Platoon and The Green Berets

Compares and contrasts the different perspective given of the Vietnam War by two famous movies: “Platoon” and “The Green Berets”.

One must understand the purpose of a film in order to fully engage in a discussion of it. War films serve one of three basic categorical needs – to instill patriotism (as in “The Green Berets”, “Private Ryan”, and “Pearl Harbor”), to entertain (as in “Starship Troopers” and “Red October”), and to frighten (as in “Platoon” and “The Deer Hunter”). “The Green Berets” and “Platoon” both cover the same conflict, but have major differences that mark them as quite dissimilar films. The time of production, the purpose and motivation, the tone and sense of reality in each are strikingly different but provide very good insight into the overall confusion about the Vietnam War that continues today. It is the purpose of this paper to examine both films in comparison and contrast so as to gain a better understanding of both.