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The Best Vietnam War Movies Of All-Time

“What are the best Vietnam War movies of all-time?” We looked at 78 of the top Vietnam films and ranked them so we could answer that very question!

The top 35 films, all appearing on 2 or more “Best Vietnam” movie lists, are ranked below by how many times they appear. The remaining 40+ movies, as well as the sources we used, are in alphabetical order on the bottom of the page.

Happy Scrolling!



Top 35 Best Vietnam War Movies



35 .) A Bright Shining Lie (1998) directed by Terry George

 A Bright Shining Lie (1998)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • Teacher Trekker

Something in his past keeps career Army man John Paul Vann from advancing past colonel. He views being sent to Vietnam as part of the US military advisory force a stepping stone to promotion. However, he disagrees vocally (and on the record) with the way the war is being run and is forced to leave the military. Returning to Vietnam as a civilian working with the Army, he comes to despise some South Vietnamese officers while he takes charge of some of the U.S. forces and continues his liaisons with Vietnamese women.




34 .) China Beach directed by John Sacret Young, William Broyles Jr.

 China Beach

Lists It Appears On:

  • Ranker
  • We Are The Mighty

Dateline: November 1967. Within klicks of Danang, Vietnam, sits a U.S. Army base, bar and hospital on China Beach filled with wounded soldiers and one very lovely but damaged Army Nurse Colleen McMurphy. Many heroes, dead and alive, try to make sense of life and death in between bourbon, bullets and battles.




33 .) Deathdream (1974) directed by Bob Clark

 Deathdream (1974)

Lists It Appears On:

  • BFI
  • Filmy Keeday

A young soldier who was thought to be killed in the line of duty in Vietnam returns home shortly thereafter, much to the confusion of his family. Upon his return, he exhibits strange, withdrawn behavior and begins wandering the streets at night.




32 .) Go Tell the Spartans (1978) directed by Ted Post

 Go Tell the Spartans (1978)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • Teacher Trekker

Go Tell the Spartans is a 1978 American war film based on Daniel Ford’s 1967 novel “Incident at Muc Wa.” It tells the story about U.S. Army military advisers during the early part of the Vietnam War. Led my Major Asa Barker, these advisers and their South Vietnamese counterparts defend the village of Muc Wa against multiple attacks by Viet-Cong guerrillas.




31 .) In Country (1989) directed by Norman Jewison

 In Country (1989)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • Reel Rundown

Samantha Hughes, a teenaged Kentucky girl, never knew her father, who died in Vietnam before her birth. Samantha lives with her uncle Emmett, who also served in Vietnam. Emmett hangs around with Tom, Earl, and Pete, three other Vietnam vets who, like Emmett, all have problems of one kind or another that relate to their war experiences. Samantha becomes obsessed with finding out about her father.




30 .) Jacob’s Ladder (1990) directed by Adrian Lyne

 Jacob’s Ladder (1990)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • Teacher Trekker

A traumatized Vietnam war veteran finds out that his post-war life isn’t what he believes it to be when he’s attacked by horned creatures in the subway and his dead son comes to visit him…




29 .) Platoon Leader (1988) directed by Aaron Norris

 Platoon Leader (1988)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • Ranker

West Point graduate lieutenant Jeff Knight meets cynicism when taking command of sergeant Michael McNamara’s tour veterans platoon in a Vietnamese trench camp. Unlike his predecessor, who hid till the end of his tour, Jeff takes charge, experiences the manual doesn’t allow coping with all realities and gets wounded. He returns, now fully respect by men and superiors. Besides the Vietcong, the platoon wrestles with the inscrutable villagers, which the G.I.’s officially protect, but also fear as some collaborate with them, other covertly with the Cong, either way subject to bloody reprisals.




28 .) Return of the Secaucus 7 (1980) directed by John Sayles

 Return of the Secaucus 7 (1980)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Teacher Trekker
  • USA Today

Seven former college friends, along with a few new friends, gather for a weekend reunion at a summer house in New Hampshire to reminisce about the good old days, when they got arrested on the way to a protest in Washington, DC.




