Annotated Bibliography of Vietnam War Film Criticism

Home Introduction Acknowledgements Comments
Alternate chronological arrangement (through July 2003)
La Salle University | Connelly Library | Special Collections | Vietnam | Online Texts

Compiled by John K. McAskill, Systems Librarian, La Salle University

Annotated bibliography of Vietnam War film criticism


* Garcia Tsao, Leonardo. "Las guerras ya no son como antes: Viet-Nam derrota a Hollywood" Imagenes 1/9 (Oct 1980), p. 47-54.

[Compares Hollywood's treatment of the Vietnam War with similar attitudes in other American films. In Spanish]

Gauthier, Guy. "Indochine, reve d'empire" Revue du cinema n.483 (Jun 1992), p. 50-61.

[After the 1954 Geneva accords, French Indochina was almost a forgotten subject for films. Recently, however, three new films (L'amant, Dien Bien Phu, and Indochine) have appeared in conjunction with a general return of interest in Indochina in print. Reviews the history of French films about the Indochinese War since the 1950s. Annotated filmography. In French]

___________. "Naissance d'un genre" in "Retour au Viet-nam" [special section] Revue du cinema n.438 (May 1988), p. 65-72.

[Filmography of Vietnam War films 1965-1987. In French]

Geerling, S., et al. "Films voor Vietnam" Skrien n.34-35 (May/Jun 1973), p. 17-19.

[Survey of the cinema in Vietnam and interview with Luong Xuan Tam about problems of filmmaking in Vietnam. In Swedish]

Gelman, David. "Ideas: Vietnam comes marching home" Newsweek (Feb 13, 1978), p. 85-6.

[Three years after the fall of Saigon, Vietnam is beginning to compel attention in novels, journalistic memoirs and movies]

Ghislotti, Stefano. "Il cinema americano e la guerra del Vietnam" in Vietnam e ritorno (p. 15-42)

[Establishes and analyzes three types of American films about the Vietnam War: classical war films (such as The Green Berets and Hamburger Hill); films which recount the effects of the war on individuals (Coming home, Taxi driver and The Deer hunter); and films which return to the real emotions of the period and reflect on the differences between normal people and combatants, going beyond mere representation and reflecting on symbolic aspects of combat (Apocalypse now, Platoon, Full metal jacket and Gardens of stone). Bibliographical references. In Italian]

__________________ (see also under Vietnam e ritorno)

Giachetti, Romano. "Il cinema americano e la guerra nel Vietnam" Cinema nuovo 22 (Nov/Dec 1973), p. 440-45.

[How could American film and television represent a war in which Americans had attacked, tortured and violated a population which was among the most peaceful on earth? Bibliographical references. In Italian]

Gianakos, Larry James. Television drama series programming Metuchen, N.J. : Scarecrow Press, 1980-[1987]

[Episode dates, titles, casts and some credits for American television series. v. 1. 1947-59, v. 2. 1959-75, v. 3. 1975-80, v. 4. 1980-82, v. 5. 1982-84]

Gibson, James William. "Paramilitary culture" Critical studies in mass communication 6/1 (Mar 1989), p. 90-94.

["Defeat in Vietnam created a twofold crisis for the United States" (p. 90). It ended U.S. dominance in world affairs and created a cultural crisis among the American people. To make sense of failure, American culture from 1970 on has reworked classic heroes into a new version of the warrior and war culture: the paramilitary warrior (outside conventional military or law-enforcement bureaucracies). This also posits a mythical interpretation of the Vietnam War and suggests a new war as the path to health for the warrior and regeneration for society. Uses the character of Rambo to illustrate]

__________________. "Paramilitary fantasy culture and the cosmogonic mythology of primeval chaos and order" Vietnam generation 1/3-4 (1989), p. 12-32.

[Examines the popularity of 'paramilitary culture' in films, pulp fiction, comic books, and magazines like Soldier of fortune as manifestations of a social crisis brought on by the defeat in Vietnam. Bibliographical references]

_____________________. Warrior dreams : paramilitary culture in post-Vietnam America New York : Hill and Wang, 1994.

[Expands on the thesis of his earlier articles (1989) with references to more that 30 Vietnam War and veteran films. Bibliographical references and index]

Gillmor, Don. "Acetate flash: The sixties are coming soon to a theater near you" Rolling stone (Sep 22, 1988), p. 37, 112.

