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Last week, I found myself wondering if there might be a war picture on TV that night. Almost immediately, I began to wonder why and what kind of war movie. I also realized that this was most certainly a guy thing. Taking a short inventory of some of the war pictures I had seen in the past, I realized that, not all are violent. Some only imply the violence, others are quite graphic.

Why do we watch war pictures? One reason might be the great theme music. At the moment I am listening to the music from A Bridge Too Far. One of the best themes is from The Great Escape. How about Colonel Bogy from Bridge On the River Kwai or the Longest Day. These are just a few that come to mind without looking. There must be more to why we watch war pictures and why they are made.

We might consider the historical reasons. Certainly, it is important to make an historical record of events so people will know what happened. Then there are the entertainment reasons. These movies are gripping in drama and excitement. There are usually heroes and a win or lose situation.

Wars have been devastating societies for as long as societies have existed. War is about disagreements that lead to life and death struggles, severe pain and suffering all inflicted by humans on other humans. Of any of mankind’s endeavours, war arguably impacts people and societies stronger than any other. Mass killing of man by man. Perhaps nothing can compare. Thus, war becomes a powerful subject for the movies.

As I mentioned above, I do particularly like the music, often in the form of a march. From a historical perspective, I find it important to remind ourselves how horrible war is; let us not forget those who served and those who died and may it never happen again. I may watch to see triumph and victory, although that is sometimes not the point or even depicted.

A Bridge Too Far follows the failed attempt by the allies to take bridges leading to Berlin by making the largest drop of paratroopers ever attempted. The Great Escape ultimately failed. Yes, war is about winning and losing and the movies depict both, however, we must remember that everyone loses in war because all participants suffer consequences.

Is it important to make and watch war pictures? Do you ever get an urge to watch one? Why?