Hamburger Hill

1987

Hamburger Hill

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

100%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 11

73%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 33,017
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Hamburger Hill Photos

Movie Info

Though the anti-war sentiments of Hamburger Hill come through loud and clear, the film is squarely on the side of those courageous, much-maligned Americans who fought and died in Vietnam. Based on a true incident, the story takes place in 1969, as the 101st Airborne Division confronts the Vietcong in a bloody battle over Hill 937 (aka "Hamburger Hill") in the A Shau Valley. During the next ten days, both sides incur heavy losses, but the Cong refuse to surrender the hill. The ultimate American "victory" turns out to be a hollow one indeed. Scripted by Vietnam War vet Jim Carabatsos, Hamburger Hill not only underlines the futility of the war but also the pressures brought to bear upon the troops by an insensitive, often hostile media. By utilizing a cast of unknowns, director John Irvin deftly avoids the Hollywoodized slickness of such bigger-budgeted efforts as Apocalypse Now and The Deer Hunter.

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Critic Reviews for Hamburger Hill

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (4)

  • Irvin, who shot a documentary in Vietnam in 1969, the year the action takes place, makes fine use of the Philippines locations and the verisimilitude supplied by the production team.

    Mar 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • There are a couple of rocky moments, but the large cast of unknowns go through hell convincingly, and illustrate the randomness of mortality.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Derek Adams

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • A well-made Vietnam War film that narrows its attention to the men of a single platoon in a specific operation.

    May 20, 2003
  • No matter what you think of the script, it's impossible to dismiss what's up on the screen.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…
  • This is a film about the futility of war expressed in the simplest terms.

    Apr 28, 2010 | Full Review…
  • Although it was underrated at the time of its release, time will eventually reveal that Hamburger Hill is one of the best and most realistic films made about the Vietnam War.

    Apr 28, 2010 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Hamburger Hill

  • Jun 07, 2014
    Engaging War film set during the Vietnam War, Hamburger Hill chronicles the battle of the same name, and it's a film that I view almost as a forgotten Vietnam War film because, when people talk about great Vietnam War films, they mention Apocalypse Now, Platoon and Full Metal Jacket, but they don't mention this film. However for what it is, it's a standout feature, one that delivers some tense war carnage, and has some impressive performances from its cast. The action is riveting, and the performances compliment that perfectly. Hamburger Hill is a near perfect war picture that deserves to be rediscovered by fans of the genre. Hamburger Hill is an exciting picture and with terrific storytelling and wonderful performances from its cast, it should be ranked as one of the best of the Vietnam War films. The Strength of the film lies in its characters, and with that, it makes the film standout among other Vietnam War films. This is a very good picture, one that has enough character development to compliment the action. The script is well written as well, and it captures the chaos of war perfectly. Hamburger Hill has few flaws, and you can forget its weak aspects. I think this film is much underrated and it doesn't deserve the flack it has received. For what it is, it's an engaging war film that will entertain you from start to finish and it's one of those forgotten gems of war films because it has often been overshadowed by the most well known Vietnam War films. Hamburger Hill is a worthwhile picture to watch, one that is far better than what some critics have said, with a great cast, well written script, this is a picture that will surely satisfy the most demanding genre fan.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Jul 09, 2011
    "Up on Hamburger Hill, there's a plastic tree. Are you here with me?" I don't like contemporary music, but I just had to take that opportunity. You know, while I was at it, I should have said "there's a plastic explosive", because everything's blowing up in this. Of course, it's not just action, action, action. There are some deep messages and this film wears that on its sleeve, but more on that later. Touching on the other flaws, we have a lack of character development, too much story development, periodic lack of engagement, the occasional choppy edit and the occasional gore exaggeration. Probably the film's biggest problem is that it feels so amateur. The score, sound and many writing decisions don't feel very professional. Writing is cliche, the sound editing is inconsistent and the score is weakly-composed. Maybe it's because the team behind this is RKO, which hasn't produced a groundbreaking classic since the '40s. Granted, it was "Citizen Kane", but most of that was done by Orson Welles. Still, through all of its flaws, the film remains a decent film supported by mostly snappy editing, good production designs, fairly decent effects and strong characters. As for the performances, they really carry the film. Hey kids, it's time for another episode of "Cameron's Redundant Acting Discussion Corner". Guess what kids, the actors have sharp chemistry, give off a compelling atmosphere and emote well. No, but seriously though, as cheesy as the film is, the actors remain compelling and keep you in the film. Man, what a terrible review. You know what that means: This film isn't that outstanding. Still, in spite of its flaws and amateurish mistakes, "Hamburger Hill" remains a fairly well-acted and generally compelling thrill ride worth experiencing.
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Jun 30, 2011
    Vietnam has been done a lot better than this. Tha acting and writing for this movie was horrible and made for some pretty lousy characters. Platoon, Apocalypse Now, and Full Metal Jacket all had great acting and writing and that's why they stand high above this movie in effectiveness. Don Cheadle has a role in this movie and thank God for that. Although he has a smaller role than others in the movie, he clearly has the only good acting in this movie. It's realistic, but frankly I could care less because of the characters.
    Melvin W Super Reviewer
  • Apr 27, 2011
    An extraordinarily gifted cast makes Hamburger Hill a fantastic film about the horrors of Vietnam and how it affects the soldiers who fought in it as they are faced with the impossible task of taking a hill that is full of Vietcong. The whole cast is great but watching Courtney B. Vance was the biggest highlight of the movie, he was so great in the movie.
    Jason R Super Reviewer

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