Morgan Freeman: Always With Purpose

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By Samar Khoury

The world knows Oscar winner Morgan Freeman for his box office hits, like The Shawshank Redemption, Invictus and Bruce Almighty, among many others. But there is so much more to this acting legend than his performances on stage and screen, for Freeman is a philanthropist and humanitarian whose contributions have made a difference in the lives of so many. This year alone, aside from filming three movies, the Air Force veteran has made it his mission to spark change — most recently lending his powerful voice to call for police reform.

In June, Freeman and criminal justice professor Linda Keena at the University of Mississippi donated $1 million to the university to create a Center for Evidence-Based Policing and Reform – the only one of its kind in the state and one of only a few in the nation. The purpose of the center is to research and implement the best practices for training police around the country, as well as train how police can better engage the community in crime prevention.

“Look at the past year in our country – that sums it up,” Freeman said. “It’s time we are equipping police officers with training and ensuring ‘law enforcement’ is not defined only as a gun and a stick. Policing should be about that phrase ‘To Serve’ found on most law enforcement vehicles.”

The star’s work doesn’t stop there. After indie film The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain premiered at the Austin Film Festival, Freeman and Revelations Entertainment (his independent movie production company) partner Lori McCreary jumped on the opportunity to be executive producers for the film, which was released in theaters in September. The film recalls the final moments of Kenneth Chamberlain – a 68-year-old Black veteran killed by White Plains, N.Y. police in 2011 after accidentally setting off his medical alert. Police broke down the door to his apartment and shot Chamberlain twice in the chest. No charges were brought against the police in a 2012 jury trial.

Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman sitting outside on the benches playing checkers and talking in a movie scene.
Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman sitting outside on the benches playing checkers and talking in a scene from the film ‘The Shawshank Redemption.’ (Photo by Castle Rock Entertainment/Getty Images)

“All of the news coverage this past year, about George Floyd and Black Lives Matter and all of the other stuff that’s been going on, this movie I think sort of narrows it all down to what is necessary here, and to my way of thinking, what was necessary here is police reform,” Freeman told The Hollywood Reporter. “We have to get another way of doing policing in the community. Policing is for help, it’s not law enforcement, and I think this movie points that out.”

But this is just scratching the surface of what Freeman has accomplished. His activism has only begun.

From the Air Force to Stardom
Freeman was born on June 1, 1937, and grew up in a segregated community in Mississippi. There, he discovered his passion for film – he frequented the local movie theater and loved watching war movies, sparking his interest in becoming a pilot. In school, Freeman performed in school plays and competitions, and, not surprisingly, took on lead roles and won awards.

After he graduated from high school in 1955, Freeman turned down a drama scholarship to Jackson State University to enlist in the Air Force, working as radar technician for more than a year before training as a pilot. That’s when he realized flying was not right for him, thus receiving an honorable discharge as an airman first class in 1959.

Throughout his time serving out nation, Freeman’s interest in acting never left him. “When I got in and started to live that life [in the Air Force], it occurred to me that I had been functioning with my romance with movies. I had seen all these war movies, but you are thinking reality when it is all make believe,” he said in an interview with Oprah Winfrey’s “Master Class.”

He found work on television in the children’s show The Electric Company, appeared on stage in Coriolanus and Julius Caesar, winning an Obie Award, and then got his big break with his extraordinary performance in Street Smart.

After his Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor in Street Smart and his Golden Globe Award for Best Actor and a second Oscar nomination for his role in Driving Miss Daisy, Freeman’s career began to skyrocket. In 1993, he directed his first film, Bopha!, and soon created Revelation Entertainment with Bopha! producer Lori McCreary.

Along the way not only has Freeman’s movie performances, as a lead actor, supporting actor and narrator, resulted in global box office totals of over $10 billion, but according to Forbes he is the “most trusted voice in the world.

Currently, he is set to lead upcoming thriller Muti with Yellowstone star Cole Houser. The film, set for release next year, will follow a detective who, unable to cope with his daughter’s death, hunts down a serial killer who murders based on a tribal ritual: Muti. The only person who can help him is Freeman’s character, an anthropologist hiding a secret. In addition, to his film work, he has a series coming to History Channel in the fall: Great Escapes with Morgan Freeman. The show tells true stories of prison breaks, most of which failed.

Morgan Freeman during Morgan Freeman Footprint Ceremony at Mann's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
Morgan Freeman during Morgan Freeman Footprint Ceremony at Mann’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, Calif. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)

Activist, Philanthropist and Go-Getter Acting isn’t the only thing Freeman is passionate about – it turns out that he has a heart of gold, and he’s committed to making the world a better place. He is a driving force behind the Mississippi Animal Rescue League, has donated funds to help create the Morgan Freeman Equine Reproduction Research Unit at the Mississippi State College of Veterinary Medicine and founded the Tallahatchie River Foundation committed to quality early childhood education in the state of Mississippi. It is a fundamental belief of Freeman that when children thrive by 3rd grade, they have the promise of a better future.

Freeman is also an advocate for Artists for a New South Africa and the Campaign for Female Education. The philanthropist has also hosted an online disaster relief auction for the American Red Cross, created a cookbook – Morgan Freeman and Friends: Caribbean Cooking for a Cause– and supports efforts to promote the use of clean-burning fuels in America.

“I firmly believe that alternative fuel supplies need to be developed to allow the US to wean itself off its significant dependence on foreign oil,” Freeman said. “Moreover, I feel that our development of alternative sources such as biodiesel fuel will help the environment, farmers and the economy in general.”

An active environmentalist, in 2014, he added honeybee hives to his Mississippi ranch after learning about their global decline. Since then, he has planted magnolia, clover, lavender and bee-friendly fruit trees, as well as ensured his farm is as sustainable as possible. “There is a concerted effort for bringing bees back onto the planet,” Freeman said. “We do not realize that they are the foundation, I think, of the growth of the planet, the vegetation.”

Master Sgt. Curtis Chiles (left) conducts egress training for actor Morgan Freeman before his orientation flight in a T-37.
Master Sgt. Curtis Chiles (left) conducts egress training for actor Morgan Freeman before his orientation flight in a T-37. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Jennifer Moore)

Freeman, who was dubbed this year’s #VeteranOfTheDay, constantly advocates for human rights. From supporting the Black Lives Matter movement to remembering Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on his federal holiday, the activist has always spoken out against injustice. “Fighting for equality is a celebration of independence. Fighting for black lives is a celebration of independence. #BlackLivesMatter,” Freeman said on Twitter.

