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Can and do war movies serve a purpose?

 
 
Reply Tue 4 Jan, 2011 06:21 pm
Can war movies serve a purpose?

I. Pro-war
Films:
A. Can nationalistic classic style war movies have a purpose beyond recruiting future soldiers for the military?
B. Is there room for this generation's version of John Wayne in Hollywood?

II. Antiwar
Films:
A. Do antiwar movies lead to military isolationism:
War is Hell thusly I am not allowing my/our sons or daughters to serve in the military especially to fight overseas to help
those people!
?
B. Do antiwar films help people turn a blind eye to standing dictatorships or potential genocides?

III. Is there any harm in enjoying a war film for the cinematic roller coaster ride?
 
jespah
 
  3  
Reply Tue 4 Jan, 2011 06:34 pm
@tsarstepan,
Actually, I love war movies (specifically, escape pictures) -- they are probably my favorite genre. I love them for their creativity. I consider Stalag 17 to be a close to perfect film in a lot of ways.

I doubt that an anti-war film like The King of Hearts or All Quiet on the Western Front caused any sort of isolationism -- if that was happening, it was probably already there, yes?

Right now I'm rambling, bookmarking but I definitely watch war pictures because I genuinely like them -- they can be incredible pieces of cinema, and war is, by definition, an emotionally powerful scenario. The other thing is, I'm kinda wondering what you define as war pictures. Are they only ones that show combat, e. g. The Longest Day or Saving Private Ryan? Or are they, possibly, ones that deal with the fallout, like The Best Years of Our Lives or Since You Went Away?
djjd62
 
  2  
Reply Tue 4 Jan, 2011 06:36 pm
i like watching things explode
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ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Tue 4 Jan, 2011 08:02 pm
@jespah,
King of Hearts, oh, man.

Well, back when I think about all this some more. Plus to Jespah's post.
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Tue 4 Jan, 2011 08:26 pm
I have watched most of the war films out there, except those pertaining to Vietnam. I have watched Apocalypse Now, Good Morning Vietnam and Born on the Fourth of July. When I went to Apocalypse, I thought it was a good film, until Brando appeared. Shortly after, I went to sleep. After that film, sorrow and revulsion kept me from watching any more pertaining to that war. Well, I did break the rule and watch Good Morning, but it was not your standard war film. Finally, I watched Born On - which was not standard war film either, but it helped me tremendously. After it, I could see any film about Vietnam these days. Except for the John Wayne film. I did see it, way before Apocalypse. Ridiculous and childish.
I don't believe a film has a lasting effect on one's attitude to war, because there are so many more life influences longer and more intense than a three hour movie.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 4 Jan, 2011 08:29 pm
I remember some russian movie, early days, with a crowd of soldiers charging and carnage happening, that embedded in my brain.

I know this is nothing like being in that line.
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tsarstepan
 
  2  
Reply Tue 4 Jan, 2011 10:10 pm
@jespah,
I too am riveted by war films.

From Gettysburg to Catch 22;
From M*A*S*H* to Apocalypse Now;
From Full Metal Jacket to Three Kings.
http://tinyurl.com/2c9p483
(Hopefully the link to the war films I have voted over the past 10 years at IMDb.com)

War films can be both great thrilling escapist works as well as character studies.

No I really wasn't referring to the Genocide of world war II in my initial question. I was being vague when I meant the latter 20th century regionally isolated attempts at "ethnic cleansing": Rwanda and Bosnia. Just curious if anybody could fit a loose connection between the public's general apathy in stopping because they learned how bad wars can be via movies as well as the nightly news.

The US isolationism of the 1930's (around half the country) was brought on by the collective US experience in WW1.

Perhaps there is a far lesser urge for sacrificing oneself to the brutalities of the battlefield for other people's cause. Wish I could have written the thread slightly better. I wrote it on my cell phone while I waited at the movie theater for the next screening of The Fighter.

Just curious what other people think of the genre. If they active in the peace industrial complex, do they flinch when a hypothetical John Wayne sends a private in his film to die a painless martyrs death for his country?

Does a 365 day flag waving hawk roll his eyes when a soldier depicted in an antiwar film goes on a 20 minute monologue about the pain and suffering that falls on the innocent civilians of the country the US is fighting in?
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Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Tue 4 Jan, 2011 10:58 pm
I never entertained the idea of a career in the military because of war movies, they've adequately shown that war is hell.
tsarstepan
 
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Reply Tue 4 Jan, 2011 11:07 pm
@Ceili,
I'm not sure I can answer how war films had influenced my teenage self when I entered the army immediately after high school. Apparently, what films I did see, they didn't effect me enough to change my mind.

Can't remember if I saw Full Metal Jacket (1987) after I joined the army in 1990 or before. But I know I've seen movies like The Dirty Dozen, Kelly's Heroes, Red Dawn, maybe Platoon.
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OmSigDAVID
 
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Reply Wed 5 Jan, 2011 12:29 am

I love the Military Channel.
Its educational and cathartic, and we usually WIN.





David
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HexHammer
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Jan, 2011 01:04 pm
@tsarstepan,
They usually convey history though very distorted and short of facts.

Serves as entertainment, stimulating people's need of action, and hunter instinct.
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Roberta
 
  2  
Reply Fri 7 Jan, 2011 01:17 pm
Foist, I gotta say that a good movie is a good movie whether it's about war or romance or anything else. I have no special affinity for a particular genre. I've watched plenty of war movies. I liked some; didn't like others.

