Annotated Bibliography of Vietnam War Film Criticism

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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


Vernaglione, Paolo. "Le vittime e la guerra" Filmcritica n.403 (Mar 1990), p. 104-7.

[Analysis of depictions of Americans in Vietnam and Vietnam veterans as victims. In Italian]

Viet Nam war films II (edited by Jean-Jacques Malo and Tony Williams) [draft] (1996?) [in Viet Nam Generation archives] (90 leaves)

[Analyses of 44 films omitted or released after the publication of Vietnam War films (1994)]

"Viet war films get marching orders: Coppola sparks other projects" Variety (Aug 10, 1977), p. 7, 31.

[Nine Vietnam War related films are in development following the success of Apocalypse now]

"Vietnam disillusionment fading, new war film cycle appears" Variety 283 (Jun 16, 1976), p. 22.

[Vietnam War inhibited Hollywood production of all war films, but eight new WWII films are now in production as well as films on other wars. Apocalypse now is the only Vietnam War film cited in the latter group]

Vietnam e ritorno : la "guerra sporca" nel cinema, nella narrativa, nel teatro, nella musica e nella cultura bellica degli Stati Uniti (edited by Stefano Ghislotti and Stefano Rosso) Milan : Marcos y Marcos, 1996.

[Relevant articles cited separately. Filmography and bibliography. In Italian]

Vietnam era : media and popular culture in the US and Vietnam (edited by Michael L. Klein) London ; Winchester, Mass. : Pluto Press, 1990.

[Examines 1960s culture and counterculture as expressed in music, literature and film. In two sections: the first concentrates on the 1960s and early 1970s; the second examines the impact of the war on Vietnamese artists and writers, on Americans living in Vietnam and on women in Vietnam. Relevant articles cited separately. Index]

Vietnam images : war and representation (edited by Jeffrey Walsh and James Aulich) Basingstoke, Hants. : Macmillan, 1989.

[Essays which analyze the fictional, mythical and visual representations of the war in various media and question their value as historical truth. Relevant articles cited separately. Index]

"Vietnam movies finally look on the dark side of war" New York times (May 1, 1995), p. A3.

[The Vietnam War has inspired dozens of Vietnamese films since 1975, all dealing with heroic aspects. Four recent films, however deal with the impact of the war on soldiers and their families. The films include You'll come back and People looking for the past]

The Vietnam War and American culture (edited by John Carlos Rowe and Rick Berg) New York ; Columbia University Press, 1991.

Review essays

Young, Marilyn B. "Book reviews: … The Vietnam War and American culture" Cineaste 19/2-3 (1992), p. 85-6.

Vietnam War feature filmography (edited by Jean-Jacques Malo and Tony Williams) [draft] Seattle, Wash. : J.J. Malo, 1992.

[see Vietnam War films below]

Vietnam War films : over 600 feature, made-for-TV, pilot and short movies, 1939-1992, from the United States, Vietnam, France, Belgium, Australia, Hong Kong, South Africa, Great Britain and other countries (edited by Jean-Jacques Malo and Tony Williams) Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland, 1994.

[The major filmography on the subject with coverage through the early 1990s. The editors used the following criteria to identify "Vietnam War" films: western films considered allegories for the war, any films with images of war in Southeast Asia during the French or American involvement; any depictions of veterans who fought during this period; any films about the French or American homefront during the period which refer to the war; films of the antiwar movements; any films with images of refugees from the conflict; and films dealing with reconstruction after the war. Individual film entries include: cast, credits, themes and keywords, plot synopsis, and reviewer's comments. Appendixes: chronological listing; country of origin; directors; screenwriters; selected actors]

Vietnam War on film (compiled by Chuck Shapiro and DeAvian Shipes) Los Angeles : American Film Institute, 1988.


"View from the trenches : 'Platoon' leads a new wave of movies" US news and world report 102 (Feb 2, 1987), p. 59 (see under Sanoff, Alvin P.)

* Viguier, Jacques. Films americains sur la guerre du Vietnam Thesis (Ph.D.)--Toulouse, 1981.

_______________. "La guerre du Vietnam au cinema" Cinema 82 n.281 (May 1982), p. 16-29.

[Films about the war made in the US thru 1981. In French]

Virilio, Paul. "Le propagande-fiction" Cahiers du cinema n.378 (Dec 1985), p. xv.

