Dale Dye Ensured These Military Movies Were As Authentic As Possible

Photo Credit: Traun / Summit Entertainment / MovieStillsDB
Photo Credit: Traun / Summit Entertainment / MovieStillsDB

Dale Dye is a US Marine Corps veteran who valiantly served his country during the Vietnam War. Upon his return to the United States, he entered Hollywood, finding work as both an actor and military/technical advisor on a number of films and television series. His work in the latter role has ensured Tinseltown presents war in an authentic and realistic way, meaning both active and retired servicemen can see their realities played out on the big screen.

The following is a list of military and war movies Dale Dye has contributed to over his decades in Hollywood, as either an actor or a consultant. His resume spans so much more than what’s listed below, proving he’s among the hardest working in the industry.

Platoon (1986)

Dale Dye as Capt. Harris in 'Platoon'
Platoon, 1986. (Photo Credit: movienutt / MovieStillsDB)

Platoon (1986) was the second movie Dale Dye ever starred in. The first in Oliver Stone‘s Vietnam War trilogy, the film is based on the director’s own experience as an infantryman during the conflict, and it stars the likes of Charlie Sheen, Willem Dafoe and Tom Berenger.

Dye was recruited by Stone to serve as the Platoon‘s technical advisor. One way he gave the film its authenticity was by putting the principal cast through a 30-day boot camp, where they were given little food or water and made to contend with little sleep – just like they’d experience in the field.

On top of this, Dye also portrayed the minor role of Capt. Harris.

The Beast of War (1988)

Still from 'The Beast of War'
The Beast of War, 1988. (Photo Credit: Kupca / MovieStillsDB)

The Beast of War (1988) – better known as The Beast – takes place during the Soviet-Afghan War and follows a T-55 tank crew who become lost in the field. Dale Dye both played a small role in the movie and served as an advisor, going so far as to claim he personally negotiated the purchase of actual tanks with Israel Defense Forces officers over drinks at a hotel in Tel Aviv.

While the film performed poorly upon its release in theaters, it’s since developed a cult following.

Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

Tom Cruise as Ron Kovic in 'Born on the Fourth of July'
Born on the Fourth of July, 1989. (Photo Credit: Zayne / MovieStillsDB)

Starring Tom Cruise, Born on the Fourth of July (1989) is the second in Oliver Stone’s Vietnam War trilogy. The film is based upon the autobiography by Ron Kovic, a US Marine Corps veteran and anti-war activist who became paralyzed while serving in Vietnam. The movie received positive reviews and took home two Oscars – Best Director and Film Editing – at the 62nd Academy Awards.

Aside from having a small role as an infantry colonel in the movie, Dale Dye also got the cast in shape to portray US Marines. In particular, he organized one-week training excursions – one in the United States and another in the Philippines – which allowed the actors to get into the proper mindset.

Casualties of War (1989)

Dale Dye and Michael J. Fox as Capt. Hill and Pfc. Max Eriksson in 'Casualties of War'
Casualties of War, 1989. (Photo Credit: RobertMcClaine / Columbia Pictures / MovieStillsDB)

Casualties of War (1989) covers the Incident on Hill 192, the controversial kidnapping, assault and murder of a Vietnamese woman during the Vietnam War. The film stars Michael J. Fox, Sean Penn and John C. Reilly, and overall received positive reviews upon its release. Rotten Tomatoes, in particular, commented on its “harrowing plunge” into the conflict.

Along with portraying Capt. Hill in the movie, Dale Dye also served as a technical advisor, as he had with previous releases.

The Fourth War (1990)

Roy Scheider and Jürgen Prochnow as Col. Jack Knowles and Col. Valachev in 'The Fourth War'
The Fourth War, 1990. (Photo Credit: Esamuel / MovieStillsDB)

Based in West Germany during the Cold War, The Fourth War (1990) stars Jürgen Prochnow and Roy Scheider. It centers around the contentious relationship between an American colonel and his Soviet counterpart, whose personal squabbles risk turning into an all-out conflict if there’s no intervention.

Along with serving as a technical advisor on the movie, Dale Dye also portrays a character simply known as “Sergeant Major.”

Under Siege (1992)

Still from 'Under Siege'
Under Siege, 1992. (Photo Credit: Flaying / Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB)

One of two Steven Seagal movies on our list, Under Siege (1992) follows the actor’s character, former US Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer Casey Ryback, take on a group of mercenaries who’ve gained control of the USS Missouri (BB-63). Alongside Seagal star Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Busey. Dale Dye appears in the movie as Capt. Nick Garza, a fellow Navy SEAL.

The release overall received generally positive reviews, and it even scored two Academy Award nominations for Best Sound and Sound Effects Editing. We’re not even going to talk about the sequel… It wasn’t very good.

