Vietnam in Film

20 Oct
Cover of

Cover of The Deer Hunter

The Vietnam War gave birth to some of the most important films of the 20th century. Some of these films stand on their own merits in the AFI’s list of 100 Greatest Movies, while others are more important for their contributions advancing our understanding of that conflict and its meaning for Americans. (I say Americans here because the vast majority of films about Vietnam have been made by Americans for American audiences). The AFI list includes Apocalypse Now (1979, #28),  Forrest Gump (1994, #71), The Deer Hunter (1978, #79), and Platoon (1986, #83).  These films just scratch the surface of what’s available. So here’s a more comprehensive–but still far from complete–list of films (organized by release date) about Vietnam and the Vietnam War.

  • The Quiet American (1958)
  • The Green Berets (1968)
  • Coming Home (1978)
  • The Deer Hunter (1978)
  • Go Tell the Spartans (1978)
  • Who’ll Stop the Rain (1978)
  • Apocalypse Now (1979)
  • Rambo: First Blood (1982)
  • Platoon (1986)
  • Full Metal Jacket (1987)
    Good Morning, Vietnam

    Image via Wikipedia

  • Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)
  • Hamburger Hill (1987)
  • The Hanoi Hilton (1987)
  • 1969 (1988)
  • 84 Charlie Mopic (1989)
  • Born on the Fourth of July (1989)
  • Casualties of War (1989)
  • Siege of Firebase Gloria (1989)
  • Jacob’s Ladder (1990)
  • Indochine (1992)
  • The Lover (1992)
  • Heaven & Earth (1993)
  • The Scent of Green Papaya (1993)
  • Forrest Gump (1994)
  • Cyclo (1995)
    Cover of

    Cover of Dead Presidents

  • Dead Presidents (1995)
  • A Bright Shining Lie (1998)
  • Three Seasons (1999)
  • Tigerland (2000)
  • Green Dragon (2001)
  • The Path to War (2002)
  • The Quiet American (2002)
  • We Were Soldiers (2002)
  • The Fog of War (2003)
  • Across the Universe (2007)
  • Rescue Dawn (2007)
  • Tropic Thunder (2008)
Cover of
Cover of Hamburger Hill

In the future I’ll add some thematic groups and annotations for these as I make my way through them. There’s also surely quite a few films I’m missing. For instance, I’ve yet to go through the list of films at or (largely because they are not available for me to view or evaluate) or the alphabetized list of 500 films compiled at Or this list specifically about films dealing with the conflict or you can also look at Wikipedia’s list. Tired yet?

For some reading about Vietnam in film you might turn to this bibliography of materials at UC Berkeley:

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