War movies always trigger our imagination, they tell the tales of heroism and defeat, of leaders who win battles and cowards who lose them. It is the movies that color the way we think about the Vietnam war thus Hollywood has to get it right to honor the men who went into battle. Unfortunately, this is not always the case which makes this list all the more important.
These are the movies that we think, get it right most of the time and show you war as it was.
1. Apocalypse Now (1979)
Apocalypse now is the Vietnam dramatization of Joseph Conrad’s novel Heart of Darkness. This is the story of American Army Captain Willard played by Martin Sheen who is given a mission to kill the rouge Colonel Kurtz.
2. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
A strangely filmed war movie with a twisted screenplay, ‘Full Metal Jacket’ is distinctively split into two halves. In the first half, the recruits are seen training to be the part of Marine Corps and ends with a private murdering a staff sergeant and then committing suicide.
In the second part, the strange sense of humor of the soldiers is shown while they are fighting the chaos and tragedy of the war.
3. Platoon (1986)
Winning a total of 18 awards including 4 Oscars, the Platoon made the phrase ‘The First Causality of War is Innocence’ famous across the United States and the rest of the English-speaking world.
Platoon is the heroic depiction of the Vietnam War fought in the 60s and its toll on the soldiers fighting against an undefined enemy.
4. The Deer Hunter (1978)
With one of the best performances by Robert De Niro along with the realistic approach towards the effect of war on young soldiers, The Deer Hunter managed to scramble five well-deserved Oscars and made tons on box office.
The movie follows the life and experience of three young friends who went to fight in the Vietnam War.
5. Rescue Dawn (2006)
The true story of German-American pilot Dieter Dengler, who was shot down and captured by villagers who torture him and take him to a prison camp.
There he meets other prisoners and together they try to escape.
6. Born on the Fourth of July (1989)
Born on the Fourth of July, 1989, was Oliver Stone’s look at the life of Ron Kovic, who became an activist after coming home from Vietnam.
This movie earned Tom Cruise his first Oscar nomination. Stone was also nominated for best director.
7. Casualties of War (1989)
Based on the actual events of the incident on Hill 192 in 1966, we follow Michael J. Fox as Private First Class Max Eriksson who relives his Vietnam war experiences through flashbacks.
When his squad mates rape a Vietnamese girl, he refuses after which his life is made very difficult.
8. We Were Soldiers (2002)
Tells the story of the battle for Ia Drang, with Mel Gibson playing the legendary commander Hal Moore.
A classic war film which follows the true story for quite a bit, shame it wanders off at the end.
9. The Siege of Firebase Gloria (1989)
Yet another true story that follows a unit on patrol that happens to take a stop at Firebase Gloria when the Viet Cong launched their Tet Offensive.
They have to survive a brutal assault by the VC, who’s commanders thoughts also feature in the film.
10. Tigerland (2000)
Tigerland follows Roland Bozz, the average American soldier who grew up during the Peace movement period and now is forced to got to Vietnam and fight in a war he knows is lost.
When the squad is being sent to Tigerland, a U.S. Army training camp during part of the Vietnam War Bozz turns out to be a good leader.
11. Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)
This was the first comedy approach on the sensitive subject of the Vietnam War.
The story of the movie revolves around a popular DJ Adrian Cronauer played by the great Robin Williams, who runs a radio show during the tough times of the Vietnam War.
12. The Boys in Company C (1978)
The first part of a trilogy and said to be the inspiration of Full Metal Jacket it was one of the first Vietnam War films to be published.
The movie follows five soldiers from boot camp all through their tour of duty in Vietnam.
13. Hamburger Hill (1987)
The movie that depicts the actual assault of the 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division.
Their goal is to take the heavily fortified hill and kill as many Viet Cong soldiers as possible in the process. Not only the battle but also the situation at home and the treatment of the veterans has the focus in this film.
14 Coming Home
A movie that was able to humanize Vietnam veterans returning home from the war. Hal Ashby directed the film that was nominated for best picture.
The movie is about a paraplegic veteran who tries to re-adjust to civilian life while finding comfort with the wife of another soldier. Jon Voight and Jane Fonda each won Oscars.