"Do We Get to Win This Time?"
Writer’s comment: When Eric Schroeder assigned English 103A a research paper concerning the Vietnam War, I knew immediately that I wanted to focus on film. As an American Studies major, I am extremely interested in film and television as conveyors of our culture. Because we are a media-based society, one can learn much about our American culture from looking critically at our popular films. What is intriguing to me is that often the worst or most ridiculous American films are the biggest blockbusters. These films always deal with gender issues, race issues, and political ideologies in some form, and, though many of our films offer extremely stereotypical characterizations, I believe that makes them all the more interesting and enjoyable to study. It is from these stereotypes that we can see how the American public feels on these issues.
Instructor’s comment: Erin Haendel does nothing by half measures. When I would assign a thousand-word essay, Erin would invariably write three thousand words. What’s more, she doesn’t pad her work; she makes all of her words count. So in the spring quarter when she was enrolled in two different courses I was teaching—a group study course for American Studies that focused on films about Vietnam and a section of advanced composition—I should have realized what I was getting into when I encouraged Erin to combine two short papers—one from each class—into a single long research paper. The result was a twenty-page analysis of the role that propaganda plays in three different feature films about the Vietnam War.
The essay is notable for its thoroughness on two counts: Erin not only examines the films very closely, but she also considers a wide range of critical responses to these films. Her greatest challenge, however, came when her essay was selected for inclusion in Prized Writing; since (reasonably enough) the editors didn’t want to dedicate an entire issue to Erin’s essay, she was asked to trim it. The present version of “Do We Get to Win This Time?” has lost none of its power. I’m sure you’ll agree that both its research and attention to detail are substantial.
—Eric Schroeder, English Department
“Film has established itself as a major medium by which our culture reflects and shapes its reality” (Taylor 186). Nowhere is Bruce Taylor’s statement made more clear than in movies about the Vietnam War. While some films, like Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, illustrate how horrible the army can be, other Vietnam War films glorify the armed services and American superiority in an attempt to alleviate the public’s fears that the war was a negative undertaking. China Gate (1957), The Green Berets (1968), and Rambo: First Blood, Part Two (1985) all glorify Americans at war. As Leo Cawley claims in his essay, “The War about the War: Vietnam Films and American Myth,” they sought to show that “the Americans are the good guys, the Viet Cong are the bad guys, and the peasants are the frightened townsfolk who need protection and rule of law” (74). The characters in these films have no ambiguity to them, but rather just the opposite: they are either paradigms of goodness or pillars of evil. By analyzing these one-dimensional characterizations, we are clearly able to see the propaganda in these films.
Propaganda in films did not begin with the sending of U.S. troops to Vietnam. As the French were slowly losing the battle in Southeast Asia in the 1950s and the United States was consequently taking over monetary as well as human forces there, an explanation was necessary for the American people. Samuel Fuller’s China Gate was made to offer just that. Filmed when the U.S. was already active in Vietnam but not yet involved in an outright war, the movie, which has “a rather clear political intent,” attempts to, as David E. Whillock says, “produce a positive image of involvement in Southeast Asia to the American public” (305). The film seeks to influence American audiences against the Communists and to show the public that Americans are just trying to help the poor South Vietnamese. Made at a time when the Red Scare was at its height, China Gate is an obvious representation of the fear of Communism in that era. In fact, at the time the film was made, there were over two hundred suspected Communists blacklisted by the Hollywood studios themselves (Belton 242). This attitude comes through in the film right from the beginning with a voice-over that Rick Berg, in his essay “Losing Vietnam: Covering the War in an Age of Technology,” calls a “political endorsement disguised as a history lesson” (53).
Like China Gate, John Wayne and Ray Kellogg’s The Green Berets also reflects the political climate of its period. In 1968, the turning point of the war, many Americans were rethinking the country’s involvement in Vietnam and whether or not they wanted to support it. The Green Berets, made using what Whillock terms an “overtly political approach” (303), seeks to draw the ever-suspicious Americans back in to supporting the war. At a time when the war was becoming increasingly unpopular at home, The Green Berets uses similar characterization tactics as China Gate, showing the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong as inherently evil and the South Vietnamese (children play a large part in the film) as the innocent victims of the cross fire. The fact that the Pentagon spent over a million dollars to assist with the making of the movie further reveals the obvious propagandist tactics of the film (Cawley 74).