In January this past year, Freeman made a point to remember Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and continues to make a difference. “In these trying times we must remember and uplift the good while rising above violence,” he said. “We must never forget about him. Today, we must remember to keep the dream alive. So be kind, show love to one another, help pave the way for equality and justice and have faith that our great country can recover from anything. Because through this we remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

As far as we’re concerned, Freeman has kept the dream alive.

“I can say that life is good to me. Has been and is good. So, I think my task is to be good to it. How do you be good to life? You live it.”

Cry Macho

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Clint Eastwood stars as a one‐time rodeo star who takes a job to bring his ex-boss’ young son home from Mexico to Texas and faces an unexpectedly challenging journey.

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Manly Bands Partners with Jack Daniel’s and the Armed Services YMCA To Reunite Military Families This Holiday Season

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Manly Bands recently announced their partnership with Jack Daniel’s on their Operation Ride Home program to help as many as 60 active duty junior service members return home for the holidays this year.

Manly Bands will be donating a portion of every sale from their Jack Daniel’s wedding ring collection to Operation Ride Home totaling up to $25,000.

Manly Bands is the most popular direct-to-consumer wedding ring brand for men and has been a licensed partner with Jack Daniel’s since 2020. The Jack Daniel’s Collection uses genuine aged barrels from the Tennessee whiskey with other unique ring materials such as carbon fiber, meteorite, dinosaur bone and more.

Operation Ride Home was created in 2011 in partnership between Jack Daniel’s and the Armed Services YMCA to help reconnect military families over the holidays. Since it was founded, Operation Ride Home has generated a total of more than $1.8 million in donations and sent a total of 8,583 individual junior-enlisted service members and their families home from all 50 states.

Over the years, Manly Bands has supported military families in many ways including donations to veterans and military families and distributing free silicone bands to active service members. Now, the company is looking to go further by donating up to $25,000 to help finance the cost of travel for US troops returning home.

“Manly Bands has always been a great supporter of our brave military personnel,” said Johnathan Ruggiero, co-CEO of Manly Bands. “This is a special time of year for love and hope, and we believe that there is no better way to share that than to honor the brave men and women who protect our country year-round by helping to bring them home for the holidays.”

The collaboration between Manly Bands and Operation Ride Home will commence on December 1st and run until the end of the month. Every ring sold from the Jack Daniel’s collection will go towards bringing active service members home for the holidays. More information can be found at manlybands.com/pages/jack-daniels-operation-ride-home to learn more about our partnership with Operation Ride Home.

About Manly Bands

Manly Bands is the fastest growing direct-to-consumer e-commerce retailer of men’s wedding rings. We make it easy for couples to order a ring that looks (and fits) perfect on every man. Our rings are crafted in more than 400 unique styles made from dozens of non-traditional materials, such as dinosaur bone, meteorite and authentic Jack Daniel’s whiskey barrel. We’re on a mission to give men the ring that they’ll never want to take off. To see our latest collections, visit ManlyBands.com today.

ABOUT ARMED SERVICES YMCA:  

The Armed Services YMCA is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit that serves currently serving military members and their families. In 2019, we engaged more than 225,000 people in our programs and delivered over 1 million points of services to junior enlisted Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and family members at 200 service centers in 18 states. Whether providing respite childcare for parents in need, summer camps for kids, or assisting with emergency needs, the Armed Services YMCA is a nonprofit with a mission: Strengthening Our Military Family. Visit our website to see how you can join us in supporting military families.

VetsAid 2021: The Basement Show To Be Streamed Online December 18 – 25, 2021 With All Proceeds Going Directly To Veterans Services

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Joe Walsh, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee and multi-GRAMMY Award winning musician invites you into his home for his 5th annual VetsAid music festival, an offering of his national 501(c)3 non-profit veterans organization. The Basement Show will be streamed live from his basement studio on December 18th and will feature performances by Walsh with special guests including Ringo Starr, a tour of his studio and some of his home guitar collection and a fan submitted Q&A as moderated by his wife Marjorie Walsh and stepson Christian Quilici, who are both VetsAid co-founders.

The stream will also include never before seen footage from the first four VetsAid offerings and from a recent visit Joe made to the US Vets Long Beach facility. As VetsAid festivals are typically planned near military bases and last year’s pandemic prohibited any in-person meetings, it was important and gratifying for Joe to be able to meet safely with vets of varying generations at US Vets Long Beach Social Hall where participants were able to share their stories of transition out of homelessness, thoughts on the present homelessness crisis across the country and messages of hope. The visit was topped off with a performance and storytelling session about “Life’s Been Good.”

“I’m always so inspired by the incredible service and sacrifice of our veterans and their families – and this year I had the honor of visiting with some of them in Long Beach and I look forward to sharing some of that visit in the stream on December 18th. Supporting and being of service to them is the sole aim of VetsAid,” Walsh said. “and while we couldn’t be together in Columbus as originally planned, I thought I’d do something special and invite everybody over to my house instead! So c’mon and join us for some great music and a glimpse of how I live, work, play and make music with my friends! That’s a lotta Joe!”

It is fitting that this year’s concert comes from Walsh’s home as Veterans and their wellbeing have always been a family affair for Joe as a Gold Star son himself. His father was a flight instructor for the first US operational jet powered aircraft, the Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star, and died while stationed and on active duty on Okinawa when Walsh was 20 months old.

VetsAid 2021: The Basement Show will be streamed live on December 18, 2021 at 8:00pm EST (with restream available through December 25, 2021) and is a ticketed event with livestream passes and merch bundles available now from $15 via vetsaid.veeps.com. vetsaid.veeps.com.

Joe Walsh launched VetsAid on September 20, 2017 with an inaugural concert at the EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, VA. The second festival event was in Tacoma, WA and the third in Houston, TX.  VetsAid typically seeks to host the events in cities across the country with large veteran populations.The shows have included performances by musicians including James Taylor, Chris Stapleton, Don Henley, ZZ Top, Sheryl Crow, The Doobie Brothers, Zac Brown Band, Jason Isbell, Keith Urban, Haim, Gary Clark Jr. and Joe’s brother-in-law Ringo. VetsAid 2020 saw the festival move online during the COVID pandemic with more than 40 participating artists that included Willie Nelson, Eddie Vedder, Gwen Stefani, James Hetfield and Jon Bon Jovi.

