5 Great Films That Are 'Nam Flicks In Disguise

Dress it up as whatever you like, but these be 'Nam movies in disguise. We've got your number, soldier.
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1. The Wild Bunch

Mercenaries dressed up as US soldiers, hi-tech killing, random slaughter - all this plus the fact that Sam Peckinpah wrote a rather heated letter to President Nixon over the pardoning of the My Lai Massacre-orchestrating Lieutenant William Calley suggests one of the greatest Westerns of all time can be enjoyed on other levels.

2. Soldier Blue

Eight years before Francis Coppola portrayed the Air Cavalry as barking mad, napalm-loving Wagner fans, Ralph Nelson painted the much adored US Cavalry as a band of raping, women-slaughtering savages (if slicing breasts off wasn't bad enough, they also upset the very lovely Candice Bergen).

3. M*A*S*H

The decade might be the '50s and the war might be Korea but the high-jinks, sexual attitudes, casual drug use and combined air of rebellion, desperation and hopelessness all hint at a more recent, equally doomed Asian war. Famously spawned a TV series that lasted five years longer than the war it portrayed.

4. Beneath The Planet Of The Apes

The thick-headed, power-mad, gorilla-led military elite embark on a war in a foreign land against an enemy skilled in the art of camouflage. Meanwhile, a band of hippy chimps stage a sit-down protest. Two films later, in Conquest the same species would re-stage the Watts riots. Plus ça change.

5. Aliens

An enemy that's hard to see and even harder to kill, a young girl capable of manoeuvring herself through tight tunnels, well armed but frankly useless Space Marines - James Cameron might not have intended it as anything other than a very exciting actioner, but the parallels with America's 1970s foreign policy debacle are there for the taking.