Turner Classic Movies—cable TV’s old-movie channel—has another of its excellent holiday-themed marathons this weekend, a Memorial Day War Movie Marathon. The selection of movies demonstrates how much Hollywood has changed over the decades, from an overtly patriotic but thoughtful purveyor of serious entertainment with an intent to convey positive values, to one of increasing cynicism and loss of national, social, and cultural morale since the late 1960s. Whatever one may think of that transition, it is real and highly visible in the array of movies shown this weekend on Turner Classics.

My recommendations tend toward evenhanded but ultimately peace-loving depictions of the complex issues involved in military matters and the decisions about when and whether to go to war:

  • Destination: Tokyo
  • Sergeant York
  • Foreign Correspondent
  • The Green Berets (part of a celebration of John Wayne’s birthday)
  • The Best Years of Our Lives
  • Kelly’s Heroes

Consult the schedule for a full list of films.