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Example research essay topic: Vietnam In American Movies - 1,531 words

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Vietnam in American Movies (1) All four movies: Platoon, Apocalypse Now, Rambo: First Blood and The Deer Hunter exploit the theme of Vietnam War as historical background for the action that take place on the screen. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that movies contain ideological controversies, just as Vietnam War itself. During the course of Vietnam War, many Americans had a hard time understanding why our troops were sent to Vietnam in the first place. It is not just Vietnamese Communists that American soldiers had to deal with, but also the elements of tropical environment and the hostility, on the part of locals. American Medias were not helping the cause, as they adopted a strong anti-war attitude, while coming up with stories of American atrocities on almost every day basis. Therefore, it was only natural for the Vietnam War to be associated in public consciousness with metaphysical wrongness.

In its turn, it explains why Platoon, Apocalypse Now, The Deer Hunter contain a strong pacifist message. We can say that these movies were produced to legitimize the unwillingness of flower children to serve in the army. Rambo: First Blood, is an entirely different matter. In it, war is being glorified as such that increases the existential value of an individual, who had experienced it at first hand. This is because Rambo was meant to serve a very concrete purpose to strengthen Americans spiritually, after Reagan had realized that the language of brutal force is the most applicable, when it comes to dealing with Commies.

In this paper, we will analyze all four movies in conjunction with social-political reality, to which they are closely related... (2) We can say that Platoon is the most typical of all anti-war movies about Vietnam. The movies main idea, which becomes apparent during the first half hour of watching, is that American soldiers in Vietnam were nothing but brutes, which used to receive a sadistic pleasure from torturing and killing innocent civilians. Movies main character private Chris Taylor, played by Charlie Sheen, is an embodiment of Liberal virtues. The first time viewers see him on the screen, they realize that this person simply does not belong to the army. Nevertheless, Taylor finds it appropriate giving valuable advices to soldiers with a lot of combat experience.

At the end of the movie, he shoots Sergeant Robert Barnes his immediate superior, simply because Barnes was not tolerant enough, in the eyes of Taylor. The act of cowardice and betrayal, on the part of mommy's boy Taylor, is presented to us as highly moral deed. This is the reason why Platoon is being generally despised by Vietnam War veterans, because they know perfectly well that there can be no justification for insubordinate, during the time of war. Platoon was being released to the theaters in 1986, after it became obvious to Americans that it was only the matter of very short time, before they would win in Cold War with Soviet Union. The anti-Communist fervor, initiated by Reagan in 1982, began to wear out by then, which is why Hollywood producers had decided that the time was right for them to begin instilling citizens with spiritual poison, without the fear of punishment. It appears that their calculations were correct, because nowadays, children at school are being officially taught that Vietnam War was pointless, unjust and cruel.

The Apocalypse Now is being often referred to as one of the greatest movies of the century. It is very hard to agree with such opinion. The movie is boring, it lacks a clear ideological statement and, on top of everything, it lacks action, despite the fact that producer Francis Coppola was convinced in opposite. The movie was released in 1979 and, just as Platoon, it was intended to appeal to people without military experience. After having watched The Apocalypse Now, many people became convinced that seeing a psychiatrist constitutes a foremost priority for the soldiers, who return to America from active duty. It will not be an exaggeration to say that The Apocalypse Now was the first movie, which popularized the notion of Vietnam syndrome, as form of mental illness, among people who have no affiliation with psychiatry.

Movies main character, Col. Kurtz, becomes delirious from all the fighting and decides that he had enough. He establishes his own little kingdom, populated by locals, who refer to Kurtz as God. After having met Willard, Kurtz begins to indulge in pseudo-philosophical monologues, which are meant to fascinate viewers with his insanity. It needs to be said that Marlon Brando, who played Kurtz, was able to accomplish it to a considerable degree, however, this had nothing to do with what he was actually saying, but with how he was saying it. The artificial sophistication of Kurtz's monologues comes in striking contrast with the scene of helicopters attack, at the beginning of movie.

Apparently, Coppola was trying to portray Vietnam War as purely illogical. Why fight Communists, if they can be reasoned with? After all, Vietnamese Commies are just a part of humanity. If one embarks on destruction, it is only the matter of time, before he is going to loose its mind these are the hidden messages contained in The Apocalypse Now. One does not have to be overly smart to realize that these ideas corresponded to the political agenda of Carters administration. Disillusionment, loss of ideals, intellectualism, the absence of security these are the psychological leitmotifs that define late seventies.

They are presented in The Apocalypse Now, as movie that is filled with psychological anxieties of the era. The movie Deer Hunter can be described as the most realistic of all. This because producers did not use movies plot to push their political agenda. We are being told a story of three friends, who needed to undergo a process of psychological adjustment to the realities of war, in order to be able to survive. In his review of The Deer Hunter, Glenn Erickson makes a good point when he suggests that, despite the fact that movie is regarded as revisionist, it does not ridicule the notions of loyalty and courage: The Deer Hunter has what many 70 s movies were lacking: Heroic characters fighting and suffering for friendship, honor, love and patriotism. All three of them walk through fire but only one comes out the other side as a whole person; Vietnam is seen, fairly enough, as a place of physical and psychological scarring (Erickson).

War is an ugly business, but it is only during the war, at the front line, that ones true psychological qualities become apparent. In The Deer Hunter, characters undergo the same set of tribulations; however, these tribulations seem to have a different effect on them. Apparently, movie promotes the idea that persons behavior is not simply a product of upbringing, but something closely linked to ones heredity. Such suggestion is absolutely scientific, even though that today it would have been branded as politically incorrect.

Despite the fact that The Deer Hunter is a highly symbolical movie that contains many mystical motives, it is also very rational. Michael, Steven and Nick intuitively sense that very soon, the reality they are accustomed to, will be gone with the wind. This corresponds to the fact that movie was produced in the period that today is often being referred to as time between time. From 1975 to 1982, the majority of Americans lived in the state of expectation of something new to come. Ronald Reagan, as American new President, was able to deal with citizens existential anxiety in very effective manner, by proclaiming that he will witness the fall evil empire USSR, while still in the office.

It is with the name of Ronald Reagan, that we associate movie Rambo: First Blood today. In it, a so-called Vietnam syndrome is shown as such that has value in itself. While being nothing but a psycho, John Rambo proves itself as superior being, in comparison to those who surround him. He actively strives to dispel the idea that American soldiers in Vietnam were a cannon meat.

At the end of the movie, Rambo pronounces a little speech, which leaves no doubt as to the fact that he knew very well what he was fighting for in Vietnam. It was America, for which Rambo was willing to sacrifice his life. Rambo: First Blood is a movie that encourages viewers to think of patriotism as not just an abstract concept, but as something very real. Being made in 1982, this movie emanates the spirit of Reagan's era, which we now associate with social, cultural and economic progress and with the victory in Cold War. This is the reason why Rambo: First Blood still remains a favorite movie of great many people in this country. Bibliography: Apocalypse Now. 2008.

Wikipedia. 17 Apr. 2008. web Erickson, Glenn The Deer Hunter. 2007. DVD Talk. Com. 17 Apr. 2008. web Platoon. 2008. Wikipedia. 17 Apr. 2008.

web (film) Rambo: First Blood. 2008. Wikipedia. 17 Apr. 2008. web Abstract: This paper discusses movies Platoon, Apocalypse Now, Rambo: First Blood and The Deer Hunter as such that correspond to socio-political reality of the time when they were produced. Outline: Introduction Main part


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Research essay sample on Vietnam In American Movies

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