War Movies comparison Essay

War Movies

            For thousands of thousands of years, human beings have played witness to the numerous world occurrences which have enriched humankind’s history. Some of the groundbreaking events that have transpired throughout the course of history were the life changing inventions, amazing discoveries, liberating independence, destructive natural calamities and devastating wars. These specific incidents have either enhanced or obliterated world history and at the same time have shaped the outcome of the future. In order to continue to reminisce and celebrate these events at any point in time, man had made several movies and war was one of the many genres that had been used by film directors to showcase the many aspects of conflict or hostility.

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            “Platoon” (1986) by Oliver Stone and “Saving Private Ryan” (1998) by Steven Spielberg were two of the most popular war movies of all time. Both films depicted the plight of American soldiers in times of battle and combat. “Platoon” and “Saving Private Ryan” have captured the essence of the Vietnam War and World War II but the two films differed in their approach in conveying heroism and illustrating the setbacks of war. Also, the two films have two different focal points wherein the concentrations of the movies were very diverse but the movies were still able to utilize and demonstrate the same theme.

            In “Platoon,” the setting was in Vietnam. It mainly dealt with the experiences of a platoon of American soldiers during the 1960s to 1970s. More so, the movie showed the soldiers in two different lights. First, they were presented as the defenders of freedom and fighters of communism. Second, they were also portrayed as immoral and ruthless human beings who are capable of doing dreadful things in exchange for their own advantage. On the other hand, “Saving Private Ryan” narrated the story of a group of soldiers who were tasked to find Private Ryan across Europe so that the Army can send him home to be with his mother who was grieving the death of her other two soldier sons who were casualties of WWII. Throughout the movie, brotherhood was emphasized and altruism was showcased. More so, it was reiterated that the enemy were the Germans and that they should be the only ones who should suffer the consequences of war.

            It may seem that the two films are very similar in content and approach because of the employment of the same theme but if viewers would examine closely, there are some underlying factors that completely separate these two films. In terms of similarities, the setting in “Platoon,” set in the outskirts of rural Vietnam while at “Saving Private Ryan’s,” it was at the different countryside of various European countries. There was a diverse group of characters in both films to demonstrate the variety of personalities. Also, the storyline of t he movies revolved around the peculiarities of the characters and their relationship with each other. Through these elements, the story plots of the two movies were successfully narrated that captured the interest and attention of their target audience.

            Meanwhile, the main difference between the two films is their focal point and conveyed main message. For “Platoon,” the focus was on the ill effects of the war on the behaviors and mindsets of the soldiers. More so, the Vietnam War was shown as the “bad” war because many soldiers that got involved in the conflict did not know that they were fighting for. On the other hand, “Saving Private Ryan” was able to highlight the chivalry and honor of being an American soldier. Though WWII was very emotionally and psychologically challenging for the soldiers, they were still able to rise above their hardships and they continued to fulfill their duties out of love for their country and for freedom. Overall, the two films have effectively portrayed two different wars from different periods and at the same time these two were able to show the universality of war and conflict.

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