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We Were Soldiers [DVD] (2002)

Mel Gibson , Madeleine Stowe , Randall Wallace    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (161 customer reviews)
Price: £3.57 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

We Were Soldiers [DVD] (2002) + Black Hawk Down (2 Disc Set) [2002] [DVD] + Platoon [DVD] [1987]
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Product details

  • Actors: Mel Gibson, Madeleine Stowe, Greg Kinnear, Sam Elliott, Chris Klein
  • Directors: Randall Wallace
  • Producers: Randall Wallace, Stephen McEveety, Bruce Davey
  • Format: PAL, Anamorphic, Widescreen, Dolby, Digital Sound
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Icon Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 5 Nov 2007
  • Run Time: 132 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (161 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,837 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Mel Gibson stars as Colonel Hal Moore in this big budget war movie telling the true story of the Battle of Landing Zone X-Ray. The year is 1965 and Colonel Moore's men arrive in the highlands of South Vietnam ready to carry out a search-and-destroy mission. But thanks to a fault in military intelligence, they disembark near a large North Vietnamese army base and soon find themselves surrounded. What follows is a three-day battle resulting in massive casualties for both sides.


We Were Soldiers, based on the bestselling account of the battle of La Drang valley at the outset of the Vietnam War, is the latest Mel Gibson Braveheart-esque offering where plot and characterisation, rather than the men who lost their lives in the conflict, are the most serious casualties. The story follows Lt. Colonel Hal Moore (Gibson) and his platoon through a brief spell at boot camp and then into the battle itself.

In place of the moral ambiguity offered by, say, Platoon or Hamburger Hill, We Were Soldiers presents us with archetypes. Gibson's family man colonel is almost a parody of Patton, a man with so much heart you wonder how he manages to get up in the morning. He's a good Catholic, loves his men, and tells us that he's the first one on the battlefield and the last one off. And if that self-eulogising wasn't enough we have the slow-mo, heavily scored last-one-into-the-helicopter moment to prove it. In uncomfortably jingoistic contrast, the commander of the Viet Cong never leaves his cavernous headquarters as he sends his faceless foot soldiers to their death.

What saves the film are Ryan Hurst's performance as the stoic Sergeant Ernie Savage and Barry Pepper's non-combatant journalist who gets caught up in the action and has to fight to survive, both of whom inject some much-needed humanity into the action. Otherwise there is so little character development before the offensive that you find yourself squinting at the screen trying to work out who just bought the bullet when you really should be feeling every gunshot. Braveheart scribe Randall Wallace's direction is heavy handed and over sentimental--relentless violence masquerades as poignant remembrances of the futility of war--and the only time it ever approaches genuine emotion is the scene where the wives begin receiving telegrams detailing their husband's deaths. When measured against Hamburger Hill and Full Metal Jacket, We Were Soldiers doesn't even deserve to be in the same platoon. --Kristen Bowditch --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Ive seen many of the other Vietnam war films and in my judgement this ranks as one of the best. While other films dwell on the futility of war, cynicism about why they are there, an indifferent high command to the plight of the men, along with the brutalising effect (all very true) which war has on the soldiers themselves, this film tends to dwell more on the professionalism and strong comradeship of the soldiers as a unit without being overtly gung ho. The soldiers realise that they are in a situation where they are caught between the hammer and the anvil, and that they can do little about it, but get on with the job at hand and knowing that they can rely on one another to with their lives as their training has taught them.
What gives this film such strength is that the basis of the story is true - with around 400 american soldiers outnumbered ten to one by the North Vietnamese army in the ensuing battle which is to follow. You feel the rising tension of the situation as the soldiers move into the military zone, coupled with the helplessness of the soldiers wives, some of them with babies who are left behind to wait, and the clumsy even callous way in which the army delivers telegrams of those killed using taxi-drivers.
While I am very wary of the Hollywood war/propaganda machine punching out films depicting the american soldier as good true and invincible, all of which is a huge turn off to me. Its worth remembering that most soldiers (reflective of the communites they come from) are ordinary decent people with wives and families who try to live good lives according to their understanding, and that good is expressed through the comradeship and loyalty to one another and to their unit.
I dont doubt for a second there is a lot of poetic license in this film and "hollywoodisation" of much of what happened, so remember when watching, that the basis of Hollywood is first to entertain and later to educate
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great film, with a lot of reality 20 Oct 2009
By John
I watched this film from the perspective of someone who has served in the Armed Forces, in a war zone. I found it to be completely real. Mel Gibson instantly reminded me of the few commanders I have served under, for whom we would have gone to the gates of hell and beyond. The relationship between him and his staff, both commissioned and non-commissioned was entirely believable.

