Most war movies aren’t complete without plenty of explosions, firefights, and of course a dramatic medical moment of some sort. And a dramatic injury requires an equally dramatic movie medic.
Although audience members might get squeamish when an American service member gets a nasty injury on the silver screen, they also root for the on-scene medical support to (hopefully) revive their fellow brother- or sister-in-arms.
Even though many war films may not nail all the medicinal science correctly, they manage to reveal the dynamic aspect of how important and well trained medics have to be in the field.
Every infantry squad wishes they have the most medically fluent “Doc” available.
These men fill that role perfectly.
1. Abraham “Doc” Johnson
Courtney B. Vance plays the field medic in 1987’s John Irvin directed “Hamburger Hill,” which told the story of one of the most brutal friendly fire accidents in history. Johnson managed to use his in-country experience to mentor the incoming combat replacements and save a few lives along the way.
2. John Bradley (non-fiction)
Ryan Phillippe plays the real-life World War II hero who was awarded the Navy Cross for Extraordinary Heroism. He served as a Hospital Corpsman and was one of the six flag raisers in the famous Iwo Jima picture.
Giovanni Ribisi filled the role as the steady hand T-4 Medic Wade in “Saving Private Ryan.” Wade’s quick thinking under fire earns him a spot on this list when he managed to stop a Battalion Surgeon’s arterial bleed during the Normandy invasion.
He also instructed his brothers how to render aid on his own person after suffering a fatal wound.
4. Danny Kelley
2003 brought us “Tears of the Sun,” where Special Ops Corpsman Doc Kelley (Paul Francis) helped suture wounded Nigerian men and women to quicken the evacuation of a medical doctor before dangerous rebels made it to their location.
5. Desmond Doss (non-fiction)
Andrew Garfield portrays the legendary combat medic and Medal of Honor winner who saved 75 of his brothers in a single night while battling his own wounds after refusing to carry a weapon into battle.
6. Kurt Schmid (non-fiction)
During the 1993 Mogadishu raid, two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters were shot down, 18 Americans were killed, and 73 were wounded.
Although Sgt. 1st Class Kurt Schmid (played by Hugh Dancy) was a Delta medic, he was portrayed as a Ranger in the film “Black Hawk Down;” regardless of his service, his knowledge kept many of his soldiers alive for several hours as they waited for the convoy to arrive.
Can you think of any others? Comment below.