To date, VetsAid has disbursed $1.8 million dollars to organizations that support veterans and their families. All net proceeds from the 2021 streaming festival will go directly to the veterans’ services charities selected through a vetting process coordinated in tandem with the Combined Arms Institute. Criteria for this year’s selection process will focus exclusively on our homeless veterans and the resettlement efforts of our Afghan allies.

For more information, please visit www.vetsaid.org.

Thanking Community-Based Veteran Service Providers in 2021

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By Kaitlin Cashwell, Director of Community Integration, America’s Warrior Partnership

The past year has been challenging for our nation’s veterans. We processed the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, and the lingering impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet, through these trials and tribulations, communities maintained strong networks of support for veterans, their families, and caregivers.

Our team at America’s Warrior Partnership (AWP) is particularly thankful for the new partners and programs that rose to meet the challenges of 2021 and stand ready to help veterans start the New Year off on the right foot.

Connecting Veterans in Northwest Florida

The Panhandle region of Florida has a robust population of veterans embraced by local communities. Yet, many of these veterans live in isolated areas that lack easy access to support services. Across our ten years of serving veterans, we learned that most of the challenges facing veterans, from housing to employment, can be solved locally. That’s why we’re thankful for the Panhandle Warrior Partnership (PWP). The PWP leverages the America’s Warrior Partnership Community Integration model to connect with, educate, and advocate for veterans across the panhandle of Florida while collaborating with local leaders to find effective solutions to various problems. One of the PWP’s most important objectives is helping Panhandle warriors overcome the impacts of living in isolated areas by connecting with each other to enjoy recreational opportunities and family gatherings. You can connect with fellow veterans at www.facebook.com/groups/panhandle.

By Indiana Veterans, For Indiana Veterans

This past November, the Indy Warrior Partnership (IWP) was launched, which focuses on serving veterans in central Indiana. The IWP seeks to proactively connect with these veterans, educate them on the local services available to them, and then advocate on their behalf to improve resources within the community. Like the Panhandle Warrior Partnership in Florida, IWP has set up a Facebook page where Indiana veterans can learn about local resources and opportunities. You can learn more at www.facebook.com/groups/indywarrior.

Food Drives for Navajo Nation Veterans

Military veterans of the Navajo Nation in the U.S. Southwest live in some of the most isolated communities in the country. In such circumstances, it’s more effective to bring resources directly to veterans in need rather than educate them on accessing services that may be hours away. Diné Naazbaa’ Partnership (DNP) along with their community partners have supported several donation drives over the year to bring food boxes and other critical items to thousands of Navajo veterans and family members.

Getting Started with Accessing Resources in Your Community

As we look ahead to 2022, we hope every veteran seeking to improve their quality of life will start by researching the resources and services available in their community. Getting started can be as simple as visiting a local veteran organization to learn how they can help. Veterans can visit the AWP Network page to access the State Veteran Benefits Finder for more specific needs, a database initially developed by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). The database includes more than 1,800 benefit providers at the state level and is accessible at www.americaswarriorpartnership.org/the-network.

We look forward to helping every veteran achieve the quality of life they have earned through their service.

About the Author

Kaitlin Cashwell has over 10 years of experience in business administration, finance, and project management in both the nonprofit and for-profit industry.  She currently directs and oversees the Community Integration program, including AWP’s Network, research projects, community training/consulting, Corporate Veteran Initiative, and WarriorServe® client relations. Both of her grandfathers served in the military, and she has two brothers-in-law currently serving in the United States Navy. Kaitlin holds a Master of Business Administration at Augusta University’s Hull College of Business.

About America’s Warrior Partnership

America’s Warrior Partnership is committed to empowering communities to empower veterans.

We fill the gaps between veteran service organizations by helping nonprofits connect with veterans, their families, and caregivers. Our programs bolster nonprofit efficacy, improving their results, and empowering their initiatives. Preventing veteran suicide is the outcome of America’s Warrior Partnership’s work.

www.AmericasWarriorPartnership.org | @AWPartnership | #awpartnership

‘Top Gun’ Barbie Is Here to Help Us Wait for Maverick’s New Movie

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Mattel BArbie Doll Phoenix stands on airplane runway in military uniform holding her helmet on hip

November 19 was supposed to be the day that we finally got to see “Top Gun: Maverick” in theaters, but Tom Cruise and the suits at Paramount kicked the release yet again to May 27, 2022.

Maverick fans can console themselves with the official “Top Gun: Maverick” Barbie doll, inspired by the movie character Natasha Trace, call sign “Phoenix.”

“Top Gun” and Barbie fans can buy the limited edition doll for $39.99 at Mattel’s Barbie.com website. You also can buy one at Target, Walmart or Amazon. There’s a limit of two dolls at the Barbie website, so you may need to act fast if you want to buy one.

The doll comes with a pilot’s helmet and a jumpsuit that includes signature patches. Phoenix also sports aviator sunglasses, dog tags and a watch. Our aviator has everything she needs to succeed at the hyper-competitive Top Gun school.

We have no idea what Phoenix’s role will be in the story of “Top Gun: Maverick,” but we do know that she’s played by Monica Barbaro, best known for her roles on the television shows “UnREAL,” “Chicago Justice” and “Stumptown.”

Will Phoenix emerge as Top Gun champion in the new movie? Will she meet a Goose-like fate? We’re going to have to wait another six months to find out the details.

Read the original article posted on Military.com.

Sunken Roads: Three Generations After D-Day

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Sunken Roads movie Promotional poster featuring older veterans

Don McCarthy was 20 years old on D-Day, when his infantry division landed on Omaha Beach. Don and the other veterans who survived D-Day will someday soon have passed into memory and legend.

This realization inspires 20-year-old filmmaker Charlotte Juergens to join Don and seven other D-Day vets on a journey to France – a commemorative pilgrimage to Omaha Beach for the 70th anniversary of the invasion.

The vets come to see Charlotte as a granddaughter, trusting her with their stories as they confront the trauma that still haunts them 70 years after the war.

In capturing their lives, Sunken Roads offers an intergenerational perspective on D-Day, presenting the memories of 90-year-old combat veterans through the eyes of a 20-year-old woman.
 
 
Documentary by Charlotte Juergens.

Opens November 5, 2021 on Live & Virtual Cinema.

For details, visit the website at https://www.firstrunfeatures.com/sunkenroads.html

Colin Firth to star as MI5 agent in WWII movie ‘Operation Mincemeat’

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Operation Mincemeat cast Colin Firth and Matthew Macfayden stand next to each other in stoic pose

Military history aficionados, it’s time to get giddy. One of the most extraordinary deceptions of the Second World War, Operation MINCEMEAT, is coming to the big screen.

