Tag Archives: 1960’s

Vietnam War Movies Ranked

PracticallyHistorical ranks the Five Best films set during the Vietnam War….

5.  We Were Soldiers…2002–  Randall Wallace brings General Hal Moore’s heartbreaking account of the Battle of Ia Drang Valley to the screen with heart wrenching realism.  Wallace’s script captures Moore’s tactical knowledge as well as the commendable balance of the book.  Sam Elliot shines as the grizzled veteran, Sgt. Major Basil Plumley.  Bottom line- Hyper realistic battle sequences highlight  even-handed depiction of early battle in Vietnam conflict.

4.  Full Metal Jacket… 1987– Gustav Hasford’s harrowing novel depicting a Marine’s service during Vietnam, from training to combat, is faithfully recounted in Stanley Kubrick’s stark film.  R. Lee Ermey’s performance, mostly improvised, is one of the most haunting ever filmed.  Bottom Line- Kubrick’s Vietnam movie brought to reality by a real gunnery sergeant.

3.  Apocalypse Now… 1979– Francis Ford Coppola nearly lost his career and his mind bringing Conrad’s Heart of Darkness to the big screen as a Vietnam epic.  Marlon Brando portrays Kurtz as a rogue Special Forces officer hunted by Martin Sheen.  Robert Duvall steals the show as Colonel Bill Kilgore, 1st Cavalry’s resident surfer.  Bottom line- Deep, dark, but visionary.

2.  The Deer Hunter… 1978– Epic in scope, Michael Cimino’s masterpiece is also a humanistic portrayal of how the madness of war can tear apart a tight-knit community.  Powerful performances by Robert DeNiro and Christopher Walken reach out to the viewers with unrelenting sadness.  Critics still debate the coda of the film, the cast singing “God Bless America.”   Bottom line- Epics are never short, but this powerful film still resonates today.

1.  Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam… 1987– Bill Couturie’s documentary utilizing actual letters sent home by soldiers during the war is everything a war movie should be:  realistic, moving, funny, frightening, and most of all, powerful.  Actors like Robin Williams, Tom Berenger, Matt Dillon, Michael J. Fox, Kathleen Turner, and Willem Dafoe bring the words of the men and women to life.  Couturie combines home movie footage from in- country with news coverage of the day all set to a soundtrack of the popular hits of the time.  Nothing in the film is staged or recreated providing realism that will leave emotions raw.  Bottom line- The perfect way to end any filmography detailing the Vietnam war.  Unforgettable.

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Misreading the Same History

Cold Warriors

Cold Warriors

Kennedy wanted to end the Vietnam war.   Conspiracy theorists on both sides point to National Security Memo #263 as the smoking gun in Kennedy’s secret plan to get our troops out of Vietnam; and, also Memo #273 as proof the warmonger Johnson wanted to escalate the war.  Both accounts are demonstrably false.  Memo #263 simply states that Kennedy wanted to follow the recommendations of Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and General Maxwell Taylor following their visit to South Vietnam(withdrawal was not one of them.)   The second memo was drafted November 21, 1963 and is clearly a Kennedy document approved by Johnson.  In an interview given on the Huntley-Brinkley Report Kennedy reaffirmed our commitment to South Vietnam and his belief in the “domino theory.”  Kennedy did not want to end the war in South Vietnam and Johnson did not personally choose to escalate it. 

 

September 9, 1963: "I think we should stay. We should use our influence in as effective a way as we can, but we should not withdraw."

September 9, 1963: “I think we should stay. We should use our influence in as effective a way as we can, but we should not withdraw.”

Far too many amateurs historians have duped… suspicious  Americans for academic credibility and financial gain.  Oliver Stone lends his tarnished credibility to the misreading of a complicated series of policy decisions.  Stone does not deal in complexities- as a film maker, he prefers stories with heroes, villains, and tidy plots.  For reasons unknown, Stone and his acolytes refuse to accept Jack Kennedy for what he was- a Conservative Democrat committed to the policy of containment as laid down by his Democratic predecessor, Harry Truman.  Vietnam was a national tragedy and a painful scar on our history- trying to make John Kennedy the martyr of it is a fraudulent endeavor.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Misreading the Same History

Cold Warriors

Cold Warriors

Kennedy wanted to end the Vietnam war.   Conspiracy theorists on both sides point to National Security Memo #263 as the smoking gun in Kennedy’s secret plan to get our troops out of Vietnam; and, also Memo #273 as proof the warmonger Johnson wanted to escalate the war.  Both accounts are demonstrably false.  Memo #263 simply states that Kennedy wanted to follow the recommendations of Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and General Maxwell Taylor following their visit to South Vietnam(withdrawal was not one of them.)   The second memo was drafted November 21, 1963 and is clearly a Kennedy document approved by Johnson.  In an interview given on the Huntley-Brinkley Report Kennedy reaffirmed our commitment to South Vietnam and his belief in the “domino theory.”  Kennedy did not want to end the war in South Vietnam and Johnson did not personally choose to escalate it. 

September 9, 1963:  "I think we should stay. We should use our influence in as effective a way as we can, but we should not withdraw."

September 9, 1963: “I think we should stay. We should use our influence in as effective a way as we can, but we should not withdraw.”

Far too many amateurs historians have duped… suspicious  Americans for academic credibility and financial gain.  Oliver Stone lends his tarnished credibility to the misreading of a complicated series of policy decisions.  Stone does not deal in complexities- as a film maker, he prefers stories with heroes, villains, and tidy plots.  For reasons unknown, Stone and his acolytes refuse to accept Jack Kennedy for what he was- a Conservative Democrat committed to the policy of containment as laid down by his Democratic predecessor, Harry Truman.  Vietnam was a national tragedy and a painful scar on our history- trying to make John Kennedy the martyr of it is a fraudulent endeavor.

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