Heaven & Earth (1993)

Hiep Thi and Tommy Lee Jones as Le Ly and Gunnery Sgt. Steve Butler in 'Heaven & Earth'
Heaven & Earth, 1993. (Photo Credit: rambo_007 / MovieStillsDB)

The third and final film in Oliver Stone’s Vietnam War Trilogy, Heaven & Earth (1993) follows the burgeoning relationship between a Vietnamese woman, Le Ly, and US Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Steve Butler. It’s based on the books by Le Ly Hayslip, When Heaven and Earth Changed Places and Child of War, Woman of Peace.

As with the first two movies in Stone’s series, Dale Dye had a small role – in this case, as Larry – and served as a military advisor. Unfortunately, unlike Platoon and Born on the Fourth of July, Heaven & Earth received mediocre reviews, and it failed to earn back its budget of $33 million.

Forrest Gump (1994)

Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump in ' Forrest Gump'
Forrest Gump, 1994. (Photo Credit: MaCo / Paramount Pictures / MovieStillsDB)

Life is like a box of chocolates – at least, that’s what Tom Hanks tells us in 1994’s Forrest Gump. The popular film centers around the titular character as he serves in the Vietnam War and lives through a host of high-profile events during the mid-20th century. The recipient of six Oscars at the 67th Academy Awards, it stars Sally Field, Gary Sinise, Robin Wright and Mykelti Williamson alongside Hanks.

To ensure the scenes in Vietnam were as authentic as possible, Dale Dye was hired to serve as the movie’s technical advisor – a good choice, if you ask us!

Sgt. Bilko (1996)

Steve Martin, Dan Aykroyd and Phil Hartman as Master Sgt. Ernest G. Bilko, Col. John T. Hall and Maj. Colin Thorn in 'Sgt. Bilko'
Sgt. Bilko, 1996. (Photo Credit: Zayne / MovieStillsDB)

One of two comedies on our list, Sgt. Bilko (1996) stars Steve Martin as Master Sgt. Ernest G. Bilko, who uses his position as the person in-charge of a motor pool to conduct a series of scams at the base where he’s stationed. Bilko’s enemy is Maj. Colin Thorn, portrayed by Phil Hartman, who has a venedetta against the master sergeant from their prior interactions and wants to have him transferred to Greenland.

The film is based upon The Phil Silvers Show (1955-59), which first featured the character of Ernest Bilko, who was then played by Phil Silvers.

Dale Dye didn’t have an acting part in the movie. Instead, he served as its technical advisor – hey, even military comedies need to be accurate!

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Dale Dye standing with Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and an unidentified crew member on the set of 'Saving Private Ryan'
Behind-the-scenes of Saving Private Ryan, 1998. (Photo Credit: andrewz / Dreamworks Pictures / Paramount Pictures / MovieStillsDB)

Easily the most popular movie on this list – and one that Dale Dye was heavily involved in – Saving Private Ryan (1998) covers the events of D-Day and the mission of Capt. John H. Miller and his men to return Pvt. James Ryan home following the deaths of his brothers.

While Dye had a minor role as a War Department colonel, he served behind the scenes as a technical advisor. Not only did he create the battle plan for the opening scene on Omaha Beach, he also advised on the weapons included in the film. He was credited with reigning in director Steven Spielberg, who wanted to feature extravagant explosions, which would have impacted the movie’s authenticity.

The Thin Red Line (1998)

Still from 'The Thin Red Line'
The Thin Red Line, 1998. (Photo Credit: Beldek / MovieStillsDB)

Telling a fictionalized version of the Battle of Mount Austen, the Galloping Horse, and the Sea Horse during the Guadalcanal Campaign, The Thin Red Line (1998) follows the actions of the men in C Company, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. It’s actually the second time a film based on the 1962 novel of the same name has been made, as the first was released in 1964.

The Thin Red Line features a jam-packed cast of big-name stars, including Woody Harrelson, George Clooney, Adrien Brody, Sean Penn, John Travolta, John C. Reilly and John Cusack. It received generally positive reviews, and was the recipient of a number of awards and nominations, including seven nods at the 71st Academy Awards.

Despite it giving audiences a fictionalized story, the battle it centered around was real. As a result, Dale Dye was hired on to serve as the movie’s assistant technical advisor.

Tigerland (2000)

Colin Farrell as Pvt. Roland Bozz in 'Tigerland'
Tigerland, 2000. (Photo Credit: pmv79 / MovieStillsDB)

Based during the Vietnam War, Tigerland (2000) follows a group of US Army soldiers training to be deployed overseas. It stars Colin Farrell as Pvt. Roland Bozz, who’s drafted into the military, despite being against the conflict. As part of their training, he and the other recruits are sent to “Tigerland,” a replica of the Vietnamese jungle, where they face a second squad of draftees, after which they are finally deployed.