[The success of films like Platoon has lead studios to back films examining issues of the recent past]

Gilman, Owen W., Jr. "Vietnam, chaos and the dark art of improvisation" in Inventing Vietnam (p. 231-50)

[The Vietnam War has had a lasting, unsettling, legacy. The most provocative texts and films from the war are informed by the spirit of improvisation. Chaos was the system by which many soldiers came to understand the reality of combat in Vietnam. The war resists attempts to reduce it to any single comprehensive theme or meaning. Nevertheless, most of the texts from the Vietnam experience have "tried to convey the essence of what was lost in the war" (p. 233). Loss of innocence and fragmentation are common themes, but the best metaphor for the war, for showing encroaching chaos, is improvisation. Mentions several films, but chiefly analyzes Good morning, Vietnam. Bibliographical references]

________________. (see also under America rediscovered)

Gitlin, Todd. "Shifting right: yesterday's Vietnam, today's FBI" chap. 11 in his Inside prime time New York : Pantheon Books, 1983. (p. 221-246)

[The election of Ronald Reagan led television network executives to conclude "the country was moving to the right and televsion entertainment ought to move with it" (p. 221). The networks had stayed away from the Vietnam War as a subject for entertainment while the war was in progress. Influenced by the success of late 1970s Vietnam War films, the networks began considering sitcoms with Vietnam connections, but none (except M*A*S*H) made it to the air]

Gottschalk, Earl C., Jr. "After long study movie makers find a new war to fight: At least 8 films will break former taboo - Vietnam. But will flicks bomb?" Wall Street journal (Nov 1, 1977), p. 1, 36.

[Reports on the forthcoming first wave of Vietnam War films, many with disillusionment as a theme]

Greenberg, Harvey Roy. "Dangerous recuperations: Red dawn, Rambo and the new Decaturism" Journal of popular film and television 15/2 (summer 1987), p. 60-70.

Reprinted in his Screen memories : Hollywood cinema on the psychoanalytic couch New York : Columbia Univ. Press, 1993. (p. 93-110)

[On reasons for the recent revival of patriotic war films in the US]

Greenberg, James. "Bringing it all back home" American film 13 (Sep 1988), p. 54-6.

[On films about the sixties]

_________________. (see also under Hoberman, J.)

Greenhill, Stephen J. "The Vietnam War on the screen" Military illustrated n. 34 (March 1991), p. 30-37 and n. 35 (April 1991), p. 32-38.

[The second wave of Vietnam War films of the late 1980s highlighted the reluctance with which Hollywood approached the subject for many years. Moreover, Hollywood's portrayal of Vietnam has largely avoided recreations of large scale operations in favor of smaller more anonymous engagements]

* Greenhouse, Lee. Hollywood's wartime depiction of Vietnam Honors thesis--Harvard College, 1978.

Grelier, R. "Le cinema vietnamien : Entretien avec Le Van Ky et Vu Nam" Image et son n.297 (Jun/Jul 1975), p. 17-26.

[Survey of Vietnamese film production since 1945 with an interview two producers of films for the National Liberation Front]

Grey, Jeffrey (see under Doyle, Jeff)

Griesmann, Leah. "Vietnamese filmmakers make inroads" United Press International (Mar 21, 1996) [full text from Lexis-Nexis]

[Reviews Cyclo of Tran Anh Hung and other recent Vietnamese American films shown at the San Francisco International Asian Film Festival]

Gruner, E. G. (Elliot G.). Prisoners of culture : Representing the Vietnam POW New Brunswick, N.J. : Rutgers Univ. Press, 1993.

[Studies how we have made sense of the competing images of the Vietnam POW and how myths surrounding the POW experience exclude some of its aspects. References to 40 films and television programs. Bibliography and index]

Guide to foreign government loan film (16 mm) (compiled by Daniel Sprecher) Alexandria, Va. : Serina Press, 1969-

[Filmography of over 3000 films available from some 66 foreign governments, including Vietnam]

Guindon, Kurt. "Good, bad & ugly: Vietnam in the movies" Vietnam (Aug 1996), p. 34-40, 56.

