Cranky Hanke’s Screening Room: Are We Anti-Anti-War Movies?

Cranky Hanke’s Screening Room: Are We Anti-Anti-War Movies?-attachment0

Over the past year, there’s been a variety of movies taking a stance against the War in Iraq — a war for which public support has been pretty constantly eroding. We’ve had Lions for Lambs, Rendition, In the Valley of Elah, Redacted (which got almost no release) and Stop-Loss clearly in the anti-war column, with The Kingdom treading some sort of weird middle ground that never quite made up its mind.

These are all very different movies from nearly every standpoint but one — they’ve either tanked, or seriously underperformed at the box office. Stranger still, considering that movie critics (with very few exceptions) are supposed to be a bunch of pinko commie elitists, is that they haven’t exactly been embraced by the critical populace. Even the best reviewed of the lot, In the Valley of Elah, has an air of “close, but no cigar” tepidness in the responses. The question is why this should be so.

Broadly speaking, it’s not just a case that the movies aren’t very good. That might answer the question on a critical basis, because all in all the movies aren’t very good however noble their intentions might be. But as far as the moviegoing public are concerned, not enough people went to see these films for them to know whether or not they’re good. The problem then must be inherent in the very subject matter.

Historically, the anti-war film has given us a lot of notable titles dating back at least to Thomas H. Ince’s Civilization (1916), an allegorical pacifist propaganda piece that was designed to keep the U.S. out of World War I. (In case you missed this fact, it didn’t.) The first great anti-war film was probably Abel Gance’s J’accuse (1919), made just after the war — a signficant detail that seems lost on the makers of the current crop of anti-war pictures.

Probably the most famous — and still one of the best — of all anti-war films is Lewis Milestone’s All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), a large-scale adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s novel. It was gigantic, but kept sight of the intimate details in such a way that made it tragically human. The film’s penultimate image of Paul (Lew Ayres) reaching out of a trench in attempt to touch a butterfly is deservedly one of the most iconic in all film, while its final haunting double image of soldiers and a graveyard is still powerful. You might also note that it was made 12 years after the war.

Much the same can be said of Howard Hawks’ The Dawn Patrol (1930), though it’s a lesser film. In the same category is Mitchell Leisen’s The Eagle and the Hawk (1933) — even if you might not guess the extent of its message today, since the original version is seemingly lost to us. When the film was re-issued closer to the approach of World War II, its anti-war coda involving the Cary Grant character having become a conscience-stricken alcoholic for helping to promulgate the notion that Fredric March’s character died a hero. (The March character commited suicide, but Grant makes it appear he was killed in a dogfight.)

Anti-war films were not uncommon in the 1930s. William Dieterle’s science fiction picture, Six Hours to Live (1932), was at bottom a pacifist work. Even a fantasy like Mitchell Leisen’s Death Takes a Holiday (1934) makes ironic comment on the topic. Death masquerading as Prince Sirki (Fredric March) sarcastically refers to mankind’s “sacred privilige of blowing each other up,” and comments that he can never make out what the armies are fighting for (“It’s usually a flag, isn’t it? Or a barren piece of land that neither side wants”). The ideas might seem naive, but they reflect the mood of the day.

Both the Marx Brothers and the now largely forgotten comedy team of Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey made anti-war comedies — Duck Soup (1933) and Diplomaniacs (1933). The Marx film is the better of the two by a wide margin, but the tone of both is similar. War and the reasons for war are shown as absurdities, but sometimes the absurdities hit close to home, as when Groucho reasons that there has to be a war because “I’ve already paid a month’s rent on a battlefield.” The big musical number, “The Country’s Going to War,” in Duck Soup is such a deft skewering of mindless jingoism that it packs the same punch 75 years later that it did then.

By 1937, when James Whale made The Road Back, another Erich Maria Remarque adaptation, the anti-war tone and anti-German militarism was tamed down before the film even made it out of Universal City. Why? The Nazi government threatened to ban not just this film but all Universal releases if changes weren’t made. The Spanish government had done something similar two years earlier — on very different grounds — wih Josef von Sterneberg’s The Devil Is a Woman. In both cases, the interference all but destroyed both men’s careers.