27 .) The Hanoi Hilton (1987) directed by Lionel Chetwynd

 The Hanoi Hilton (1987)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • Ranker

Lionel Chetwynd’s film documents the horrific struggles that faced American POWs held in the North Vietnamese prison Hoa Lo — more infamously known as the Hanoi Hilton — between 1964 and 1975. Williamson (Michael Moriarty) leads a group of American servicemen who are prisoners at the detention camp. He assumes command after Cathcart (Lawrence Pressman) is dragged off to be tortured.




26 .) The Vietnam War (2017) directed by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick

 The Vietnam War (2017)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Film School Rejects
  • The Culture Trip

An immersive 360-degree narrative telling the epic story of the Vietnam War as it has never before been told on film. Featuring testimony from nearly 80 witnesses, including many Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as Vietnamese combatants and civilians from both the winning and losing sides.




25 .) Winter Soldier (1972)

 Winter Soldier (1972)

Lists It Appears On:

  • The Culture Trip
  • Thought Co.

For three days in 1971, former US soldiers who were in Vietnam testify in Detroit about their war experiences. Nearly 30 speak, describing atrocities personally committed or witnessed, telling of inaccurate body counts, and recounting the process of destroying a village.




24 .) Air America (1990) directed by Roger Spottiswoode

 Air America (1990)

Lists It Appears On:

  • MSN
  • Ranker
  • Teacher Trekker

Air America was the CIA’s private airline operating in Laos during the Vietnam War, running anything and everything from soldiers to foodstuffs for local villagers. After losing his pilot’s license, Billy Covington is recruited into it, and ends up in the middle of a bunch of lunatic pilots, gun-running by his friend Gene Ryack, and opium smuggling by his own superiors.




23 .) First Blood (1982) directed by Ted Kotcheff

 First Blood (1982)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Babble Top
  • Thought Co.
  • TV Over Mind

When former Green Beret John Rambo is harassed by local law enforcement and arrested for vagrancy, the Vietnam vet snaps, runs for the hills and rat-a-tat-tats his way into the action-movie hall of fame. Hounded by a relentless sheriff, Rambo employs heavy-handed guerilla tactics to shake the cops off his tail.




22 .) Flight of the Intruder (1991) directed by John Milius

 Flight of the Intruder (1991)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • Ranker
  • Thought Co.

U.S. Navy pilot Lt. Jake Grafton and his bombardier buddy, Lt. Cmdr. Virgil Cole, are two soldiers embedded in the Vietnam War growing frustrated by the military’s constraints on their missions. Despite the best efforts of their commanding officer, Cmdr. Frank Camparelli, to re-engage them, this disillusioned pair decide to take the war effort into their own hands with an explosive battle plan that could well get them court-martialed.




21 .) The Green Berets (1968) directed by John Wayne, Ray Kellogg, Mervyn LeRoy

 The Green Berets (1968)

Lists It Appears On:

  • MSN
  • Ranker
  • Thought Co.

Col. Mike Kirby picks two teams of crack Green Berets for a mission in South Vietnam. First off is to build and control a camp that is trying to be taken by the enemy the second mission is to kidnap a North Vietnamese General




20 .) Tour of Duty (1987–1990) directed by Terence Knox

 Tour of Duty (1987–1990)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • Ranker
  • We Are The Mighty

The trials of a U.S. Army platoon serving in the field during the Vietnam War.




19 .) Heaven & Earth (1993) directed by Oliver Stone

 Heaven & Earth (1993)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • MSN
  • Teacher Trekker
  • TV Over Mind

Le Ly lives in a small Vietnamese village whose serenity is shattered when war breaks out. Caught between the Viet Cong and the South Vietnamese army, the village is all but destroyed. After being both brutalized and raped, Le Ly resolves to flee. She leaves for the city, surviving desperate situations, but surviving nonetheless. Eventually she meets a U.S. Marine named Steve Butler who treats her kindly and tells her he would like to be married — maybe to her.




18 .) The Siege of Firebase Gloria (1989) directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith

 The Siege of Firebase Gloria (1989)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • Ranker
  • Teacher Trekker
  • War History Online

A Marine patrol stops at Firebase Gloria at the start of the Tet Offensive during the Vietnam war. With the firebase attacked, the patrol remains to help defend it. The Marines barely hold off the VC (Viet Cong), but in the end, hold the base.




