"Sharing can be a way of healing. Grief and loss can isolate,
anger even alienate. Shared with others, emotions unite
as we see we aren't alone. We realize others weep with us."
~Susan Wittig Albert

Through our writing, we walk out of the darkness into the light
together, one small step at a time, recording history, educating
America, and we are healing.
~CJ/Todd Dierdorff

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Poll Results: Vietnam War Movies

The movies mentioned most often were:

"We Were Soldiers"
"Full Metal Jacket"
“Hamburger Hill”
"Forrest Gump"

The general consensus seems to be that each movie has something that rings true, based on each veteran's personal experience, but none portrayed the War in Vietnam as it really was.

Hollywood tries, but it cannot duplicate what cannot be duplicated.

Here Are Your Opinions:

Mike Hudzinski: For the basic training part, Full Metal Jacket!  I'm sure some of the fat guys wanted to shoot our DI, but they didn't.  I played the game and kept my mouth shut in basic.

Stanley Silva: It would be the fire fight in Forest Gump, We Were Soldiers, and some parts of Platoon.

Wayne Selby: Full Metal Jacket!

Chesapeake Bob: Yeah Full Metal Jacket was true about basic training. We had a Sgt. just like that, Seg Humphreys A-7-2 Ft. Bragg NC.  My whole 2-year hitch, kept my mouth shut and eyes and ears open 68-70.  I lost my brother 69/2/2 America Div 198th.

Took AIT at Ft. Lenard Wood, cold as hell when I was there.  Its funny, I only went to 9th grade, could not even get a job, but Uncle Sam sure gave me one when I turned 19.  I was a combat eng. with I Corps in Korea up in DMZ (wejounboo) I hope you guys can understand my spelling. I am sorry. I always had short term memory.  I can't remember too much for a long time and never knew what was wrong up till maybe 6 years ago, but I am a suvivor.

Daniel Bailey: Parts of Hamburger Hill

Tommy Stringer: I felt like all the Vietnam movies were over-dramatized.

Craig Latham: Full Metal Jacket. Not only was it about what I did (journalist/photographer), it also took place in I Corp where I was stationed out of Phu Bai. Although it was about Marine Basic, it was close to how ours was at Ft. Bragg in 1970.  Some scenes in Platoon were very real. Brought back many feelings.

Most, if not all of the movies, came out after the Vietnam War. The first one that I saw was Green Berets.  I did like Uncommon Valor. I'm sure our Government left men behind. And I think some stayed because they wanted to. But it would have been nice if some were found and the Government would have had egg on their face and some very big questions to answer.

Anthony Pingitore: Platoon. Gave me more of the real feel I felt. 67-68.

Steve Ostoffie: Cut out all the Hollywood BS and I agree, the fire fight in Forest Gump, We Were Soldiers, and some parts of Platoon.

Ed Bull:  The Vietnam movies made in Hollywood are in my opinion mostly crap. They do not display the real substance of the war or the soldiers honorably commitment. Most of the movies are built on the sensationalism of war and most do not portray the soldiers (veterans) true agony of the war or the human suffering the return veterans went through after their tour of duty, once back home. I have always said, “the tour of duty was a harsh survival, but surviving 20 + years after the tour of duty was almost equally painful”.

That being said: the last few scenes of Rambo have proved out the effects of war on our returning Vietnam veterans. I believe we will find similar circumstances from Iraq and Afghan returning veterans.

One movie does stand out is Heaven & Earth a 1993 Vietnam’s war film. Although, directed by Oliver Stone it is a portrait of the war from the Vietnamese perspective. The story was written by Le Ly Hayslip a Vietnamese woman.

Russel Stabler:  My opinion is first "We Were Soldiers" Others came close, just not up there as Soldiers.
Robert Lobbestael:  My opinion would be “Apocalypse Now”.

Steve Jenne:  Several good, yet early-made movies come to mind: "A Yank in Viet-Nam", I thought, was an excellent movie made in 1964, in Vietnam, while the war was on-going. Another good film was "Go Tell the Spartans", which, by title alone, sort of spoils the ending, if you know your ancient history. 