[Motives behind the current wave of war films. In French]

Von Beltz, Jeff. "The neverending story" The journal [Writers Guild of America, West] 7 (Feb 1994), p. 37.

[Reacts to Heaven and earth and speculates on the future of Vietnam films in general]

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Walker, Mark Edward. The representation of the Vietnam veteran in American narrative film Thesis (Ph.D.)--Northwestern University, 1989.

[Studies the changing image of the veteran in feature films including: biker, vigilante, caper, police, war, art, horror, comedy and melodramatic films. Filmography and bibliography]

___________________. Vietnam veteran films Metuchen, N.J. : Scarecrow, 1991.

[Revision of thesis. Filmography, bibliography and index]

Wallace, Charles P. "A filmmaker's struggle to capture the 'real' Vietnam" Los Angeles times (Mar 30, 1990), Calendar, p. F4.

[Profile of Dang Nhat Minh with his comments on Vietnam War films]

Walsh, Jeffrey (see under Tell me lies about Vietnam and Vietnam images)

Wapshott, Nicholas. "Oh what a lovely war" Times educational supplement n.3281 (May 26, 1978), p. 22.

[Examines how film directors of the first wave of Vietnam War films have treated the subject. It is unclear why the Amerian film industry "could not bear to make films about the Vietnam war" while it was in progress. "Now that the war is over the young, and more radical of America's film directors have been catching up on lost time. Films about Vietnam veterans are now a regular part of the US film scene." Vietnam films released to date share a common view with those who protested against the war. "The approach is self centered and isolationist." Also makes references to the documentaries Hearts and minds and A face of war]

War and memory : in the aftermath of Vietnam : September 15/December 19, 1987 Washington, D.C. : Washington Project for the Arts, 1987.

[Catalog of an art exhibition and film series]

[Reviews: Silberman, Rob]

Webb, James H., Jr. "One writer's view of the Vietnam movies" [interview by Jay Sharbutt] Los Angeles times (Jan 22, 1989), Calendar, p. C30.

[Vietnam veteran, former Navy Secretary and novelist gives his impressions of Vietnam War films]

* Weigel-Klinck, Nicole. Die Verarbeitung des Vietnam-Traumas im US-amerikanischen Spielfilm seit 1968 Alfeld : Coppi-Verlag, 1996.

[In German]

Welch, Richard F. "Using film to teaching the Vietnam War" in Proceedings and papers of the Georgia Association of Historians 12 (1991), p. 98-114.

[Lists 12 films used to teach the Vietnam War with lessons students can draw from each]

_______________ (see also under Thompson, Lawrence)

Westelaken, Gijs van de. "Hoe Amerika onder John Wayne en Audie Murphy de Vietnamese jungle intuinde" Skoop 12 (Jan 1976), p. 14-17.

[Discusses the documentary Hearts and minds and Julian Smith's Looking away : Hollywood & Vietnam. In Dutch]

* Wethe, Kimberly Milliken. Cynicism in American film : the World War II era to the Vietnam War era Thesis (B.A.)-James Madison University, 2000. (viii, 40 leaves)


Wetta, Frank Joseph and Curley, Stephen J. Celluloid wars : a guide to film and the American experience of war New York : Greenwood Press, 1992.

Whaley, Donald M. "Editorial: The hero-adventurer in the land of Nam" Literature/film quarterly 20/3 (1992), p. 169-71.

[Introductory essay for an issue with 13 articles on Vietnam War films. The Vietnam War made it necessary for Hollywood to invent a new kind of war movie - the story of the mythological journey. Joseph Campbell (in his Hero with a thousand faces) has described this mythological journey as a monomyth, which is told in various forms in various cultures but always follows the same pattern: A hero ventures forth from the world into a region of supernatural wonder, fabulous forces are encountered and a decisive victory is won. The hero comes back from this adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man]

Whillock, David Everett. "Defining the fictive American Vietnam War film : in search of a genre" Literature/film quarterly 16/4 (1988), p. 244-50.