17 .) Bat*21 (1988) directed by Peter Markle

 Bat*21 (1988)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • MSN
  • Ranker
  • Thought Co.
  • TV Over Mind

Lt. Col. Iceal “Ham” Hambleton is a weapons countermeasures expert and when his aircraft is shot over enemy territory the Air Force very much wants to get him back. Hambleton knows the area he’s in is going to be carpet-bombed but a temporary shortage of helicopters causes a delay. Working with an Air Force reconnaissance pilot, Capt. Bartholomew Clark, he maps out an escape route.




16 .) Coming Home (1978) directed by Hal Ashby

 Coming Home (1978)

Lists It Appears On:

  • BFI
  • MSN
  • Teacher Trekker
  • TV Over Mind
  • USA Today

The wife of a Marine serving in Vietnam, Sally Hyde (Jane Fonda) decides to volunteer at a local veterans hospital to occupy her time. There she meets Luke Martin (Jon Voight), a frustrated wheelchair-bound vet who has become disillusioned with the war. Sally and Luke develop a friendship that soon turns into a romance, but when her husband, Bob (Bruce Dern), returns unexpectedly, she must decide between staying with him and pursuing her new love.




15 .) Hearts and Minds (1974) directed by Peter Davis

 Hearts and Minds (1974)

Lists It Appears On:

  • BFI
  • SBS
  • The Culture Trip
  • Thought Co.
  • TV Over Mind

Many times during his presidency, Lyndon B. Johnson said that ultimate victory in the Vietnam War depended upon the U.S. military winning the “hearts and minds” of the Vietnamese people. Filmmaker Peter Davis uses Johnson’s phrase in an ironic context in this anti-war documentary, filmed and released while the Vietnam War was still under way, juxtaposing interviews with military figures like U.S. Army Chief of Staff William C. Westmoreland with shocking scenes of violence and brutality.




14 .) Tigerland (2000) directed by Joel Schumacher

 Tigerland (2000)

Lists It Appears On:

  • MSN
  • Ranker
  • Teacher Trekker
  • TV Over Mind
  • War History Online

A group of recruits go through Advanced Infantry Training at Fort Polk, Louisiana’s infamous Tigerland, last stop before Vietnam for tens of thousands of young men in 1971




13 .) The Boys in Company C (1978) directed by Sidney J. Furie

 The Boys in Company C (1978)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • MSN
  • Ranker
  • Teacher Trekker
  • TV Over Mind
  • War History Online

Disheartened by futile combat, appalled by the corruption of their South Vietnamese ally, and constantly endangered by the incompetence of their own company commander, the young men find a possible way out of the war. They are told that if they purposely lose a soccer game against a South Vietnamese team, they can spend the rest of their tour playing exhibition games behind the lines.




12 .) Uncommon Valor (1983) directed by Ted Kotcheff

 Uncommon Valor (1983)

Lists It Appears On:

  • MSN
  • Ranker
  • Teacher Trekker
  • The Cinemaholic
  • Thought Co.
  • TV Over Mind

A group of Vietnam War veterans re-unite to rescue one of their own left behind and taken prisoner by the Vietnamese…




11 .) Forrest Gump (1994) directed by Robert Zemeckis

 Forrest Gump (1994)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Babble Top
  • History Hit
  • MSN
  • Ranker
  • Teacher Trekker
  • Thought Co.
  • TV Over Mind

A man with a low IQ has accomplished great things in his life and been present during significant historic events—in each case, far exceeding what anyone imagined he could do. But despite all he has achieved, his one true love eludes him.




10 .) Casualties of War (1989) directed by Brian De Palma

 Casualties of War (1989)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • MSN
  • Ranker
  • Reel Rundown
  • Teacher Trekker
  • The Cinemaholic
  • Thought Co.
  • TV Over Mind
  • USA Today
  • War History Online

During the Vietnam War, a soldier finds himself the outsider of his own squad when they unnecessarily kidnap a female villager. Based on the actual events of an incident on Hill 192 in November, 1966.




9 .) Rescue Dawn (2006) directed by Werner Herzog

 Rescue Dawn (2006)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Film School Rejects
  • Filmy Keeday
  • IMDB
  • MSN
  • Ranker
  • Teacher Trekker
  • The Cinemaholic
  • Thought Co.
  • TV Over Mind
  • War History Online

A US Fighter pilot’s epic struggle of survival after being shot down on a mission over Laos during the Vietnam War.