The key to all this anti-war creativity is that all of these films were made in a time of domestic peace. You’ll find less such films as World War II draws nearer, and you’ll find no anti-war films at all during World War II itself. Of course, no one then or now is likely to take issue with the cause of World War II or the necessity of it from the Allied standpoint.

When anti-war pictures started up again, there was a tendency to go back to World War I for subject matter. It was a safer bet. There was a distancing effect, but more importantly it was a war that seemed less justifiable. Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory (1957) took this road, but strangely enough Lewis Milestone’s Pork Chop Hill (1959) did not. It took direct issue with the Pork Chop Hill episode as little more than an exercise in impressing Red China with American military power — and this was a war that ended a mere six years earlier. In many ways, the film marked a shift in tone in that it questioned the judgment of those high up in the U.S. armed forces. It wouldn’t be the last such film. It was a tone that would grow during the Vietnam era.

The interesting thing about the anti-war films that came about during the Vietnam war is that once again the tendency was to focus on other wars. The fact that anti-war films were being made at all during a war was remarkable, but the war at hand was all but off-limits — unless, of course, you were John Wayne making The Green Berets (1968), which is anything but an anti-war film.

The logic behind this is not entirely clear, though it may be a hangover from the McCarthy era when a hot-button political issue could only be addressed allegorically. Joseph L. Mankiewicz could make an anti-McCarthy film in 1951, but he had to dress it up as social comedy in the form of a Cary Grant vehicle, People Will Talk. Yes, Charlie Chaplin addressed McCarthyism head-on in 1957 with A King in New York, but that was from the safety of Great Britain — and the results didn’t play in the U.S. till 1973.

Whatever the reason, the Vietnam-era anti-war pictures took the allegorical route. The boldest of the lot was probably Richard Lester’s How I Won the War (1967) which was set in World War II — and like Chaplin, Lester had the advantage of working in Great Britain. At the same time, despite the presence of John Lennon in the cast, the film was not a huge success. This, however, probably had more to do with the complexity of the movie’s vision — this wasn’t just an anti-war film, it was an anti-war-film film — and its unrelenting Britishness. Though it was soundly embraced in the early ‘70s on college campuses, it was also obvious that many of the jokes baffled American audiences and the accents made some of the dialogue indecipherable.

Mike Nichols’ Catch-22 (1970) was more successful, but again it was a Vietnam-era film using World War II for its story. Bloody, anarchic, very much at odds with militarism it nonetheless sidestepped a direct confrontation with the issue of the moment — even if its sentiments didn’t really fool anybody.

The big winner from that time was Robert Altman’s M*A*S*H (1970). Altman himself made no secret of the fact that his Korean-war film was at bottom about Vietnam, but for viewers who didn’t want to know that, the film itself could be taken more literally and no bones were broken. That its sentiments were clearly leftist and totally anti-war seem pretty inescapable, but dressed up as hip comedy it went down better. Both How I Won the War and Catch-22 are also essentially comedic in tone, but the comedy is bitter and angry, not hip.

It’s not until after Vietnam that we really got films that directly related to that war. Consider Coming Home (1978), The Deer Hunter (1978), Apocalypse Now (1979) for starters. Even the musical Hair didn’t make it to the screen until 1979. Films like Oliver Stone’s Platoon (1986) and Born on the Fourth of July (1989) were even further away from the war itself, as was Brian De Palma’s Casualties of War (1989).

One of the most interesting — and complex — of all Vietnam-tinged films, Richard Rush’s The Stunt Man (1980) managed to actually address the issue of the anti-war film in its story of a Vietnam veteran (Steve Railsback) — and refugee from the law — with a somewhat tenuous grip on reality who becomes involved with a dangerously obsessive filmmaker (Peter O’Toole) who is making an anti-war film. The film being made is set in — you guessed it — World War I, referred to by O’Toole’s character as “the ultimate romantic insanity.”

What makes The Stunt Man stand apart from the pack is that the film actually understands the perils of making an anti-war film. At one point the O’Toole character remarks, “We’re shaking a finger at them, Sam, and we shouldn’t. If we’ve anything to say it’s best to slip it in while they’re all laughing and crying and jerking off at all the sex and violence.” Similarly, he notes that a friend of his once made an anti-war picture — a good one — and that when it was shown in the man’s hometown army enlistment went up 100 percent. The film fully realizes the gap between what is intended and how the audience may take it. Rush demonstrates at every turn just why Altman’s M*A*S*H worked with audiences.