The film stars not one Mr. Darcy, but two — Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen — as MI5 agents Ewen Montagu and Charles Cholmondeley respectively. The film, based on Ben Macintyre’s book, ‘Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory’, follows the MI5 agents and their harebrained scheme to use a British cadaver to bamboozle the Germans in the lead up to the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943.

It was an operation in which everything could have, and quite possibly should have, gone wrong, but miraculously didn’t.

The idea itself was very simple: find a dead body, plant false papers on the corpse to make the Nazi leadership believe the Allied invasion in the Mediterranean would take place in Greece, and then drop it where the Germans would inevitably find it. Yet to pull off the ruse would require ingenuity to navigate the central challenge of finding the appropriate body that looked like it had died in an air crash at sea and floated ashore.

The British eventually found their man in Glyndwr Michael, a vagrant who had recently died in London after swallowing rat poison. With no family to claim him, Michael’s body was put on ice as Montagu and Cholmondeley set about creating Captain (Acting Major) William Martin of the Royal Marines.

“We’re going to play a humiliating trick on Hitler,” Firth can be seen saying to his fellow MI5 collaborators. And indeed they did.

While the idea originally came from none other than Fleming, Ian Fleming, he later admitted he had lifted the idea from a detective novel. It was agents Montagu and Cholmondeley who were the ultimate masterminds behind what they dubbed, rather tongue-in-cheek, Operation Mincemeat.

Operation Mincemeat is scheduled to be in theaters in the U.K. on January 7 and to stream on Netflix at an as-of-yet unspecified release date.

Read the complete article on the Army Times.

Kellie Pickler: On a Mission to Serve

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Interview and Story by Tawanah Reeves-Ligon

Not everyone has been called to serve as a member of our Armed Forces, but country star, actress, television host and philanthropist Kellie Pickler feels it’s her duty to serve the called.

By partnering with the USO (United Service Organizations), one of the nation’s leading nonprofit charities dedicated to members of the military and their families, Pickler, alongside other celebrities, gets the chance to give back to a community that means the world to her. “They have enabled me to be a part of something that matters,” she shared. “Working with the USO, it’s really all about keeping the families connected and keeping our servicemen and women connected with their loved ones.

We take a piece of home to them…when we do holiday tours, we take a professional athlete, a singer, comedian, actor, actress and just develop this show with them. We sign [autographs], laugh; we take pictures. We have breakfast, lunch and dinner. If they’re stationed somewhere where their families are able to be with them, we have family day. We get to break bread together and laugh and share their stories…break up the monotony of what they do.”

And Pickler, a North Carolina native, was a great choice for this role because she is a wiz at putting on a show. The now 35-year-old got her start in the industry in 2005 on the fifth season of American Idol, finishing in sixth place.

WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 27: Kellie Pickler sings with the U.S. Army Chorus at the American Veterans Center’s “American Valor: A Salute to Our Heroes” Veterans Day special on October 27, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Shannon Finney/Getty Images)

Her debut album sold over 900,000 copies, was certified gold and produced three top 20 singles on the Billboard “Hot Country Songs” charts. During her music career, Pickler has won or been nominated for numerous awards, such as the CMT Music Awards Breakthrough Video of the Year, Top New Female Vocalist of the Year, Female Video of the Year, Collaborative Video of the Year and Performance of The Year. She’s also won the prestigious Songwriter Award twice from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers.

Later, after the release of her fourth studio album, The Woman I Am, Pickler went on to win the sixteenth season of Dancing with the Stars, alongside professional dancer Derek Hough in 2013. She would also go on to star in two successful television programs, I Love Killie Pickler, a reality show about her life with husband Kyle Jacobs, as well as Pickler & Ben, a daytime talk show she hosted for two years alongside influencer Ben Aaron.

Pickler has also starred in television movies for Hallmark, Christmas at Graceland, Wedding at Graceland and The Mistletoe Secret. However, for Pickler, these achievements are not the hallmark of her career or representative of her purpose. “…accolades, awards, that don’t matter. People matter,” Pickler said. “You never wake up after doing the right thing and think, ‘I wish I hadn’t done the right thing there.’ It’s easy to be kind; it’s easy to love your neighbor.”

NASHVILLE, TN – APRIL 29: (L-R) Kyle Jacobs, Recording Artist Kellie Pickler, Allison Baker, Andi Zack-Johnson and Ken Johnson attend the St. Jude Rock ‘n’ ROll Nashville Marathon on April 29, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jason Davis/Getty Images for St. Jude)

For Pickler, her real job is about what happens offstage, “I know that I was not put on this Earth to just be a country singer, performer and entertainer. That’s just my vehicle to get me through the door. I know what my calling is. I know that my purpose in life is to be a voice for the broken, to be a sanctuary for people.

I’m not perfect by no means. I know my heart. I know my integrity. And that’s not for sale. I feel very blessed to be in a position where I can use my gifts and blessings…” As a USO Ambassador, Pickler is excited about taking the opportunity to give back to those who she knows are prepared to give everything for our citizens and our country.

According to her, “It’s imperative that they know (and that the families know) that we have their backs too. It takes a very selfless person to do what they do.” She is especially sensitive to the families of servicemembers, “The families serve. I’m very close with many Gold Star Families and Gold Star Wives. The USO is a community that’s very, very much needed.

When someone gets that folded flag at their front door, that dreaded conversation, it’s imperative that they have community around them, to love them, help them, be there for their children…The USO has kept so many families connected, and even connected me with these families, in a way that I can have a relationship with them and let them know that they aren’t alone.”

KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN: Kellie Pickler signs autographs after performing for U.S. service members as part of USO’s holiday tour.
(Photo by /The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The USO sponsors many programs with these goals in mind and works in over 250 locations. Their programs, predominately, fall into one of four categories: Unites, Delivers, Entertains or Transitions. Each category represents one part of the mission to keep servicemembers in touch with the places, people and positivity they need to keep going.

Programs include, but aren’t limited to: the Bob Hope Legacy Program, which helps servicemembers read to their children virtually; USO Coffee Connections, which gathers military spouses together at monthly gatherings in comfortable spaces where they can share and relate; USO Care Package Program, which delivers familiar snacks, toiletries and hygiene essentials to troops, predominately those overseas; and of course their many resources for those transitioning (or who have transitioned) out of military service.

