In the Year of the Pig (1968) and Hearts and Minds (1974)—the first an Academy Award nominee, the second an Academy Award winner—are the two best-known Vietnam War documentaries of their time. They are works that could hardly be more different—one a cool, intellectual take on the origins and then-current state of the war, and the second a highly emotional appeal to end the war. By viewing them together it is possible not only to connect the dots between the contrasting intellectual and filmic traditions from which each emerged, but also to see, through the viewpoints of each film, how radically the image of the American soldier in Vietnam had changed between 1968 and 1974—and why, politically speaking, this view mattered so much to both war opponents and war proponents.
Copyright © 2016 Wiley-Blackwell. This chapter first appeared in A Companion to the War Film.
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Laura Browder, "The Meaning of the Soldier: In the Year of the Pig and Hearts and Minds," in A Companion to the War Film, ed. Douglas A. Cunningham and John C. Nelson (Chichester, West Sussex ; Malden, MA : John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2016.) 356-370.