The Boys in Company C Reviews
August 10, 2014
It's baffling to me that this magnificently made film, full of both humor and emotional depth, is not well known as one of the greatest films on the subject of war and what it does to its participants.
November 20, 2013
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November 15, 2010
One of the best war movies ever! Very realistic too! Hurt Locker has nothing on this in my opinion!
October 27, 2012
Vietnam War Movies Are More Depressing Than World War II Movies
I had always heard that R. Lee Ermey was discovered by Stanley Kubrick. (The [i]Full Metal Jacket[/i] comparisons are inevitable, and we'll go more in depth in a bit, but we'll start here.) He was a technical adviser for the first half, and Kubrick realized--as half the film industry seems to have agreed--that no one can play a drill instructor quite so well as he. That much is true, at least, and it's true that he is mostly remembered for it. However, before that, he had already made four movies--one a terrible-looking horror movie and three where he played a Vietnam-era Marine sergeant. This was the first. He was also in [i]Apocalypse Now[/i]. What's more, in this movie, he's actually an intelligent, thoughtful, well-developed character instead of just a total sadist. However, I've never thought Kubrick was very good at characterization anyway.
It is 1967. A group of young men are enlisting in the Marines, voluntarily or not. As we expect of this kind of movie, they first go through boot camp, getting their heads shaved and acquiring insulting nicknames and so forth. One of them, Tyrone Washington (Stan Shaw), has enlisted as part of a lengthy plan that will eventually involved drug smuggling. Billy Ray Pike (Andrew Stevens) is leaving a pregnant girlfriend. There's a drafted hippie. And so forth. Your standard collection of late '60s young men. R. Lee Ermey is Sergeant Loyce, who is determined to combine the young men into a proper team. He believes that it is Washington who can save their lives. When they are sent to Vietnam, as of course they are, they are sent to an officer (I'm pretty sure Captain Collins, played by Scott Hylands) who believes that the real secret to defeating the Viet Cong is to learn soccer. He also cites statistics which claims prove that only two of their number will die during their tour. He proves sickeningly wrong on both counts.
The movie, one of the first Vietnam War movies made other than [i]The Green berets[/i]-style propaganda, posits that a major reason the US wasn't able to successfully defeat the North Vietnamese was that the South Vietnamese were too corrupt and uninterested in doing the necessary work. Washington is able to figure out the down side to heroin smuggling, but the South Vietnamese officials he and the others encounter never do. However, the Americans aren't necessarily better. We never know anything much about the North Vietnamese, either, because the characters we are watching never see them, not really. They are fighting against an invisible enemy, unreliable allies, and incompetent leadership all at once. One small group of Marines can't hope to overcome all that. No matter how well they fight, this is a war that cannot be won, and I think they all know that by the end. Certainly Washington knows, but he knew before they ever got there.
The movies about Vietnam which were made by people of an age to have actually fought there--though the director of today's film was in fact Canadian and therefore did not have to go--are almost never about positive experiences. The movies World War II veterans made were still under the illusion that there was such thing as glory, still convinced that they fought for a just cause. There have never been many movies about the Korean War; even [i]MASH[/i] was only set then and was really about Vietnam. And movies about Vietnam are frequently dark, grim affairs. Even if you believed in the cause, Vietnam was not exactly loaded with "this is what we're fighting for" moments. There were no concentration camps to liberate. Soldiers weren't wined and dined by grateful villagers after the invaders had been driven back. And of course, the Enemy looked just like the villagers and Not Like Us--not that there were no Asian-Americans fighting, but there weren't a heck of a lot.
The one film class I took was the History of the Twentieth Century Through Film. We watched [i]Rambo II[/i], of all things, to show the American reaction to the war long after it was over. However, for every orgy of patriotism--and explosions--there are at least two movies like this. [i]The Boys in Company C[/i], like the more famous [i]Apocalypse Now[/i] and [i]Full Metal Jacket[/i]--and [i]Platoon[/i], which we also saw in that class--is a movie ambivalent about itself. In some ways, the war made men out of Tyrone Washington and the others. On the other hand, it also destroyed them. We can't even be sure that it would have been good for the Vietnamese if we'd won. After all, it would have left men like Colonel Trang (Vic Diaz) in charge. Untold numbers of young men went into the jungle and fought and died, and all we really have to show for it is untold numbers of young men going into other jungles to film pretending to fight and die. Not even the best of the films were worth the price, and this one certainly isn't one of the best of the films.