[Although common themes and motifs exist in Vietnam films, they do not have the formal conventions which characterize a genre. Bibliographical references]

[Reprinted without bibliographical references in Jason, Philip K. "The Vietnam War in literature and film" Contemporary literary criticism. 1995 yearbook Detroit, MI : Gale, 1996. (vol. 91, p. 412-16)]

___________________. "The fictive American Vietnam War film: A filmography" in America rediscovered (p. 303-312)

[Discusses the problem of defining what is a Vietnam War film. Finds that while "generic conventions do not provide clear classification for Vietnam War films, five narrative structures do." These are: pre-The Green Berets; the Vietnam veteran/coming home; the effects film; incountry films; and the revenge film. Using these five narrative formulas, the filmography classifies (selectively) American fictive Vietnam War films. Bibliographical references]

___________________. The fictive American Vietnam War film : a structural analysis of myth based on the theories of Claude Levi-Strauss Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Missouri, Columbia, 1986.

[Analysis of three representative Vietnam War films (The Green Berets, Apocalypse now, and The killing fields) to determine if there is a common underlying mythic structure and if these films constitute a genre. The films were selected because each represents a distinct phase of the war. They were analyzed on three levels: environment, character and story-motif. The author found there were identical underlying structures which fit Levi-Strauss's structural theories. Bibliography]

White, Susan. "Re-viewing Vietnam: Dire notes on dreadful films" Social anarchism n.10 (1985), p. 3-13.

[Survey of some of the major examples of the genre with an emphasis on the Rambo films]

* Whiteman, Y. "Vietnam on film" Films 1/5 (Apr 1981), p. 18-21.

[On changing attitudes towards the representation of the war on film]

Wierzewski, Wojciech. "Filmowe echa studenckiej rewolty" Kino 16/2 (Feb 1981), p. 33-6.

[Survey of US films of the 60s and 70s featuring student demonstrations. In Polish]

Wiese, Ingrid. "Filmblikk pa Vietnam" Z Filmtidsskrift 8/2 [n.32] (1990), p. 28-9.

[Brief analysis of Vietnam War films through the second wave. In Norwegian]

Wiesner, Peter (see under Klein, Michael)

Wikarska, Carol. "Interview with Tra Giang at the Moscow Film Festival" Women and film 1/5-6 (1974), p. 45-7, 110.

[In an interview at the Moscow Film Festival, actress Tra Giang discusses the role of women in North Vietnam and the difficulties of filmmaking there]

Williams, Tony. "Far from Vietnam: The family at war" in his Hearths of darkness : the family in the American horror film Madison, N.J. : Fairleigh Dickinson Univ. Press ; London : Associated Universities Press, 1996. (p. 129-154)

[The Vietnam War's effect on 1970s horror films explicitly and implicitly in style and content. Bibliographical references]

______________. "Narrative patterns and mythic tragectories in mid-1980's Vietnam movies" in Inventing Vietnam (p. 114-39)

[Discusses the differences between films of the second wave of Vietnam War films and those of the first (1970s) wave. Eighties films have a more conservative bias reflecting the ideologically simplistic world view of Reagan-Bush. Bibliographical references]

______________. "Representations of the Vietnamese in 80s and 90s Hong Kong cinema" [paper read at the 8th Annual Cultural Studies Symposium, Kansas State University, March 13, 1999] (17 leaves)

[Most representations of the Vietnam War in literature and film have been American or European. Vietnamese films and literature on the conflict have rarely been distributed outside Vietnam. During the past two decades, however, Hong Kong's cinema produced many films which deal directly or indirectly with the conflict. Most Hong Kong commercial representations "resemble their American counterparts with action, rather than verisimilitude, high on the agenda." (leaf 2). Some films indulge in familiar stereotypes. Generally, Hong Kong commercial films tend to view the Vietnamese as totally 'other' and dangerous. Bibliographical references]

______________. (see also under Viet Nam war films II, Vietnam War feature filmography and Vietnam War films)

Wilmington, Michael. "The reel legacy of Vietnam: A battalion of films showed us that war was indeed hell" Chicago tribune (Dec 19, 1993), Arts, p. 5, 28-29.

[A review of the history of films about the war focusing on the "dark, ambivalent or pessimistic chords" in these films. Since the "ludicrous" Green Berets, " 'positive' Vietnam films have been almost non-existent." The release of Oliver Stone's Heaven and earth, however, may point "a way out of the dark" by focusing on Vietnamese civilians and viewing the world through their eyes]

Wilson, James C. Vietnam in prose and film Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland, 1982.

