Film & Television · News

The Wednesday 5: Military Women in Film

In this week’s Wednesday 5, as we continue to carry on the spirit of Memorial Day and honor the men and women who dedicate their lives to keeping our country safe, we are thinking of our military women and their presence and portrayals in film and documentaries.


G.I. Jane (1997)

In G.I. Jane, Demi Moore played the fictional Lieutenant Jordan O’Neill, a U.S. Navy Intelligence officer, who is recruited by an ambitious U.S. senator to become the first woman accepted into the CRT Special Forces—an elite training program for a special combined reconnaissance unit for the U.S. military, similar to the Navy Seals.


Courage Under Fire (1996)

In this first major film about America’s role in the Gulf War, Meg Ryan portrayed Captain Karen Walden, a helicopter pilot who died in battle during the Iraqi conflict, and for whom the White House has proposed that she be posthumously awarded the first woman to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. Her heroic actions, however, come under increased scrutiny.


The Invisible War (2012)

The documentary The Invisible War looked at the epidemic of rape (against both women and men) within the United States military. From Oscar- and Emmy-nominated filmmaker Kirby Dick, the documentary zooms in on the often underreported and neglected facts about our current culture of war: A female soldier in combat zones is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than to killed by enemy fire.


MAKERS: Women in War (2014)

MAKERS: Women in War looks at American women’s increasing participation in war—from Vietnam to the present—as nurses, soldiers, journalists, diplomats, and spies. It shares the stories of military leaders who have broken through gender barriers. Among those featured are Linda Bray, the first woman to lead troops into battle, and Valerie Plame Wilson, whose career was sabotaged after she was “outed” as a high-level spy.


Private Benjamin (1980)

Although a comedy, Private Benjamin, starring Goldie Hawn, addressed issues of sexual assault and sexism in the military.  In her role as Judy Benjamin, Hawn shuns her privileged lifestyle and evolves into a great soldier and a woman who ultimately discovers her own agency.

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