Honoring the Fallen Through Film: Your September 11th Movie List

In this modern age, it is inevitable that major, often tragic, events will end up dramatized on the silver screen. The September 11th terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon are no exception. One of the ways America — as a culture — seems to deal with trauma is to make film after film about it. This does not mean, however, that these films aren’t important. In fact, it can be said that the very act of making a film about September 11th honors the fallen and honors the spirit of American resilience that followed that horrific day.

Therefore, the following is a not-so-comprehensive list of exceptional films made about the events of September 11th, displaying the impact of the attacks from all angles and walks of life in a uniquely American demonstration of grief.

 

Image via IMDB.
Image via IMDb
1. United 93 (2006)

United 93 was a low-budget, impactful film about one of the lesser-known tragedies that day. Along with three other domestic flights, United Flight 93 was hijacked with the intent of hitting the White House, and the passengers on the plane rallied together to overcome the hijacker and crash the plane in a field, effectively sacrificing their lives for the thousands in the building. As with all the movies in this list, have tissues at the ready.

 

 

 

Image via IMDb
2. World Trade Center (2006)

Starring Nicolas Cage and Michael PeñaWorld Trade Center is about two first responders who become trapped under the rubble of the World Trade Center and the fight to save them.

 

 

 

 

 

Image via IMDB.
Image via IMDb
3. September 11

This is a beautiful foreign film that tells the story of the events of September 11th from the perspective of people all around the world. Since September 11th both united the globe and changed the course of the world’s history, it seems fitting that it be included in this list.

 

 

 

 

Image via IMDB.
Image via IMDb
4. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

The final two films on this list are possibly the most important because they demonstrate the impact of the terrorist attacks at an intensely human level. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close — starring Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, and Thomas Horn — is based on a novel of the same name by Jonathan Safran Foer. The story follows a young boy named Oskar Schell and his desperate search for clues to a secret that was left to him by his father, who died in the attacks on the World Trade Center.

This film demonstrates the impact of the attacks at a personal, day-to-day level, and it portrays the grief of the people left behind. With truly exceptional acting all-around, this film shows a people united in the midst of tragedy and the triumph of the human spirit.

 

Image via IMDB.
Image via IMDb
5. Remember Me

Just putting this movie in this list is a major spoiler, but I’m from the school of thought that it’s better to be prepared, especially when it comes to a movie that will inevitably rip out your heart and stomp all over it.

Remember Me — starring Robert Pattinson and Emilie de Ravin — is a romantic drama about the relationship between two disillusioned college students: Tyler and Ally. Despite not meeting under the best of circumstances, and despite parental objections, the pair fall in love and eventually draw their families together, beginning to repair relational rifts that have been growing for years.

What makes this possibly the most deeply felt September 11th movie ever is that you don’t know it’s a movie about September 11th until the very end. Instead of watching a movie about the dramatized events of that day, you’re watching a normal pair of people fall beautifully in love for almost two hours — only to have it violently ripped away from them at the very end in a random act of violence. It shows, better than almost anything else, the utter catastrophic impact September 11th had on the lives of normal, everyday Americans.

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