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Title:We Were Soldiers
Release Dates:2002
Running Time:138 minutes
Formats: DVD, VHS
Starring:Mel Gibson, Barry Pepper, Sam Elliot, Greg Kinnear, Madeline Stowe, and Keri Russell
Directed By:Randall Wallace
Produced By:Bruce Davey
Written By:Randall Wallace; based on the book by Lieutenant General Harold G. Moore, (Ret.) and Joe Galloway
Reviewed By:    Buy it at Amazon.com

There have been many movies about Vietnam. The best-known prior to 2002 was Platoon, by Oliver Stone. Stone got on the map with that film, although it was highly controversial, like some of his other products (JFK, Natural Born Killers). People either loved the film or hated it.

Platoon, Full Metal Jacket, and Apocalypse Now were the films that Hollywood had seen fit to use to portray Vietnam. In fact, the stereotype of the Vietnam veteran and the soldiers who served there were heavily established. Perhaps the first film of note to challenge that was 1991ís Flight of the Intruder, but it didnít do well at the box office and it was almost relegated to a footnote.

It would take Mel Gibson to create the film that would break the stereotype Hollywood created. Lieutenant General Hal Mooreís We Were Soldiers OnceÖ and Young, written with Joe Galloway, had been written in part because of movies like Platoon. In a sense, it was a natural choice to turn into the anti-Platoon.

Gibson portrayed Hal Moore, with Barry Pepper playing Joe Galloway. Sam Elliot (who turned in an outstanding performance as John Buford in Gettysburg) portrayed Sergeant Major Basil Plumley, and Greg Kinnear played Major Bruce Crandall.

Where Platoon seemed to opt for controversy, We Were Soldiers instead went for accuracy and respect for both sides in the battle. The home front was well-covered as well, telling the part of the story that was never told in earlier movies about Vietnam, with outstanding performances from Madeline Stowe (Julie Moore) and Keri Russell (Barbara Geoghegan).

We Were Soldiers is the Vietnam film that was long overdue. It succeeded in telling the story the right way, and it did well at the box office. An outstanding effort by all involved.

Buy it at Amazon.com


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