It wasn’t long ago that movies based on the Vietnam War were all the craze. In the 80s, big budget action movies and cheap POW escape films seem to come out every month. The likes of Chuck Norris and Sylvester Stallone ran through the Vietnam countryside in their respected movies and in numerous sequels that followed. But there were also some much more serious and focused Vietnam war pictures and that’s where we are going today. It’s been a long time since I’ve done a Throwdown but I was itching to pit two highly acclaimed war pictures against each other.
“Apocalypse Now” vs. “Platoon”
“Apocalypse Now” is heralded by many as not only being a great film but being the greatest war movie ever made. I certainly disagree with that last point and honestly I would venture to blaspheme and say it’s a bit overrated. Now don’t get me wrong, “Apocalypse Now” features some incredible sequences. The entire middle is truly intense and compelling stuff laced with some of cinema’s most iconic scenes. Unfortunately it’s bookended by a beginning and end that I found to be hard to endure. To say it derails the film may be a little strong. But it certainly keeps it from being the all-time classic for me that it is for others. Still there’s a lot to love about the film and it has a following that’s firm in their love for it. For many it’s a classic.
Even though I’m not the biggest Oliver Stone fan I can still appreciate some of his work. One of his most recognized films is “Platoon”. This 1986 Academy Award winner is one of the most character rich films about the war in Vietnam. Stone throws us in the mix with some brilliantly written and memorable characters brought to life by a great cast. Willem Dafoe, Tom Berenger, Johnny Depp, Forest Whitacker, and of course a pre-psychotic Charlie Sheen. The vibrant cinematography by Richard Richardson shines and it features arguably Oliver Stone’s strongest script. Now it does get a little too preachy and I do think Stone dwells on certain personalities for the sake of his message. But “Platoon” still grabs me any time I watch it.
It’s been a while since I’ve done one so here’s a Throwdown refresher course. Be sure to cast your vote in the poll below. Afterwards I would love for you to leave a comment about why you prefer one movie for another. Maybe you don’t like either one. Let everyone know why. It’s Throwdown time. Is it “Apocalypse Now” or “Platoon”?