[A general survey of the major Vietnam War films from the Green Berets to Heaven and earth by a psychiatrist. Suggests there is 12-15 year cycle for America to come to terms with the cost of one war befor it is ready to invest in another and that the "theme and action of Vietnam cinema parallels this process" (p. 37). Finds three phases in the process: denial, existentialism, and resolution]

[back to top]


H. C. (see under "Films voor Vietnam")

Ha, Xuan Truong. "V'etnamskow kino i idei Oktiabria" Iskusstvo kino n.12 (1977), p. 90-106.

[In Russian]

_______________ (see also under Film u. Fernsehen in Vietnam, 1920-1974)

Hagopian, Patrick. The social memory of the Vietnam War Thesis (Ph.D.)--Johns Hopkins University, 1994. (633 p.)

[The Vietnam War is a vexing memory for most Americans. Many lost faith in themselves, their leaders, and their nation because of the war. Public opinion about the lessons of the war has been persistently divided. This study examines Vietnam veterans memorials and oral narratives as part of a healing process in which doubts and conflicts are negotiated. Makes some reference to film, literature and the visual arts in showing how memorials and oral narratives evade or displace the morality and politics of the war. Bibliography]

Haines, Harry William. Mediated Vietnam : The politics of postwar representations Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Utah, 1987.

[Describes and analyzes mass media representations of the Vietnam War and combat veterans. Finds a struggle for meaning within these representations between revisionist and oppositional voices attempting to assign politically significant meanings to the Vietnam experience. Bibliography]

_____________________. "The pride is back : Rambo, Magnum PI, and the return trip to Vietnam" in Cultural legacies of Vietnam (p. 99-123)

[Analyzes the changing image of the Vietnam veteran in film and television in the 1980s and the use of the 'return trip' to reintegrate the veteran and bring closure. The themes of abandonment, rescue, revenge and atonement converge in the return trip enabling the veteran's rehabilitation and social reintegration. Bibliography]

_____________________. "They were called and they went : The political rehabilitation of the Vietnam veteran" in From Hanoi to Hollywood (p. 81-97)

[During the 1980s the Vietnam veteran underwent a miraculous transformation facilitated by historical revision of the war and signified by mass-mediated rituals. From predominant representations as a violent psychotic or victim the veteran has been rehabilitated as a warrior hero whose experience can justify renewed international intervention. Bibliographical references]

Hasford, Gustav. "Vietnam means never having to say you're sorry" Penthouse 18/11 (Jul 1987), p. 96-7, 138.

[An essay on how Hollywood trivializes the war and misrepresents Vietnam veterans with reference to the Rambo films]

Heilbronn, Lisa M. "Coming home a hero : The changing image of the Vietnam vet on prime time television" Journal of popular films and television 13/1 (1985), p. 25-30.

[The Vietnam veteran is television's latest hero. The trend was begun by Magnum, P.I. in 1980 and continued in several other series. These veterans, molded by Vietnam, have the skills necessary to protect and defend themselves and the weak and defenseless who turn to them for help. They do not seem to have suffered negative effects from the war. They are not presented as survivors of an unpopular war but as potential saviors of those they meet. This positive image mutes questions about their past. Bibliographical references]

Hellmann, John. American myth and the legacy of Vietnam New York : Columbia Univ. Press, 1986.

[Explores the effect of the Vietnam War on American society through popular culture, literature, history, and film. Bibliography and index]

______________. "Rambo's Vietnam and Kennedy's new frontier" in Inventing Vietnam (p. 140-152)

[Rather than being a personification of right-wing revisionism and militarism, the Rambo character personifies the liberal aspirations of the Kennedy era driven to outlaw status in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. "The Rambo films are an unhelpful but revealing episode in the inevitable, and necessary, mythologizing of the Vietnam War" (p. 150). Bibliographical references]

______________. "Vietnam and the Hollywood genre film : Inversions of American mythology in The Deer hunter and Apocalypse now" American quarterly 34/4 (1982), p. 418-39.