This, I think, is exactly where and why the current attempts at anti-war films have failed at the box office and to a somewhat lesser extent with the critics. Each and every one of the films in question have indeed shaken a finger at the viewer — and they’ve done so without any distancing. It’s one thing to suggest that we as a people might have bungled something in the past, or that we were somehow not as attentive or aware as we might have been. It’s another thing to lecture the viewer that they’re doing the same right now. Nobody likes being lectured, and there probably aren’t that many people who feel the need to have a narrative film tell them what’s going on.

I’ve no doubt that one day a powerful anti-war film about Iraq will be made — whether it uses satire or drama or both — but to try to make that film in the midst of the war in question appears doomed to failure. Maybe those folks who turned to allegory had a better handle on things than we might have thought at the time.

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About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress since December 2000. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

27 thoughts on “Cranky Hanke’s Screening Room: Are We Anti-Anti-War Movies?

  1. Dionysis

    I’m glad you referenced one of my favorite films, THE STUNT MAN. It may be (from what I’ve read) that the forthcoming John Cusack anti-war film WAR,INC. may buck the trend.

  2. Ken Hanke

    I’m glad you referenced one of my favorite films, THE STUNT MAN. It may be (from what I’ve read) that the forthcoming John Cusack anti-war film WAR,INC. may buck the trend.

    I tend to forget how much I like The Stunt Man in between viewings. I always remember how much I like O’Toole in it and how much I don’t like the musical score.

    It has nothing to do with the quality of the film, but the mere fact that War, Inc. is being distributed by First Look International precludes much chance of it breaking the box office hoodoo on these movies. The only First Look film that’s played theatrically here that I can remember is Paris, Je T’Aime — a terrific movie, but not exactly a huge success.

  3. I love THE STUNT MAN!

    I think that at this time we can only hope for a critical success for WAR, INC. Every Iraq film that Ken mentioned has not been very good.

    A couple more to mention. Nick Cage had about a year of clarity and made some good films, including the excellent LORD OF WAR. Also next week is one that I’ve been dying to see for years, William Klein’s MR. FREEDOM, part of a new Criterion collection of his films.

  4. Ken Hanke

    Lord of War struck me as about 80% a great movie and 20% really bad, but it’s certainly more interesting than any of the Iraq pictures mentioned. The closest thing I can think of to a good film on the topic is Mike Nichols’ equally little-seen Charlie Wilson’s War, but it only kind of qualifies.

  5. Mary

    Your idea that an anti-war film must have some distance from the war being portrayed onscreen is interesting. I agree with you that this distance probably raises the quality of the overall film and certainly makes it easier to swallow for a public at least partly disillusioned with the perpetuation of the fighting and its expense–in lives and dollars. But it makes me wonder WHY an anti-war film message can’t–or simply hasn’t yet–reached the masses or the critics during the war it features or in its build-up or immediate aftermath. What or who is not ready yet? The message, which is universal and timeless? The filmmakers, who, as you’ve written, often take a moralizing, paternalistic tone? Or the audience?

  6. arlene

    Thank you for reminding me how much I loved THE STUNT MAN, too. Have to dust it of and give it another look.

    I think you have it exactly- anti-war movies don’t get made during the actual “conflict”. And if they do get made, they aren’t embraced. Which is a bit of mystery to me. I can understand the hawks staying away in droves. But not those opposed to any ill-advised exercise we are involved in. Either the films are just mediocre, or it’s just to painful to watch . Not quite sure which.

    I do think ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT should be required viewing every year or so. Might just stop some of the madness.

  7. Louis

    O Russell’s “Three Kings” did a pretty good job transmitting topical anti-war sentiment, having made a respectable $60+ million Box Office-noteworthy in this context for having come at what turned out to be about the half-way point between the Gulf War and the 2003 invasion of Iraq (i.e., Gulf War! Part Deux). So, in this sense, there was a bit of retrospect–and foreshadowing of things to come.

    Criticizing America’s foreign policy is not unlike picking on your kid brother–you can make fun of him and complain about his ways, but as soon as someone else does it you rise to his defense. People don’t want to see their brother, or their country, put down in the midst of conflict. Remember Jane Fonda? Her best laid plans didn’t go so well.