Participating in the promotion of these programs, as well as having the chance to meet and link with servicemembers and their families, has been a dream for Pickler.

Though she and her immediate family did not come from a military background, she still feels as though she can serve, love on and relate to these families in her own way.

LAS VEGAS, NV – APRIL 07: Singer Kellie Pickler (L) and Staff Sgt. Baily Zimmerman perform onstage during ACM Presents: An All-Star Salute To The Troops in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for ACM)

“We all have so much more in common than we realize,” she said. “I do feel that in my line of work, the music business is all about putting truth in the form of a song. I believe that there’s several songs of mine that have been autobiographical where I was able to put a pinprick of my life into a song. But it’s helped people heal. I do believe in sharing parts of my story…” Pickler continued, saying that her time, her story and her music have “brought people together and helped people find closure in whatever it is that they’re going through.” And that’s where the fulfillment comes from for her.

“There are countless things that the USO has done [for our servicemembers], and, again, it’s been just very life changing for me to be a part of the USO family. I feel that’s the way that I can serve those who serve.”

35 Best War Movies on Netflix

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This article was originally posted on Yahoo Finance:

Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) is inarguably the top choice of the public for streaming videos and entertainment, with reportedly over 200 million paid subscribers in the first quarter of 2021. The popularity of the streaming service lies majorly in the ease of usage that the company provides to its customers.

Moreover, the service is economically priced and has a wide variety of digital content to choose from. In addition, over the years, Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) has expanded from a mere streaming service to a production house that makes original content such as TV serials, films, and even documentaries.

As war is one of the most popular genres of movies to watch in present times, we have compiled a list of the 35 best war movies on Netflix for you to watch and enjoy. Because of geographic restrictions imposed by Netflix, not all movies mentioned in the list are available to stream in the US. We have mentioned the main regions of availability for each movie.

Best War Movies on Netflix

35. Downfall (2004)

Downfall shows a historically accurate account of Adolf Hitler’s final days that he spent in his bunker in Berlin after the end of World War II. The story is based on the memories recalled by the dictator’s secretary Traudl Junge. Due to the insights lent by Junge, the audience is shown precise details about the gruesomeness brought about by the deeds of Hitler and his inner circle. The movie is the 35th in the list of 35 best war movies on Netflix and is available to be streamed or downloaded on Netflix in Denmark and Finland.

34. Ender’s Game (2013)

The movie falls in the war and science fiction genres. The movie follows a gifted child enrolled in a military academy to fight against an alien invasion. Ender’s Game received critical reviews and did not do much business although its first few weeks in theatres seemed to be successful. Hence, Ender’s Game is 34th on the list of 35 best war movies on Netflix and is available to be streamed or downloaded on Netflix in the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Finland.

Apart from Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX), the movie may be found on Amazon Prime Video (NASDAQ: AMZN), Youtube (NASDAQ: GOOG), HBO Now (NYSE: T) (NASDAQ: DISCA), and AppleTV+ (NASDAQ: AAPL), subject to its availability on the platforms.

33. The Pianist (2002)

The Pianist is an adaptation of a book, namely The Pianist: The Extraordinary True Story of One Man’s Survival in Warsaw written by Władysław Szpilman. The movie is based on the autobiography of Władysław Szpilman, who was a Jewish pianist and composer. The movie shows the life led by Władysław Szpilman in Warsaw, a city in occupied Poland during World War II. It specifically shows the events of Poland undergoing a massive change from the eyes of the pianist. Due to the accuracy of the first-hand account of events, The Pianist is the 33rd in the 35 best war movies on Netflix and is available to be streamed or downloaded on Netflix in the United States.

32. Defiance (2008)

Defiance is an American war film that numbers 32 out of the 35 best war movies on Netflix. The movie stars Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, Jamie Bell, and George MacKay as Polish-Jewish brothers. The four brothers are shown to save and then recruit Jews in Poland during the Second World War. The movie is set in the years between 1941 and 1944 during the Nazi German occupation of Byelorussia (Belarus) when the Jews were in hiding in occupied territory. Defiance is available to be streamed or downloaded on Netflix in the United States.

Apart from Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX), the movie may be found on Amazon Prime Video (NASDAQ: AMZN), Youtube (NASDAQ: GOOG), HBO Now (NYSE: T) (NASDAQ: DISCA), and AppleTV+ (NASDAQ: AAPL), subject to its availability on the platforms.

31. K-19: The Widowmaker (2002)

K-19: The Widowmaker is the 31st of the 35 best war movies on Netflix. The movie is named after the K-19 submarine which was the first ballistic missile launched by the Soviet Union. Hence, the movie is based in the year 1961. The movie was produced as a joint effort of the United States, Germany, Canada, and the United Kingdom. It received much praise for the performance of its actors as well as the dramatic direction but was critiqued on its screenwriting. Although it did not make as much money as it was expected to, the movie is a fine watch. K-19: The Widowmaker is available to be streamed or downloaded on Netflix in Canada, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway.

30. Company of Heroes (2013)

The movie is historically inaccurate and appeals the most to people who play video games since there is a video game by the same name. The movie is set during the Second World War. It follows a platoon of soldiers in the US Army who receive troubling news about Adolf Hitler launching a bomb which could significantly harm the United States. The movie depicts how the soldiers embark on a mission to gain more information and unearth the scientist who would lead the attack. Company of Heroes is available to be streamed or downloaded on Netflix in the United States.

Apart from Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX), the movie may be found on Amazon Prime Video (NASDAQ: AMZN), Youtube (NASDAQ: GOOG), HBO Now (NYSE: T) (NASDAQ: DISCA), and AppleTV+ (NASDAQ: AAPL), subject to its availability on the platforms.

29. War Machine (2017)

War Machine is a satirical film that is based on the fictionalized events of a nonfiction book by the name of “The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan” written by Michael Hastings. The movie follows US Army General Glen McMahon who is given the responsibility of writing an assessment for the government so that the US-Afghan war can finally end. Instead, the Army General requests more troops, and his request disturbs the government and the US President. War Machine is 29th of the 35 best war movies on Netflix.

28. Full Metal Jacket (1987)

The movie falls in the war and drama genres and is based on the autobiographical novel named The Short-Timers which was written by U.S. Marine Corps veteran Gustav Hasford in 1979. The novel, and hence the movie, is about the experiences of the veteran and his fellow soldiers during the Vietnam War that lasts from the year 1955 to 1975.