As far as scenery, I thought that "American Graffiti II" was fairly close. I agree, somewhat, with some of the other opinions offered in this survey, i.e., "Full Metal Jacket" (first half only; D.I. R.Lee Ermey was an actual drill instructor in the Marine Corps, and absolutely nailed his character and role!); "Platoon" was mostly "Hollywood", in my opinion, although the interaction of the characters within the portrayed platoon was very close to my own experiences; and "We Were Soldiers" was one of the best, due to the scenery and historical accuracy. This movie also closely portrayed the importance and agonies of the families back home (or, "back in the world", as we used to say).

Michael W. Lindley: All good movies, but nothing is close to real combat! For my money, the movie "Uncommon Valor". Also, please forgive me, but Firebase Ripcord was in the A Shau Valley. It was overrun by the NVA but the 101st Airborne took it back. Then the air force burned it to the ground.

Jimmy Hill: We Were Soldiers gets me emotional the most. I had to keep trying to regain my composure. Very disturbing.
Robert Weeks: Full Metal Jacket was like basic in C-1-1 at Ft. Jackson, SC., Nov 67. DI had just returned from Vietnam. Hard ass.

Ivan Mumaugh: Full Metal Jacket

Johnny Pancrazio: Can't handle war movies.

Jim Richards: We Were Soldiers and Hamburger Hill.

Dennis Haines: The movie, "We Were Soldiers" portraying Lt. Col. Hal Moore and UPI reporter Joe Galloway. I met them both in DC.

Carl Cook:  Bat 21 with Gene Hackman and I think Hamburger Hill was very close.

Gian Mari Samonte:  Platoon.

Ric B Burnam: To be honest, I haven't really seen one yet that is really accurate, except for the Discovery Channel documentary, "Brothers in War".  Platoon is close.

John Mccullough: Good Morning Vietnam.

Neal Benore: Vietnam as far as the movies go, the closest would be the beginning of Full Metal Jacket (Boot Camp). The middle would be Platoon, and the ending would be Hamburger Hill. 9th Marines Au Shau Valley and Laos, 69.

Dan White: I'm with you Neal Benore. 35th Combat Engr Bn. 68/69.  Took AIT at Ft Leonard Wood also, 1968. It was spring so I got some cold and hot.

I got to experience Da Nang to Con Thien on one hand in 68 then the very far south Delta in the middle of nowhere in 69 Soc Trang to Bac Lue. No NVA down south.

Neal Benore: Vietnam was 3-4 different wars all at once. We Were Soldiers is maybe the closest, but it doesn't have the mountains of I Corps. If I had to pick one only, We were Soldiers, but add lots of mountains.  No place was a good place over there, but some were worse than others.

Deborah Denning: After talking with George Thomas we agreed on Platoon. His words were "It's the closest but nothing can show what really happened."

John M. DeCillo: I can't be a true judge. My Vietnam was spent at Da Nang Air Base in 66 and Phan Rang Air Base in 67 as a ground weapons crew man. I only got out in the countryside a few times while at Phan Rang.

From what I have seen and read, my pick would be "We Were Soldiers" because it depicts the fact that the VC and NVA were willing to lose as many men as it took to continue the war. They fought on without any air power except for a minor role of the Migs up north. The body count war instead of a win ground and hold it war wasn't a great strategy.

Ray Sherron: We were soldiers

WarHippy Mffm: "We Were Soldiers", is probably the closest Hollywood will ever get to the reality of the war.

Pete Ticknor: I have a picture of my Grandfather, my Dad and I in our uniforms W1, WW2 AND VIETNAM. (Taken before I went overseas)

James Howell: Mel Gibson's movie, We were Soldiers.

Greg Kopilchack: I can say that the worst Vietnam war movie was the Green Berets.

Frank J Mallard Jr: We Were Soldiers and Platoon.

Terry Stevens: We Were Soldiers, I.E. ME USMC RVN 676869

Robert Elliott: Mel Gibson in When Were Soldiers

Doug Prescott: We Were Soldiers.

Ron Carew:  None. too many memories.

Ross Azzolina: We Were Soldiers

Ken Bosc:  Medivac the ride of your life.  Most of them have parts that are real, but most are hard to watch.

Ronnie D Spell: Platoon

Earl Pogue: We Were Soldiers. An account by Col. Hal Moore. I watched it again today on AMC. My tear glands don't work. I cried again when they were loading our dead heroes in those choppers.

Paul DeFedele: I am not a veteran, my Uncle is a Vietnam Veteran. We were watching Platoon and in the first 5 mins he got up and walked out. He told me the next day it was too real.  How about the boys in Company C?  I think it was made in 1978.

