‘Hamburger Hill (1987)’: Classic War Film Scores 100% On Rotten Tomatoes

By Tulika Shreshthi - Founder & Author
7 Min Read
(Image Credit: RKO Pictures)

In the film ‘Hamburger Hill (1987),’ directed by John Irvin, viewers are transported to the intense battleground of the Vietnam War in 1969. This gripping movie depicts a crucial battle where soldiers fought with courage and determination. What’s remarkable is that ‘Hamburger Hill’ earned a perfect score of 100% on the popular review site Rotten Tomatoes. War films have always been influential in movies since the beginning. But when Hollywood started making movies about the Vietnam War, things changed. This 1969 war was different from others in American history. There was a lot of shocking news and images about it on TV and in newspapers. So, movies had to be unique to stand out.

Hamburger Hill (1987) (Image Credit: Wiki)

According to reports, military expert Bill Allison praised it for showing war accurately. People liked that the film focused on just one event during the war. Even though critics loved ‘Hamburger Hill,’ it didn’t make much money at the box office. It only earned about $13.8 million worldwide. However, that doesn’t mean the movie isn’t worth watching. Its 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes proves how much its fans love it. Even though it didn’t win big awards like some other Vietnam War movies, it’s still a great movie. And because Bill Allison liked it so much, it might find new fans. ‘Hamburger Hill (1987)’ is a movie that shows how scary and real war can be.

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‘Hamburger Hill (1987)’: A Gripping Tale Of Vietnam War Valor

In 1969, during the final phase of America’s involvement in the Vietnam War, the movie ‘Hamburger Hill (1987)’ unfolds the journey of five fresh military recruits joining the 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division. Beletsky, Languilli, Washburn, Bienstock, and Galvan step into their roles, knowing they’re filling in for fallen comrades. The prolonged war has taken a toll, with the platoon suffering significant losses.

Don Cheadle, Courtney B. Vance, and Michael Boatman in Hamburger Hill (1987) (Image Credit: Getty Images)

This film sheds light on the soldiers’ plight, depicting the waning effectiveness of the campaigns and the dwindling sense of patriotism among the troops. Through the eyes of these recruits, the audience is immersed in the soldiers’ daily struggles, serving as a window into their world. ‘Hamburger Hill’ also delves into the pressures of leadership, as Sergeant First Class Worcester mentors Lieutenant Eden, the unit’s newest leader, in shouldering the command responsibilities.

Amidst the grueling routines of military life, the bonds of friendship between the soldiers are portrayed, underscoring the weight of the decisions made by Eden and Worcester, which hold the fate of their comrades’ safety in the balance.

James Carabatsos wrote the script for this movie. ‘Hamburger Hill (1987)’ featured actors like Michael Boatman, Don Cheadle, Dylan McDermott (making his movie debut), Courtney B. Vance, Steven Weber, and Tim Quill.

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Gritty War Scenes In ‘Hamburger Hill’ Showcase Realism And Talent

The movie ‘Hamburger Hill (1987)’ takes its name from a real battle during the Vietnam War, which stirred controversy due to the high number of casualties. The film concentrates on the soldiers’ perspective, showing how they deal with the loss of innocence amidst the chaos of war. Rather than glorifying the battle, it emphasizes the soldiers’ struggles and sacrifices.

A scene from ‘Hamburger Hill‘(Image Credit: RKO Pictures)

Unlike many war movies that focus on a single hero, this 80’s war movie gives attention to each member of its cast, portraying their reflections and camaraderie. Despite their diverse reasons for being in the war, they share a deep respect for one another, united by the goal of survival. The film’s portrayal of soldiers as ordinary people trying to support each other sets it apart from other Vietnam War movies.

Dylan McDermott‘s portrayal of Staff Sergeant Adam Frantz stands out in the movie, depicting the cynicism and burden experienced by soldiers as the war progresses. His character’s struggle with loss is portrayed poignantly, especially in a scene where a bomb unexpectedly claims a soldier’s life. McDermott’s performance adds depth to the film, showcasing his talent beyond television roles.

Similarly, Don Cheadle shines as Washburn, highlighting the film’s patriotism and racial inequality exploration. Through Washburn’s interactions with fellow African-American soldiers, the movie delves into the injustice of fighting for a country that denies them dignity and rights.

Despite not receiving widespread recognition, ‘Hamburger Hill (1987)’ is noteworthy for its realistic portrayal of war without sentimentalism. Instead of trying to cover the entire war, it focuses on a few characters, offering a raw and honest depiction. Its critical acclaim, including a 100% approval rating, validates its impact and relevance.

Where To Watch: For those interested, ‘Hamburger Hill‘ is available for rent on Prime Video in the U.S.

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Source: Rotten Tomatoes

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By Tulika Shreshthi Founder & Author
Meet Tulika Shreshthi, the talented mind behind MAGZINIO. With a wealth of experience in content management, digital content writing and social media management, she brings a unique blend of skills. She's a versatile creator, from crafting captivating web content to mastering graphic design. Specializing in entertainment media, she knows how to keep her audience engaged. Outside of her blogging pursuits, she's also a proud mother to a lovely daughter. Alongside her responsibilities, she harbours a deep passion for digital art and enjoys listening to music.
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