The movie shows the platoon of U.S. Marines all the way from their days of training until their role in the war. The title of the movie refers to the jacket that was worn but military personnel during the days of the war. The movie received much acclaim and is the 28th in the list of 35 best war movies on Netflix and is available to be streamed or downloaded on Netflix in the United States.

27. The Outpost (2020)

The movie depicts the Battle of Kamdesh in Afghanistan that occurred in 2009 when 300 Taliban troops attacked a US outpost in eastern Afghanistan. The battle was reportedly one of the most heinous in the US-Afghan war. The movie is based on the events recorded in the non-fiction book named “The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor” published in 2012 that was written by Jake Tapper. The movie is 27th in the list of 35 best war movies on Netflix. The Outpost is available to be streamed or downloaded on Netflix in the United States.

26. Too Young the Hero (1998)

This American war movie depicts the true story of a twelve-year-old boy who wishes to join the US Army to serve his country during the Second World War. The movie essentially is a biography of the boy named Calvin Graham, who was declared the youngest American serviceman of the Second World War. Too Young the Hero is available to be streamed or downloaded on Netflix in the United States.

Apart from Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX), the movie may be found on Amazon Prime Video (NASDAQ: AMZN), Youtube (NASDAQ: GOOG), HBO Now (NYSE: T) (NASDAQ: DISCA), and AppleTV+ (NASDAQ: AAPL), subject to its availability on the platforms.

25. Green Zone (2010)

The movie shows life inside a green zone in Baghdad during the invasion of Iraq by the combined forces of the United States, the United Kingdom, Poland, and Australia. All the armies reportedly invaded Iraq to dethrone President Saddam Hussein and free the people of Iraq. The screenplay of the movie is based on the non-fictional book named Imperial Life in the Emerald City written by Rajiv Chandrasekaran in 2006. Green Zone is available to be streamed and downloaded by the US version of Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX).

24. The Resistance Banker (2018)

The Resistance Banker is set during the Second World War. The movie revolves around the life of a banker named Walraven van Hall who came up with a genius plan in order to sponsor the Dutch resistance and help his people. The movie is entirely in the Dutch language, and American Netflix users may either watch the version dubbed into English or turn on subtitles. The movie is the 24th out of the 35 best war movies on Netflix and is available to be streamed or downloaded on Netflix in the United States.

23. Life is Beautiful (1997)

Life is Beautiful is the 19th out of the 35 best war movies on Netflix. The movie revolves around an Italian Jewish bookshop owner during the Second World War. The lead uses his imagination and gift of storytelling to protect his son and keep him distracted while they are imprisoned in a concentration camp by the Nazis. Life is Beautiful became popular due to it displaying a good eye into the human side of war. The movie became an overwhelming success both in terms of audiences and business. Moreover, it won three Academy Awards along with several others such as in the Cannes Film Festival, David di Donatello Awards, and Nastro d’Argento Awards. The movie uses the Italian, German, and English languages; therefore, US audiences might need to make use of subtitles while viewing it on Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX).

Apart from Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX), the movie may be found on Amazon Prime Video (NASDAQ: AMZN), Youtube, HBO Now, and AppleTV+ (NASDAQ: AAPL), subject to its availability on the platforms.

22. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

The war movie is set at the time of the Invasion of Normandy in 1944 during the second World War. The film shows graphic details about the war, especially in scenes that depict the Omaha Beach assault. The movie shows several soldiers who do their best to survive during the troublesome times of war.

The movie received much appreciation for everything from direction and screenplay to realism and the actors’ performances. Moreover, the movie performed exceptionally well commercially and won many awards, such as five Academy Awards. As with All Quiet on The Western Front (1930), Patton (1970), and Apocalypse Now (1979), Saving Private Ryan (1998) was selected to be preserved by the United States National Film Registry as it was culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant. Saving Private Ryan is available to be streamed or downloaded on Netflix in the United States, Finland, and Austria.

21. Da 5 Bloods (2020)

This American movie shows four war veterans who served in the Vietnam War. In the movie, the middle-aged veterans return to the site of the war to search for a fallen soldier who was their squad leader and attempt to find a treasure that they buried during their service in the war. The movie is a Netflix original production; it received spectacular reviews and several awards. The movie is the 21st on our list of 35 best war movies on Netflix. Da 5 Bloods is available to be streamed or downloaded on Netflix in the United States.

20. Tears of the Sun (2003)

The movie follows a rescue mission led by United States Navy SEAL during the Nigerian civil war. The movie shows some gruesome realities of human behavior during the war and is hence lauded for its realistic screenplay. African refugees played roles in the movie’s cast to make the movie more authentic. The movie stars Bruce Willis and Monica Bellucci in the lead roles. However, the movie did not receive much acclaim from critics as they deemed it a stylish action movie. Tears of the Sun is available to be streamed or downloaded on Netflix in Finland, Austria, and Denmark.

19. Rescue Dawn (2006)

This American war movie recreates the real-life story of a German-American pilot. The movie follows the events in his life during the Vietnam War. The pilot’s airplane was shot down and he was captured by villagers during a US military campaign. Although the movie was received well by critics, it was a commercial failure. Rescue Dawn is available to be streamed or downloaded on Netflix in the United States, Denmark, Finland, and Brazil.

Apart from Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX), the movie may be found on Amazon Prime Video (NASDAQ: AMZN), Youtube (NASDAQ: GOOG), HBO Now (NYSE: T) (NASDAQ: DISCA), and AppleTV+ (NASDAQ: AAPL), subject to its availability on the platforms.

18. Hitler- A Career (1977)

The movie, as its name suggests, follows the transformation of Adolf Hitler from his early years to the days of the Second World War. It shows the collective psychology of the Germans who required a leader and Hitler’s subsequent rise to power. The movie shows in great detail the leader’s long journey from an artist to one of the most despised people in history.

Hitler – A Career is the 18th out of the 35 best war movies on Netflix and is available on Netflix in Finland and Brazil.

17. Beasts of No Nation (2015)

The movie is set in an unspecified West African country during a brutal civil war. Its story revolves around a young boy who attempts to escape the war with his family but is caught by a rebel faction and is adopted into their ranks. The movie goes on to show his initiation into the faction and how the events unfold further. The movie is in English and is available to be streamed or downloaded on Netflix in the United States, Denmark, Netherlands, Austria, Germany, Norway, Finland, Brazil, New Zealand, and Sweden. Beasts of No Nation is the 17th of the 35 best war movies on Netflix.

