Shout Select has released a Collector’s Edition 4K UHD – Blu Ray combo pack of Oliver Stone’s 1986 Oscar winner, Platoon.
Considered to be the best film about the Vietnam War by most and the best war movie of all-time by some, Platoon was at the time of its release the latest in a smattering of antiwar films that began with King Vidor’s The Big Parade in 1925.
Historically, no antiwar films are made during wartime. The Big Parade was not made until seven years after the end of World War I. It was so popular that that the silent film was in theatres until the release of the first Oscar-winning antiwar film, Lewis Milestone’s All Quiet on the Western Front, five years later. Also released in 1930 were two other major antiwar films, James Whale’s Journey’s End and Howard Hawks’ The Dawn Patrol. G.W. Pabst’s Westfront 1918, made that same year, was not released in the U.S. until late 1931.
Significant antiwar films made from the late 1930s through the World War II years were few and far between but did include Jean Renoir’s 1937 classic, Grand Illusion, and Charlie Chaplin’s 1940 comic masterpiece, The Great Dictator.
The late 1940s and early 1950s tread softly on the subject, carefully not attacking anything about World War II, which unlike World War I was seen as a righteous war. Antiwar movies of the era carefully avoided criticizing the war but attacking war in general in such diverse films as John Ford’s Fort Apache and Joseph Losey’s The Boy with Green Hair, both released in 1948, and Robert Wise’s sci-fi masterpiece, The Day the Earth Stood Still, released in 1951.
The late 1950s gave us David Lean’s The Bridge on the River Kwai and Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory, both in 1957, and Stanley Kramer’s end-of-the-world 1959 classic, On the Beach. The subject was explored again in three 1964 films, Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, Sidney Lumet’s Fail-Safe, and the first significant antiwar film about World War II, Arthur Hiller’s The Americanization of Emily.
1969 gave us Richard Attenborough’s Oh! What a Lovely War, a steeped-in-irony musical take on World War I, while 1970 gave us Robert Altman’s M*A*S*H, the first antiwar film about the Korean War almost twenty years after it occurred.