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best movie concerning vietnam


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70 replies to this topic

#1 of 71 chris winters

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Posted August 14 2004 - 08:55 AM

I have been really getting into studying the Vietnam Conflict as of late, and wondered about some great films and documentories concerning the war. Any suggestions? They may be good for different reasons, some realistic, some educational, some moving, etc...
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#2 of 71 Michael Reuben

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Posted August 14 2004 - 09:04 AM

The obvious choices are Platoon, Apocalypse Now (either version), Born on the Fourth of July and Heaven and Earth.

The not-so-obvious are Casualties of War, The Quiet American (which is set before major American involvement), and the Oscar-winning documentary Hearts and Minds (available on Criterion DVD).

Some will suggest Full Metal Jacket, which is a fine film but, like many Kubrick films, is set in an alternate universe. To me it's not really a Vietnam film, but I may be in the minority.

Less direct treatments would be The Deer Hunter and Coming Home, which are less about the war than about its impact on life in the U.S.

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#3 of 71 FredK

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Posted August 14 2004 - 09:42 AM

Family members that were in Vietnam have really liked Platoon and Apocalypse Now. Though Full Metal Jacket is a good movie Michael's right with the "alternate universe" approach.

FWIW, my dad was brought to tears by We Were Soldiers and says it's the one (so I can't really give an unbiased recommendation on that one).

#4 of 71 Herve Papirer

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Posted August 14 2004 - 09:44 AM

Don't forget Jacob's Ladder
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#5 of 71 Glenn Overholt

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Posted August 14 2004 - 10:29 AM

I'd include 'Air America' on the list, along with 'The Green Berets' and 'Operation Dumbo Drop. Don't forget 'Rambo' as well.

You can write off some of these as silly, but 'The Green Berets' was accurate when the war started, and 'Operation Dumbo Drop' was based on a true story.

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#6 of 71 ThomasC

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Posted August 14 2004 - 10:34 AM

Quote:
FWIW, my dad was brought to tears by We Were Soldiers and says it's the one (so I can't really give an unbiased recommendation on that one).
I was too, as well. I participated in a forum created for the movie, and I was able to communicate with some of the veterans of the battle that is portrayed in WWS. It is the first Vietnam movie that gives a positive portrayal of the soldiers on both sides, as far as I know. Some complain that the movie lays on the syrup a bit thick, but the people who actually went through it back then claim it was like that. It's not flawless, though. However, I saw it opening weekend and bought the DVD the first day of release.

I would recommend Apocalypse Now Redux as well (I haven't seen the original, and I don't feel a need to), but I wouldn't recommend a blind buy if you're into that sort of thing.

#7 of 71 george kaplan

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Posted August 14 2004 - 10:40 AM

'The Green Berets' was accurate when the war started
Huh? Since when does the sun set in the east? Posted Image IMO, you should avoid this inaccurate film unless you want to see how hawks in the 60's imagined the Vietnam war to be.
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#8 of 71 Michael Reuben

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Posted August 14 2004 - 10:45 AM

Quote:
Don't forget Jacob's Ladder

A very fine film that uses thematic elements from the war, but it's really about something entirely different.

I'm going to repeat Hearts and Minds, because it's an important documentary, whose relevance continues to this day IMO.

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#9 of 71 Neil Joseph

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Posted August 14 2004 - 11:02 AM

My personal vote goes to Platoon
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#10 of 71 Steve Christou

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Posted August 14 2004 - 11:19 AM

Apocalypse Now and Platoon.

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#11 of 71 Pete-D

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Posted August 14 2004 - 11:29 AM

I'd say Platoon, but Tom Cruise's performance in "Born on the 4th of July" might be his best overall.

#12 of 71 Michael Harris

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Posted August 14 2004 - 12:27 PM

One movie not mentioned is "Hamburger Hill" from 1987. A somewhat traditional war movie in that it follows a unit during a historical battle. Philip Glass's minimalist and driving score really pushes the film along.

#13 of 71 TheBat

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Posted August 14 2004 - 01:26 PM

I second vote for born on the fourth of july. I also would go with platoon, and AN redux.

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#14 of 71 Richard Kim

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Posted August 14 2004 - 01:35 PM

Quote:
Though Full Metal Jacket is a good movie Michael's right with the "alternate universe" approach.

The same might be said about Apocalypse Now, what with the surfing, and the freaky and surreal stuff at the Kurtz compound in the end.

And I've read about Vietnam vets saying that the urban battle scenes in FMJ are actually very authentic.

#15 of 71 FredK

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Posted August 14 2004 - 02:01 PM

Quote:
I participated in a forum created for the movie, and I was able to communicate with some of the veterans of the battle that is portrayed in WWS. It is the first Vietnam movie that gives a positive portrayal of the soldiers on both sides


I forgot to mention my dad is a Vietnam vet and it's always a good time to listen to him and his dad (WW2 vet) get into debates on all military movies.

I do think the war scenes in FMJ are authentic, but the movie is surrounded by a thick dramatic tone. WWS is very straightforward (and a little syrupy, as mentioned).

#16 of 71 Rob P S

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Posted August 14 2004 - 02:04 PM

Quote:
my dad was brought to tears by We Were Soldiers

I was too, especially when
Gibson goes to the Vietnam wall at the end


#17 of 71 george kaplan

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Posted August 14 2004 - 02:09 PM

On the (somewhat) lighter side, there's also Good Morning, Vietnam.
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#18 of 71 Brad E

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Posted August 14 2004 - 02:45 PM

Full Metal Jacket is one of my favorite movies of all time. It's also funnier than most comedies out there as well, in a serious sort of way.
So I'd recommend that first and Hamburger Hill as a close second.

#19 of 71 Zen Butler

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Posted August 14 2004 - 03:03 PM

My vote for best film "concerning" Vietnam, The Deer Hunter.


Best Vietnam film, period, Apocalypse Now

[I still remember my young days living on-base during this time. I'm sure, not typical practice, but there were many boys living/hanging out there in 29 Palms, Ca. In my case, it was because our house burned down while my father was on a tour.]

The two films I mentioned, are the ones my father said were "right-on." The Deer Hunter brought him near tears, I remember this. He only said of Coming Home, "a bit tough." I took that to mean "tough" emotionally.

Quote:
The same might be said about Apocalypse Now, what with the surfing, and the freaky and surreal stuff at the Kurtz compound in the end

Capturing that time pretty well. Posted Image

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#20 of 71 Ernest Rister

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Posted August 14 2004 - 05:26 PM

Aliens
Return of the Jedi
Lethal Weapon
Forrest Gump
Good Morning, Vietnam
In Country
Off Limits
Bat 21
Flight of the Intruder
84 Charlie MoPic
Birdy
Boys in Company C
Gardens of Stone
Great Santini

Lots more but I'm fallin' asleep.


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