A memorial tribute, and some stay-at-home movie recommendations

I was thinking about re-publishing a list of war movie recommendations in November for Veteran’s Day, recommendations provided by my father, Milton L. Bunce, Jr., movies that I recommended here at borg years ago.  He passed away Saturday at the age of 79, and as a tribute to him I thought I’d go ahead and share again now two sets of recommendations of movies he enjoyed, which also influenced me and my movie preferences over the years.  These are 20 films, one list of classic war movies that he thought reflected his own experiences in the U.S. Navy, and another, showing the preferences of a kid growing up during World War II at the local movie house.  My father went to the movie theater every Saturday with his sister, and spent the day enjoying many of these great films on the big screen.  If you have more time at home as many do this summer, what better opportunity to catch a classic you may have overlooked?

The first list includes the war movies and you can read them all here.  They include: To Hell and Back–Dad met the film’s star Audie Murphy as a kid while the real-life hero turned actor was making public appearances in downtown Des Moines, Iowa.  According to Dad, Steve McQueen’s The Sand Pebbles best reflected life in the Navy for Dad during the years he served.  You’ll find multiple appearances on this list by John Ford, John Wayne, Gregory Peck, Dana Andrews, Ward Bond, and Alec Guinness.  Who you won’t find is Jimmy Stewart, my father’s favorite actor, who he respected both as an actor and for his service during the war.  Dad would say you can’t go wrong with a Jimmy Stewart movie.

Artists Milton Bunce (left) and Mike Grell at Wizard World Des Moines 2015

In the theater in the 1940s and 1950s, Dad’s heroes were cowboys, and his favorite was singing cowboy Gene Autry.  He loved the serials of the day, especially those featuring Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Tom Mix, Randolph Scott, the Sons of the Pioneers, as well as Zorro and the Lone Ranger.  You can check out my best Westerns list from nine years ago here.  No doubt our Western lists would overlap substantially if not entirely.  You will find Jimmy Stewart on this list, in addition to Alan Ladd and real-life cowboy Ben Johnson in Shane, plus John Ford and John Wayne again, and Henry Fonda and Lee Marvin in a few mentions.

Movies are best when shared.  Hopefully you can enjoy a few of these movies with your family this summer.  A salute to my father, and a thanks for all the movie time, and other times, we had together.  My father attended comic conventions (in his later years he was an artist) and Renaissance festivals (above you’ll see him as one of his favorite characters, Zorro) with his family.  He didn’t pass away this weekend from reasons related to the pandemic, but he would, and did, encourage everyone to please wear your masks and keep staying safe.

C.J. Bunce / Editor / borg


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