“War Is Hell” – Movies for Veteran’s Day

As we celebrate Veteran’s Day today, for those of who are off work, take notice of a couple of these films about war:

Apocalypse Now

The definitive war movie from Francis Ford Coppola. The story of Martin Sheen’s growing disillusionment in the hunt for a renegade Special Forces Colonel (Marlon Brando). Whether you find it a work of art or just overrated, overlong nonsense, it would be pretty hard not to admit that it’s worth watching at least once. There are plenty of “War Is Hell” Vietnam movies but none do it as well as Coppola; it’s eloquent and rife with philosophical quandary–plus it has Robert Duvall talking about surfing and napalm!

The Deer Hunter

Another great Vietnam movie, Michael Cimino tells the tale of a trio of Russian-American steel workers and their service in the war. Let’s be honest, this is the Russian Roulette movie, the film with that epic scene where Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken get into a game of death with the Viet Cong. Some of the most intense scenes in a movie about war–which says a lot–and helps amp up an already gripping tale of friendship and survival.

Born On The Fourth Of July/Platoon

The Oliver Stone double-header! Stone has always been an… uh.. interesting, to say the least, director. His movies–most of them at least–are never bad but are always short of being thought as the great pieces of cinema they so often try to be. One thing both of these movies does well is capture the story of disillusionment and the corruption of young innocence thanks to war. With Platoon you have Charlie Sheen’s doe-eyed innocence coming into contact with the plight of soldiers fighting for their survival and with July you get Tom Cruise going full-out traumatized by his experiences in the Vietnam War and having his legs blown off. Both movies, despite their flaws, work within the confines if the story they are trying to tell.

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