5 Best Memorial Day Movies For Families To Watch in 2022

May 12, 2022 | Benjamin Carpenter

Memorial Day is a holiday to acknowledge all of the brave soldiers that sacrificed their lives in U.S. military service. The day should be a day to mourn and appreciate the fallen but it can also be used educationally for kids to learn about the different sacrifices made in wars throughout history. There are many war movies that would be great to watch on Memorial Day but not all of them are age-appropriate for elementary and middle schoolers. War is a dark subject matter and it should be approached with care and understanding. We have created a movie recommendation list of the best family-friendly Memorial Day movies to watch with young kids. The list has been narrowed down to 5 best picks. Here are the best Memorial Day movies for families to watch in 2022.

Read More: 5 Best Memorial Day Movies For Adults


5 Best (Kid-Friendly) Movies For Memorial Day Weekend 2022

A man looks up at the sky in a crowd of soldiers.

5. Dunkirk (Ages 11 and up)

This film may not be about U.S. soldiers but the soldiers from the Allies made huge sacrifices during the Battle of Dunkirk. Dunkirk is about allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Commonwealth and Empire, and France who are surrounded by the German Army and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II. Christopher Nolan manages to create an intense war movie but it’s also very tame when it comes to violence and language. Dunkirk is a great film to immerse kids into the foreboding atmosphere that constantly peered over the soldiers during the battle.


Where To Watch Dunkirk



Frame grab from Tora! Tora! Tora!

4. Tora! Tora! Tora! (Ages 9 and up)

The attack on Pearl Harbor was a consequential turning point in World War II. If Japan had defeated the US and destroyed Pearl Harbor, then they would’ve completely taken over the Pacific region. On top of that, the US got involved in the war because of Japan’s surprise attack. Tora! Tora! Tora! does an excellent job of depicting this important historical event. It’s also a great film to watch with the family on Memorial Day as it shows how even in the darkest hour, there’s always hope for those who fight for what they believe in. Tora! Tora! Tora! is about the story of the 1941 Japanese air raid on Pearl Harbor and the series of preceding American blunders that aggravated its effectiveness.


Where To Watch Tora! Tora! Tora! For $3.99

Google Play Movies & TV
Apple TV
Prime Video


Steve McQueen on a Motorcycle in The Great Escape

3. The Great Escape (Ages 8 and up)

This Memorial Day movie may run long at almost three hours, but it’s an excellent conversation starter for families watching together. The Great Escape is a POW film that manages to honor the dead while still engaging us in a story about teamwork. The movie is about allied prisoners of war who plan for several hundred of their number to escape from a German camp during World War II. The kids might have a hard time sitting still during the film but the last half hour is worth the wait.


Where To Watch The Great Escape For $3.99

Google Play Movies & TV
Apple TV
Prime Video


Christian Bale in Empire of the Sun

2. Empire of the Sun (Ages 13 and up)

Empire of the Sun is a great movie for families to watch about world war II. Steven Spielberg directs this movie and does a great job of depicting the harsh realities of war but it also shows how people can come together to help each other in times of need. Empire of the Sun is about a young English boy who struggles to survive under the Japanese occupation of China during World War II. A young Christian Bale stars in this film and gives a masterful performance at only thirteen years old.


Where To Watch Empire of the Sun

The Roku Channel


1. Life is Beautiful (Ages 11 and Up)

Introducing a child to the Holocaust is a daunting task but if any movie can do it, then it’s Life is Beautiful. Roberto Benigni stars in and directs this Holocaust drama that will have the whole family laughing and crying. The film does not delve into the horrors of the Holocaust and instead focuses on a father’s love for his son. The film is about an open-minded Jewish waiter and his son who become victims of the Holocaust and the father’s uses of will, humor, and imagination to protect his son from the dangers around their camp. Life is Beautiful has gotten criticism for making light of the Holocaust whereas other viewers have found the film to be deeply moving as it showed even in the worst situation imaginable, humans still have the capacity to find beauty and joy.


Where To Watch Life is Beautiful

Pluto TV


Memorial Day Can Open The Door To Many Conversations

The harsh realities of war can be a complicated topic to discuss with kids but Memorial Day is the perfect time to start those conversations. These war movies are excellent conversation starters that can help teach kids about different aspects of war while still being entertaining.

Memorial Day can be a somber holiday, but it’s also a day to be thankful for the sacrifices that have been made for our freedom. If you’re looking for Memorial Day movies to watch for kids, then we hope these 5 films will help you celebrate the holiday.

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