Cliff Sperry: Full Metal Jacket sure looked like the real Hue. Platoon was very realistic.

Les White: Platoon

George Tabor: We Were Soldiers with Mel Gibson.

Mark Jensen: Parts of Platoon.

Raymond J. Hughes Jr: Platoon

Don Carrico: For combat, some of Hamburger Hill. Documentaries actually are, of course, the real deal.

We lost two corpsmen on April 13, 1968 1st Plt., Bravo 1/27th Marines. Will never forget them. Under fire, didn't stop them, saved me and many others that day. I owe my life to Corpsman R.L. Dodsworth.  I saw a lot of pot smoking and a lot of abuse to the locals unfortunately.

I suffered for many years before I put down my experiences in writing. One of our brothers was writing a book dedicated to one of our Corpsman and asked for contributions.

When the book was published (Youngblood the History of the 27th Marines) we had a reunion (our first not until 1999). It was very healing.

Tommy D Calabaza: Platoon was somewhat real except for the pot smoking and abusing the locals.

Stanley Silva: For me the worst was Apocalypse.   I am with all of you on the feelings. Sometimes we need to cry.

If any of you vet are interested, I made a DVD of the times, places and music. It is my story, which ended up being every body's story. It's called "From the Summer of 67' to Vietnam".

It can be viewed at www.stanleysilva.com (just click on it).  It tells my story of the summer of 1967 to my journey through Vietnam as a U.S. Army Ranger.

I am not a writer, but I did find a release in making the DVD. I have never made one before this one. I allowed my emotions, thoughts and a little humor to guide me. It was somewhat in the same manner that you guide these veteran to write. I share their pain. I share their emotions. It took many tears to make this DVD.

The tears were all healing. I was able to make peace with the past.

Calvin Combs: I find it hard to watch movies about the war. What happens in a combat zone, is never scripted, but just honest reactions of the moment. There is no way to truly act out the will to survive and what you will do to do so.

Robert LaBrode: None of them. The horror and reality of war can never be caught in a movie made in Hollywood.

Gian Mari Samonte: At least there is a close depiction in PLATOON from the point of view of Oliver Stone who directed it and he is a Vietnam Veteran.

Bob Staranowicz: Not many, but We Were Soldiers, some of Platoon and Hamburger Hill -- Nothing with Rambo in the title.

Ron Erskine: The Deer Hunter. I live in Alaska, where everyone hunts; people here thought I was a little odd when I would invent some reason for not wanting to walk around in the bush with a rifle. It just wasn't fun anymore.

John J Ball: None.  You had to be there.

Earl Pogue: I thought there was a lot of sensationalism in Platoon.  The life and time of an artillery man on an LZ while there was tame compared to what a grunt went through.

I think the one where the guy stayed in Nam after the war, but he was obsessed with Russian roulette. Deer Hunter I believe.

Dick Buzik: None.

Paul Sharon: Platoon.

Pa Ro: I have no idea as between my bad memories of my two tours as a USMC medic and my PTSD; I cannot and will not watch any of them.

Tom Peck: Take "a little" of each movie, get an opinion from someone who was "actually" there and experienced the hell in "their" AOs and they will tell you which movie describes their sacrifices, their frustrations, their terror, their PTSD moments to this day, their buddies lost, so many Pros, so many Cons about their tour. These would be "honest", unedited, not sugar-coated biased opinions. Boys in Company "C", Platoon, Full Metal Jacket (for the boot camp).

Larry Sweeney: None.

Angeles Libres MC: There is no movie that can explain each man's emotional state of mind having been there. Every individual's recall of experiences then and now are private and can't be explained. Not really. Movies are just that -- Movies and nothing more.

If you really want to know what it was like, visit the wall and stay a while. That is the "Reality of War". Each of us has our own memories and ghosts and they belong to us. Good or bad, they belong to us. If you were there you understand; if you weren't, then thank your God and move on with your life.

The only thing all Vietnam vets have in common is we never really came home. Until all of our lost Brothers are here, We Will Never Forget.

Most weren't injured by the enemy, we were hit the worst by our own people. One thing that has stayed vivid in my mind were the chants "Bring our boys home", which translated really meant, "Don't send me".

Tom Haines: Platoon.

Abe Cardenas: Platoon.

Casper Sirakowski: Hamburger Hill.

Ron Erskine: Here's a story: shortly after I dero'ed, my girlfriend took me to a movie. "The Professionals". I didn't know Sam Peckinpah movies were close-up shotgun-to-the-face gore fests.