[Analyzes the narrative formulas and connections underlying two of the most significant Vietnam War films of the first wave. Bibliographical references]

Hennebelle, Guy. "Le cinema vietnamien" Ecran 14 (Apr 1973), p. 29-32.

[Chiefly an annotated filmography of North Vietnamese fiction films with an added section and filmography of documentary or propaganda films produced by the National Libaeration Front. In French]

_____________. "Decouverte du cinema vietnamien" Ecran 5 (May 1972), p. 22-4.

[Brief history of Vietnamese cinema from 1910 to the present. In French]

_____________. Guide des filmes anti-imperialistes Paris : Editions du Centenaire, 1975.

[Includes some North Vietnamese films and other films about the Vietnam War, chiefly from Communist countries. In French]

_____________. Quinze ans du cinema mondiale, 1960-1975 Paris : Cerf, 1975.

Hey, Kenneth R. "The reel world: Nostalgia and dis-history" USA today 116 (Nov 1987), p. 93.

["Americans have passed through a period of redecorating the past … [to suit] contemporary taste." This recasting has taken the forms of nostalgia and dis-history in many recent film releases and "all Vietnam films." Mistrust of the future creates a need for dis-history, depicting a past that is "more controlled, easier to survive, and better to relive."]

Hibbin, Nina. "Hollywood-filmen och kriget i Vietnam" Chaplin 22/6 [n.171] (1980), p. 238-42.

[Surveys Hollywood films which describe the war (including Custer's last stand (67) and Castle keep (70), films not previously identified by other authors). In Swedish]

Hiebert, Murray. "Vietnamese films return to the American war" Far Eastern economic review 141 (Jul 14, 1988), p. 50-51.

Reprinted as "Vietnam looks at the U.S. war" World press review 35/9 (Sep 1988), p. 63.

[Comparison of current American and Vietnamese films on the war]

Hilbish, Dadney Melissa. Relax, it's only a movie : representations of war in the Vietnam combat film Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Maryland, 1990. (iv 384 leaves)

[Notes increased popular interest in the subject of Vietnam in the 1980s. Examines the Vietnam combat film from The Green Berets (1968) to Platoon (1986). Combat films of previous wars share characteristics with those of Vietnam: the warrior hero, depriction of battle, war as a rite of passage to manhood, and the rugged individualism of the soldier. This study also examines the interaction between individuals and texts. Filmography and bibliography]

Hill, George H. (see under Parish, James Robert)

Hillstrom, Kevin and Hillstrom, Laurie Collier. The Vietnam experience : a concise encyclopedia of American literature, songs, and films Wesport, CT : Greenwood, 1998.

[44 brief essays (18 on specific films) intended to provide a comprehensive guide to the most notable American creative works relating to the Vietnam War. Index]

Hillstrom, Laurie Collier (see under Hillstrom, Kevin)

Hinson, Hal. "Vietnam: The movies' coming of age: In the '80s, shifting from regrets to rehabilitation" Washington post (Jul 5, 1987), p. F1, F4-5.

[On the second wave of Vietnam War films, concentrating on Platoon and Full metal jacket with references to Apocalypse now. The success of Platoon demonstrated that "that Americans seemed to want to see the war depicted on screen, that they needed to work through their feeling about about the war … " The current emergence of the war on film signifies "the end of a period of mourning and the beginning of a real rehabilitation."

Hitchens, Gordon R. "Filmmaking under the bomb" Film comment 5/2 (spring 1969), p. 86-7.

[Discussion with North Vietnamese and NLF filmmakers]

Hoang, Nhuan Cam (see under Do, Lai Thuy)

Hoberman, J. and Greenberg, James. "America dearest" American film 13/7 (May 1988), p. 30-45, 54-5.

