Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Recommendation for Two Movies About the Vietnam War

In yesterday’s post I mentioned MEDIUM COOL – a 1969 movie written and directed by Haskell Wexler and focusing on the anti-war protests that led to violence at the Democratic National Convention in August of 1968. I suggested putting the title on Netflix if you’ve never seen the film.

And I’ve previously mentioned GOOD MORNING VIETNAM starring Robin Williams as an Air Force disk jockey in Saigon as well as COMING HOME starring Jane Fonda.

I’d like to now mention two of my favorite Vietnam movies, although perhaps “favorite” is a misleading word. Both the following movies are very compelling although I’m not sure they can be described as “enjoyable.”

The first one is the 1987 GARDEN OF STONES – about the men who serve at the military funerals at Arlington National Cemetery during the Vietnam War. The cast includes James Caan, Anjelica Huston, James Earl Jones, D.B. Sweeney, Dean Stockwell and Mary Stuart Masterson. Francis Ford Coppola directed from a screenplay by Ron Bass that was adapted from the novel by Nicholas Proffitt.

The second one is the 2000 TIGERLAND – in which Colin Farrell gives an amazing performance as a rebellious army private training in 1971 at Ft. Polk, Louisiana, to ship out to Vietnam. Directed by Joel Schumacher, the script was written by Ross Klavan and Michael McGruther. This film is a heartbreaker and, in my opinion, is a “must see.”

Both these films, although about the Vietnam War, speak to similar events happening today. (Yes, the one major difference is that in TIGERLAND the men are mostly drafted, while today it’s an all-volunteer army.) For those of you with no personal knowledge of the military, both these films would be enlightening.

I have a friend who is currently a social worker at the VA hospital here in Los Angeles. I’ve asked her to write a guest post about the Vietnam War veterans who talk to her about their wartime experiences, and I’m hoping that in the near future she’ll be willing to share with the readers of this blog.

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