When I saw the insanely bloody bank robbery scene, I lost it. I got up and went into the lobby, where my girl found me ten minutes later, shaking like a leaf.

I told her I couldn't watch this, sorry, sorry, no way. Sweet woman walked me to her car, hugging me all the way. Best movie I ever walked out on.

John W Harris: I think platoon was closest to reality. It overplayed our differences instead of our common pains, joys and friendship. Though much of the war part were not realistic, it told our story through the impact it had on those we left and returned to. It displayed the pain of coming home to a different world. I couldn't wait to come back to the World. But when I did, I almost went back to get away from the pain and anguish of dealing with people here.

Ron Laboe: I can't watch movies about the war without problems so I haven't seen any.

Doyle Lemaire: Platoon

Cliff Davidson: We Were Soldiers 1st Cav 1st 21st Arty.  Not all the dope crap.

John Frost: Hamburger Hill

David N. Wheeler: Platoon.  In Platoon I felt very close to Sheen being the fng in the unit and experienced the feeling of trying to fit in.

It took a couple months when Platoon came out. A few other Nam vets and myself went to see it together. Yes there were tears but we made it through the movie and we related to the characters portrayed.

I myself now can watch some Nam movies.  It helps in the healing process though our inner scars are never going to leave us and we will never deal with the memories. We learn to live with them. Vietnam became a part of who we are and will be.  Don't let it destroy you -- there is help available through the VA.

John Bisbee: We Were Soldiers

Herbert Smith: Hamburger Hill.

Robert D Workman Sr: We were Soldiers and Platoon. The first was about units in combat and Platoon showed the attitude of the solder on the ground.

Joseph Mckee: Platoon.

Dan Wyngarden: Platoon

Sidney L Helms: Full Metal Jacket

Robert D Workman Sr: We fought for the guy next to us not the President or a General and we fought to get home as a group as best as possible.

Larry Brewer: The Boys of Company C. I lost a lot of good men there in Khesan.

Bob Snuffy Smith: Full Metal Jacket and We Were Soldiers.

Michael Lansford: For me it was Hamburger Hill because I was there. All the sounds in the movie sounded like I was back in country. I only saw it to compare what was real and what was Hollywood.

The incoming mortar and rocket fire made me leave the room because it sounded like I was back in country. Chopper sound was the same also.Close for the most part. Should have known better. Made my nightmares worse.

No matter what movie is out there we all lived part of them in real time. My hill was officially called Hill 937, but we all had hills with names, numbers, and each was as bad as the other. Bottom line was, we either lived or died, period. Every battle was bad.

I have a Vet friend who flew air support for the 9th infantry at Bear Cat in the delta. That was brutal. Whatever branch we were in we are all as one. Vietnam Combat fought for each other and No One can ever take that away.

Robert Aichele: Full Metal Jacket.

Robert Aichele: We were Soldiers was very well done.

Tom Thomason: I can't watch those movies, I have tried.

I do remember China Beach. I was Medevaced to 95th Evac in DaNang after the Hill. Our op stations were full so I was told so that was best option at the time. All I remember is docs and nurses covered in blood but this one nurse kept holding my hand and telling me I would be ok. Hell she had more blood on her than I did. Never knew her name but saw only blue eyes and helping save us all. Always wanted to say thanks but never could.

We all have stories like this that most will never understand. Like it has been said, you just had to live it to know.

Harry Andrus: Cannot say. Cannot bring myself to watch any of them. They bring the wrong kind of memories that I am trying to forget. I heard We Were Soldiers was one of the best, but I have heard that all are good in some ways.

Larry Adams: Does anyone remember "Tour of Duty"?

Larry Smith: Check out a little known film called "84 Charlie MoPic". It was filmed in 1989.

Júlio Edson Brum Dos Santos: Platoon e Além da linha vermelha in Portuguese Brazilian!

Bob Beam: 'America, Letters Home From Vietnam'. The whole movie is actual film and will take you back in a heartbeat!

Here is a good read: 'Tears of a Warrior'. To order this book for free, you can call (703) 256-6139, or go to the web site: www.mophsf.org, then click on PTSD Book. This is an excellent read!

Rik Bellerue: Since Vietnam was fought over varying types of terrain, there's something in almost all of them that someone can relate to. We Were Soldiers brings the most to me because of the Huey scenes, as I was a doorgunner and not a grunt.