The propaganda films did not stop coming with the end of the war. With such an unhappy and unfulfilling finish in Vietnam, the American public needed someone or something to say that as a nation we were still powerful and could redeem ourselves. This someone was Rambo. Rambo: First Blood, Part Two (1985), with its one-dimensional characterizations, helped to reassure the public that we could still go back to Vietnam and win, once and for all, rescuing the POWs and MIAs and doing away with the Communists, who in the early ’80s were still our enemies. Those who helped to produce Rambo realized that the “MIAs are the central political symbol of our commitment to [the] restorative process” (Kern 47). If these men could be found, the country’s faith and power could be restored. Rambo, as Kern says, wants to go back and “win a war that someone else [i.e., the government and the antiwar protesters] lost” (47).
The presentation of Rambo as the obvious savior and the Communists as the main enemy in First Blood, Part Two illustrates the distinct good and evil characters in all three of these films. Communism as a form of government appears as the major enemy, with the Viet Cong showing up as another, although less threatening, evil force. The role of those needing to be saved is played by the South Vietnamese. The American people, too, appear as victims, though victims simply of the implied threat of Communism; they face no immediate danger as do the South Vietnamese. The characters that save them are the tough, hard-bodied American men, simply doing their job of being great masculine heroes. These unambiguous characterizations in the films make the propaganda obvious. Nowhere do we see a character that might be both an enemy and a savior. Nowhere do we see that the Vietnamese are fighting for the freedom of their own country. Nowhere do we see the other side of the American saviors, that they are also brutal, killing women and children in a war that is not their own. It is through these generalized characterizations that the films become propaganda.
In all three of these movies, in order to make the enemy obvious to the viewer, the antagonists are presented as, in Cawley’s terms, “big and powerful and established” (71). In movies about the Vietnam War, this enemy became Communism (specifically the Soviets in some cases) and the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong. Albert Auster and Leonard Quart, in their book How the War Was Remembered: Hollywood and Vietnam, comment: “The Red Hunt took eventually to Hollywood where studio moguls willingly created a blacklist of current and former Communists and, as further proof of their loyalty, produced films devoted to exposing and combating the ominous Communist conspiracy” (9). The Communists are portrayed as dangerous, heartless killers, chopping up women and children at their leisure.
China Gate is one example where Communism is the main enemy as opposed to the Vietnamese. Because the movie was made before the actual war began, and due to the political climate of the period, Communism was an easier idea for the American audience to grasp as a specific enemy than were the Vietnamese. Americans could understand what Berg calls “a patrol with a mission and an object: blow up the Commie ammo dump at China Gate” (52). In the opening sequence of the movie, as the voice-over talks about how the Communists are bombing villages, killing innocent children, and burning down peasants’ homes, we clearly understand who the evildoer is. The voice speaks first of the French who tried to come in and help the ignorant South Vietnamese set up schools and a constructive society. But the Communists intervened and stopped them. The poor French, who have been there for decades trying to civilize these people, are being ruined by the Communists.
As Auster and Quart comment, the Communists are shown as “ruthless destroyers who, in contrast to the supposedly civilized French, are ready to bomb civilians both women and children” (15). There is no other side shown of Communism; the film never questions whether or not this system has some positive aspects; it simply assumes it to be horrible. Now, the voice continues, the United States must step in and help the French and these lowly, illiterate South Vietnamese before Communism takes over there and then overruns the rest of the world. It is only with U.S. involvement that these horrors will come to an end.
By portraying Communism as this incredible worldwide force, the movie attempts not only to rally Americans on the side of democracy, but also to instill fear. The movie is one of a series of films to imply, as Whillock says, the “need for American involvement to stop the dreaded fall of nation-state dominos in the Communist determination for world dominance” (305). The opening voice-over is simply a political speech telling the American people what they should believe and why the U.S. should be involved.
