Good Morning Vietnam
Good Morning Vietnam was one of the big hits of 1987, 4th highest grossing film of that year. It starred Robin Williams and allowed him to lay it all on the line in what some consider the best role of his career. He even earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actor that year.
The film is set in Saigon in 1965 during the early days of our involvement in Vietnam. Williams plays Adrian Cronauer an Armed Forces radio DJ that doesn’t care much for the chain of command, less for the war going on, and who uses his sense of humor to bring a little lightness to the growing conflict. In the movie Cronauer has just as much to fear from the higher-ups in his command as he does the Viet Cong and in the end he is forced off the air, more disillusioned than ever.
A couple of quick things. The real Adrian Cronauer starting pitching a TV series on his time in Vietnam to the TV networks, who passed because the did not believe that “war could be funny”. This was while M*A*S*H was on the air so, yeah. they may have missed a boat or two. Cronauer then morphed his pitch to a movie of the week which got the attention of Robin Williams and the rest is history. (Williams and Cronauer did not meet until the premier as the director was worried Williams would end up trying to imitate Cronauer instead of doing his own interpretation.)
Certainly one of the classic comedies of the 80’s and Williams did not let any one down. I personally still quote this movie twice a day on a slow day. How does it work as a war movie though?
There is very little combat seen in it, but there is a lot of after effects seen. Though Cronauer in the movie called out some of hypocrisy of our involvement there was still a sense of optimism in 1965, that would fade quickly as time drew on. The soldiers that he meets and those in enjoying his broadcasts in the inter cut scenes of his bits are far from the war-weary, soldiers that they would become later.
The true emotional impact of this movie is with the civilians that Cronauer interacts with during the film. During the third act you can feel his heart-break when the truth of the matter is spelled out plain, to most of the people in Vietnam the US was just another invader in a long line of invaders. All the fun and games of movie evaporate in an instant as the cost of war is driven home. So is this a good war movie? No, not really. But it is movie that drives home the cost of war on those fighting and those just trying to live through it.
Worth it? Oh yes. And you can get the Blue Ray by clicking on the movie image above.