“Is Platoon a War Movie?”

“Is Platoon a war movie?”

No, I’m not being funny. I have been asked exactly this question a while ago by someone I told about this blog. It was a man in his late forties. He wasn’t really sure what I meant when I was saying I wrote a blog about war movies. It’s a genre he isn’t familiar with and he finds it highly dubious. He asked me this question to fully understand what it was that I was reviewing and writing about. Guess if he had been a bit younger the question would have been either “Is Saving Private Ryan a war movie?” or “Is The Hurt Locker a war movie?”.

What I’m getting at here is that there is such a ting as THE war movie. A movie that is known far beyond the borders of the genre and by an audience that will normally not watch war movies. I don’t think it is a coincidence that he chose Platoon. Platoon and Apocalypse Now used to be the exemplary movies whenever people were talking about war movies, whether they were aficionados of the genre or they belonged to those who despise the genre.   

It is hard for someone like me who has seen a lot of war movies to try to find out which is the movie that comes to mind first upon hearing the expression “war movie”. Now that I’m writing this post it’s pretty hard to think of any other war movie than Platoon. Still, for some weird reasons, the war movies which seem to be the most representative of the genre for me are Vietnam movies and that’s why, I guess, I would think of Platoon. This has nothing to do with “favourite movie”. A favourite movie could be far less typical.

How about you, which is the movie you think of first, which is the one that embodies the genre for you? 

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