8 .) Born on the Fourth of July (1989) directed by Oliver Stone

 Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Babble Top
  • IMDB
  • MSN
  • Ranker
  • Reel Rundown
  • Teacher Trekker
  • The Cinemaholic
  • Thought Co.
  • TV Over Mind
  • USA Today
  • War History Online

The biography of Ron Kovic. Paralyzed in the Vietnam war, he becomes an anti-war and pro-human rights political activist after feeling betrayed by the country he fought for.




7 .) We Were Soldiers (2002) directed by Randall Wallace

 We Were Soldiers (2002)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Filmy Keeday
  • IMDB
  • MSN
  • Ranker
  • Reel Rundown
  • Teacher Trekker
  • The Cinemaholic
  • Thought Co.
  • TV Over Mind
  • War History Online
  • We Are The Mighty

The story of the first major battle of the American phase of the Vietnam War and the soldiers on both sides that fought it.




6 .) Apocalypse Now (1979) directed by Francis Ford Coppola

 Apocalypse Now (1979)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Babble Top
  • BFI
  • Filmy Keeday
  • History Hit
  • MSN
  • Ranker
  • Reel Rundown
  • Teacher Trekker
  • The Cinemaholic
  • Thought Co.
  • TV Over Mind
  • War History Online

At the height of the Vietnam war, Captain Benjamin Willard is sent on a dangerous mission that, officially, “does not exist, nor will it ever exist.” His goal is to locate – and eliminate – a mysterious Green Beret Colonel named Walter Kurtz, who has been leading his personal army on illegal guerrilla missions into enemy territory.




5 .) Hamburger Hill (1987) directed by John Irvin

 Hamburger Hill (1987)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Babble Top
  • BFI
  • History Hit
  • IMDB
  • MSN
  • Ranker
  • Teacher Trekker
  • Thought Co.
  • TV Over Mind
  • USA Today
  • War History Online
  • We Are The Mighty

The men of Bravo Company are facing a battle that’s all uphill… up Hamburger Hill. Fourteen war-weary soldiers are battling for a mud-covered mound of earth so named because it chews up soldiers like chopped meat. They are fighting for their country, their fellow soldiers and their lives. War is hell, but this is worse. Hamburger Hill tells it the way it was, the way it really was. It’s a raw, gritty and totally unrelenting dramatic depiction of one of the fiercest battles of America’s bloodiest war. This happened. Hamburger Hill – war at its worst, men at their best.




4 .) The Deer Hunter (1978) directed by Michael Cimino

 The Deer Hunter (1978)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Babble Top
  • Filmy Keeday
  • History Hit
  • IMDB
  • MSN
  • Ranker
  • Reel Rundown
  • The Cinemaholic
  • TV Over Mind
  • USA Today
  • War History Online
  • We Are The Mighty

A group of working-class friends decides to enlist in the Army during the Vietnam War and finds it to be hellish chaos — not the noble venture they imagined. Before they left, Steven married his pregnant girlfriend — and Michael and Nick were in love with the same woman. But all three are different men upon their return.




3 .) Good Morning Vietnam (1987) directed by Barry Levinson

 Good Morning Vietnam (1987)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Babble Top
  • BFI
  • Filmy Keeday
  • History Hit
  • MSN
  • Ranker
  • Reel Rundown
  • Teacher Trekker
  • The Cinemaholic
  • Thought Co.
  • TV Over Mind
  • USA Today
  • War History Online

Radio funny man Adrian Cronauer is sent to Vietnam to bring a little comedy back into the lives of the soldiers. After setting up shop, Cronauer delights the G.I.s but shocks his superior officer, Sergeant Major Dickerson, with his irreverent take on the war. While Dickerson attempts to censor Cronauer’s broadcasts, Cronauer pursues a relationship with a Vietnamese girl named Trinh, who shows him the horrors of war first-hand.




2 .) Full Metal Jacket (1987) directed by Stanley Kubrick

 Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Babble Top
  • BFI
  • Filmy Keeday
  • History Hit
  • MSN
  • Ranker
  • Reel Rundown
  • Teacher Trekker
  • The Cinemaholic
  • Thought Co.
  • TV Over Mind
  • USA Today
  • War History Online
  • We Are The Mighty

A pragmatic U.S. Marine observes the dehumanizing effects the U.S.-Vietnam War has on his fellow recruits from their brutal boot camp training to the bloody street fighting in Hue.