Given that one of the advisors was the reporter we see in the film, its not surprising that the portrayal of this battle as frightening, disjointed at times and completely alien in many ways comes over so well.

I don't 'love' this film, I respect it. It reminds me of both the nobility and horror of war both of which retain their own authenticity in this portrayal. In that sense, it is a great film.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We Were Soldiers - Gibson does Moore proud. 17 Mar 2003
I have read the book, 'We Were Soldiers Once.... And Young' and it had me in tears. I watched the movie for my Media Studies Coursework and I was in more tears than when I read the book.
Admittedly, it is obvious it is an American movie, obvious in the sense you hate the Vietnamese people after ten minutes of watching it, but the emotions felt as you watch the families and the soldiers suffer during and even after the war is over really touches the heart.
I personally loved the film. I'm thinking about doing it as a coursework piece at university, and I'll study the book as a comparison piece.
CLever camera angles and lighting techniques make the viewer feel like part of the action, and the shots of the families receiving telegrams pulls even the toughest of heart strings.
Five out of five, no doubt about it.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie, Poor Blu Ray Quality 18 Aug 2009
This is one of my favourite war movies and was thrilled that it was on Blu Ray, but unfortunetly the picture is not of HD/Blu Ray quality.

It didn't diminish my enjoyment of the film, as it was like a slightly better DVD, but in comparison to others Blu Ray conversions, this rates bottom of the pile in the few that I have seen.

5 for the movie/ 1 for the Blu Ray, total score = 3.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars We Were Soldiers - UK Blu-ray - avoid 16 Dec 2009
Although the UK version has improved video & audio compared to the USA release, it has several problems:

1. Major problem with the Opening Credits having been completey omitted! The montage of scenes is still there but the film title, cast & crew credits are not overlayed as per the original DVD.

2. Scene captions are also missing - these normally appear as overlays to identify the location, date and time that an event or battle is taking place (I'm not talking about the captions that appear when you fire up the scene selection menu, but the overlayed text that should display as the film progresses). This is also evident in the opening scene when the first line of the narrator's comments appear as typewritten font across the screen, then disappear as if blown away like sand.

3. Special feature documentary plays inside a window approx one-quarter the size of the available screen, rather than filling the entire screen as per the DVD release.

4. Missing the 10 deleted scenes and collection of trailers & TV spots from the DVD (and US Blu-ray).
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lot better than it is given credit for 9 Mar 2004
By Kentspur VINE VOICE
This film is an easy one to hate. Put together 'jingoistic', 'flag-waving', 'Mel Gibson' and 'Vietnam' and instantly a lot of people are prepared to say it's awful without seeing it or, if seeing it, without seeing beyond those words.
Actually it is a very serious movie about combat and fighting soldiers. There is a genuine attempt to develop characters and explain not so much why the Vietnam war was fought, but how men can fight at all, what sticks them together. It is actually a very exciting movie - more so than some other modern war films that are flashy, expressionistic and more cynical. I like it, but Black Hawk Down springs to mind. There is a sense that not all the US troops are getting out and you actually care about that.
The Gibson character has some good lines and I just don't agree with some of the reviewers here that he is wrong for the role. The kind of insouciant bravery and indifference to incoming fire that he shows, that Plumley shows, is what happens with certain leaders in combat. You read the same thing about divisional commanders on Omaha Beach. They didn't die. Therefore it's accurate. In his acting, his sense of purpose, shines through. This is not a star faxing in his performance.
The deleted scenes are interesting as they show that the film-makers were contemplating widening the debate about Vietnam involvement, about the NVA will to win. So a scene with Hal Moore (Gibson) and General Westmoreland - officer commanding Vietnam - ends up of the cutting room floor, and I think they were right. The intensity of the combat experience is what this is all about.
Ok, Madeline Stowe's role is under-written (she's had no good parts since Last of the Mohicans) and the civil rights reference is clumsy, but the film is about combat. It's in combat it works.
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