Trivia Teaser

An informal vote is a 'show of WHAT'?




By Miranda

Which war film most impresses you? It's not my favourite genre but some brilliant movies have been made on the subject.

Kathryn Bigelow's historic Best Director Oscar was earned for The Hurt Locker set in Baghdad. Watching that one left me shattered but admiring of the director's balance between awfulness and ordinary human behaviour. Black Hawk Down was, I thought, quite hideously effective.

The Vietnam War gave Platoon, Full Metal Jacket and Apocalypse Now, and you can work your way back through World War II in A Bridge Too Far and The Desert Rats to the World War I classics All Quiet On The Western Front and Renoir's Grand Illusion.

Of course, war films aren't always as uncompromisingly depressing as most of these. In The Great Escape, Steve McQueen's motorcycle getaway, accompanied by Elmer Bernstein's score, is triumphant. If you prefer your comedy wry, then Kubrick's Dr Strangelove is a delight and Mike Nichols version of Catch-22 has its moments.

Then there's M*A*S*H, set in the Korean War but deploring the one in Vietnam, and funnier than its subject matter should have allowed. As was the TV series which followed. And speaking of TV series, McHale's Navy and Hogan's Heroes were unashamedly sitcoms.

Lacking first-hand experience, my images of war tend to be formed by the limited amount I see in the media but mostly by these iconic fictional depictions. And it's hard to get them out of my mind or to forget the ordinary soldiers who are sent to fight in these conflicts.

Which is why I never know whether to laugh or cry when the clue 'Army gesture' comes up in puzzles and the answer, rather than being any of a range of possibilities in response to the difficulties of a soldier's situation, is always SALUTE.




5 Responses to


July 06, 2010 at 7:26 PM

I am surprised that no one has bothered to comment on this. I lived in Shanghai, China, throughout the second world war. The only thing that was truly warlike was the American planes bombing bits of the slum area where I (and most other Europeans who escaped from Hitler) lived. The Japanese had an arsenal hidden away in one of the houses. The Americans used just small bombs, because I passed one place, where just the last shop in a row, i.e. one room upstairs and down, was bombed. The roof and upper floor were damaged. That is all. When they managed to get the arsenal, it brought up enormous clouds of black smoke. It looked like the darkest rainclouds, just above the roof of my school, but at least a block further back. It must have been at least 30 or 40 metres wide, and about as high. And, no, I do not really like war films.

tonianne said:
July 06, 2010 at 10:32 PM

The first time I watched the movie Platoon, I cried. I was so shocked at the callous way in which the civilians (including the children)were murdered. My husband was a conscript during the Vietnam war & we also have friends who were sent over to help the Americans & he said that it was very much a case of not knowing who to trust as even the women & children were recruited to kill or maim our soldiers. Fast forward to today & the war in Iraq & it appears that nothing much has changed. If only we could learn from our past mistakes......

kragzy said:
July 07, 2010 at 2:44 PM

I am reminded that when the London Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was unveiled after WW1, 1000 women were invited. Every one of them had lost their husband AND all of their sons in that disgraceful and useless war. I find no pleasure in any war movies and avoid them like the plague. You're right tonianne, if only we would learn the true horror of war instead of making it a vehicle for ingenuous hollywood heroism.

Sinful1 said:
July 08, 2010 at 5:52 PM

We recently watched The Hurt Locker and both my husband and I could see why it won Best Picutre Oscar - both of us felt the anticipation as the characters were to feel throughout the movie. An excellent show of both the job they have to do and personal turmoil they go through. My other fave is also Black Hawke Down. Wonderfully cast (love Eric Bana), wonderful writing and amazing filming. As we all must remember, we only learn 1 side of any way - and that is told by the victors. Hopefully with the use of the interent we can communicate with the worldwide community and not have to rely just on Hollywood to tell us what happens.

July 13, 2010 at 9:34 AM

Black Hawk Down was one of the best films depicting all that is about mateship and never leaving a man behind.Such a shame that any war films are made and that we still feel the need to kill eachother in this inhumane way. Looking at the pictures in the paper of the dead in other countries, they feel a great loss too.What about making a film that shows diplomatic ways to find a solution to the worlds problem of war, ways to help eradicate war not humans.