16. Das Boot (1981)

The movie is adapted from a German book of the same name written by Lothar-Günther Buchheim in 1973. The writer narrated his experiences while he was aboard the U-96 German submarine during the second world war. The movie follows Lothar-Günther Buchheim and the submarine’s crew during the Battle of the Atlantic. The movie is made to reflect realistic details; it shows the excitement and fear involved in the battle, and the frustration brought about by fruitless endeavors.

The movie’s name is in German and means “the boat” in English, which refers to the submarine itself. It received much praise and several awards for being one of the greatest war films ever made. Das Boot is the 16th on the list of 35 best war movies on Netflix and is available on Netflix in Austria.

Apart from Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX), the movie may be found on Amazon Prime Video (NASDAQ: AMZN), Youtube, HBO Now, and AppleTV+ (NASDAQ: AAPL), subject to its availability on the platforms.

15. The 12th Man (2017)

The Norwegian movie is based on the book written by Tore Haug and Astrid Karlsen Scott in 2001 which is named “Jan Baalsrud and Those Who Saved Him”. As the name of the book indicates, the movie follows Jan Baalsrud who was a commando in the Norwegian resistance and was captured, along with his fellow Norwegian resistance fighters, by the Nazis during the Second World War. As all eleven of his fellow men are executed, Baalsrud was accurately the 12th man. The movie shows his struggles and eventual escape from the Nazis. The movie is available to be streamed or downloaded on Netflix in the United States.

14. The Wolf’s Call (2019)

The movie follows a particular sonar officer named Chanteraide who is posted in a submarine. The officer is responsible for using his exceptional hearing to locate the submarine of the enemy and hence save his country from the danger of nuclear war. In the meantime, tensions arise between Russia, France, Finland, and Syria. The movie is entirely in the French language, and American Netflix users may either watch the version dubbed into English or turn on subtitles. The Wolf’s Call is the 14th in the list of 35 best war movies on Netflix. The movie is available to be streamed or downloaded on Netflix in the United States.

Apart from Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX), the movie may be found on Amazon Prime Video (NASDAQ: AMZN), Youtube, HBO Now, and AppleTV+ (NASDAQ: AAPL), subject to its availability on the platforms.

13. The Thin Red Line (1998)

The American war movie is adapted from the book The Thin Red Line that was written by James Jones in 1962. The movie recounts an inaccurate version of the Battle of Mount Austen in the second World War. The movie follows the soldiers of the C company in the United States Army and stars actors such as Sean Penn, Jim Caviezel, and George Clooney. Although the movie is fictionalized, it received much appreciation and won many awards for specifics such as direction, cinematography, and screenplay. The Thin Red Line is available to be streamed or downloaded on Netflix in Finland.

12. The Command (2018)

The movie was released as The Command for US audiences and as Kursk: The Last Mission for audiences in the United Kingdom. The movie is based on the true story of the Kursk submarine accident in the year 2000. The movie also follows the screenplay of the book named A Time to Die written by Robert Moore. The Command follows the nuclear-powered Project 949A Antey (Oscar II class) submarine Kursk during the Russian Navel exercise in which all 118 personnel were killed. The Command is available to be streamed on Netflix in the United States.

11. Fury (2014)

Fury portrays US soldiers in battle stationed in Nazi Germany during the Second World War. The movie specifically depicts the final few weeks of the war. The movie is at number 11 out of the 35 best war movies on Netflix. The movie’s director David Ayer made the movie after he was touched by the war stories of several veterans who served in World War II. The movie received much appreciation and was a commercial success. Fury is available to be streamed on Netflix in Canada.

10. Siege of Jadotville (2016)

The movie was based on the book The Siege at Jadotville: The Irish Army’s Forgotten Battle written by Declan Power in 2005. Both the book and the movie follow the activities of a unit in the Irish Army working for the United Nations specifically as a peacekeeping role. The movie is set in Congo in the year 1961. Although the movie received some unfavorable reviews, it conducted fair business and even won awards. We list Siege of Jadotville (2016) as the 10th in the list of 35 best war movies on Netflix. Siege of Jadotville is available to be streamed or downloaded on Netflix in the United States.

Apart from Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX), the movie may be found on Amazon Prime Video (NASDAQ: AMZN), Youtube, HBO Now, and AppleTV+ (NASDAQ: AAPL), subject to its availability on the platforms.

9. Black Hawk Down (2001)

The movie was based on the book named “Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War” written by Mark Bowden that was published in 1999. The movie shows the story of a hundred rangers of the US army who conducted a raid in the Mogadishu Sultanate. The movie’s name is based on the name of the Black Hawk helicopter that was shot down during the U.S. military’s 1993 raid in Mogadishu. Black Hawk Down is available to be streamed or downloaded on Netflix in the United States.

8. Jarhead: Law of Return (2019)

The movie follows decorated Major Ronan Jackson and fighter pilot in the Israel Defense Forces who is also the son of a United States senator. The major is shown flying through Syrian airspace when he is shot down. Although the pilot survives, he is taken as a prisoner by a group and requires urgent assistance. Jarhead: Law of Return is available to be streamed or downloaded on Netflix in the United States. Apart from Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX), the movie may be found on Amazon Prime Video (NASDAQ: AMZN), Youtube (NASDAQ: GOOG), HBO Now (NYSE: T) (NASDAQ: DISCA), and AppleTV+ (NASDAQ: AAPL), subject to its availability on the platforms.

7. Kajaki: The True Story (2014)

The movie is named after the Kajaki Dam in the Helmand province of Afghanistan. It was released in America under the name Kilo Two Bravo. This British movie follows a platoon of British soldiers during the Kajaki Dam incident in 2006. The incident involved British soldiers in conflict with the Afghan Taliban. Moreover, the British soldiers happened to accidentally detonate several live mines left by Soviet forces in the area, hence losing their limbs and their lives. The movie captures the horrors of human warfare and was hence highly applauded for being realistic. Kajaki: The True Story is available to be streamed or downloaded on Netflix in Canada.

6. Sand Castle (2017)

The movie revolves around Matt Ocre, a young soldier, who was a veteran in the Iraq War in 2003. He is given the mission to restore the water supply in an Iraqi village. Ocre is shown to be faced with multiple challenges such as the enmity of the locals and various attacks from insurgents. The movie contains an accurate description of incidents during and following the Iraq War. Sand Castle is available to be streamed or downloaded on Netflix in the United States.

Apart from Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX), the movie may be found on Amazon Prime Video (NASDAQ: AMZN), Youtube, HBO Now, and AppleTV+ (NASDAQ: AAPL), subject to its availability on the platforms.