Butch Donahoe: I like Letters from Vietnam.

James W. Harris IV: I wrote to my wife almost every day that I was there and she kept all those letters all these years. I know they're there, I've just never sat down to read them for fear of bringing up old memories.

Danny Cotten: Platoon.  Smoking pot was an everyday thing when I was in Nam. And please know I was 11B in an infantry swing battalion normally humping in platoon size elements, staying in the field almost my whole tour.

Richard Mclaughlin: We Were Soldiers

Daniel Marthers: Forest Gump and We Were Soldiers.

George Samek: Saving Pvt Ryan.  I had very close contact with the "yards" in Pleaku In 64-65. To This Day I Remember Their Kindness and Their Brave Stand In Battle.

My Unit Adopted A 11 Year Old "Yard" Orphan Boy. The Troops Tought Him English and Math. I Think One Troop Took Lin Home When He Left Vietnam.

Dennis Haines: Saving Pvt. Ryan was a World War II movie and not at all like it was in Vietnam.  Platoon was good, but dealt too much on smoking pot! We never were any where that we could or wanted to do this! My whole tour in Vietnam we only had three two day stand downs at brigade! The rest on the time we were in the field and there was no doing this then.

Mike Hudzinski: I used to like the TV series "Tour of Duty".  It was soft core war if you can call it that. I think they did like 58 Episodes before it was yanked. Some of the guys on that show displayed the same emotions we had back then.  Truth is, you can never come close to the emotions that real firefights and war deals you.

All movies have scripts, blank ammo, planned explosions by experts, and paid actors who try their hardest to portray battle...looks good but you know that on the end of the day they go back to the trailer or home, and get up and do it again.
Geoff Keeno Keeney: Platoon wasn't bad.

Richard Mclaughlin: I liked the TV show China Beach.

Carl Adams: If you came right down to it, none of them really show you as a human being and up tight when you get into a firefight and your adrenalin is sky high. Platoon and When We Were Soldiers.

But you can see live footage of some battles from the news media that shout film. Just look up some of the news broadcasters like Dan Rather, Walter Croncite, and there are a lot more.

Harry Guenterberg: None of them.

Larry Sweeney: No way can a hollywood movie with fake heroes even come close to a grunt's 365 tour in Nam.

Bobby Wilson: Forest Gump.

Mark Jensen: In 71 -72  not only were a lot of people smoking pot, but heroin was running rampant.

Joseph L. Shepard: Dear America--Letters from Vietnam.

Jean-Philippe Paré: Tour of Duty the series on CBS is the closest.

James Estes: I never saw a movie that was like Vietnam was.

Joseph L. Shepard: Dear America is real--movies such as Platoon, etc., are all Hollywood and can't come close to the reality of the place. If you decide to watch it, be prepared.

Richard Bryan: The Deer Hunter, Platoon

Dave Ramsey: I have never seen "Heaven and Earth" but I can understand the confused thoughts of some of the Vietnamese of our time line. I remember how they were very confused in the early 60's of us being there. For years they had seen war with the French. I don't think most of the peasant's understood why we were there and that we were trying to help. It's very understandable how the North could turn these misguided people against our effort.

Herbert Smith: Viet Nam High Def. That takes me back.

Richard Croom: When I watched Forrest Gump the combat scene caught me off guard and it seemed so real.  I was in a similar situation.

Herb Adams: It was hard to watch The Green Berets with John Wayne. It has a lot of what I did over there. In our base camp [Junction City] we were over run by VC and NVA on 1 st of December 1968.

If you want to check it out: Steven W. Stone at 1497 Ravinia Rd. in Charleston, WV. zip 25314-1858.  He will tell you the rest of the story.

Ed Hepler: Platoon  Leader is one of my favorite Nam movies. I don't ever hear too much about it, though.

Curtis Riley: Through July and August 1968, at Ft. Lost-in-the-Woods (Leonard Wood), I thought my DI couldn’t read -- he kept calling me Shit Head and that wasn’t on my name tag.

Byron Thiel: Can a movie ever replicate what it was like? I don't think so, unless they can get one with the VC shooting back at the audience. That's a no.  Doesn't matter how realistic they try to make them!