    We can’t underestimate the impact of international marketing of American movies, either–isn’t it clever marketing from a commercial point-of-view to open an anti-war Amercian film in Europe and the like; at least in the case of the current Iraqi war? “Lions for Lambs” only made $15+ million domestic & $46+ million foreign. “In the Valley of Elah” made $6+ million domestic & $20+ million foreign. On the other hand, “Charlie Wilson’s War”–$66+ million domestic & $46+ million foreign. You see where I’m going with this…

    Of course, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest–and most distinctive–of all anti-war movies is Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove,” (1964) which I’m surprised wasn’t mentioned in this piece (I know, one can’t mention every single anti-war movie ever made). To make a black comedy that satarizes nuclear fallout during the height of the Cold War was about as bold and unthinkable a statement as any American filmmaker has ever made. American military history being what it is, the film holds up extremely well to repeated viewings (“Genetlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!”).

    Nice piece. Thought provoking.

  8. Ken Hanke

    But it makes me wonder WHY an anti-war film message can’t–or simply hasn’t yet–reached the masses or the critics during the war it features or in its build-up or immediate aftermath. What or who is not ready yet? The message, which is universal and timeless? The filmmakers, who, as you’ve written, often take a moralizing, paternalistic tone? Or the audience?

    Well, that really is the question, but it’s not one that I can answer. Critically, I do think it has a lot to do with the fact that these movies just aren’t that good. In a way, I’m glad to see that, because I distrust films that are embraced by a particular sector just because they endorse a shared belief. (So-called faith-based films are a prime example where you can see mediocrity embraced just because it’s Christian-themed.)

    Where the public is concerned it’s a separate issue. I think a lot of it has to do with a simple desire for escapism. That’s a relative thing, since as depressing and heavy-handed as I found Rendition to be in so many instances, it depressed me less than Alvin and the Chipmunks. There’s a thin line, I guess, between escapism and willingly lobotomizing yourself for two hours.

    I think overkill has a lot to do with it, too. That can put you off anything — or it can me. Most years I get asked to review part of the offerings at the Amnesty International Film Festival. Every year I tell them to weed the selections down to a tractable number of titles they think are really deserving. But no matter how weeded down the selection is by the end of it all, I’m about ready to go out and oppress a third world country single-handedly just from the sense of being beaten over the head with messages I already know.

  9. Ken Hanke

    I can understand the hawks staying away in droves. But not those opposed to any ill-advised exercise we are involved in. Either the films are just mediocre, or it’s just to painful to watch . Not quite sure which.

    I really think it’s a combination, but let’s throw something else into the mix here. You and I are, I think, near the same age. That means that during the Vietnam era we got our news from three networks, whatever papers were available to us, and the big weeklies like Life and Look. Anti-war movies — even embracing the old ones like Duck Soup (our generation made that film popular) — were something we felt a need for. Now, there’s news 24 hours a day 7 days a week. There’s the internet and constant updates online — not to mention e-mails (sometimes several a day) from any and every online petition we’ve ever signed. We are bombarded with news that once was more sparingly doled out. I think we may collectively be suffering from an information overload.

  10. Ken Hanke

    O Russell’s “Three Kings” did a pretty good job transmitting topical anti-war sentiment, having made a respectable $60+ million Box Office-noteworthy in this context for having come at what turned out to be about the half-way point between the Gulf War and the 2003 invasion of Iraq (i.e., Gulf War! Part Deux). So, in this sense, there was a bit of retrospect–and foreshadowing of things to come.

    That’s pretty much what I’d have said. I’d considered throwing this title into the mix, but felt I really needed to watch it again before I could fairly do so.

    Criticizing America’s foreign policy is not unlike picking on your kid brother–you can make fun of him and complain about his ways, but as soon as someone else does it you rise to his defense. People don’t want to see their brother, or their country, put down in the midst of conflict. Remember Jane Fonda? Her best laid plans didn’t go so well.

    You may be on to something. It’s not a sentiment I share personally, but I can see where some people could feel this way. Then again, I have no real gripe with Jane Fonda, despite the wrong-headedness (or extreme naivete) of what she did.

