« Back to Blog
American Sniper and 3 other controversial war movies
It's no mystery that men and women risk their lives for our country every day. Sometimes their sacrifices are immortalized by Hollywood - turned into box offices smashes and thrust into the media spotlight. "Saving Private Ryan," "Black Hawk Down," "Glory" - for many, these films serve as a somber reminder of the atrocities our veterans faced and the great service they've done for the country.
Other movies, however, face media backlash and call into question which figures we should choose to idolize. The prime example of this today is "American Sniper," the story of Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle.
Unraveling the "American Sniper" controversy
Kyle's service in Iraq was long and reputable He received numerous medals and was dishonorably discharged in 2009.
However, the controversy lies in his life after afterward, specifically because of many statements he made in his book of the same title. According to the Washington Post:
- He said he knocked out former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura outside a bar in California - a defamatory story that Ventura called a lie, sued him for, and won.
- Kyle wrote he traveled to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and shot roughly a dozen "bad guys" - which has been called either a lie or a barbaric assault.
- He said he shot two men at a southwest Dallas gas station for trying to steal his truck - a story Texas rangers, county sheriffs and gas station attendants have no evidence of, according to reporters.
Nonetheless, the movie has been lauded as a success, reeling in over $108.7 million since its Christmas Day release, according to the Los Angeles Times.
That success, mixed with his less-than-kosher statements, has made Kyle's story a touchy subject.
Seth Rogen tweeted that the movie reminded him of the fictional Nazi war film in the third act of "Inglourious Basterds," which drew widespread media attention, according to Newsday.
Michael Moore tweeted that he was brought up to believe snipers were cowards, which attracted the same fiery response from critics and the media.
All things considered, an Opinion Outpost poll showed the movie may continue to do well. Roughly 3,800 respondents shared their plans regarding seeing "American Sniper."
- 11 percent had already seen the movie.
- 35 percent are still planning on seeing it.
- 24 percent are waiting for it to be released on DVD.
- 30 percent said they are not planning on seeing it.
While "American Sniper" has attracted a great deal of media attention and controversy, don't forget other recent war movies that have done the same.
While the story of Markus Luttrell and the brave Navy SEALs in Operation Redwing is undoubtedly inspiring, there was significant fervor over a few facts the narrative got wrong and some political motivations that got thrown into the story, according to The New York Times.
Perhaps not politically charged, there was a controversy surrounding the set of the movie "Three Kings," starring George Clooney and directed by David O. Russell. According to the Internet Movie Database, the two got into a fistfight after Clooney took offense to Russell yelling at the extras.
"Black Hawk Down"
« Back to Blog
Even critically acclaimed films face controversy at times. In the case of "Black Hawk Down," The Guardian pointed out that movie officials changed the name of one of the leading characters after he was sentenced to prison. Ranger John "Stebby" Stebbins - changed to Ranger John Grimes and played by Ewan McGreggor - was sentenced to 30 years for child abuse. Critics have called the move to change his name "airbrushing history."