[Surveys and analyzes how the Vietnam War is reflected in recent US films, focusing on the release problems of Dear America. Films of the early 1980s were obsessed with refighting the war while those of the late 1980s are concerned with re-presenting it with a focus on the subjective experience of individual soldiers. In their retreat from the realm of the sociohistorical these films honor the Vietnam veteran by extolling his loyalty to his buddies but obscure the reasons for American involvement in Vietnam]

___________. "Film: Mekong Delta blues" Village voice 34 (Apr 11, 1989), p. 61.

[A review of Surname Viet, given name Nam and the First United States Festival of Cinema from Vietnam]

___________. "Vietnam: The remake" in Remaking history (edited by Barbara Kruger and Phil Mariani) Seattle : Bay Press, 1989. (p. 174-96)

[Originally presented as a lecture in the 1987-88 "Discussions in contemporary culture" series sponsored by the Dia Art Foundation in New York. Analyses the movie industry in the 1960s and the making of The Green Berets and concludes "right from the start, Hollywood seemed to want the war in Vietnam over and done with" (p. 179). The 1967 film Born losers spawned a number of alienated veteran films in the 1970s. Then, after the fall of Saigon in 1975 came the first wave of "reillusionment," films rescripting the past to improve the present and setting basic themes which have continued to date: the returning vet melodrama, the grunt ensemble film, and the macho back-to-Nam fantasy. Bibliographical references]

Holden, Todd Joseph Miles. "Hollywood invades Vietnam: the second American reconstruction" Journal of American and Canadian studies [Japan] 10 (1992), p. 45-70.

[The Vietnam War had a disrupting effect on America. This disruption led to a two decade long cultural reconstruction. Books and films reinterpreted the people, events and outcomes of the war. Underlying these cultural texts was an intent to repair generational, racial, economic and ideological rifts caused by the war. The reconstructions include: {1} a consistent portrait of the war; (2) a changing image of the war; (3) divestiture of political content; (4) an emphasis on victims; and (5) the war's diminished centrality. Bibliographical references]

Holzl, Gebhard and Peipp, Matthias. Fahr zur Holle, Charlie! : der Vietnamkrieg im amerikanischen Film Munchen : Heyne, 1991.

[Study of the portrayal of the Vietnam War in American film, justified by the author's belief that the war had an effect on the American film industry unlike any other political event. They assert there is scarcely an American feature film in the preceeding fifteen years which does not have a reference to the war. Filmography, bibliography and index. In German]

Houston, Velina Hasu. "To the colonizer goes the spoils: Amerasian progeny in Vietnam War films and owning up to the gaze" Amerasia journal 23/1 (spring 1997), p. 69-85.

[The representation of Amerasian children in Vietnam War films recuperates victory by reclaiming the children as imperial product and signifying the compassion of the West. This cinematic gaze recuperates the U.S. and French roles in Indochina by revising the stories of soldiers slaughtering innocent Vietnamese women and children into tales of those soldiers rescuing Amerasian children. Considers ways in which the gaze of the Vietnam War film historically signifies Amerasian or Eurasian offspring in the detail in China gate, Indochine, and Heaven and earth. Bibliographical references]

Howell, Amanda. "Lost boys and angry ghouls: Vietnam's undead" Genders 23 (1996), p. 297-334.

Reprinted in Bodies of writing, bodies in performance (edited by Thomas Foster, Carol Siegel, and Ellen E. Berry) New York : New York Univ. Press, 1996.

[Discusses the POW/MIA movement and the resurrection of dead, missing and imprisoned American soldiers in the horror films Deathdream, House, Jacob's ladder, and Universal soldier]

_____________. No place like home : fantasy, family, and Vietnam on screen Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Rochester, 1996. (vi, 318 leaves)

[Study of popular representations of the Vietnam War which shows "how losses attributed to the war - loss of belief in paternalistic institutions and a resultant loss of sense of American identity and history - are replayed obsessively, usually in the context of the family." Studying how images of family work as sites of anger, violence and fear or the focus of nostalgic longing, the author finds the changing shape of the Vietnam War in the popular imagination" (p. iv). Bibliography and filmography]

_____________. "Susan Jefford's The remasculinization of America : gender and the Vietnam War (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989)" Camera obscura 27 (Sep 1991), p. 166-73.

[Review essay which makes reference to a number of Vietnam War films]

Huber, Jorg. "Was Hollywood mit Vietnam verband: Beschreibung eines Klimas" Cinema [Zurich] 25/3 (1979), p. 5-16.

