., Sunday 9 p.m.-Monday 6 a.m., Monday 8 p.m.-Tuesday 6 a.m.). Look for two-part episodes that first night, then other top picks including the 1972 series pilot (Sunday 8-11 p.m. ET), the 20th anniversary reunion (Sunday at 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. ET), the 30th anniversary reunion (Sunday night at 2 a.m., Monday night at 11 p.m.), and the 1983 finale, "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen" (Monday 8-11 p.m.), that remains TV's top-rated series episode ever. See classic clips at TV Land's M*A*S*H page here.

Gettysburg (Monday 9-11 p.m. ET) kicks off History channel's Civil War week commemorating that north-south conflict's 150th anniversary. It's a two-hour portrait from filmmakers Ridley and Tony Scott that promises to take us evocatively inside the three-day battle. Check History's Civil War schedule here, and visit its comprehensive Civil War info site here.

Live events: PBS covers Washington's annual National Memorial Day Concert (live Sunday 8-9:30 p.m. ET in many markets, delayed by some stations). Military Channel does the capital's National Memorial Day Parade (Monday 2-4 p.m. ET), which also streams here.

For more Memorial Day-themed programming, check the weekend schedules of History, Military, Smithsonian Channel, and your local PBS station.




Eileen said:

Just finished watching Tora! Tora! Tora! on AMC; it's one of my favorites. AMC, to its credit, does this every Memorial Day Weekend. They definitely get extra points from me for commemorating this special holiday.

Thanks for the list of "classics" to vote for -- it's got them all on there, and some I'd really forgotten about. All great films.

Gotta run -- gotta vote!

And thanks for this column. Memorial Day and Veterans' Day should be more about remembrance than mattress or car sales.

[Diane here: Yes, Memorial Day is about something, and luckily TCM, AMC and FMC still remember that. Glad you're making use of the listings!]

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