[Illustrates how the Vietnam War has been misrepresented in literature and film. The emphasis is on literature with just one chapter analyzing films. Filmography, bibliography and index]

Winkler, Karen J. "Television and film ignored Vietnam until the late 1960's, scholars argue" Chronicle of higher education (Nov 20, 1985), p. 5, 9.

[Report from a San Diego meeting of the American Studies Association where Jill S. Berman, William J. Palmer and others presented papers showing that television and film coverage of the war was slight until after the Tet Offensive. In 1985 the mass media have caught up with Vietnam, but most productions include distorted stereotypes, particularly of veterans]

* Woodman, Brian J. The Vietnamese enemy through the Hollywood lens : using the enemy to explore America’s war experience in Vietnam Thesis (M.A.)—University of Kansas, 2002.

[Examines how depictions of Vietnamese (as yellow peril, super soldier, or marginal other) in Vietnam war films have been used in an essentially American discourse to answer questions about what the war meant for the U.S. Using elements of post-colonial methodology, the author examines nine films including: The Green Berets, The deer hunter, Uncommon valor, Rambo: first blood part II, Go tell the Spartans, Apocalypse now, Hamburger Hill, Platoon and Full metal jacket. Bibliographical references]

*______________. “Represented in the margins: Images of African American soldiers in Vietnam War combat films” Journal of film and video 53/2-3 (summer/fall 2001), p. 38-60.

[Although blacks were more likely to be drafted, faced discrimination at home and abroad, and made up a disproportionate number of American casualties in Vietnam, “Hollywood Vietnam War films have tended to marginalize their stories…” (p. 38). However, some Vietnam War films can provide a glimmer of the African American Vietnam experience. Analyzes The Green berets, The boys in Company C, Apocalypse now, Platoon and Hamburger Hill. Bibliographical references]

Worthy, Kathleen Marie. Ideological complicity in Vietnam War narratives from The quiet American to Miss Saigon Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1992. (200 p.)

[The 1958 movie adaptation of The quiet American reversed the novel's criticism of U.S. intervention in Vietnam, but both versions employ the same stereotypical gender traits to identify the U.S. as "masculine" and Vietnam as "feminine." The gendered narrative structure of the film became a model for subsequent Vietnam War narratives and films. The author concludes with a narrative strategy to 'break the codes' of hierarchical, exclusionary structures. Filmography (29 films) and bibliography]

Worthy, Kim. "Worn down poets : seven Vietnamese feature films after Doi Moi, 1987-1995" (unpublished conference? paper from the Viet Nam generation archive) [1998?] (15 leaves)

[Analyzes seven of the fourteen Vietnamese feature films screened at various venues in New York from 1994-1997. These seven were selected because they do not appear in the Vietnam war films filmography (Malo and Williams) nor in other major publications in English. Follows the Vwf format. Bibliography]

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Xuan, Lam. "Organization of the Cinema and Television Branch in Vietnam" [unpublished paper]

[Translated into Italian as "Orgaizzazione del settore Cinema e Televisione in Vietnam" in Mostra internazionale del nuovo cinema (19th : 1983 : Pesaro, Italy). Cinemasia. Venice : Marsillo, 1983. [v. 1. Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia] (p. 61-71)]

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Yann, Tobin (see under Niogret, Hubert)

Young, Marilyn B. "Book reviews: … From Hanoi to Hollywood: The Vietnam War in American film…" Cineaste 19/203 (1992), p. 85-6.

[Review essay on Inventing Vietnam; From Hanoi to Hollywood; and The Vietnam War and American culture)

_______________. "The Vietnam War in American memory" in The Vietnam War : Vietnamese and American perspectives (edited by Jayne S. Warner and Luu Doan Huynh) Armonk, N.Y. : M.E. Sharpe, 1993. (p. 248-57)

[Most Americans only know Vietnam from what they have seen in the movies. Revisionist historians and the political and military establishments of the Reagan-Bush era have made "an enormous effort to overcome the reluctance of the American public to use military force as an instrument of policy… Yet the fragmentation of national identity that occurred during the Vietnam War has not been, indeed cannot be, mended…" (p. 255) Bibliographical references]

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Ziem, Chin Mei (see Diem, Chin Mai)

Zimmer, Jacques. "Les apocalypses du Vietnam" Revue du cinema n.343 (Oct 1979), p. 27-36.

[Analyzes a number of films on the Vietnam War with emphasis on the then unfinished Apocalypse now. In French]

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