Click to continue reading and see the 5 Best War Movies on Netflix.

5. Glory (1989)

This historical war movie stands 5th on our list of 35 best war movies on Netflix. The movie follows the first African American regiment ever in the United States Army during the Civil War. The movie shows their entire experiences from their enlistment to the formation of the regiment over the years until the regiment participates in the Second Assault on Morris Island in the year 1863. The screenplay was inspired by two different books, namely One Gallant Rush written by Peter Burchard and Lay This Laurel authored by Lincoln Kirstein. The movie was well-received; it won three Academy Awards besides earning huge profits at the box office.

Glory is available to be streamed and downloaded on Netflix in Germany, Austria, Finland, and Denmark.

4. Ghosts of War (2020)

Ghosts of War brings together the war stories from the Second World War and adds to them a twist by bringing in horror from the supernatural world. The movie follows 5 American soldiers that are responsible for safeguarding a castle owned previously by one of the Nazi commanders. Supernatural incidents begin occurring in the castle, making it more frightening than the battlefield during the war. Ghosts of War is available to be streamed or downloaded on Netflix in the United States.

3. First They Killed My Father (2017)

The movie is set during the time period of the Vietnam War in the year 1975. Much of the fighting had made its way into Cambodia as Vietnamese forces seek refuge in the neighboring country. This resulted in the United States bombing Cambodia as well. As Communist forces drew near, local families left the city as refugees. One such family was taken prisoner and was taken to a camp where they were forced to work under inhumane conditions. A seven-year-old girl, Loung Ung, is separated from her family and is forced to train as a child soldier. The movie follows her journey further and shows the cruelty of war on the people of neighboring countries and innocent children. First They Killed My Father is available to be streamed or downloaded on Netflix in the United States.

2. Schindler’s List (1993)

The historical war drama movie was based on the fiction novel named Schindler’s Ark written by Thomas Keneally in 1982. The movie and the book follow a German industrialist named Oskar Schindler who makes it his life’s goal to save Polish-Jewish refugees from the ongoing Holocaust. In doing so, Schindler employs refugees in his factories during the course of the Second World War. The movie was a commercial success and was well-acclaimed. It won seven Academy Awards and numerous other ones. Although the movie is based on a fictional novel, it was deemed culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant and is preserved in the US National Film Registry. Even today, Schindler’s List is considered to be one of the greatest films ever made.

1. The Imitation Game (2014)

The Imitation Game is a historical movie based in the year 1950. The movie is based on the biography named Alan Turing: The Enigma written by Andrew Hodges in 1983. The Imitation Game shows the team hired by the British government to decrypt German intelligence messages during the Second World War. The movie stars famous actors such as Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley for its main roles. Although critics argued about some inaccuracy in the events it portrayed, the movie did exceptionally well at the box office and received admiration as well as awards for its brilliance. The movie is available on Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) in Canada.

Continue on to Yahoo Finance to read more.

Adam Driver Talks About Time, The Marines And Making Movies With Lady Gaga And Matt Damon

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Adam Driver closeup at awards ceremony on the red carpet

Currently on location with Lady Gaga in Italy while they film the movie House of Gucci, actor Adam Driver certainly looks the part of the Italian who once headed the great fashion house.

Directed by Ridley Scott, the film is all about Lady Gaga’s character Patrizia Reggiani, who was sentenced to 29 years in prison after planning the assassination of her ex-husband, who was killed in 1995. The pair have been captured by the paparazzi during the photo shoot. On his wrist in his off time, Adam Driver can be seen wearing the new Breitling Top Time Deus Limited Edition watch. He is, after all, a Breitling brand ambassador and part of the brand’s Cinema Squad. (Interestingly enough, Lady Gaga is a brand ambassador for Tudor and the two watch brands have worked together in the past.)

This year Driver, once a United States marine, also stars in the historical drama The Last Duel, a movie slated to be out in fall that takes place in medieval France. Driver plays opposite Matt Damon and the two characters who are best friends are ordered to fight to the death after Driver’s character accuses Damon’s character of raping his wife.

“Being in The Last Duel is really different. I’ve never been in that world before in a movie and I like the diversity. It nice not having an expectation of what I should and shouldn’t do. I like being surprised,” said Driver recently in a private interview. He also shared his take on time and watches.

When Breitling invited him to be part of the brand’s Cinema Squad, Driver said he liked the idea of the different types of squads the brand is forming and he liked the fact that there were others on the squad and it was a team effort. He also likes the Breitling watches, so the affiliation made sense. “Everything I do takes a team. Like the movies, someone has to work it, light it, run the cameras. It’s a whole group effort and I like that Breitling recognizes that with its squads,” said Driver.

According to Driver he had tried to become an actor 20 years ago, but failed and so opted to join the marines instead. “It was right after 911 and I feel like most people my age at that time wanted to do something and get involved. It was a little of that coupled with me being sort of directionless. I had gone out to California to be an actor but I totally crashed and burned because I ran out of money almost as soon as I got there. So I went back to Indiana to get a job and I was aimless, so I joined the Marines.”

So how did the regimented marine later transition to attending the Juilliard School and finally become an accomplished actor?

“Initially it was very rough going,” says Driver. “It was hard even trying to tell the people I was in the military with what I was doing all day. Wearing sweatpants, doing acting exercises like trilling my tongue and learning iambic pentameter. On the surface it seemed just very polar opposite, but then I started to make the connection that the process is the thing you have to follow. It’s similar to the squad idea; it’s having a role within a unit and you have to know your role very well and the success of the story overall, or what the mission is overall, is based on the collective effort, not just knowing your role well. There are so many people there to support you. Obviously, the end result is dramatically different with these things, but the process in which you work on it is almost exactly the same.”

Driver, who also does live performances and plays, has found a way to blend both of his world experiences. He formed a nonprofit called Arts in the Armed Forces, which started out with him reading plays to military forces, but that has grown exponentially.

“I had come from the military where I saw a lot of people in my unit who couldn’t articulate a feeling, and that led to violence. The military prides itself on being official communicators but when there is no space to articulate something that just happened, people need an outlet. I kept reaching out to military divisions and kept getting the same response, ‘people in the military don’t want to see plays.’” According to Driver, he began by reading plays as a monologue in order to give people something abstract that they could identify with. It has become so successful that now they actually read plays with other actors, as well.

Continue on to Forbes to read the complete article.

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