1 .) Platoon (1986) directed by Oliver Stone

 Platoon (1986)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Babble Top
  • BFI
  • Filmy Keeday
  • History Hit
  • IMDB
  • MSN
  • Ranker
  • Reel Rundown
  • Teacher Trekker
  • The Cinemaholic
  • Thought Co.
  • TV Over Mind
  • USA Today
  • War History Online
  • We Are The Mighty

As a young and naive recruit in Vietnam, Chris Taylor faces a moral crisis when confronted with the horrors of war and the duality of man.




 


The 40+ Additional Best Vietnam War Movies



 

#MoviesDirectorsLists
361968 Tunnel Rats (2008) MSN
3784C MoPic (1989)Patrick Sheane DuncanIMDB
38A Rumor of War (1980– )Brad DavisIMDB
39All the Way (2011) SBS
40Cu Chi (1990) 
The Culture Trip
41Cutter’s Way (1981) Reel Rundown
42Cyclo (1995)Anh Hung TranIMDB
43
Daughter from Da Nang (2002)
 
The Culture Trip
44Dead of Night 
Film School Rejects
45Dead Presidents (1995) Thought Co.
46
Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam (1987)
 SBS
47Deer Hunter (1978) 
Teacher Trekker
48Front Line (1979) 
The Culture Trip
49Frontline (1979) SBS
50Going Back (II) (2001)Sidney J. FurieIMDB
51Hoa Binh (1970) 
Teacher Trekker
52
In the Year of the Pig (1968)
 SBS
53Journey from the Fall 
Film School Rejects
54
Little Dieter Needs to Fly (1997)
 BFI
55Missing in Action Ranker
56
My Least Favorite Vietnam Movies
 
Teacher Trekker
57
Operation: Dumbo Drop (1995)
 Thought Co.
58Purple Hearts (1984)Sidney J. FurieIMDB
59
Rambo First Blood Part II (1985)
 Thought Co.
60Regret to Inform (1998) 
The Culture Trip
61Song of the Stork (2002)Jonathan FooIMDB
62Taxi Driver Babble Top
63The 317th Platoon (1965)Pierre SchoendoerfferIMDB
64
The Abandoned Field: Free Fire Zone
 
Film School Rejects
65
The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara (2003)
 BFI
66The Iron Triangle (1989)Eric WestonIMDB
67The Little Girl of Hanoi 
Film School Rejects
68The My Lai Tapes (2008) 
The Culture Trip
69The Odd Angry Shot (1979)Tom JeffreyIMDB
70
The Spy in the Hanoi Hilton (2015)
 
The Culture Trip
71The Veteran TV Over Mind
72The Veteran (2006 TV Movie)Sidney J. FurieIMDB
73Three Seasons (1999)Tony BuiIMDB
74Through Their Eyes (2010) 
The Culture Trip
75Tunnel Rats Ranker
76Vietnam in HD (2011) SBS
77Watchmen (2009) Filmy Keeday
78
When the Tenth Month Comes
 
Film School Rejects

 


18 Best Vietnam Film Sources/Lists



Source Article
Babble Top Apocalypse Then: The 10 Best Movies About The Vietnam War
BFI 10 great Vietnam war films | BFI
Film School Rejects Seven Vietnam War Movies You Probably Haven’t Seen, But Should
Filmy Keeday 9 Best Vietnam War Films of All Time You Should Watch
History Hit 7 of the Best Vietnam War Films
IMDB Top 30 Realistic Vietnam War Movies
MSN 20 greatest Vietnam War movies
Ranker The Best Vietnam War Movies
Reel Rundown Top 10 Films: Best Vietnam Movies Ever
SBS 6 of the best Vietnam War documentaries ever made
Teacher Trekker Teacher Trekker’s Top 10 Vietnam War Movies
The Cinemaholic Best Vietnam War Movies of All Time
The Culture Trip The 10 Best Vietnam War Documentaries
Thought Co. The Best and Worst War Movies About Vietnam
TV Over Mind The 20 Greatest Vietnam War Movies of All Time
USA Today 10 notable movies about the Vietnam War
War History Online Top Vietnam War Movies – have you seen them all?
We Are The Mighty 7 of the best Vietnam TV shows and movies, ranked

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