The genre of war cinema has been around as long as the medium itself, with the spectacle of mass conflict lending itself to big budget movies and the inherent interpersonal tragedy fitting more intimate dramas.
However, with the development of a war film came an inevitable blueprint for so-called "successful" war movies, based on the most financially and critically rewarded examples of the genre. As a result soon after the deluge of post WWII triumphant adventure films, depictions of heroic soldiers and their daring pluck became commonplace and popular at the multiplex.
Then America invaded, or "liberated", Vietnam.
With the advent of broadcast television news came a flood of imagery civilian households had never seen before. Imagery, in the case of Vietnam, of soldiers still in their teens posing with corpses, devastated villages destroyed by napalm, and innumerable civilian casualties. As the public's support for the American occupation waned, war cinema responded with a flood of countercultural protest films which offered a dirtier, grittier, and altogether more realistic vision of war's reality.
Not every film listed here centres around Vietnam, but each in their own way serves as an embodiment of the filmmaking community's refusal to produce shallow pro-war propaganda, and instead break the rules of the genre to show a truer vision of the world at war.