The men of Bravo Company are facing a battle that's all uphill... up Hamburger Hill. Fourteen war-weary soldiers are battling for a mud-covered mound of earth so named because it chews up soldiers like chopped meat. They are fighting for their country their fellow soldiers and their lives. War is hell but this is worse. Hamburger Hill tells it the way it was the way it really was. It's a raw gritty and totally unrelenting dramatic depiction of one of the fiercest battles of America's bloodiest war. Dodge the gunfire. Get caught behind enemy lines. Go into battle... beside the brave young men who fought and died. Feel their desperation and futility. This happened. Hamburger Hill - war at its worst men at their best. [show more]
Released in the torrent of controversy and critical acclaim that followed Oliver Stone's 'Platoon' (1986), 'Hamburger Hill' (1987) was a violent, bloody and visceral account of U.S. combat operations in Vietnam, circa 1969. Director John Irving sets out a straightforward story of the 101st airborne; who're assigned to take a hill numbered 937, from 'North Vietnamese Army' patriots. The company is made up of then-newcomers now familiar faces like Dylan McDermott, Don Cheadle, Courtney B. Vance and others; their mission appears to be relatively simple, though it soon becomes apparent that seizing 937 is, like the war itself, going to be tougher than expected. Days go by, casualties mount up and 937, its original name goes unmentioned, which works as a subtle nod to imperial ignorance, is christened Hamburger Hill by U.S. troops; for the wholesale human slaughter taking place on both sides. Not as good as 'Platoon' (1986) or 'Born on The Forth of July' (1989) 'Hamburger Hill' is a template for unit based depictions of modern warfare in cinema, it is, as Kubrick said of 'Full Metal Jacket' (1987), not so much an anti-war movie as simply a war movie, i.e. showing us the chaos, futility, blood & guts of battle, without offering a great deal of intellectual insight into the politics or machinations behind it. Scenes similar to Irvin's violent centrepiece were shown on an almost weekly basis on popular TV series 'Tour of Duty' whilst its' sparse dialogue, sketchy character development, limited use of score and matter-of-fact approach to all out carnage, are motifs imitated in latter day war films like 'The Thin Red Line' (e.g. brief, impersonal conversations / man's forcible disassociation from humanity) and 'Full Metal Jacket' (e.g. indoctrinated banality, rigid routine as a means of psychological escape from the pandemonium of war). John Irvin brings his experience as a BBC war correspondent during NAM to the screen, and his movie still retains a gritty realism that ought to be commended, a far cry from the director's other works such as 'Raw Deal' or 'Dogs Of War', this picture which aims to tell it like it was, albeit like it was during one particular, short event in the war. Not much flag waving here, but an impressive, dyed-in-the-wool cynicism as deeply ground into every reel, as the minced human flesh littered all over Hamburger Hill: A stark reminder that war was, is and always will be hell.
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Fictionalised account of the battle to secure Hill 937 (aka Hamburger Hill), an objective which resulted in one of the bloodiest conflicts of the Vietnam War. Focusing on the exploits of 3rd Squad, 1st Platoon, Bravo Company of the 101st Airborne Division, it shows the extreme duress suffered by the soldiers involved, as they do their best to win a pointless prize in a war being fought without popular support and which - like the attempt to secure the hill itself - is destined to end in failure. Written by John Carabatsos, who himself served with the 1st Air Cavalry in 1968-69.