[Describes American filmmaking and its influence on Europe in the 1960s and 1970s, a period dominated by events of the Cold War and the real war in Vietnam]

Hug, W. J. "Images of the western in selected Vietnam films" in Continuities in popular culture : the present in the past & the past in the present (edited by Ray B. Browne, et al.) Bowling Green, OH : Bowling Green State Univ. Popular Press, 1993. (p. 176-90)

[Illustrates correspondences between western and Vietnam narratives in such films as The deer hunter, Apocalypse now and Full metal jacket]

[Reprinted in Jason, Philip K. "The Vietnam War in literature and film" Contemporary literary criticism. 1995 yearbook Detroit, MI : Gale, 1996. (vol. 91, p. 421-24)]

Hunter, Jack. “Gun crazy: Vietnam veteran films” in Search & destroy : [an illustrated guide to Vietnam war movies] (edited by Jack Hunter) [London] : Creation Books, 2003, c2002. (Chap. 7, p. 91-138)

[Selective survey of films with various stereotypical Vietnam veteran characters including: motorcycle psychos, blaxploitation, horror/SF, psycho killers, vigilanties, and the hollow men (maimed physically or mentally)]

__________. “No civil disobedience” in Search & destroy : [an illustrated guide to Vietnam war movies] (edited by Jack Hunter) [London] : Creation Books, 2003, c2002. (Chap. 12, p. 207-216)

[Selective survey of anti-war or protest dramatic and documentary films]

__________. “Search and destroy: Vietnam combat films” in Search & destroy : [an illustrated guide to Vietnam war movies] (edited by Jack Hunter) [London] : Creation Books, 2003, c2002. (Chap. 1, p. 19-28)

[Selective survey of films from the 1950s thru 2002 with a footnote reference to a few TV movies]

__________. (see also under Search & destroy : an illustrated guide to Vietnam war movies)

* Huu, Ngoc. "Phim My ve Viet Nam" Tap chi dien anh 76 (1991), p. 22-3.

[Analysis of American films about Vietnam. In Vietnamese]

__________. (see also under Banh, Bao)

[back to top]


Ibragimov, Azbar. "Oderzhav istoricheskuiu pobedu ..." Iskusstvo kino (1983) no. 4, p. 138-44.

[Survey of Vietnamese filmmaking. In Russian]

Ignatovski, Vladimir. "Novite izmereniia na vietnamskiia sindrom ... " Kinoizkustvo 35/9 (Sep 1980), p. 20-29.

[Films effected the Vietnam War, especially Hair and Apocalypse now. In Bulgarian]

Initiativkomitee fur die Starkung des Vietnamesischen Film- und Fernsehwesens (see under Film u. Fernsehen in Vietnam, 1920-1974)

International dictionary of films and filmmakers Chicago, Ill, : St. James Press, 1984-1986.

International dictionary of films and filmmakers 2nd ed. Chicago, Ill, : St. James Press, 1990-

International film guide New York : A.S. Barnes, 1964-[1990]

Inventing Vietnam : the war in film and television (edited by Michael Andregg) Philadelphia : Temple Univ. Press, 1991.

[Relevant articles cited separately]

[Review essays: Aufderheide, Pat; Young, Marilyn B.]

Young, Marilyn B. "Book reviews: Inventing Vietnam…" Cineaste 19/2-3 (1992), p. 85-6.

Isaacs, Arnold R. "GIs as murderers: The fallacy in the Vietnam movies" Washington post (Dec 13, 1989), p. A25.

[The atrocity has become the symbol in popular culture for the American soldier's experience in Vietnam. Refers to examples in several films and the television series Tour of duty]

Ishimov, Vladimir. "Sever-IUg: Cherez dva goda posle pobedy" Iskusstvo kino (1978) no. 6, p. 121-46.

["North-South: Through two years after the victory." The state of Vietnamese filmmaking two years after the war. In Russian]

* Iturrate, L. F. Vietnam en el cine (1975-1993) Thesis (Ph.D.)--Universidad de La Laguna, Tenerife, 1994.

[Cited in Trullols, F. In Spanish]

Ivry, Benjamin (see Under Deming, Angus)

[back to top]