One of the best Vietnam movies ever!
D. Roberts | Battle Creek, Michigan United States | 05/03/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In 480BCE 300 Spartan Hoplites held a pass for the better part of 3 days against a Persian force that may have numbered over 200,000 men. The Spartans were aided by around 7,000 coalition troops during the first 2 days. However, they were dismissed on the 3rd day. The Spartans, their Helots and the Thespians allies died to a last man. It was one of the most gallant stands in all of military history.To this day there is an inscription on the funeral mound @ Thermopylae that serves as a memorial to their sacrifice. An English translation is as follows:GO TELL THE SPARTANS, STRANGER PASSING BY
THAT HERE OBEDIENT TO THEIR LAWS WE LIE.The title of this movie is an allusion to Thermopylae. However, the film itself is about the earliest days of Vietnam. It recounts a time not long after the fall of Dien Bien Pu; an epoch when the U.S. did not have a commitment of a significant number of troops. During the period covered in this movie all that we had over there were a handful of military advisors.The film details an obscure event at a Vietnam village known as Muc Wa. Although the battle itself will not likely even find its way into the footnotes of history, it nevertheless serves as an excellent "premonition" of what was to come. It narrates how much the U.S. underestimated the fighting prowess and resolve of the Viet Cong. In fact, Muc Wa can be said to be a microcosm of how the entire Vietnam War went for the United States.The cast of the film is fairly impressive. The lead is taken by Burt Lancaster who portrays a Major who is asked to do the impossible with almost no resources at all. A very young Marc Singer plays his XO. Craig Wasson (best known for his leading role in Brian Depalma's BODY DOUBLE) plays a shy young corporal.This is a terrific Vietnam movie that encapsulates just about everything that went wrong for the U.S. in the ill-fated conflict. It's a must see for all who seek to learn and understand the facts of the early stages and how it all went downhill from there."
A tough but honest look at Vietnam without breast-beating.
Dennis J. Buckley | Harrisburg, PA USA | 01/12/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This excellent but neglected film was recently released on videocassette and is well worth your purchase and viewing. I first saw it in a badly edited format on cable television, and it was still powerful. I was delighted to find that HBO had released the film on videocassette. _Go Tell the Spartans_ tells a short story that chronicles the Vietnam War in microcosm, and though ostensibly set in 1964 reveals a number of the essential, underlying flaws in the U.S. involvement that resulted in our ultimate withdrawal.This is, however, no dreamy, introspective _Apocalypse Now_, nor is the film a weepy, self-pitying confessional like _Platoon_. With a fraction of the production budget of those films, Ted Post did a remarkable job in producing a gritty, honest, fast-paced work.Burt Lancaster is at his understated best as the dead-ended but still professional Major Asa Barker. Craig Wasson plays the willing but inexperienced draftee, Corporal Coursey. The interplay between these two is at the heart of the film as one generation of soldiers tries its best to hand-off to another, in a war that concededly is going nowhere. The other characters represent the various types that one encounters in other, later Vietnam films (the burned-out suicidal noncom, the doper, the ticket-punching officer, the seductive villager who is a VC), but even these stereotypes are more convincingly and sympathetically played than in later, "evil U.S. imperialist" movies.While I suspect that the author, Dan Ford, is too hard on himself in his review of the movie, he should get the credit for the concept and characters that resulted in this excellent film. As an interpretive work, this film will stand the test of time."
A must have for any collector of Viet Nam films
F. E. Coffing | Indiana | 07/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Other reviewers have stated that this is "early" Viet Nam. This is true. My husband (US Army Rtd) was a Green Beret in Nam and in the conflict from 1960 until late 1966. What makes this a must have for us, is that the parts played in the actual movie are loosely based on Charlie's old unit. Charlie was actually the radioman, I don't remember the name of the actor who played his part. We have old photos of the actual men portrayed in this movie by actors. My husband has kept in contact with many of these men over the years. Most of whom now are gone. Our VHS tape of this has been loaned out over and over again to his Army friends. I can only pray that when the DVD version comes out the DVD is of good quality. Other's have said many good things about this movie, so I won't go into more detail about the actual movie. We are anxiously awaiting it's release here!"