By Ethan Smith
Valentine’s Day is supposed to be a beautiful celebration of love; a day to say “thank you” to the special people in our lives and remind them of why we love them so much. Unfortunately, Military Spouses are all too familiar with Valentine’s Days spent alone while their loved ones are deployed elsewhere.
Although nothing can ever be as good as time with your significant other, these Military romance movies will have you feeling the love from miles away. So grab a few MilSpouse friends, some popcorn, and enjoy…
Dear John (2010)
IMDB Rating: 6.3/10
While on leave in Charleston, South Carolina, John Tyree (Channing Tatum) meets Savannah Curtis (Amanda Seyfried) and the two fall fast in love during their two weeks together. But all good things must come to an end, and John is sent back to Afghanistan shortly after their spring fling. Although the two plan to start a family together after John returns, John decides he must reenlist after the attacks on 9/11. The film is based on Nicholas Sparks’s book by the same name. One last note: make sure you have some tissues nearby.
The English Patient (1996)
IMDB Rating: 7.4/10
Based off Michael Ondaatje’s novel of the same name, The English Patient takes place during World War II and tells the story of Count Laszlo de Almásy, a Hungarian cartographer who has suffered terrible injuries in a plane crash. While being tended to by a French-Canadian nurse, Almásy reveals the details of his own fateful love affair. The film was nominated for 12 Academy Awards and won nine of them, including Best Picture, Best Director (Anthony Minghella), and Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Juliette Binoche). Plus, it inspired an all-time classic Seinfeld episode.
The Notebook (2004)
IMDB Rating: 7.9/10
One of the modern classic romance films (and a real tear-jerker), The Notebook is based on the 1996 Nicholas Sparks novel of the same name. Starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, the film tells the tale of young, forbidden love made even more difficult when Fin (Gosling) enlists to fight in World War II.
Cold Mountain (2003)
IMDB Rating: 7.2/10
As the American Civil War draws to a close, a wounded Confederate deserter named Inman (Jude Law) embarks on a long and treacherous journey back home to Cold Mountain, North Carolina, to reunite with his lover Ada (Nicole Kidman). The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including one win for Renée Zellweger for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
The Lost Valentine (2011)
IMDB Rating: 7.5/10
In 1944, Caroline Thomas (Betty White) waved goodbye to her husband, Navy pilot Neil Thomas as he left for WWII with one promise: I’ll be home safely by our wedding anniversary. Unfortunately, Caroline never saw Neil again, but continues to wait at the train station every year on their anniversary. Her story inspires a cynical TV journalist (Jennifer Love Hewitt) who has all but given up on love
The Christmas Card (2006)
IMDB rating: 7.1/10
Sometimes, small acts of kindness can go a long way. Cody Cullen, a U.S. Army Master Sergeant, knows that all too well. With no family to speak of, Cullen grows close with his fellow soldiers, and even receives Christmas Cards from one soldier’s hometown of Nevada City, California, a gift that Cullen literally holds near his heart during the remainder of his deployment. Cullen eventually travels to Nevada City after his fellow soldier is killed in an attempt to find and console his widow. But what Cullen really finds in Nevada City is a love he wasn’t expecting.
Pearl Harbor (2001)
IMDB Rating: 6.1/10
Directed by Michael Bay and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, this film boasts a star-studded cast including Ben Affleck, Kate Beckinsale, Josh Hartnett, Cuba Gooding Jr., Jon Voight, Alec Baldwin, and more. While the film includes breathtaking scenes of the infamous battle, the real story here is the love triangle between Capt. Rafe McCawley (Affleck), Capt. Danny Walker (Hartnett) and Nurse Lt. Evelyn Johnson (Beckinsale).
For those looking for a more classic Pearl Harbor-centered love story, look no further than From Here to Eternity (1953), which has a pretty star-studded cast of its own: Frank Sinatra, Donna Reed, Deborah Kerr….
American Sniper (2014)
IMDB Rating: 7.3/10
This biographical war drama directed by Clint Eastwood tells the story of American Sniper Chris Kyle, and is loosely based on Kyle’s own memoirs. While most of the film focuses on Kyle’s time in combat, Eastwood does a fantastic job capturing the hardships of motherhood for women left alone while their husbands are fighting overseas. The film received six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Actor (Bradley Cooper).
Coming Home (1978)
IMDB Rating: 7.3/10
Starring Jane Fonda and Jon Voigt, this film explores the struggles that Military Spouses face while their S.O. is on deployment. Sally Hyde (Fonda), loyal wife of Bob Hyde (Bruce Dern), a captain in the United States Marine Corps, must learn how to navigate through life while her husband is fighting in Vietnam. But things get complicated when Sally reunites with a former high school classmate, Luke Martin (Voight).
Top Gun (1986)
IMDB Rating: 6.9/10
Maverick and Goose. Who can forget that iconic duo? Regardless of who’s the wingman, there is a beautiful romance woven into this tale of competitive, macho Naval pilots-in-training. And we aren’t just talking about the volleyball scene.
Other Great Military Romance films:
A Very Long Engagement (2004)
Dr. Zhivago (1965)
South Pacific (1958)
The Last of the Mohicans (1992)
Ethan Smith is a Contributing Writer for SpouseLink, a website that links, supports, informs, and inspires Military Spouses around the world. He is native to the Washington, D.C., area, but spent some time in Charleston, SC, studying Writing and Marketing at the College of Charleston, before returning to the Nation’s Capital. Ethan loves cats, fruit pies, remixes featuring Drake, and has an unhealthy relationship with D.C. sports teams.