Walter Costello:  For accurate history, We Were Soldiers. Second place: the Grunt and REMF experiences, and the pathos and black humor in Good Morning Vietnam. For just the grunts, Full Metal Jacket. I can't think of one about the air war. Deer Hunter and Apocalypse Now both sucked.
84 Charlie Mopic wasn't bad. I don't recall seeing Flight of the Intruder but the book was good. And what was the name of the Gene Hackman flick about the A-1 pilot rescue in the Ashau? Wasn't there also a flick about Dieter Dengler? Born on the Fourth of July, Forrest Gump.

Darrell Nelson:  We were Soldiers depicted just how it was on the battle field and at home. Hands down the most realistic.

Tony Flores:  I would say, We were soldiers for the portion of the home front and the battle that lasted a specific time, but I don't think we will ever duplicate that war.  It was different in different sections of Vietnam. The Marines were in I Corps and the Army in the 2-3-4 th Corps. The Navy was all over and the USAF was in most. B52s came from Guam came just for Bomb runs and the Allies were all over with U.S. Units that had Muliservuce members. 

I choose "We were Soldiers" for those specific reasons. Some of the Vietnam movies must have been made in someone's imagination because they were far out. Some like Patoon do have some truth to it. We are still finding out things about WWII. I just know that the U.S. Government gave the G.I. an assignment and we did it. That other political history reflects on the Politicians. We did our job.

Michael Kwas:  Until recently, I never watched a war movie although I owned Full Metal Jacket and Platoon both unopened for years.  I have just started watching Vietnam movies. I was concerned about PTSD flashbacks for these many years, opposite!  Seems reliving through movies seems to help forget the REAL experiences and serves as a form of therapy. Go figure?

John Larkin:  "We Were Soldiers" and for the air war I believe it was" The Flight Of The Intruder". I liked "Full Metal Jacket" because it related to me when I went through Parris Island.

Duke Schechter:  Definitely "Full Metal Jacket" - the first half almost dead on, the second half more indicative of the 'general attitude'. "The Deer Hunter" had its moments, but - even with a Marine's 'general opinion' of the Army, I thought "Platoon" was little more than a propaganda 'hit piece' and "Apocalypse Now" was less about Nam than Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" replayed in camouflage.

Graham “Tom” Town:  Head and shoulders above all the others "84 Charlie MoPic" was the most real to me. It was not a widely distributed film and definitely low budget but it takes me back to 68-69 like no other. The first half (training) of "Full Metal Jacket" was good and the homefront in "We were Soldiers" (as well as the Combat Assault footage). "Platoon", "Deer Hunter", "Apocalypse Now" were all anti-war political pieces.

84 Charlie MoPic is a documentary style film that follows one LLRP Patrol of Soldiers from the 173d Airborne Brigade "Sky Soldiers" who are accompanied by an 84C (MOS) reporter and cameraman to document the patrol. It is authentic down to the detail of taping each others LBE to eliminate "Battle Rattle". It is available to watch for free on You Tube and I encourage all of my fellow Sky Soldiers to check it out.

Thomas Chase:  Like so many of my "brothers" here as well as others I know - "We Were Soldiers".  I feel it depicts the Vietnam War accurately in many ways. Both in-country, as well on the home front back in the days. The "realism" is depicted in the expressions on many of the actors faces in various life or death situations as well as the mental anguish of war and the horror of death. The helicopter "crash" on the LZ was likely the most accurate I had seen in any movie and I was unfortunately privy to witnessing a number of Hueys "go down" during my tour (including mine)!

I do believe the movie captured accurately a time period in the mid 60's - and the stage the war was at then. As mentioned by Tony F. - not only was the war different in Nam based on sections geographically but also by time periods as well as terrain and military strategy.

"We Were Soldiers" - however depicted most accurately a good overview of what Nam was like and the interaction of: A Commanding Officer and his troopers in combat - the enemy mindset - the home front - and the birth of air assault via choppers.
Another seldom discussed movie with Sally Fields and Henry Winkler - "Heroes". It may not rate as a "Vietnam" movie - but is related to it. It deals with the initial publicity relative to PTSD.


A Vietnam vet (Winkler) turns out to have a case of lacunar amnesia, escapes a mental ward in New York City intending to start a business as a worm farmer in Eureka, California.

At the bus station, he accidentally meets Carol Bell (Field), a woman unsure of her engagement and imminent marriage to a man she has confused feelings towards. Initially annoyed by Jack, Carol gradually warms to him as they set off on a trip through middle America towards the Northern California: she traveling to think things over about her impending nuptials, he to locate his three old war buddies and involve them in his scheme to raise worms.