    We can’t underestimate the impact of international marketing of American movies, either–isn’t it clever marketing from a commercial point-of-view to open an anti-war Amercian film in Europe and the like; at least in the case of the current Iraqi war? “Lions for Lambs” only made $15+ million domestic & $46+ million foreign. “In the Valley of Elah” made $6+ million domestic & $20+ million foreign.

    It’s still debatable marketing. Those figures are not enough to have put these films in the plus column. Remember that the studio sees approximately 55% of those numbers. With production costs what they are today, that’s tepid at best.

    Of course, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest–and most distinctive–of all anti-war movies is Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove,” (1964) which I’m surprised wasn’t mentioned in this piece (I know, one can’t mention every single anti-war movie ever made). To make a black comedy that satarizes nuclear fallout during the height of the Cold War was about as bold and unthinkable a statement as any American filmmaker has ever made.

    An American filmmaker working, it should be noted, from the relative safety of England. (And, yes, the same can be said of Richard Lester.) I try to shy away from mentioning Dr. Strangelove for the simple reason that I have a very biased and personal distaste for the film — one that I’ve managed to work around to some degree, but I’m not comfortable with it. The film frankly depresses the hell out of me. I’d say it’s a generational thing — and personally, it is — but a lot of my contemporaries don’t have the issues with it I do. Let me explain briefly. I was born in 1954. This means I was very young and very impressionable at the “duck and cover” age. All that civil defense indoctrination left a mark — especially after my class got to tour a fallout shelter that was within walking distance of the school. I must have been 7 at the time, but I remember the mounting horror of it all — especially when they told us that, no, this wasn’t where we went in case of a nuclear attack. This was a private facility. Where then were we to go? Well, there wasn’t really an answer. There wasn’t even a school basement (basements being a rarity in Florida). At least they stopped short of telling us that since we weren’t all that far from Cape Canaveral and two large airforce bases, the point was probably moot. When the film came out (I didn’t see it first run), the very concept scared the hell out of me. When I saw it later and people were laughing hysterically at Slim Pickens, I was merely frozen in a kind of stunned terror. The upshot is simply that it’s not a movie I deal with too often.

  11. “The Stunt Man” FTW!

    I’m going to fish that out of the box of loose VHS tapes in the basement and watch that again this afternoon as well. Thanks for the reminder, Ken!

  12. Dionysis

    Ken,

    I can readily identify with your early years and their impact on watching DR. STRANGELOVE. I was born in the early 50s, spent elementary school years in Miami and Key Marathon, and recall all too well ‘duck and cover’ drills (even then, I knew that simply cowering under a wooden school desk was stupid). Did you by chance identify as much as I did with the John Goodman comedy MATINEE?

  13. Ken Hanke

    Did you by chance identify as much as I did with the John Goodman comedy MATINEE?

    I think I would have identified with it more had I been born two or three years earlier, but it certainly had relevant moments for me.

  14. F. Goya

    I recently saw Peckinpah’s “Cross of Iron” and found it as good as any antiwar movie and better than most.

  15. William Klein’s MR FREEDOM is coming out tomorrow, and is a must see. Mr. Freedom is a brash, pro-American anti-Commie bigot who shoots first and asks questions never. He is sent on a mission to save France from China, but the French don’t want him. The film is a late-60s pop art mess, but very very enjoyable and eerily shadows some recent knee-jerk reactions to the French in 2004.

    I’ve read about this film for years and am happy to finally see it.

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=1Ufp02FJnuU&feature=related

  16. Ken Hanke

    I recently saw Peckinpah’s “Cross of Iron” and found it as good as any antiwar movie and better than most.

    It’s one I’ve never seen, but if memory serves, it conforms to the pattern of being made in peacetime (isn’t it slightly post-Vietnam?) and dealing with an earlier war in any case (WWII).

  17. Ken Hanke

    William Klein’s MR FREEDOM is coming out tomorrow, and is a must see.

    I have a hunch I need to see this film (along with Southland Tales, albeit for different reasons).

  18. “I have a hunch I need to see this film (along with Southland Tales, albeit for different reasons).”

    It would be a perfect Courtyard presentation (hint hint).

  19. Ken Hanke

    It would be a perfect Courtyard presentation (hint hint).

    Assuming Carlos wasn’t run over (repeatedly) by angry Salo viewers.

