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When we were Soldiers Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 18 May 2017

When we were Soldiers

The Randall Wallace movie “When we were Soldiers” is a factual account of Vietnam War but with specific Hollywood aspects which one finds in majority of movies. The move takes you back to the year is 1965 and Lt. Col. Hal Moore leading the 1st Battalion of the 7th Cavalry. The battle takes place at the La Drang Valley called “The Valley of Death”. This film allows the viewer to see what fighting and the what the war zone was really like in Vietnam as they experience one of the most violent battles in U. S history. The film uses images in a very important way to convey historical truth as to what really happened at Vietnam.

The film uses graphic images to portray what the battle scene was really like. It shows how the American troops were outnumbered and how they were fighting literally within feet of the enemy. The images in the movie that we seen are as close to as what it was really like, because there was a photographer there taking pictures during combat. The pictures that the photographer shot during battle helped us visualize what the battle scenes were really like and the pain and anguish that soldiers went through when fighting.

The images of soldiers dying during combat and the reality of the battle helps to portray the bloodiness of the battle. Some black and white photographs of the actual battle scene in 1965 were in the film so that the viewer could see real images of the battle and what soldiers had to go through to survive the combat. One problem with most Hollywood films about war is that they make war seem more heroic than it actually is. The producers of this film managed to keep that false sense of wanting to fight in a war to a minimum.

The images and the plot allow the viewer to really see what is going on in the battle. The producers show how gruesome the battle really was and the small heroism there actually was in a war. The grim fighting conditions that soldiers endured while fighting in Vietnam made many Americans want to stay out of war as it was a horrible place to be. This film had a couple of weak spots in the plot. One thing was that it never really talked about why we were going to Vietnam to fight in a war. It barely touched on the subject about the controversial issues that surrounded the United States into entering this war.

The battle at La Drang Valley was one of the first battles in the Vietnam War, and the American public knew little about our position in Vietnam until this battle had taken place. When this battle broke out there was no hiding our position any longer. The American public would now know that we were at war with northern Vietnam. Another part of the plot that I thought was bad was the life on the home front. I feel as the producers used Hollywood at the home front a little too much. The films most dramatic scene involving the Army’s failure to properly deliver the telegrams of regret is ruined by a number of wives crying through screen doors.

Also when the husband comes home he rings the door bell to provide a false sense of sorrow only to see him standing there to greet his wife and family. This hurts the films authenticity but makes up for it when the battle scenes resume. Another part of the film that was poor was the timeline of events that happened. In the movie it seemed as if the battle only took a few days where in reality the battle took over a month. It is a little bit confusing because when it returns to the home front it seems that time is going by but, when on the combat zone it is like the battle took a couple of days and then everybody left to go home.

In reality the battalion that the film was following left the combat zone to another battalion and they returned back to base. The film is important because it takes a look at the first battle of Vietnam and how under equipped, out numbered and ill informed our troops really were. When they first step foot onto the battle scene they undertake heavy fire from the enemy and realize that they may be in over their heads. They never suspected that they had such great numbers in their military. The amount of casualties was tremendous, after the first day of fighting thousands of bodies lay on the battle field.

Free When we were Soldiers Essay Sample


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  • University/College: University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 18 May 2017

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