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Roscoe Lee Browne
A unit of American military advisors in Vietnam prior to the major U.S. involvement find similarities between their helpless struggle against the Viet Cong and the doomed actions of a French unit at the same site a decade before in this bitter look at the beginnings of the Vietnam war. Written by
Keith Loh <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When Lt. Wattsberg walks into Major Barker's office to tell him that they got the air support they needed, Barker was reading a book called "Seven Firefights in Vietnam", which wasn't published until 1970. See more »
There aren't many movies about the beginning of America's involvement in Vietnam. It is fortunate that this is one of those film. Burt Lancaster is perfect as a career Army officer who recognizes early on that this war will be different from any other...and that American power may not be enough to win it. "Beastmaster" Marc Singer is wonderful as a shallow young officer so wrapped up in the boost Vietnam is going to give his career that he is immune to the madness around him. The scene in which Lancaster explains to Singer why, after three wars and a bucket full of medals, he (Lancaster) is still only a major, is priceless. Craig Wasson's portrayal of an idealistic draftee who progresses from caring about the Vietnamese, to accepting the brutality they perpetrate on each other is a chillingly accurate metaphor for the shift in American attitudes to come. Perhaps the film's best performance is by Jonathan Goldsmith, as a career NCO for whom the insanity finally becomes too much. The haunting score by Dick (Blood, Sweat & Tears) Halligan is a perfect accompaniment.
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