American Cinema: Season 1, Episode 6

The Combat Film

TV Episode  -  Documentary
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The Vets Look at War Films
15 March 2012 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

American Cinema: The Combat Film (1995)

*** (out of 4)

The sixth episode in the series features interviews with Oliver Stone, Sam Fuller (archival), Lee Marvin (archival), Richard Zanuck and John Irwin who discuss the war films they made as well as those by others. The majority of the first half of this takes a look at WWI and WWII films and how Hollywood used both of them to get certain messages across. The documentary talks about how anti-war many of the war films were in the 30s but this would change as WWII would begin and they're turn a lot more patriotic and heroic. The documentary then jumps to the Vietnam war and how many of those fighting in it grew up watching those Hollywood war pictures and soon realized that they were all that honest. We then turn to the crop of Vietnam movies that were released in the 70s and 80s. This is a pretty entertaining entry in the series and I'd say the best stuff was the interviews with those who actually fought in the Vietnam war. Many of the vets talk about the movies in regards to which ones were the most realistic, which one hit them on a personal level and which ones just didn't get anything right. It was also interesting hearing Stone talk about why he wanted to make PLATOON and it's clear that he and director Irwin (HAMBURGER HILL) weren't too thrilled about Francis Ford Coppola saying his film "is Vietnam" in regards to APACALYPSE NOW. Fans of the genre are going to see several film clips as well as get some nice interviews so you'll want to check this one out.


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