Comparing Vietnam Movies

Topics: Vietnam War, Full Metal Jacket, We Were Soldiers Pages: 5 (1874 words) Published: November 28, 2010
"Comparing Vietnam Movies"

Although a great majority of the population of the world was not physically present during this devastating and bloody war, many people have no need to be. The proliferation of Hollywood-made Vietnam movies has allowed the public to view the Vietnam War from the perspective of the Hollywood moguls. Although the war itself was very unpopular with the public, it seems that the public cannot get enough of movies about the Vietnam War. A lot of the Vietnam movies which are still being created to this day, usually hold the perspective of the American soldiers expected to fight a war which was not held in their own homeland. Although the war may have ended decades ago, the effects of the war, and the public's interest in the war still holds true today. A number of these Vietnam movies may not be 100% accurate, but they do give the public an idea on how life was during the Vietnam War. The three movies: We Were Soldiers, Full Metal Jacket, and Platoon, are all great movies that show what happened in the Vietnam War. Platoon directed by Oliver Stone is a brutally realistic look at a young soldier's tour of duty in Vietnam. Chris Taylor is a college student who quits school to volunteer for the Army in the late '60s. He's shipped off to Vietnam, where he serves with a culturally diverse group of fellow soldiers under two men who lead the platoon: Sgt. Barnes, whose facial scars are a mirror of the violence and corruption of his soul, and Sgt. Elias, who maintains a Zen-like calm in the jungle and fights with both personal and moral courage even though he no longer believes in the war. After a few weeks "in country," Taylor begins to see the naïveté of his views of the war, especially after a quick search for enemy troops devolves into a round of murder and rape. This film, still remains one of the classic films of American cinema. Platoon tells the story of Vietnam from the point of view of a young, naive infantry soldier, played by Charlie Sheen. The film showed the war in all of its ugliness and confusion. Oliver Stone the producer and writer, partially based the movie on his own experience as a soldier in Vietnam, Sheen's character, Chris Taylor, finds himself in a completely different war from the faceless one being fought against the Vietnamese. His platoon's allegiance is split between two senior officers, Barnes (played brilliantly by Tom Berenger), and Elias (played by Willem Dafoe). Barnes is the war torn soldier, a man who has seen enough of war, and the war has taken its toll. He is a man who only knows to fight and therefore he often steps over the lines of human decency and law, especially in a riveting scene in a Vietnamese village when Barnes kills an innocent woman and threatens to kill her daughter, without remorse. Elias is also a war torn soldier, but is an idealistic one. He doesn't believe that the U.S. will win the war, but even though he has lost passion for what he is doing over there, he still represents the good, and the struggles between him and Barnes create an inner war in the platoon, which solidifies the statement of the horrors of war, and the war in Vietnam in particular. Stone made this film different from other war films in that he was able to show the horrors of war and the fighting without glorifying them. Instead, the effect is mass confusion, a generation lost in a struggle that it didn't really believe in, a group of young men fighting for a country that didn't really care or have a plan for what was really happening deep in the jungles, within their own platoons. This was the story we needed to see - it would be the first in a trilogy of Vietnam War films from Stone which probed deep into the Vietnam quagmire to show a new generation of Americans and for all those who were alive then the truth and the lies of that war. Full Metal Jacket directed by Stanley Kubrick begins by following the trials and tribulations of a platoon of fresh Marine Corps recruits...
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