Hamburger Hill

August 28th, 1987


Hamburger Hill

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Still of Don Cheadle, Dylan McDermott, Steven Weber and Courtney B. Vance in Hamburger HillStill of Dylan McDermott and Courtney B. Vance in Hamburger HillHamburger HillStill of Dylan McDermott in Hamburger HillHamburger HillStill of John Irvin in Hamburger Hill

A very realistic interpretation of one of the bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War.

Release Year: 1987

Rating: 6.5/10 (9,961 voted)

Director: John Irvin

Stars: Anthony Barrile, Michael Boatman, Don Cheadle

A brutal and realistic war film focuses on the lives of a squad of 14 U.S. Army soldiers of B Company, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infanty Regiment, 101st Airborne Division during the brutal 10 day (May 11-20, 1969) battle for Hill 937 in the A Shau Valley of Vietnam as they try again and again to take the fortified hill held by the North Vietnamese, and the faults and casualties they take every time in which the battle was later dubbed "Hamburger Hill" because enemy fire was so fierce that the fusillade of bullets turned assaulting troops into shreded hamburger meat.

Anthony Barrile - Pvt. Vincent 'Alphabet' Languilli
Michael Boatman - Pvt. Ray Motown (as Michael Patrick Boatman)
Don Cheadle - Pvt. Johnny Washburn
Michael Dolan - Pvt. Harry Murphy
Don James - Pvt. Elliott 'Mac' McDaniel
Dylan McDermott - Sgt. Adam Frantz
Michael A. Nickles - Pvt. Paul Galvan (as M.A. Nickles)
Harry O'Reilly - Pvt. Michael Duffy
Daniel O'Shea - Pvt. Frank Gaigin
Tim Quill - Pvt. Joe Beletsky
Tommy Swerdlow - Pvt. Martin Bienstock
Courtney B. Vance - Spc. Abraham 'Doc' Johnson
Steven Weber - Sfc. Dennis Worcester
Tegan West - Lt. Terry Eden
Kieu Chinh - Mama San

Taglines: The most realistic portrayal of the Vietnam War ever filmed . Because it's the only one that's true.

Release Date: 28 August 1987

Filming Locations: Philippines

Opening Weekend: $3,360,705 (USA) (30 August 1987) (814 Screens)

Gross: $13,839,404 (USA)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

John Irvin had filmed a documentary in Vietnam during the war.

Anachronisms: In the scene at base camp, when the soldiers are playing in the water, the song "I Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die Rag" by Country Joe & The Fish is playing in the background. While the studio version had been released by May '69, the version in the movie was recorded at the Woodstock Music Festival, which took place a few months later in August '69.

Sgt. Frantz: Now unass my AO!

User Review

Realism and Radicalism

Rating: 9/10

This is an excellent depiction of the insanity that was the war in Viet Nam. My view as a naval officer during a scenic tour of the Mekong near the Cambodian border and the Vietnamese city of Chau Phu, permitted me to be a witness to many, many occasions involving the wholesale abuse of humans by humans. The strain on mind, body and soul takes years (if ever) to repair and this film captures it. There are brief glimpses of this agony in some of the other films mentioned here in the reviews, e.g., Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket and Platoon. Each of these films have merit but are deeply flawed. Apocalypse Now is steeped in moral allegory to the expense of an accurate portrayal of the war; Full Metal Jacket is only 2/3 completed; Platoon becomes a Levi-Straussian moral tale with an arch villain and virtuous hero-- the latter heinously slain by the former with revenge exacted by the weary sojourner on the odyssey. OK. What do we have here with Hamburger Hill? A story? Heroic acts? Action? Not really. What we have is the horror and insanity of war. The film ends on the same pointless note as it began. But, you know what? Reading through the detractors of this film who touted the other potential three and slammed this one, I would not hesitate to bet they were never there. I could glance at the reviews and pick out the vets-- not just on the basis of whether they liked this film or not but of how they reacted to it. I know and know damn well. I too was there, brothers. See this film. It's well produced, directed and the cast is damn good. Check it out.


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