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Hamburger Hill (1987) Poster

Trivia

An electrician was electrocuted and killed in front of the cast and crew. Because of this, production was almost shut down but eventually continued after a memorial service.
The paratroopers of U.S. Army's famous 101st Airborne Division, known as "The Screaming Eagles" due to their distinctive shoulder patch (a gold-beaked, red-tongued white-headed bald eagle on a black shield), were feared and respected by their North Vietnamese and Viet Cong enemies in Vietnam. The Vietnamese Communists called 101st troops "Chicken Men" because of the eagle shoulder patches, and had a cautious saying about them - "beware of the Chicken Men."
The closing credits include a famous poem about the war written by Major Michael Davis O'Donnell on January 1, 1970. O'Donnell was declared missing in action on March 24, 1970 after piloting a helicopter on an extraction mission inside Cambodia. He was declared killed in action in 1978. His remains were recovered and identified with DNA testing many years later, and were interred at Arlington National Cemetery in 2001.
The reception among Vietnam veterans was very positive towards the film's authenticity and brutality.
Both this film and Platoon (1986) were shot in the Philippines. Many of the actors hadn't been out of the United States before.
Near the end of the film, there is a scene where a soldier, his face covered with bandages, is blindly reaching out to his comrades as they hurry past him. This is taken from a famous picture taken at the real Hamburger Hill.
The characters in the movie were named after men that writer James Carabatsos had fought alongside.
After the May 17 battle, Dylan McDermott, as Sgt. Frantz, vehemently tells an Army photographer who shows up to "Unass my AO!" In the condensed language of GI slang, it is an order to move his ass out of the sergeant's Area of Operations, and in this context it expresses the infantry GI's contempt for soldiers who don't fight.
A number of Vietnamese advisers served to ensure the authenticity of the Vietnamese people. John Irvin in particular made sure that the film looked real.
Theatrical breakthrough for many of the cast, including Don Cheadle (who would go on to star in Crash (2004) and Traffic (2000)), Dylan McDermott (who went on to be in Steel Magnolias (1989) and In the Line of Fire (1993)), and Courtney B. Vance (best known for his roles in Nothing But the Truth (2008) and Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2001)).
Screenwriter James Carabatsos had fought in the Vietnam war. One reason that producer Marcia Nasatir came on board is because her son had also fought in Vietnam.
Some of the extras during filming were US Marines stationed in the Subic Bay, Philippines area.
First cinema film of Courtney B. Vance.
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The film was released several months after Oliver Stone's Vietnam film Platoon (1986) won Best Picture at the Oscars. In between the two films' releases Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket (1987) was released.
Dylan McDermott lost 25 pounds during production.
This movie's closing afterword states: "Hamburger Hill was secured on 20 May 1969. The war for hills and trails continued, the places and names forgotten, except by those who were there."
Based on true events that occurred in 1969 during the Vietnam War.
John Irvin had filmed a documentary in Vietnam during the war.
This movie's opening prologue states: "On 10 May 1969 Troops of the 101st Airborne Division engaged the enemy at the base of Hill 937 in the A Shau Valley. Ten days and eleven bloody assaults later, the Troops who fought there called it . . . HAMBURGER HILL."
Don James later acted in John Irvin's film Next of Kin (1989).
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