Despite being positively received by critics, Tigerland failed to make a dent at the box office, earning a mere $148,071 worldwide. For his part, Dale Dye served, once again, as the production’s military advisor.

Rules of Engagement (2000)

Samuel L. Jackson as Col. Terry L. Childers in 'Rules of Engagement'
Rules of Engagement, 2000. (Photo Credit: fat_abbot / MovieStillsDB)

Starring Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson, Rules of Engagement (2000) covers the events that occur after a US Marine colonel is court-martialed following the deaths of several civilians, at the hands of his men, outside of the US embassy in Yemen. Dale Dye portrays Maj. Gen. Perry in the movie, which also features Ben Kingsley and Guy Pearce.

Rules of Engagement received mediocre reviews from critics, who called it an “expert melodrama” and “infuriating screenplay.” CNN went so far as to call it “neither accurate nor compelling,” and many accused it of having racial undertones.

Band of Brothers (2001)

Dale Dye as Col. Robert Sink in 'Band of Brothers'
Band of Brothers, 2001. (Photo Credit: jeffw616 / HBO / Dreamworks Pictures / MovieStillsDB)

Arguably the best World War II-era miniseries ever released, Band of Brothers (2001) is a favorite of many. Covering the actions of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, the series served as the launching point for a number of acting careers, including those of Michael Fassbender, Jimmy Fallon, James McAvoy and Tom Hardy.

Dale Dye portrays Col. Robert Sink, who commanded Easy Company throughout France, the Netherlands and Belgium. Dye also served as a consultant during filming, to ensure authenticity, and even put the main cast through a difficult 10-day boot camp.

Alexander (2004)

Colin Farrell as Alexander the Great in 'Alexander'
Alexander, 2004. (Photo Credit: waryrwmn / Summit Entertainment / MovieStillsDB)

Don’t worry, we completely understand if this entry on our list threw you for a loop – we mean, it’s not necessarily a movie you’d expect Dale Dye to have been a part of. As the name suggests, Alexander (2004) tells the story of famed Macedonian general and king, Alexander the Great. An Oliver Stone feature, it was expected to perform well at the box office. Sadly, the hype was for not, as it was panned by critics.

Dye’s involvement might solely have been at the invitation of Stone, given the pair’s past working relationship. He served as the production’s senior military advisor and, try as he might, he just couldn’t save Alexander from itself.

The Great Raid (2005)

Benjamin Bratt as Lt. Col. Henry Mucci in 'The Great Raid'
The Great Raid, 2005. (Photo Credit: zs93 / MovieStillsDB)

Receiving mixed reviews, The Great Raid (2005) isn’t one of the better movies Dale Dye has starred in. It centers around the fighting that occurred in the Philippines during the Second World War – in particular, the Raid at Cabanatuan and the rescue of Allied Prisoners of War (POWs) from a Japanese-run camp.

Dye portrays Lt. Gen. Walter Krueger, who served with the US Sixth Army in the Pacific Theater during WWII. Working beneath Gen. Douglas MacArthur as the commander of both the US Sixth Army and the Alamo Force, he successfully bested the Japanese in many engagements, most notably the Battle of Luzon.

Tropic Thunder (2008)

Ben Stiller as Tugg Speedman in 'Tropic Thunder'
Tropic Thunder, 2008. (Photo Credit: xpr_eito / Paramount Pictures / Dreamworks Pictures / MovieStillsDB)

Arguably the most controversial film on our list, Tropic Thunder (2008) is a comedy starring Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black, Danny McBride, Jay Baruchel and Nick Nolte.

A movie about the making of a movie, it centers around a group of self-absorbed actors tasked with bringing the Vietnam War to the big screen – a task they struggle to complete. It’s a parody of the war movie genre, and holds a contentious place in cinematic history.

The primary reason for the controversy has to do with Downey Jr.’s character, Kirk Lazarus. Known for his method acting, Lazarus undergoes a procedure that temporarily darkens his skin, so that he can portray a Black character in the film they’re working on. Lazarus and Downey Jr. stirred debate upon the film’s release as a result of this storyline.

For the movie, Dale Dye served as the military technical advisor.

The Pacific (2010)

Still from 'The Pacific'
The Pacific, 2010. (Photo Credit: HBO / Dreamworks Pictures / MovieStillsDB)

The Pacific (2010) is an HBO miniseries from the team behind Band of Brothers. It covers the fighting that occurred in the Pacific Theater during WWII, and is based upon the personal experiences of three US Marine: Cpl. Eugene Sledge, Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone and Pfc. Robert Leckie.

While Dale Dye didn’t appear in the series, he did offer his expertise during production. Speaking with The Atlantic about why The Pacific was so important, he said, “Because Americans don’t really know about what happened over there. It was as different from the war in Europe as night is from day. What we were doing there was a dollar job being demanded on a dime budget.