June 27, 2012
The film that inspired Stanley Kubrick to make Full Metal Jacket may not be the best war film ever made, but its influence on some of the most successful Vietnam movies of all time is evident. This is the Funky Drummer of Vietnam movies and Kubrick, Coppola and Stone have sampled it right down to the characters and dialogue. It looses its way a little towards the end, becoming more Escape To Victory than Hamburger Hill, but on the whole this is an enjoyable and well directed Vietnam romp with enough drama and humour to make us actually care what happens to the boys in Company C.
April 14, 2012
Not a bad movie at all :)
April 7, 2012
too silly to be taken seriously
January 21, 2012
Riktigt bra "Vietnam-film". Föregångaren till Full Metal Jacket =)
November 2, 2010
Made in 1977, The Boys of Company C is the Vietnam film I'd never heard of. Without the budget of Apocalypse Now or Platoon, Boys makes the most of its limited means and is very much like an early Full Metal Jacket. In fact the drill Sergeant is played by none other than the R. Lee. Ermey, the same man who played the drill sergeant who ended up with his brains splattered across the barracks for making Private Pile's life hell in Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket 10 years later.
What makes this different to FMJ though is that being made in the 70's, you can almost feel the rawness that the war has on its actors and their roles bristle with anger and dissatisfaction, fear of death and the inevitable sense of death that hangs over them.
Though it doesn't boast any big battle scenes, just a few skirmishes, The Boys of Company C has some great performances and should really be recognised for the influence it must clearly have had on Kuberick's later masterpiece.
It's not one of the best war films I've ever seen but its still a fine movie that deserves its place in the Nam genre.
May 1, 2010
In some ways I liked Full Metal Jacket better & in some ways I liked this movie better
January 22, 2009
One of the first films produced about the American war in Vietnam. I remember it making headlines in 1978, not due to it's merits but to it's shortcomings. Audiences were staying away in droves because it was centered around a very unpopular war that had only recently ended. Also, Vietnam veterans were complaining that it was unflattering and unrealistic.
I'd group it with other films of the era like The Green Berets or maybe Go Tell the Spartans that are courageous but not completely honest. A group of films produced by activists, not soldiers, that are more about politics than actual events.
October 8, 2009
When this was first recommended to me I had never heard of it, which is odd because I?ve always been a fan of movies about Vietnam. In many ways this is a forgotten film and I think that might be because The Deer Hunter came out the same year and eclipsed it. Really this suffers in comparison to a lot of Vietnam movies; it?s not as thoughtful as The Deer Hunter, as intense as Apocalypse Now, as authentic as Platoon, or as smart as Full Metal Jacket, but view on its own it has its merits. Of all the films I just mentioned, Full Metal Jacket is probably the one it has the closest kinship to, as it has a similar format of showing G.I.s as they are trained and follows them into the battlefield. It even has R. Lee Ermey in a small role as a drill sergent (though he?s not anywhere near as good as he was in the Kubrick film). Unlike Full Metal Jacket this lacks a consistent tone, I think it struggles to decide whether it wants to be a satire or a straightforward war film, if it?s trying to be the later it probably doesn?t work to great, if it?s trying to be the former it works better but it?s not as good as other anti-war films of the era like M*A*S*H or Catch-22.
I didn?t really find the characters overly interesting and the story is a pretty standard ?tour of duty? type thing. I felt like the movie was really treading water for most of its runtime, but then came the film?s climactic propaganda soccer game. At first this scene seemed really silly, but it eventually developed into a pretty smart allegory for the war itself, and that in many ways redeemed the film for me.
April 29, 2009
Classic Viet Nam war movie.
August 3, 2007
Decent early war movie.
June 5, 2008
Old film, but still enjoyed it, much like taps and the like
November 12, 2008
Perhaps this will be everything people said Full Metal Jacket would be but wasn't.
October 15, 2008
Awesome movie. Lee Ermy rules. I found it so much better than Full Metal Jacket. (Although the Boot Camp portion of FMJ was great)
August 27, 2008
too silly to be taken seriously
December 24, 2007
Not a fan of Vietnam War movies.