It becomes clear that the first two of the three men Jack and Carol locate are in poor condition to do much work of any kind, and when a visit to the parents of the third of Jack's wartime friends results in the disclosure that the friend had died in the war, Jack, who knew the fact but cannot accept it, is launched into a hallucinatory episode based on the tragic battlefield death that Carol helps to pull him out of, so he can finally face reality.

Niko Lorris:  General Hal Moore who wrote the book We Were Soldiers Once and Young told Universal the only way he would allow them to do the movie was to hire veterans from the Ia Drang Valley, to oversee the production as advisors. He made them agree not to embellish it like Hollywood does. They kept their promise. It was named by veterans organizations as the one movie Vietnam veterans can be proud of. If you saw the movie it was as close as if it were a documentary, almost like being there. 

The Ah Shau Valley was the 1/9th Marines and they earned the name "The Walking Dead". I had a good friend that was there. Glen Guarino.  Later in life his wife and her new lover shot Glen in the head while he was sleeping. They are both in PRISON for LIFE with no parole ever. R.I.P. my Brother. --Niko 7th Cav RECON (lrp)

Charles Brown:  We Were Soldiers.  I’m 7th Cav Airmobile. I’ve never seen the movie but by all accounts, it was as close as they could get.

Ioniel Green:  7th Cav. Air mobile.  We Were Soldiers.

Joseph Crawley:  Can’t watch any of them.  Also tried to watch Lone Survivor, but had to turn it off.

James Hathorn:  I haven't seen too many related movies but I liked Full Metal Jacket. I was not in the Crotch but most of my family was. In the AF boot camp was a lot less brutal but the movie did seem realistic except maybe a little too dramatic. Then the actual combat movie I liked was Hamburger Hill. The scenery was realistic and a lot of the attitude was real too. We Were Soldiers has to be the best overall expression of how it was.

These are just movies. I watch them too and some of them disgust me because it is obvious the filmmakers know crap about it. But then I just say to myself it's a shame that this is done to make a buck at the expense of real mortality lost and lives changed. They ought to be ashamed for exploiting us and it does make me sick; however, there are some movies that are good, if nothing else, for entertainment value. We knew what really happened where we were and when we were. That movie never lies. I like this forum because I know you guys and you know me. This is real! Love you brothers, James Hathorn, Weapons Control Systems, 12 TAC Fighter Wing, Cam Ranh Bay, RSVN, Sgt. USAF

Cam Ranh Bay, USAF 12th TAC Fighter Wing I volunteered for augmentee to the APs to defend the base perimeter. It was unbelievable how nerve wracking it is to dig in on the perimeter, pitch dark waiting for something. No smoking was infuriating. Sappers, snipers, Viet Cong (Charlie) coming across the concertina or maybe not. We would hear noise and imagine we could see movement. Sometimes it was real and a fire fight would commence somewhere down the line. It was crazy and I never knew what was exactly what was happening but the gunfire incoming and outgoing was wild. It lasted for seconds or minutes. We may have been hit or not but it seemed like a life time until finally, "Hold your fire". Then quiet for hours until we were relieved and headed back to the armory and turned in our M-16s.. I had been to Phan Rang but only for A&E scrounging for the Phantoms. I know you guys went through the same stuff. I know the grunts and juggies had it full time. My view of combat is from a different perspective than Army or Marines but the war was "all war all the time".

John Rinaldi:  84 Charlie Mo-Pic

Dave Waldron:  Having been with a Marine Detachment with HQ Company, 3rd Medical Btn, 3rd Marine Division, the movie M.A.S.H. was to damn realistic. I saw the meatball surgery and the doctors who did whatever was necessary to save a GI.

Gary Waits:  "Full Metal Jacket" would be my choice for best Vietnam movie. The toughness of basic training was taken very seriously by those of us who knew the odds in winding up in South East Asia. When I received the order to report for Jungle Warfare Training, I knew what it was for...and again it was taken extremely focused on learning how to survive what I would be facing. The Army did a great job of preparing us for combat and war.

Ken Flauding:  For the TET offensive, "Full Metal Jacket". Years ago I read dispatches from units in that area and believe me, they did a good job in the movie; albeit, still falling short of the reality. 

For me, "Platoon" was close to some of our experiences; but "We Were Soldiers" nailed it for that specific battle. Nonetheless, it mimicked a number of other altercations that took place over the ten years we were there.

