Vietnam War Movies
Pocket Essentials, 2002
It has been over twenty-five years since the Americans pulled out of Vietnam, their most ignominious defeat ever. With nearly 60,000 dead and over 300,000 wounded the long-fought war was seen as a PR disaster by some and a focus of anti-war sentiment by others. The war helped defeat two US presidents, left hundreds of thousands suffering, and is still a divisive subject across America.
From The Deer Hunter to Platoon, the Vietnam cycle of films that America has produced since the 1970s has had a huge impact on audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. This book offers an overview of the genre – including its many sub-genres: the training film Full Metal Jacket, the anti-war diatribe Platoon, the Vietnam Vet saga Rambo: First Blood, and the surreal Apocalypse Now.
This book aims to show the ways in which these films operate as fantasy wish-fulfilment (re-writing the war in The Green Berets and Rambo: First Blood Part II), an attempt to come to terms with the war as an event (The Deer Hunter) and simply as the opportunity for action (Hamburger Hill). Loved by audiences, debated by critics, and frequently used on film studies and history courses, the Vietnam War film still has wide appeal.
**** Empire magazine, August, 2002