Inside Asia Tours: Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos

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Tuesday, 24th November 2015

Iconic films set in Vietnam

Exotic and compelling, Vietnam is a country with a rich history well worth exploring, indeed many people have done so through iconic film portrayals. Some feature the harsh truth of the Vietnam War and its aftermath, some are accounts of the lives of servants and some true stories of those who have travelled to its depths.

These films detail more than the past, as films are still being made in Vietnam. Currently it is the setting for the filming of the King Kong prequel . Below are five of the most iconic films that have used Vietnam as their setting, some you might recognise, others if you haven't seen, you must watch.

Apocalypse Now (1979)

Arguably one of the most famous film adaptations of an epic novel, Apocalypse Now is also one of the most famous films to have been set in Vietnam. The film is set at the height of the war in Vietnam with the plot following a secret plan by the US Army to dispose of a green beret colonel believed to have lost his mind.

It sees the soldiers involved in travelling up the Nung River in Cambodia where they meet up with a helicopter cavalry to take down a Viet Cong outpost to gain access to a strategic spot. A harrowing story, Apocalypse Now is an unforgiving look at how the characters have been affected by the war.

Platoon (1986)

This is the first of three films directed by Oliver Stone which detail his experiences as an infantryman in Vietnam. Widely recognised as one of the most accurate depictions of the war, this was the first Hollywood film to have been directed by a veteran of the conflict.

The film follows the life of a young man who leaves college to enlist in the US Army and volunteer for combat duty in Vietnam. It depicts how his interest wanes and then becomes sparked as the events of the war unfold and show how it can affect the actions of men with regards to their honour.

Good Morning Vietnam (1987)

A different aspect of war coverage, Good Morning Vietnam is the telling of a tale about an unorthodox radio DJ who is sent to Vietnam to bring some comedy to the US soldiers. Delighting some and shocking others, the lead character, Adrian Cronauer has his radio threatened with censorship.

Meanwhile, he begins a relationship with a young Vietnamese girl who shows him exactly how the war in Vietnam looks from her first-hand point of view.

The Scent of Green Papaya (1992)

This film is a completely different look at the country: it is about a young girl called Mui who is hired by a family in Saigon. It chronicles how she grows close to the family and becomes infatuated with Khuyen, one of the family's friends as she grows older.

Mui comes to be employed by Khuyen and the film follows them as they form a close bond that they must resist as Khuyen has a girlfriend.

Noble (2014)

Noble is the true account of Christina Noble, a young woman who leaves the harsh surroundings of her childhood in Ireland to come to Saigon.

The film takes places in 1989, 14 years after the end of the Vietnam War and it is the sight of so many homeless children on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City, coupled with the memories of her awful childhood, that brings her to make a change for the good.

Christina works to build a shelter for children but she is racing against the need for funding and the expiration date of her tourist visa. Powerful and effective, this film shows what a difference one person can make in an area that really needs help.