Movies about Vietnam: Top 10 documentary films

From the “Apocalypse Now” by Francis Ford Coppola to Oliver Stone’s “Platoon” – we present to your attention a list of the top ten films about the war in Vietnam, showing this difficult period realistically, cruelly and honestly.

Films about the war in Vietnam can be considered a separate genre, there are so many of them.

Since cinema is one of the most famous forms of the narrative about the history of any country, the task of films about war is to guarantee truthfulness, whether it be another significant or bloody historical milestone. It is difficult to sustain a balance here. And, in order to arrive at a certain opinion, it is necessary to get acquainted with information from different sources.

We want to present to your attention our own list, which includes both the classics of the eighties and works of the two thousandth years. We will try with their help to reveal the tragic period in the history of the Vietnamese people.

10. “Fog of War”, 2003

Fog of war

The well-known documentary filmmaker Errol Morris received an Oscar for the beautiful display of a portrait of former Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara that served under the leadership of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson at the height of the Vietnam War. Linking personal interviews with S. McNamara and archival materials, Errol tries to understand and reveal the complex inner world of the person responsible for the participation of the United States in the Vietnam war. Since the bombing of more than 100 thousand civilians in Tokyo and ending with the terrible consequences of this act.

9. “The Rescue Dawn”, 2006

The Rescue Dawn

During the secret mission of 1995, during the bombing of Laos, the US Navy aircraft of an American pilot of German origin Dieter Dingler is broken in the jungle. Dieter himself is taken captive and subjected to terrible torture. After all the sufferings experienced, they are sent to the camp for prisoners, where he meets five psychologically broken prisoners and decides to organize an escape.

The amazing experimental arthouse of director Werner Herzog with the wonderful play of Christian Bale, Steve Zahn and Jeremy Davis will not leave anyone indifferent.

8. “Homecoming”, 1978


John Voight and Jane Fonda rightfully deserved the “Oscar” for their roles in the military drama of director Hal Ashby. The victory of the latter, however, is controversial, given her notorious anti-war stance and a trip to North Vietnam in 1972, which earned her the nickname of Jane Hanoi.

The heroine of Jane (Sally Hyde), whose husband is involved in active fighting in Vietnam, works as a volunteer in a local hospital. In the process of work, she meets (and begins a novel) with a veteran of the Vietnamese war, chained to a wheelchair and trying to assimilate in a country where she feels herself an unwanted character.

7. “Good Morning, Vietnam”, 1987

Good morning, Vietnam

Robin Williams received an Oscar nomination for the role of Adrian Kronauer, a DJ who travels to Vietnam to bring inspiration and liveliness to the radio of the Armed Forces. He naturally faces top management, who believes that his comic pitch is unacceptable in such a serious situation. Being under constant pressure, Adrian unfolds his own war – the war for freedom of speech, thoughts and ideas.

6. “Born on July 4th”, 1989

Born on the 4th of July

Not Oliver Stone’s first look at the realities of the Vietnam War, but, unequivocally, one of the best. For this work, the director was awarded the “Oscar”.

“Born on July 4th” is based on the memoirs of the anti-war activist Ron Kovik (played by Tom Cruise) and tells the story of a man’s serious desire to serve his country. Having suffered a trauma in the war and remained paralyzed for life, Ron returns home, to a country that, as he felt, betrayed him, and directs his anger, speaking out against military action.

5. “Platoon”, 1986


Another work of Oliver Stone, for which he received the first statuette of “Oscar” as the best director. And the picture itself was awarded the “Best Film” award.

The hero, played by Charlie Sheen, is a young recruit who refuses his privileged place in college to voluntarily go to serve in Vietnam. He quickly realizes that he is just a pawn in this game, and sees the worst that exists in a person, on both sides of the conflict. Having witnessed the massacre of innocent civilians in the village by the soldiers of his platoon, he suffers a tremendous psychological trauma.

4. “All-metal shell”, 1987

Full Metal Jacket

Stanley Kubrick, as always, goes beyond the topic of the narrative. The picture, where the main role of the young marines is played by Matthew Modine, tells us more about the war itself, and does not reveal the international conflict in which the hero participates. We will see in all colors how yesterday’s boys are being prepared for war and turned into cold-blooded killers.

3. “Apocalypse Now”, 1979

Apocalypse Now

Francis Ford Coppola, inspired by the work of Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”, changes the setting of the novel from the Belgian Congo to the Vietnam-Cambodia border. The hero of Martin Shina was entrusted to go secretly into the depths of the jungle and kill the green beret – Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando), who became an outcast and proclaimed himself a local god, establishing his kingdom of violence.

“Apocalypse Now” reveals the insanity and absurdity of the war, as well as the way it can morally destroy absolutely anyone in its path.

2. “Hearts and Thoughts”, 1974

Hearts and thoughts

The documentary of the Oscar-winning Peter Davis reveals the American influence in Vietnam on a long, seemingly endless war that the United States government extended. After comparing interviews with military officials with scenes of violent violence, the film gave voice to the Vietnamese people driven into the conflict. People who, thanks to American propaganda, have until this moment been invisible and unheard.

1. “The Hunter of the Deer”, 1978

The Deer Hunter

Michael Chimino’s great military epic earned five Oscars (including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actor, honestly honored by Christopher Walken).

Three friends from a small town in Pennsylvania are enlisted in the US Army and sent to Vietnam. After they are captured by the northern Vietnamese army and throws them into the camp, friends are forced to play Russian roulette, entertaining their captors.

“The deer hunter” is the greatest film about the war in Vietnam, exposing not only the infernal battle, but also the ways by which it broke the psyche of those who found themselves within the military conflict.

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