As far as I'm concerned, the only purpose war moves serve is entertainment. Am I shallow or what?
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Jan, 2011 03:13 pm
@ossobuco,
I've liked some propagandistic war movies, but it is hard to separate clearly the message from the massage - no, no, from the cinematic techniques and acting.

Among those I took with grains of salt but liked a lot -
Under Fire
Z
Battle of Algiers
Open City
Night of the Shooting Stars
One of Wertmuller's, forget the name right now.
General della Rovere

No doubt I could come up with more.

I've watched a lot of american made war movies and some brit made. In many ways, whatever war movies' faults, they usually engage me to get interested in how people survive.
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djjd62
 
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Reply Fri 7 Jan, 2011 03:27 pm
good war films i've seen

Apocalypse Now
The Deer Hunter
Full Metal Jacket
Rescue Dawn
King of Hearts
M*A*S*H
Passchendaele
Downfall

fun war films i've seen

Red Dawn
Tomorrow, When The War Began
Behind Enemy Lines (1 & 2)
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Jan, 2011 03:41 pm
@djjd62,
Wertmuller - on my desk as we speak is Swept Away, which I saw long ago.

wiki on wert - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lina_Wertmüller

The Netflix envelope on the movie, Swept Away-
A shipwreck lands a fiery upper class Italian woman (Mariangela Melato) and her fetching yacht hand (Giancarlo Giannini) on a deserted island, where the absence of other distractions leads to heated discussion about politics, economics, race and gender. Their opposing views eventually lead to passion, but upon rescue, they must face the harsh realities of a society in which class makes all the difference.
(A typically verbose movie of the time, says me).

I remember the name of the war movie - Seven Beauties

Wiki on it here -
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Beauties
Now there was a movie.

djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Jan, 2011 03:46 pm
@ossobuco,
Seven Beauties looks interesting, and vaguely familiar i keep thinking i may have seen in the 80's at an art house theatre

by the by when i mentioned fun war films, i meant unrealistic enjoyable film about war, lest anyone think i perceive war as fun, ad to that list Inglorious Basterds
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Jan, 2011 03:46 pm
@ossobuco,
I think my all time favorite of war movies was Seven Samurai.

The hardest, was Shoah.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Jan, 2011 03:52 pm
@djjd62,
not to worry, we get the difference..
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Jan, 2011 03:56 pm
@ossobuco,
Missing and Salvador were also quite good films that didn't deal with war directly but the affects of war

Missing is a 1982 American drama film directed by Costa Gavras, and starring Jack Lemmon, Sissy Spacek, Melanie Mayron, John Shea and Charles Cioffi. It is based on the true story of American journalist Charles Horman, who disappeared in the bloody aftermath of the US-backed Chilean coup of 1973 that deposed leftist President Salvador Allende.

Salvador is a 1986 war drama film which tells the story of an American journalist in El Salvador covering the Salvadoran civil war. While trying to get footage, he becomes entangled with both leftist guerrillas and the right wing military. It stars James Woods, James Belushi, Michael Murphy, John Savage, Elpidia Carrillo, Tony Plana, Cynthia Gibb, Juan Fernandez and José Carlos Ruiz.

The film was written by Oliver Stone and Richard Boyle, and was directed by Stone. Stone's portrayal is sympathetic towards the left wing peasant revolutionaries, but deplores their killing of prisoners in a crucial scene. He is strongly critical towards the U.S.-supported right wing military and the allied death squads, focusing on their assassination of four American churchwomen, including Jean Donovan. Stone's portrayal of the Catholic Church as a force for justice reflects events of the time, exemplified in the political sermon of Archbishop Óscar Romero, which is based almost word-for-word on the speech Romero made before he was assassinated by a death squad.


just remembered one more

The Year of Living Dangerously is a 1982 Peter Weir film adapted from the novel The Year of Living Dangerously by the author Christopher Koch. The story is about a love affair set in Indonesia during the overthrow of President Sukarno. It follows a group of foreign correspondents in Jakarta on the eve of an attempted coup by the so-called 30 September Movement in 1965 during the beginning of the violent reprisals by military-led vigilante groups who killed hundreds of thousands.

The film stars Mel Gibson as Guy Hamilton, an Australian journalist, and Sigourney Weaver as Jill Bryant, a British Embassy officer. It also stars Linda Hunt as the male dwarf Billy Kwan, Gibson's local photographer contact, a role for which Hunt won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. The film was shot in both Australia and the Philippines and includes Australian actors Bill Kerr as Colonel Henderson and Noel Ferrier as Wally O'Sullivan.

It was banned from being shown in Indonesia until 1999. The title The Year of Living Dangerously is a quote which refers to a famous Italian phrase used by Sukarno; vivere pericolosamente, meaning "living dangerously". Sukarno borrowed the line for the title of his Indonesian Independence Day speech of 1964.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Jan, 2011 04:00 pm
@ossobuco,
I'm interested in more subtle movies that show war time situations. Christ Stopped at Eboli, for example - a 1979 movie by Francesco Rosi on a book by one of my liked writers, Carlo Levi.

Primo Levi too, but I don't know that any of his writing turned into movies.
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