11 Classic Movies With Amazing Symbolism That You Never Noticed

2. Aliens – The Vietnam War

aliens vietnam

One more entry for the Alien universe. Aliens is an altogether completely different film than its predecessor in that it is basically one big action film instead of a slow burning horror movie. The reason for this is simple. James Cameron designed his variation on the Alien universe to be one long Vietnam War allegory. Every character, scene and vehicle is designed in direct relation to correspond directly with Vietnam War iconography.

Even the basic outline is the same. Aliens is about a group of soldiers who are sent by an uncaring government to kill foreign enemies, which results in their needless deaths. It’s so heavy handed that I feel odd for not noticing it until deciding to write this article. The soldiers uniforms in Aliens are even patterned directly after the uniforms worn by actual soldiers in the Vietnam War and the designs they paint on their gear is borrowed from real soldiers as well. Aliens is basically what you would get if you took the main character from Full Metal Jacket and inserted them into the narrative here.

There is a great deal of surface level symbolism but the most striking amount of symbolism can be found in the nature of the plot itself. The Weyland-Yutani Corporation is a rather scathing placement for public authority when you consider that they have no care for the livelihood of the soldiers and only want to make a profit off of their assured demise. The American soldiers themselves don’t fare well at all. They are much more technically efficient and superior to the Xenomorphs but they are killed easily because the monsters sneak up on them and use guerrilla tactics to their advantage.