Turner Classic Movies Reveals What Makes a Classic Military Movie

Photo from Chad Madden via Unsplash

Turner Classic Movies Reveals What Makes a Classic Military Movie

By Movieguide® Contributor

Turner Classic Movies is hosting a movie marathon this Memorial Day weekend to honor those in the military.

In an interview with Military.com, Turner Classic Movie’s Chief Programmer Charles Tabesh shared what it takes to consider a military movie “a classic.”

“It’s a genre that a lot of people really love, and so it’s a great way for us to give people a chance to see some of the greatest war movies ever made,” Tabesh said. “There’s no age cutoff because a great movie is a great movie. It’s really a subjective kind of feel.”

Tabesh also spoke on how it’s important to have variety in the films they choose.

“A lot of our fans watch TCM constantly and they’ve seen almost everything, so we do want to give them something different at times,” he said. “Movies are so personal. There are plenty of movies I like that other people wouldn’t, and our job really as programmers is to understand and make sure we’re satisfying a big group of classic movie fans, independent of what we might or might not like in a film.”

He noted that one of the most important aspects of a film is the character development.

“I think characters are more interesting and sustainable than, say, action scenes,” he said. “I’m thinking of what makes a movie stand the test of time, and I think character and story development are more important than anything else.”

“Having said that, the first scene of SAVING PRIVATE RYAN is a battle scene, and it’s just so amazing,” Tabesh added. “That’s different. I think anything that’s done exceptionally well is going to matter, but on the whole, character and character development make a movie stand out.”

The marathon started on Friday, May 24, 2024, and runs through Tuesday, May 28.

“The three-day, commercial-free event will feature 35 iconic films, including a fully restored version of the 1944 William Wyler wartime classic THE MEPHIS BELLE: A STORY OF A FLYING FORTRESS,” Military.com reported.

The marathon began with THE CAINE MUTINAY, which aired at 8 p.m. on Friday. It will conclude with SERGEANT YORK (1941). It’s the “True story of the farm boy who made the transition from religious pacifist to World War I hero,” per Senior Daily. It airs at 3:45 a.m. on Tuesday.

TCM just celebrated its 30th anniversary. The Daily Trojan reported, “TCM has become a classic in its own right with the endorsement of not only its loyal fanbase, but also filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese and Greta Gerwig, who have collaborated with the network in restoring films from the golden age of Hollywood and made guest appearances on the channel discussing their cinematic influences.”

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