Causeway: 10 great films about the return of the war

This November sees the release of the Apple / A24 Causeway collaboration, in which Afghan veteran Lynsey (Jennifer Lawrence) must readjust into civilian life after suffering a traumatic brain injury. The film is theater director Lila Neugebauer’s first feature film, and her punchy material and high-profile performances of her could make her an Oscar nominee.

When audiences think of “war movies,” the image that usually comes to mind is that of visceral combat, but some of the best films in the genre focus on what happens when the troops return home. Those who find Causeway piquing their interest can also check out the following films.

The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

Stream on Kanopy

World War II was the largest armed conflict in the history of the world, so it’s no wonder the filmmakers got interested in it even while it was still going on. The Best Years of Our Lives was an early cinematic version of the postwar experience, which follows three veterans returning home to find that their lives and America as a whole have completely changed.

Thanks to its compelling storytelling and easily recognizable themes, The Best Years of Our Lives was the highest-grossing film of 1946 and was cleaned up at the Oscars. Parmi les choses pour lesquelles il est le plus connu, il ya la performance du vétéran de la vie réelle (et non-acteur) Harold Russell dans le rôle d’Homer Parrish, qui essaie de s’adapter à la vie sans utiliser ses mani of him.

Born on July 4th (1989)

Currently not available for streaming

A biopic about the life of Vietnam War veteran turned anti-war activist Ron Kovic, Born On The Fourth Of July was a critical and commercial success at a time when big hits were all the rage. As the second film in Oliver Stone’s informal trilogy on Vietnam, the film continues Platoon’s gaze on the futility of war from the perspective of a disillusioned survivor.

The topic of Born on the 4th of July may have been familiar territory for Stone, but it was one of the first game-versus-type roles for Tom Cruise. The film remains one of Cruise’s best, even decades later, and the portrayal of him makes all of Ron’s struggles urgent and tragic, especially during the discussion with his overbearing mother.

Brothers (2009)

Available for rental on Apple TV

A remake of the popular Danish film of the same name, Brothers tells the story of Sam Cahill, a Navy captain based in Afghanistan, and his brother Tommy, who takes care of Sam’s wife and daughters while he is away. Although the reviews have been somewhat mixed, the film is a tough drama that effectively portrays PTSD.

The cast of Brothers delivers amazing performances, but it’s Tobey Maguire as Sam who does the most dramatic weightlifting, especially when he gets home. When his paranoia leads him to believe that his wife and brother are having an affair, it’s easy to have feelings for him, even when his anger makes him terrifying.

Coming Home (1978)

Currently not available for streaming

Coming Home could be seen as the Vietnamese generation’s answer to the best years of our lives, being a story on the home front published while the war was still fresh on everyone’s mind. Not only was the film an Academy favorite, it was also a commercial success, grossing over $ 32 million against a $ 3 million budget (via BoxOfficeMojo).

Following a military wife who is in a relationship with a paraplegic veteran, Coming Home’s dramatic weight stems from both her doomed romance and the ‘Nam experience. When audiences meet paralyzed Luke, he has become bitter and cynical about the war, reflecting a common view of those who have given up so much to go home with so little.

Way of the Cutter (1981)

Stream on Pipes

An underrated 1980s neo-noir film, Cutter’s Way stars Jeff Bridges as Richard Bone, who is framed for murder and must clear his name with the help of his friend, Alex Cutter (John Heard). The film wasn’t initially a financial success, but the positive reviews helped it develop a cult following, especially among crime thriller fans.

Though Cutter’s Way isn’t in the war genre, Cutter himself is a Vietnam veteran whose experiences have clearly put a strain on his mental well-being. His motive may be sympathetic, but his paranoia and conspiracy theories often get the better of him, showing the potential effect of the war on mental health, even years after his demise.

The Deer Hunter (1978)

Available for rental on Apple TV

Released the same year as the Vietnam War movie Coming Home, The Deer Hunter was a smash hit with critics and audiences and won a long list of Oscars, including Best Picture. The story follows a trio of friends from a working-class American Slavic community and how their experiences in a prison camp prevent them from reintegrating into society.

Perhaps the best things about The Deer Hunter are the performances, most notably by Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken as best friends Mike and Nick. Additionally, the infamous Russian roulette scenes, while having no foundation in history, are effective illustrations of how war can destroy even those who survive, and sometimes even suck them back. .

First blood (1982)

Stream on HBO Max

Based on a thriller novel by David Morrell, First Blood introduced the audience to John Rambo, a Vietnamese veteran who becomes a true survivor after small town authorities pushed him too far. In one notable case of studio interference in making a movie better, it was a box office success and solidified Sylvester Stallone as a star, along with the Rocky franchise.

Unlike the franchise it spawned, First Blood is very character driven and spends a lot of time developing Rambo and even humanizes his antagonists to make their actions understandable. The culminating showdown between Rambo and his superior, Colonel Trautman, is particularly good, being very well acted and showing the tragedy of the hero’s service.

Jacob’s ladder (1990)

Currently not available for streaming

A psychological film about a soldier desperate for the truth behind his bizarre and vivid hallucinations, Jacob’s Ladder is an excellent 1990s horror film that pulls out all the stops on surreal and eerie imagery. Not only has the film developed a rabid cult following, it features Tim Robbins in one of his earliest and most memorable starring roles.

While a veteran homecoming story might seem odd at first glance for a horror movie, watching Jacob’s Ladder reveals that war is the source of some of the greatest real-life horrors. . A lot of things in the film are likely to make viewers crawl, but the thought of being horribly wounded in the middle of enemy territory may be the most terrifying.

The Master (2012)

Stream on Pipes

It’s hard for many fans to say which Paul Thomas Anderson’s best movie is, but The Master is often considered one of the best contenders. Starring Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman, the film tells the story of a directionless man who joins a movement called “The Cause” and soon becomes an evangelist for its enigmatic founder.

Although best known as a cult exam, The Master also touches upon the post-WWII experiences of returning veterans. The protagonist Freddie Quell returns home unsatisfied, making it understandable that he would fall in love with a charismatic figure who promises to change his life, but he cannot keep.

Rolling Thunder (1977)

Stream on Pipes

A vigilante film that follows Charles Rane, a Vietnam veteran seeking revenge for his murdered wife and son, Rolling Thunder combines military drama with an action thriller. Unlike many films in the genre that were critically re-evaluated, it was highly praised by critics early on and remains a favorite of directors such as Quentin Tarantino (via BFI).

Produced during the performance boom of the 1970s, Rolling Thunder proves these films could be more than stupid, most notably with a script by Paul Schrader and an excellent performance by William Devane. Devane’s acting, in particular, conveys a sense of pathos, from his status as a former prisoner of war to the righteous anger that drives his quest for revenge.

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