MovieChat Forums > We Were Soldiers (2002) Discussion > I didn't think they could make a movie l...

I didn't think they could make a movie like this anymore.

I just watched this for the 1st time today. I was surprised by just how old fashioned it was. Mel was basically a John Wayne type, rah rah, good old American war hero in this film. This movie seemed to me to be a backlash against the negative portrayals of Americans in Vietnam movies. I liked the realisticly filmed battle scenes, I liked the close air support aircrafts & helicopter gunships. Those scenes were really intense. The NVA soldiers perspective sure was different. 1st time I've seen them shown as real humans. I liked how they show the NVA walk right in & take the land back after the battle- that was a pretty good indictment of how we fought & our poor strategy there. We dropped our guys into the meat grinder for little to no actual gain, & then did it over & over.

I could have done without most of the 1st act. The religious aspect was overdone. I know Col. Moore was religious but - That could have been a little more subtle, seemed like it was played up to be in your face to push the issue & the dialog of his prayer in the church was really bizarre about the "heathens".

The movie could have shown a little more of the 'what the hell are we really doind here?' aspect of Vietnam. That would have added a little more realism to see the conflicted aspect our guys dealt with & the futility of it all. They seemed to stay as far away as possible to the politics that sent us there in the 1st place & also from the divisiveness occurring in the country at the time.


& the dialog of his prayer in the church was really bizarre about the "heathens".

It was tongue in cheek;

The movie could have shown a little more of the 'what the hell are we really doind here?' aspect of Vietnam.

that was in the film 'extras' part of the movie-the part where he's talking to McNamara about the battle about even though the Cavalrymen killed-no slaughtered thousands of North Viet troops, the NVA still charged thru napalm & bombs & into their guns without regard to losses because as far as the NVA were concerned 'they' were fighting for 'their' homeland.

Why can't you wretched prey creatures understand that the Universe doesn't owe you anything!?


I just watched it myself for the first time. I agree with all your points. I was thinking about this film vs. Full Metal Jacket and how that film had a strong first half followed by a weaker second half and in this film it was the opposite - I felt the first half tried too hard to make us like these soldiers.

I agree with you on the religious aspect - all these soldiers praying and the end result is thousands of dead soldiers on both sides. I felt Stanley Kubrick's film dealt better with the dehumanization associated with warfare and don't forget the Sgt. Hartman was also religious but that was handled better in Full Metal Jacket -- Kubrick was a brilliant thinker and philosopher which I think explains the difference.

The battle scenes were gripping and I don't doubt the authenticity although some of the NVA tactics seems bizarre to me - for example them charging into the line of fire apparently without firing their weapons?


IA Drang was one of the first major engagements in Vietnam - was the first use of the air cavalry concept..

As to the religious aspect - America was more religious back in 1966 - when the film was set.


I'm not arguing it's not accurate. This is more about the director guiding the story.


It’s a very unique and probably one of the most realistic portrayals of our military in Vietnam there is.

We all love Apocalypse Now for its visuals and the first 20 minutes. But the idea platoons just aimlessly running through the jungle high on everything shooting anything that moves is laughable. No chain of command. No contact with headquarters.

Then you have Platoon. The authenticity of anything by Oliver Stone is questionable as he admittedly makes it up. Everything being anti American of course.

Full Metal Jacket is pretty decent.

I know there are others.

We Were Soldiers was a surprisingly good film.


Part of its greatness is the human portrayal of both sides.

Not the endless Hollywood cliche of all American troops did in Nam was rape women and smoke grass. And all the NVA was was nameless faceless specs farming rice fields being blown up and shot from a 1/4 mile away.

WWS was a shockingly refreshing portrayal of Vietnam. The pointless absurdity of the war is illustrated subtly as everyone knows how it ended with nothin accomplished.