As in China Gate, the main enemy in Rambo is Communism and the Communists themselves. Although John Rambo has to fight off Vietnamese soldiers in the film, the top dogs are the Russians. Asians, it seems, are not as worthy of our fighting skills as other whites. The film, made in 1985, says much about our fear of the Soviet Union then. While China Gate was made in the 1950s and Rambo in the 1980s, the terrible threat of Communism is the same in both. Auster and Quart comment, “It is the Soviets rather than the dim and suicidal Vietnamese rushing headlong into Rambo’s gunfire. . . who are the real enemy in the film” (108). The white Soviets are the ones we must go up against. Even the Viet Cong, the people that we really fought (and lost to), are simply shown as lackeys to the white men. Though the American public might not have been half as scared of Communism in the ’80s as in the ’50s, it was still an important issue with the Reagan administration. That we had not eradicated this form of government in the Vietnam War was a pain that still lingered. This is what Rambo: First Blood, Part Two is all about. As Belton says about the film, it “epitomizes the new conservatism, which is based, in part, on the desire to rewrite the recent past and put a positive face on our nation’s more negative experiences” (316).
Besides having to fight against this foreign Communist enemy, Rambo must also battle a domestic enemy—the government and the anti-war protesters who let the country down. Auster and Quart discuss how in some of these movies, “soft liberals who undermined our patriotic will were far more dangerous than regiments of murderous Viet Cong” (31). In the opening sequence of Rambo, when John Rambo is first told he is to return to Vietnam, he asks, “Do we get to win this time?” As Sylvester Stallone asks this question, he represents the many American people who are still bitter about the government’s and the liberals’ roles in the loss our country suffered. But in Rambo, we get another chance; this time our domestic enemies will not stand in the way of success. Through Rambo, we can prove that the loss was just a one-time thing. We can come back and eradicate Communism and the Soviets, as well as get our POWs back.
Unlike Rambo: First Blood, Part Two and China Gate, The Green Berets, because it was made during the war, can focus on a more specific enemy, the Viet Cong. In 1968 most people knew who the Viet Cong were and thus could follow the idea of them as the bad guys. Like the Communists, the Viet Cong are depicted as brutal and cruel. The film shows what Bruce Taylor calls the “horrific displays of the enemy’s sadistic and cowardly behavior while contrasting those examples to the bravery and compassion of the American Green Berets” (188). The film must convince Americans, in a time when many were reconsidering, that the enemy is worth fighting a war over.
The Green Berets shows that the Viet Cong are hated and feared even more by the South Vietnamese, whom the Americans must help, than by the Americans themselves. This “herd of faceless, endlessly dying barbarians who torture, rape, hatch conspiracies, rob the mountain districts of their rice, or insidiously infiltrate the Green Beret lines” (Auster and Quart 33) have got to be stopped. There is no mention in this film of the fact that the American soldiers also “tortured, raped and hatched conspiracies.” If the movie portrayed that as happening, the characterizations would not be so straightforward.
The South Vietnamese, like the Americans, are portrayed as lacking in any enemy-like qualities. When one South Vietnamese man says negative things about the Viet Cong, one of the Green Berets comments, “Sounds like he means it.” It sounds like he means that the Viet Cong are ruthless killers as opposed to himself, the peaceful elderly South Vietnamese man. The South Vietnamese are being hurt by the V.C. and not vice versa, in case the viewers hadn’t yet caught on to this message.
The South Vietnamese can never match the brutality of the northerners. After the Viet Cong have ravaged a village and killed everyone but the women and some of the children, another of the American soldiers comments, “That’s their style,” in reference to the brutality of the killing. This scene is just another ploy to make American citizens angry at the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong. As Belton comments about The Green Berets, “Having graduated from boot camp, [the soldier] continues to learn—through combat—not only how to fight but why he is fighting; contact with the enemy reveals the latter’s essential villainy and teaches him just how necessary the war is” (176).
While these movies pressure the common person to hate the enemy, they also make a strong ploy for the audience to understand the horrible state of the victims. In both China Gate and The Green Berets, a child, although used as a foil, plays a major role in capturing the hearts of the American public. In The Green Berets, there is the “cute, ubiquitous Vietnamese orphan named Hamchuck” (Auster and Quart 33), and representing China Gate is “a small native child and his puppy seeking refuge in the military” (Berg 52). Both boys, in fact, happen to have dogs (making an appeal to animal lovers as well) and are poor and in need of father figures.
While the boy in China Gate at least has a mother in the picture, the boy in The Green Berets is an orphan. Neither boy has anyone to relate to except for his dog. Both need to be protected, to be fathered; who better to do it than the American servicemen? We are ultimately fighting the war, the movies explain to the viewer, for the sake of these children. As John Wayne says to Hamchuck in the closing scene of The Green Berets, “You’re what this is all about.” In both movies it is an American G.I. who finally takes the boy under his wing and saves him from an otherwise bleak life.
