The 10 Best Vietnam War Movies Are Tales of Surviving Hell

Most of ’em received absolutely nothing. They are poor. They’re the undesired. But they are preventing for our culture and our liberty. It’s weird, isn’t it? They’re the base of the barrel, and they know it. Possibly that is why they call on their own grunts, ’cause a grunt can acquire it, can get anything at all. They are the ideal I’ve at any time noticed.


In honor of that group and all Vietnam vets on Vietnam War Veterans Working day, we set with each other a top rated-10 checklist of films — excluding documentaries — we uncovered to finest tell the tale of those who went by way of hell, both equally abroad and when they returned house.

From 10th very best to best:

10. Casualties of War (1989)

A youthful Michael J. Fox and Sean Penn are immersed in a ethical battle soon after Penn’s character takes a youthful Vietnamese teen as a prisoner. The woman, who Fox tries to help in the facial area of vehemently opposed comrades, is continuously beaten and raped. The blurred lines in war drive the viewer to problem who, or what, the real casualty is referring to in the title.

9. Rescue Dawn (2006) at?v=UNm9Tzo5rvI

German-American Dieter Dengler (Christian Bale) was a U.S. Navy pilot when he was shot down close to the Ho Chi Minh Path in 1966. Tortured for months and emaciated, Dengler escaped his captors, fleeing into dense jungle and evading seize for around 3 weeks in advance of remaining rescued by U.S. forces. Bale and director Werner Herzog spared no realism in depicting the horrors of currently being a prisoner of war.

8. We Were Troopers (2002) out?v=pwYYULVrVVU

Though much of this list centers about psychological struggles endured in the most extreme instances, “We Were Soldiers” is carried by rigorous action sequences that purpose to give credence to the total disarray of the Vietnam War’s to start with key struggle — Ia Drang. The film is centered on a ebook composed by then-Lt. Col. Hal Moore (portrayed by Mel Gibson), who, as the commanding officer of 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, acquired a Distinguished Assistance Cross for his actions. Moore passed absent last yr at the age of 94.

7. Hamburger Hill (1987) at?v=58n3NpuYw9Q

“Hamburger Hill” experienced the misfortune of getting launched the exact same year as other noteworthy Vietnam War films, “Good Morning, Vietnam” and “Full Metallic Jacket.” Regardless of its relegation to an frequently beneath-the-radar standing, this film really should be on everyone’s should-observe checklist. Centering all-around the story of the 101st Airborne Division’s drive to choose Hill 937, the film expertly depicts the bodily and psychological exhaustion professional by the battle’s contributors. And even with sustaining substantial losses in having the hill, the U.S. deserted the superior ground only weeks immediately after the battle finished, prompting extreme criticism of military services leadership and a reassessment of overall war approach.

6. Born of the Fourth of July (1989)

The correct tale of Ron Kovic (Tom Cruise), gung-ho Maritime turned anti-war activist, gained Oliver Stone an Oscar for Very best Director. In a firefight in Vietnam, Kovic mistakenly kills 1 of his have gentlemen. He’s then shot and still left paralyzed from the upper body down. Inspite of the gravity of the instant, that’s ultimately where the film actually kicks into gear. Cruise, who was nominated for an Oscar for his part, places forth a single of his greatest performances as Kovic’s collapse into despair, publish-traumatic pressure, alcoholic beverages abuse and horrifying stints at a veterans’ medical center make this a psychologically attempting-nonetheless-identifiable film for veterans of all wars.

5. Excellent Morning, Vietnam (1987)

Robin Williams was flawless as charismatic radio DJ Adrian Cronauer, who broke the mildew of the stereotypical, dry Armed Forces Radio broadcaster, infuriating his superiors in the approach. Lots of of the broadcasts showcased in the movie have been improvised by Williams, who obtained an Oscar nomination for Finest Actor for the part. The movie shows that despite the ongoing carnage bordering troops, even war can have its lighter times.

4. Entire Steel Jacket (1987) at?v=n2i917l5RFc

Most veterans would concur the bootcamp sequence of the movie — most notably R. Lee Ermey’s portrayal of Drill Instructor Gunnery Sergeant Hartman — makes “Full Metal Jacket”the traditional that it is. Offered director Stanley Kubrick’s observe document (’The Shining“, “A Clockwork Orange,” “Eyes Wide Shut”), the dehumanization and unhinging psychological effects of war, and army lifetime in general, ended up guaranteed to be a central focus heading in. No make any difference the takeaway, it is difficult to obtain a listing of the greatest Vietnam War movies not showcasing this gem.

3. The Deer Hunter (1978) at?v=3Gqit3zVmyc

The major 3 of this checklist was tricky to group because of the vastly distinct working experience each and every movie gives the audience. At range 3, there is “The Deer Hunter,” which took dwelling five Oscars for Finest Photo, Ideal Director, Best Supporting Actor (Christopher Walken), Greatest Film Modifying and Very best Audio. Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep and Walken steal the demonstrate in a tale about good friends from western Pennsylvania who ship out to Vietnam with each other. If you have not witnessed it still, make time for it. The words and phrases “Russian roulette” will never ever be the similar in your intellect once more.

2. Apocalypse Now (1979) at?v=FTjG-Aux_yQ

Tailored to Vietnam from the tale “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad, Francis Ford Coppola’s portrait of the Vietnam War is a head-1st dive into the nightmarish devastation of war and an exploration into the breaking issue of human sanity. No a single is immune to destruction, and masterful performances by Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Martin Sheen and other individuals make any viewer question their have psychological fortitude.

1. Platoon (1986) out?v=KztP7SKe0uk

Oliver Stone’s “Platoon” shipped Oscars for Ideal Photo and Very best Director, and its cemented position as an authoritative Vietnam War movie will make it No. 1 on our list. (Definitely, any of the leading-a few could have landed listed here.) Moral strife is at the coronary heart of “Platoon,” and the forged gracefully meanders on a tightrope between great and evil, posing concerns of conscience at almost each and every turn. Poetic narrative presents compassion in the midst of human depravity. The tale of “Platoon” will get to our core as human beings as only tribulations professional by Vietnam War veterans can.

How would you rank these 10 films? Any added films you think have earned to make this list? Allow us know on the Vietnam Journal Facebook website page!

Initially released by Military Situations, our sister publication.

Shirley McQuay

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