  20. Jonathan Barnard

    I think the best anti-war films are the ones that get their message across without ever seeming to lecture. “Full Metal Jacket” is a good example.

  21. Ken Hanke

    I think the best anti-war films are the ones that get their message across without ever seeming to lecture.

    I don’t know if those are invariably the best, but they’re certainly the most effective. The risk, of course, is that the film may be taken the wrong way.

  22. Louis

    “The key to all this anti-war creativity is that all of these films were made in a time of domestic peace. You’ll find less such films as World War II draws nearer, and you’ll find no anti-war films at all during World War II itself.”

    So I’m reading Robert Mitchum’s biography, by Lee Server–’Baby, I Don’t Care’–and I come across this passage on page 88-89 about THE STORY OF G.I. JOE, released in 1945:

    “THE STORY OF G.I. JOE” contains no flag-
    waving, no self-rightiousness. War is
    presented in humanistic terms as a dangerous
    and unbearable endeavor that will more than
    likely destroy you. One by one the
    characters in G.I. JOE lose their lives or,
    in the case of Sergeant Warnicki, their
    minds. Having little connection to the
    countless propaganda films that preceded it,
    G.I. JOE was a movie that offered the armed
    services ‘no recruitment value.’ Young boys
    would not be rushing to join up upon seeing
    this one. It was purley and simply an
    antiwar film, a daring approach by Wellman
    and Cowan with the war still very much in
    progress at the time of shooting.”

    Can this assessment be accurate? Either way, THE STORY OF G.I. JOE just moved to the top of my list of movies I need to see.

    Have you seen it?

    As an aside, I didn’t know that Mitchum wrote and produced a movie made in Asheville in 1958–THUNDER ROAD. Another must-see going onto my list.

    The biography is quite entertaining. When Mitchum started out in movies he appeared in 19 of them–in 1943 alone!

  23. Ken Hanke

    Can this assessment be accurate? Either way, THE STORY OF G.I. JOE just moved to the top of my list of movies I need to see.

    It’s years and years since I saw the film, but I’d call the assessment accurate, but overstated a bit. If memory serves, it doesn’t glamorize war (unusual during WWII), but I don’t know if I’d call it outright anti-war.

  24. Jim Shura

    Ken,

    I have always loved your reviews because we seem to have similar tastes. Trust me when I say that I will eat my young if you feel Cross Of Iron is a waste of your time.

    The novel the film is based on was written by a German veteran after he returned home from Siberia in the 50′s.

    I saw it in the theatres when I was 13 and I have never forgotten the looks on the faces of the exiting patrons.

  25. Ken Hanke

    I have always loved your reviews because we seem to have similar tastes. Trust me when I say that I will eat my young if you feel Cross Of Iron is a waste of your time.

    Nothing so drastic is called for! You have, in any case, convinced me to give it a look. Thank you.

  26. DrSerizawa

    Okay. I’m really late on this and no one will probably read it, but as a Vietnam Vet and a Libertarian who detests both major political parties I can tell you why recent anti-war movies stink.

    These movie makers are hypocrites. They are not anti-war as much as they are anti-Republican War. In 2010 with President Obama carrying out Bush’s war policies all these people who were so vocal are now silent. The public is not a bunch of fools and they easily detected this phoniness. Hence the movies tanked.

    The soldiers are recurringly depicted as mind damaged victims which is an insult. They are people that overcome the most horrid experiences and I’ll put their average intelligence and mental health against any group of Hollywood people you want.

    The partisan nature of these movies creates their own failure. When one is a political partisan he fills his diatribe with falsehoods and hyperbiole. People detect this and once again reject whatever message the moviemaker intended.

    I can tell you that as a Vet the most effective anti-war movies are those that strive to be accurate. War is an activity that does not require embellishment to depict the utter horror it is. War itself is over-the-top. “All Quiet on the Western Front” is monumentally more effective than all the recent partisan efforts. Hamburger Hill is 10 times more effective than Stone’s ridiculous “Platoon”. Why? “Platoon” was a fairy tale. Hamburger Hill was as accurate a depiction as you are likely to find. Make your legislators watch those two movies the next time they are ready to vote to go to war.

    Sorry for the rant, but these insulting recent movies just burn me.

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