The simplicity and friendliness of the South Vietnamese comes out best perhaps in the other scenes involving children. Employing the stereotype that all relations were great between U.S. forces and the southerners, a village leader brings his injured grandchild to an American base for medical attention. About ten people are lined up to see the base doctor and everyone is laughing, smiling, and happy to be there. As the children wait their turn, they joke around with the other servicemen, who offer them candy and toys. As for the girl with the injured foot, the Americans, of course, make it all better, while remarking at the same time that if she hadn’t come in when she did and gotten their help, she might have lost her limb. Again, the Americans have come to the rescue. The South Vietnamese simply cannot function without help from the Americans.
These American men are not only saving the Vietnamese children, but assisting the entire South Vietnamese population as well. These people are never portrayed as doing anything wrong; rather, they are simply victims of the terrible northern monster. Though in truth they were fighting just as brutally as anyone else, this is never shown. Unlike the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese, who seem to have no women and children among them, the South Vietnamese are primarily just that—women and children. Even when they are shown as a fighting force, they are not portrayed as a major threat. Auster and Quart point out that “although they are viewed as a smart-looking, dedicated, efficient force, they are made to sound like Tonto . . . and play a totally subordinate role” (33).
Although most of the victims in these three movies fit easily into stereotypical representations, the women are not so easily placed. Each film has a strong leading female figure who plays back-up to the savior role; not allowed to be heroes (that would ruin the image of our men as all-mighty), these women serve as sidekicks, helping out the cause. In the end of the films, however, two of these three women end up dying, relegating them once again to the role of victim. These leading women are the exceptions. The South Vietnamese females are all poor peasant women, seeking shelter from the horrible Viet Cong or Communists. In The Green Berets the women in a ravaged village are rounded up and comforted before being taken back to the base for care. Once there, they are protected and treated like neighbors. These women, like the children portrayed in these films—and, in the end, the leading women as well—must be saved. Who better to do this than tough American men?
The American men are the ones in all three of these movies who are seen as the protectors. Cawley notes that “in the Vietnam movie the myth of the solitary combatant or lonesome cowboy” is readily apparent (71). These men, representative of the great American mono-myth, come into Vietnam to save people and then leave once they have done their jobs. Shown as the savior of lesser peoples, the men are seen in the eyes of the American public as doing a humanitarian job that someone needs to be doing. They are in Vietnam to help save these poor souls from destruction and terror, to save not only them, but ultimately the American people as well, from Communism.
In all three of the films, the leading man is portrayed as a large, hard-bodied hero. In Rambo, John Rambo is the quintessential example: tough, strong, and ready to fight, he is the perfect man to go into Vietnam and rescue our POWs. The leading man in China Gate, though emotionally unstable, is also a physical dynamo. Perhaps the strongest American hero in these movies is John Wayne himself. In The Green Berets, Wayne is not only physically tough but also intellectually and emotionally strong. He feels bad for these people and wants to save them, as he does Hamchuck.
Unlike the American men, who are the protectors of all people, the Asian men in China Gate are drunkards, always seen with a bottle of something in their hands and pictures of their Communist heroes in the background. But not the American men. They are there to save the innocent and play with little boys and their dogs. “Such scenes exploit our most generous sentiments, for who can be against kindness?” (Klein 27). The men—black and white together, in unity for the good of America, Vietnam, and most of all for democracy—are there to protect everyone.
In many ways the characters are portrayed quite differently from what our saviors were really like. The race and age of the soldiers, the weapons that they use, and the horrors that they go through are all manipulated so that Americans will look at our fighting capabilities in a more positive light. In real life, for example, many soldiers in Vietnam were men of color (Studlar and Desser 108-09). Yet in all three of these movies, other than a few token blacks, the American saviors are all white. When in reality most men in the army were actually boys eighteen to twenty years old, in all three of these films they are older, in their twenties, thirties, and even forties, suggesting they are experienced soldiers. And while most men who actually fought in Vietnam were from the lower or working classes and generally less-educated backgrounds, in the films most of these fighting machines are intellectual geniuses. In The Green Berets they are trained in all kinds of weaponry and also in martial arts. Many of the men are also competent engineers and all speak at least three languages. Further, the films show the men having fun, laughing and joking around, acting as if they are at camp. They seem genuinely happy to be there, and of course none of them disagrees with any of the others. By putting this jolly, white, intelligent face on the soldiers, the American public is supposed to rest assured that we have an overly capable group of guys over there. In reality, most of these men were just nineteen, fresh out of high school. And they obviously weren’t having just fun and games. But the film seeks to prove these statistics wrong.
