Vietnam Paper

This is a thesis driven paper.  It is not a movie review but a critical analysis.  See other instructions in “how to write about film handout” and the sample paper provided by professor to give an indication of what how he wants this assignment…attached….however, this assignment will be much shorter and in my opinion not as high bar as that paper is (Vietnam and the Hollywood Genre Film: Inversions of American Mythology in the Deer Hunter and Apocalypse Now)     This assignment is  for an upper level college course on Asian History/Vietnam War and film theory.  The person doing this paper should have seen the movies that need to be discussed in this paper and hopefully have somewhat of an understanding of the Vietnam war.  The movies are: Full Metal Jacket, Platoon and Apocalypse Now. 

1. 6 page research paper – Footnote format

2.  Only academic sources used.  Books, journals,  or newspaper.

3.  I have written a thesis for the paper somewhat based on a couple different articles I have read (see below). This is the direction I would like the paper to take and should be written into paper.   One of the articles my thesis statement is based on is from the following journal article : “Dialectical Disorientation in Vietnam War Films: Subversion of the Mythology of War , Karen Rasmussen and Sharon D. Downey.  I would like this paper reviewed to have an idea of the direction the paper needs to go …..but not to copy or write to that level of detail for a six page paper.  If you want to reference a couple things in there, ok…but please find other sources and examples as well….since I already somewhat used part of the idea (reworded) for my thesis.

Thesis Statement and paper focus:

The purpose of this paper is to show that as a result of changes in pop culture, the portrait of war shown in the three direct-conflict Vietnam films, Full Metal Jacket, Platoon and  Apocalypse Now, all present a morphed perspective of the traditional American mythology of war, as was represented by the Vietnam experience.  The paper will also show that as a result of the myth’s deconstruction, conflict is created between the soldiers sense of military responsibility and morality, which results in the soldier’s ambiguity as to how to behave but also denies the soldier an opportunity to become the hero that the traditional myth suggests.        (open to suggestions if you have something better…but please don’t change without discussing…thx)



4.  I would like to request a draft for the paper..

5.  Please make reference to specific examples in the film to make points.

6.  Should have a minimum of 10 or more sources.

7.  Double Spaced

8.  I thought the paper could first start with some general information about American war myth…hero, evil enemy, etc….Then cover a (little) about the Vietnam movie progression and what these films represent and how pop culture influences the movies and then in turn the movies form our perspective about war experience because it is our only basis for understanding….might want to look at the preface of the text books for the course….film more an influence than print.  Then the paper would of course deal with the main part of the paper being the conflict between military responsibility and morality….ambiguity results and lack of hero .. …you will need to describe the places in film these things happen….if you read that paper I suggested….Dialectical Disorientation…you will have a better idea what I mean….we just of course can’t copy. 

(A main part of class is how Vietnam war was a very different war than previous wars…unknown/unseen enemies..Chaos….not fighting traditional war like with  front line battles, etc….or use of non-standard  equipment  lots of guerrilla warfare….)  

Names of  Books used in course  and brief course description

Books:  1:  Vietnam at 24 Frames a Second…Jeremy M. Devine – University of Texas Press, Austin

              2.  America’s Longest War – The United States and Vietnam – 1950-1975 – Fifth Edition

                                               George C. Herring

Brief Course Description…In addition to being a fierce combat-zone, the Vietnam War has been a metaphorical battleground for the soul of America, the peaks of its aspirational high-ground and the depths of its moral shortcomings.  American film also came of age through and after the Vietnam War and produced an inordinately large number of what are considered some of the best movies of all time.

In this course we’ll try and do two things…first to understand the Vietnam Wars on their own as historical events and America’s place in the First and especially the Second Indochina War…Second, we’ll use film as a lens to understand both the conflict and the artistic cinematic object around it. 

Paper Requirements


Write a 6-7 page Thesis driven essay pulling together the Vietnam War Films you choose, history and film theory.

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