 I was there for the TET offensive of '70. Sappers hit our ammo dump and took out a few good men in the process. None of us got sleep that night. Lucky for us, no further action that night that we couldn't handle with air support and a few rounds from the USS New Jersey.

Robert Walters:  For those outside the wire, definitely, "We Were Soldiers!" I lost many friends that were in the Army. 

For myself, USAF Phan Rang AB Security Police/Security Forces, it had to be "Boys Of Company C;" waiting for Charlie or the NVA to hit us, and the Shake Sheets drove us crazy. While waiting, we got drunk or smoked at the MARS station, always pissed off at everything. After a ground attack or rockets and mortars raining in, we did our job and the perimeter was secure. We had two 50 cal. towers, mini guns on jeeps, our own heavy weapons squads and towers and bunkers everywhere with M-60's, M-79's, our M-16's and claymores, etc. Our first line of defense was our K-9 section. In most cases, Charlie knew to stay away from such well-defended bases.

I wish they would make a movie about the Marines on and about K Sahn.  I think Hill 880 and 881, too.  The Marines, like the Army never quit.  I was there in I Corp 70-71 A Shau Valley, 101st Abn Div Sgt 11B4P (airborne infantry NCO) leader of a 10-man S & D TEAM.  The greatest guys I ever knew.

Vicki Ruggiero-Diaz:  Go tell the Spartons. I believe this movie describes the beginning of war accurately.
The boys from company C, Hamburger Hill. Apocalypse Now. We Were Soldiers. Casualties.

Gregory T. Smith:  “Hamburger Hill” and “We Were Soldiers”.

Timothy Welker:  Anyone who knows will never tell.

Michael Pyykola:  For me it was definitely "When We were Soldiers". I would never talk about my war experiences and was trying to forget them for forty years. My granddaughters brought the movie over and insisted that I watch it with them. I cried through most of the movie. It was so authentic. I had seen most of the Hollywood produced movies and I felt that they were crap. They were meant to hurt the military or dishonor the bravery of our Warriors.

John Yelton:  Platoon is the best for me , not the story line but the conditions. The only thing that looked half way real in We Were Soldiers , was when they were passing out the telegrams. LTC Moore standing straight up all the time directing the battle , is a joke. You cant put like how it really is in words or a movie. When you feel that shrapnel hit you and , have blood on you , from your dead friends then you know.

James Oberg:  "We were Soldiers" is the one that hits home. Can't watch it again.

Anthony Kirkland:  “We Were Soldiers”. This was the movie that hit home for me. I Drang Valley 65 & 66. Directly involved with the 2nd Bn 5thth Cav. 1st Cav Div. I will never forget.

Ralph Hiildebrand:  What about John Wayne and "Green Beret?"

Ed Jackson: To me it was 'Hamburger Hill'. A story of the 101st Airborne assault on Hill 937. Continuous American assaults to take the hill from the NVA, very high casualties, and when troops come home are treated like sh!t from just about everyone

Frank Ritter: No movie can duplicate what we feel or are thinking either in battle or between battles. Try being one of the guys who had to take the WIAs & the KIAs off the huey and take them to be worked on by the doctors or to the morgue. Then going into the MASH unit and assisting the doctors all the while mortars and rockets are incoming to your base camp. Dau Tieng, S. Vietnam, Co. B , 25th Med Btn, 25th ID- 67-68

Gary Fox: I thought "The Siege of Firebase Gloria" was pretty good. It was written by R. Lee Ermey.

“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale


  1. I know this about the best Viet Nam movies, but I would like to mention and recommend a Viet Nam book which I think is marvelous: The Thirteenth Valley by John Del Vecchio.

  2. "In The Shadow of The Blade, from www.arrowheadfilms.com. Not a Hollywood movie; it's a documentary about a restored Huey's trip across the country on its way to the Smithsonian in DC. 1 of the pilots is the son of Maj Kelly, a Dustoff pilot whose famous last words were "I will leave when I have your wounded!" At each LZ it is met by Vietnam veterans, and there is extensive commentary by those vets - including Hal Moore. The title song was written by Rodney C Riley, a former grunt. 2 of his best lines are "I'm 10 years older than I was last week", and "Nobody's gettin' outta here till they hear that sound!"
    Jim Van Doren
    Dustoff medic,


Feel free to comment.