These films also seek to prove that we won the war with sheer brawn rather than acknowledging that we lost it even though we had superior weaponry. When in reality the U.S. had much more sophisticated weaponry than our enemies, in Rambo: First Blood, Part Two, Rambo does not take his high-tech equipment, but instead uses his brawn and brain to overcome the enemy. This time the Communists have the sophisticated weaponry, a major distortion of the facts of the real conflict. Rambo, in fact, takes on many of the fighting characteristics used by the Viet Cong in real life. As Louis J. Kern comments in “MIAs, Myth, and Macho Magic,” “To ‘win’ the war we are symbolically refighting on the screen, to reverse the verdict of history, we must be transformed into our enemies (who won the ‘real’ war), while they are transformed into us” (48).
The filmmakers manipulate the role of the savior from that of a diverse group of young men with different experiences to an older, whiter, and sometimes solitary force. And as the hero is manipulated for the viewer, so are the enemy and the victim characterizations. In all of the cases, these films took characters that could not possibly all fit into a mold, and did just that: molded them into one identity for the sake of propaganda. Portraying well-rounded characters would have ruined the point that these films were trying to make.
While Rambo: First Blood, Part Two portrays some of the ’80s anger at the government, it primarily seeks to show our continuing fear of Communist domination. When John Rambo arrives in Vietnam, he finds not only that the whole country is basically still in a war mode, but that the Soviets are leading it all, reflecting Reagan’s fears about the 1980s. As Michael Klein comments in “Historical Memory, Film, and the Vietnam Era,” “In the 1980s, as U.S. economic and political hegemony declined throughout most of the world, the decline was manifested, in excess, in a series of films that not only refight the Vietnam War and justify it on the basis of . . . anti-Communist demonology, but create the illusion that the U.S. won the battle and in a sense the war” (23). To get the POWs back from Southeast Asia, Rambo must kill off Communism (again), but this time he must do it successfully.
In the 1980s, when the nation was again feeling powerful under Reagan, the only blemish on our record was Vietnam. If only we could redo the Vietnam War, we could once again be the proud and superior people that we once were. Auster and Quart recognize that “the film’s bloody cinematic humiliation of the Vietnamese and the Soviets and its freeing of the MIAs turned Rambo into a pop symbol for ordinary Americans and Reagan and a synonym for a resurrected feeling of American pride, power, and unabashed aggression” (110).
The attitude that we can go back in and win the war is referred to by William J. Palmer as the “Comic Book” phase. In the 1980s, Reagan “often valorized the idea that America didn’t really lose the Vietnam War and that, in fact, the Vietnam War could be refought and rewon” (258). Klein points out that, like D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation made seventy years earlier, “filmmakers revised the history of the recent past in an attempt to heal national and class divisions that were rooted in still-unresolved social and political contradictions” (19). Rambo: First Blood, Part Two is just a current example of this type of propaganda becoming popular again. Palmer refers to the period during which Rambo was made as “one of the best examples of the manner in which American film and orchestrated social (propagandist) history can complement one another” (258).
The propaganda from this period was not only about the Communists, though. After the Vietnam War there was the domestic enemy to think about as well. Besides fighting with the Communists, John Rambo must fight a domestic battle against Murdoch, the American intelligence officer. This government official is used as a scapegoat on whom the film seeks to blame the outcome of the war, since we can’t possibly acknowledge Vietnamese superiority in both fighting skills and desire to win. Rather than give credit to the North Vietnamese, the film needs to find fault with someone else, our own government. If only we would have done this or that; if only our army had been made up of men like Rambo. In earlier films this wasn’t necessary; we didn’t yet know the outcome of the war. Now that the final result is known, it is a result that we cannot live with, and we instead decide to overlook history through films such as Rambo: First Blood, Part Two.
