Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
4 Things Veterans Hate That War Movies Get Wrong
War and the military have long been favorite subjects for Hollywood movie producers. Well-done war movies can really capture the spirit and complexities of warfare and military service (think Saving Private Ryan).
But the military is complex and nuanced and there are a million tiny details. When movie producers --- many of whom have no military background --- attempt to capture that nuance, it often results in mistakes that are really obvious to people in the military.
The mistakes are so obvious and glaring, there’s even a popular myth that movie studios are required by law to get certain aspects of the uniform wrong in order to prevent people from accurately impersonating members of the military. Our friends at Ranger Up recently wrote a good piece dispelling that dumb theory.
Regardless, vets and service members get frustrated when they go to see their livelihoods on the silver screen and the movie just gets it completely wrong. A recent discussion thread on RallyPoint even asked, “What ONE incorrectly depicted thing pisses you off most about military movies?”
RallyPoint is a great social networking platform for the military community. We’ve picked out some of the best answers to demonstrate what really grinds the gears of vets when movies screw it up.
1. Skylining. In war movies, it’s pretty common to have that dramatic long shot of soldiers silhouetted among the ridgeline, walking a patrol. This is a huge tactical faux-pas, as it would make the patrol very obvious to anyone merely looking at the skyline.
“Skyline” is even a military slang term for making something obvious. And (shameless plug) the name of Task & Purpose’s news aggregator, where we point out the top stories you need to know.
2. Radio chatter. Few things seem more quintessentially military than ending a communication over the radio with “over.” But real military radio etiquette is a matter of official protocol, not something you can fake.
I remember playing Army as a kid and doing it with my walkie talkies. Unfortunately, Hollywood does about as good of a job getting it right as I did when I ran around my neighborhood with a cap gun.
Perhaps the best example is “over and out,” a terrible conflation of two different real terms in voice procedure, and they’re mutually exclusive from one another.
“Over” means that the person has finished transmitting and is awaiting a response, whereas “out” means that a person has finished his transmission and no response is necessary, so the two words would never appear in a single transmission together.
3. Endless ammo and hand grenades that level buildings. One of the most enticing parts of seeing a war movie is the awesome action scenes. But for many combat veterans, it pains them to see an actor roll a fragmentation grenade into a house, only to see a fireball the size of a city block take out the building.
And firefights involving M4 carbines on full automatic that never run out of ammunition don’t help the cause. But hey, Michael Bay made a career out of that, right?
To be fair, this isn’t specific to war movies. Think of all the car chases have we seen end with the car hitting a dumpster, then explode into a blast of hellfire, and the dumpster explodes, too.
4. Getting the medals and uniform wrong. Dress uniforms are so precise and detailed that real service members occasionally get things wrong. What medals an actor wears in a movie makes little difference to the majority of the audience, but to the military and veterans community, it really sticks out.
Little details like tucking in your lapels on your Marine service alpha uniform, or huge things like wearing the wrong uniform for that respective branch, all together go a long way in distinguishing movies that seek to honor military service from those that are just cheap imitations of it (I’m looking at you, John Cena in The Marine).
The ability of movie studios to portray the uniform correctly is even legally protected, so if movie producers get it wrong, they have no excuse.
U.S. Code Title 10, Subtitle A, Part II, Chapter 45, S772 outlines proper wear and use of the U.S. military uniform. It reads: “While portraying a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps, an actor in a theatrical or motion-picture production may wear the uniform of that armed force if the portrayal does not tend to discredit that armed force.”
Check out the full discussion thread in RallyPoint here. What bothers you when you see it in movies? Let us know in the comments.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Friday that no U.S. troops will take part in enforcing the so-called safe zone in northern Syria and the United States "is continuing our deliberate withdrawal from northeastern Syria."
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan earlier on Friday said Turkey will set up a dozen observation posts across northeast Syria, insisting that a planned "safe zone" will extend much further than U.S. officials said was covered under a fragile ceasefire deal.
On Tuesday at the Association of the U.S. Army's annual conference, Army families had the opportunity to tell senior leaders exactly what was going on in their worlds — an opportunity that is, unfortunately, all too rare.
A new documentary series about Clint Lorance pits the infantry officer convicted of murder against his former soldiers
The fog of war, just kills, and war crimes are the focus of a new documentary series coming to STARZ. Titled Leavenworth, the five-part series profiles 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, the Army infantry officer who was convicted on murder charges for ordering his soldiers to fire on three unarmed Afghan men on a motorcycle, killing two and wounding the third, while deployed to the Zhari district in Kandahar province, on July 2, 2012.
A big stereotype surrounding U.S. service members and veterans is that they are defined only by their military service, from buying "Dysfunctional Veteran" t-shirts to playing hard-boiled, high-octane first-person shooters like Battlefield and Call of Duty (we honestly have no idea where anyone could get that impression).
But the folks at OSD (formerly called Operation Supply Drop), a non-profit veteran service organization that aims to help troops and vets connect with each other through free video games, service programs and other activities, recently found that most of the gamers they've served actually prefer less military-centric fare like sports games and fantasy RPGs.
CEYLANPINAR, Turkey (Reuters) - Shelling could be heard at the Syrian-Turkish border on Friday morning despite a five-day ceasefire agreed between Turkey and the United States, and Washington said the deal covered only a small part of the territory Ankara aims to seize.
Reuters journalists at the border heard machine-gun fire and shelling and saw smoke rising from the Syrian border battlefield city of Ras al Ain, although the sounds of fighting had subsided by mid-morning.
The truce, announced on Thursday by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence after talks in Ankara with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, sets out a five-day pause to let the Kurdish-led SDF militia withdraw from an area controlled by Turkish forces.
The SDF said air and artillery attacks continued to target its positions and civilian targets in Ral al Ain.
"Turkey is violating the ceasefire agreement by continuing to attack the town since last night," SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali tweeted.
The Kurdish-led administration in the area said Turkish truce violations in Ras al Ain had caused casualties, without giving details.