Vietnam films

Essay by dgbrit3A+, October 2006

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American Film makers have developed many common themes when interpreting the United States War in Vietnam. Such themes have included the legitimacy of the war, racial issues in the war, and the psychological development of soldiers throughout the war. Although there are many common themes that run throughout many of the films we viewed this year, one common thread seems to link them all together, everyone is anti-war. The war in Vietnam has been an American controversy for a very long time and nothing makes that more evident than the films depicting the war. Whether it is the mockery of the war made in parts of Full Metal Jacket or the statement of a potential exit point made in Go Tell the Spartans all of the movies we have seen have left us the viewer questioning whether or not the war was worthwhile and whether or not it could even be won.

A significant degree of controversy has risen around why we Americans cannot find a way to beat the Vietnamese guerilla fighters. As directors continually depict the Vietnamese throughout all of these films as primitive and savage, the American opinion becomes obvious, we clearly feel a certain level of cultural superiority to the Vietnamese, being that we are so much more technologically advanced. The depiction of these barbaric Vietnamese fighters that comes through all of the films we see adds a level of contradiction to the conundrum known as the war in Vietnam. Given that we as an American society and Army were so overly developed and technologically advanced compared to the Vietnamese why couldn't we defeat them? The idea that all of these movies were so anti war it served as a great contradiction that we were also so anti Vietnamese, with this constant contradiction in...