Murdoch represents the distrust that many Americans have about how the government handled Vietnam. Gaylyn Studlar and David Desser, in their article “Never Having to Say You’re Sorry: Rambo’s Rewriting of the Vietnam War,” say that “within its formula of militaristic zeal, Rambo sustains an atmosphere of post-Watergate distrust of government” (105). The viewer is to believe that the government does not want to help get the missing MIAs out of Vietnam and is lying about what it knows on the issue. In one of the final scenes, a powerful scene for the American viewer, Rambo tells Murdoch that there are more POWs out there and that he needs to go get them. An American flag is positioned quite indiscreetly on the desk behind him, suggesting that Rambo, not the government, is the ultimate American hero.
In a final piece of obvious propaganda, Rambo requests respect for Vietnam vets. When his boss asks him what he wants for saving all the MIAs, he replies, “I want . . . what they want . . . and what every other guy who came over here and spilt his guts and gave everything he had wants . . . for our country to love us as much as we love it.” In other words, be nice to those Vietnam vets because they fought their hardest to get rid of Communism, but because of the non-support from home, the war was lost. The film, as Kevin Bowen states in “‘Strange Hells’: Hollywood in Search of America’s Lost War,” makes “a direct association between the marginalized status of veterans and a war lost due to a failure of will in Americans brought about by liberals, radicals, and self-serving government officials” (229). Luckily for America, we had another shot at it in Rambo: First Blood, Part Two, and this time we won. Now Americans can again feel proud.
The strong and mighty savior once again has come through. The brutal, evil enemy has once again been demolished, and those at risk have been saved. That is how it goes with Rambo: First Blood, Part Two, as well as with China Gate and The Green Berets. While movies such as Full Metal Jacket and Platoon may not have been deserving of Academy Awards, they are not, at least, filled with such one-dimensional characterizations. In those films, some Americans are good and some Americans are not; some of them are as evil as any enemy that we faced. Because other filmmakers were able to give more depth to their characterizations instead of resorting to stereotypes, they made films instead of propaganda.
Auster, Albert, and Leonard Quart. How the War Was Remembered: Hollywood and Vietnam. New York: Praeger, 1988.
Belton, John. American Cinema/American Culture. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1994.
Berg, Rick. “Losing Vietnam: Covering the War in an Age of Technology.” Dittmar and Michaud. 41-68.
Bowen, Kevin. “‘Strange Hells’: Hollywood in Search of America’s Lost War.” Dittmar and Michaud. 226-35.
Cawley, Leo. “The War about the War: Vietnam Films and American Myth.” Dittmar and Michaud. 69-80.
China Gate. Dir. Samuel Fuller. Perf. Gene Barry and Angie Dickinson. 20th Century Fox, 1957.
Dittmar, Linda, and Gene Michaud, eds. From Hanoi to Hollywood: The Vietnam War in American Film. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 1991.
Gilman, Owen W., Jr., and Lorrie Smith, eds. America Rediscovered: Critical Essays on Literature and Film of the Vietnam War. New York: Garland, 1990.
The Green Berets. Dir. John Wayne and Ray Kellogg. Perf. John Wayne and David Janssen. Warner Brothers, 1968.
Kern, Louis J. “MIAs, Myth, and Macho Magic: Post-Apocalyptic Cinematic Visions of Vietnam.” Search and Clear: Critical Responses to Selected Literature and Films of the Vietnam War. Ed. William J. Searle. Ohio: Bowling Green State U Popular Press, 1988. 37-54.
Klein, Michael. “Historical Memory, Film, and the Vietnam Era.” Dittmar and Michaud. 19-40.
Palmer, William J. “Symbolic Nihilism in Platoon.” Gilman and Smith. 256-74.
Rambo: First Blood, Part Two. Dir. George Pan Cosmatos. Perf. Sylvester Stallone and Richard Crenna. Tri-Star Pictures, 1985.
Studlar, Gaylyn, and David Desser. “Never Having to Say You’re Sorry: Rambo’s Rewriting of the Vietnam War.” Dittmar and Michaud. 101-12.
Taylor, Bruce. “The Vietnam War Movie.” The Legacy: The Vietnam War in the American Imagination. Ed. D. Michael Shafer. Boston: Beacon, 1990. 186-206.
Tomasulo, Frank P. “The Politics of Ambivalence: Apocalypse Now as Prowar and Antiwar Film.” Dittmar and Michaud. 145-58.
Whillock, David Everett. “The Fictive American Vietnam War Film: A Filmography.” Gilman and Smith. 303-12.