“Also, we were fighting an enemy that was culturally foreign to us,” he continued. “For the most part, the Germans looked, acted, and fought like us. The Japanese were a different issue altogether. I want people to know about the courage and sacrifice that was required to fight them.”

Sniper: Special Ops (2016)

Portrait of Dale Dye + Steven Seagal looking to the side + Tim Abell as Benny Riddle in 'Soldier of Fortune, Inc.'
Dale Dye, Steven Seagal and Tim Abell. (Photo Credit: 1. Gregg DeGuire / WireImage / Getty Images 2. Kristina Nikishina / Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia 3. rambo_007 / MovieStillsDB)

Among the more questionable movies Dale Dye has appeared in, Sniper: Special Ops (2016) stars Steven Segal as Sgt. Jacob Chandler, a sniper who teams up with Delta Force to extract a US congressman being held by the Taliban. Dye portrays Lt. Col. Jackson, the superior of Sgt. Vic Mosby, played by Tim Abell.

Given the caliber of film Seagal has starred in over the past few decades, you’d be unsurprised to learn that Sniper: Special Ops received a rating of just 16 percent from Rotten Tomatoes. If we’re being honest, the only reason to watch the film would be to see Dye in action.

The Yellow Birds (2017)

Alden Ehrenreich as Brandon Bartle in 'The Yellow Birds'
The Yellow Birds, 2017. (Photo Credit: kinopoisk / MovieStillsDB)

Occurring during the Iraq War, The Yellow Birds (2017) follows two young US Army soldiers having to contend with the horrors of the brutal conflict and the emotional toll that comes with survivor’s guilt. On top of this, the film manages to tackle the difficult subject of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the strain it puts not just on servicemen, but their loved ones, as well.

As with other movies on this list, Dale Dye served as the senior military advisor.

The Last Full Measure (2019)

Still from 'The Last Full Measure'
The Last Full Measure, 2019. (Photo Credit: yassi / MovieStillsDB)

The latest war movie to feature Dale Dye was The Last Full Measure (2019), a Vietnam-era drama centered around the efforts to have US Air Force pararescueman Staff Sgt. William H. Pitsenbarger posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Dye stars as Sen. Holt, and appears alongside such actors as Samuel L. Jackson, the late Christopher Plummer, Sebastian Stan, Ed Harris and Peter Fonda.

Pitsenbarger lost his life during the Battle of Xa Cam My while helping defend a group of American soldiers who’d become trapped by enemy fire. He was initially awarded the Air Cross for his efforts, with the decoration being upgraded to the MoH some 35 years later, following a review.

Greyhound (2020)

Tom Hanks as Commander Krause in 'Greyhound'
Greyhound, 2020. (Photo Credit: MePrDB / Columbia Pictures / MovieStillsDB)

One of many Tom Hanks productions Dale Dye has worked on over the decades, Greyhound (2020) is a WWII-era film that takes place during the Battle of the Atlantic. Hanks portrays US Navy Commander Krause, who’s tasked with leading a destroyer escort group that itself is charged with defending an Allied convoy from German U-boats.

Hanks was inspired to write the screenplay after reading C.S. Forester’s novel, The Good Shepherd. There are currently plans in the works for a sequel, but little else has been revealed about it. What we do know is we’re excited for it, as Greyhound was one of our favorite releases of 2020!

Masters of the Air (2023)

Two Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses flying at night
Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses flying over Europe during World War II. (Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain)


Okay, now that we’ve gotten that off our chests, we can discuss the Apple TV+ miniseries. Dale Dye served as the senior military advisor on the project, which centers around the actions of the Eighth Air Force during the Second World War. The airmen, who served as part of the US Army Air Forces, conducted over 440,000 sorties against German targets in Europe, which saw 697,000 tons of bombs dropped.

More from us: Check Out These Movies If You Liked ‘Oppenheimer’

Apple has been teasing the miniseries’ release for ages, and it appears it’ll finally debut sometime in 2023. To say we’re excited would be an understatement – we mean, it’s from the minds behind Band of Brothers and The Pacific!

Clare Fitzgerald

Clare Fitzgerald is a Writer and Editor with eight years of experience in the online content sphere. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from King’s University College at Western University, her portfolio includes coverage of digital media, current affairs, history and true crime.

Among her accomplishments are being the Founder of the true crime blog, Stories of the Unsolved, which garners between 400,000 and 500,000 views annually, and a contributor for John Lordan’s Seriously Mysterious podcast. Prior to its hiatus, she also served as the Head of Content for UK YouTube publication, TenEighty Magazine.

In her spare time, Clare likes to play Pokemon GO and re-watch Heartland over and over (and over) again. She’ll also rave about her three Maltese dogs whenever she gets the chance.

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