The Returning Veteran and the Home Front Melodrama
On April 30, 1975, the American war in Vietnam officially ended with the deaths of two US Marines, the last Americans killed in combat in that war. Within three years two notable films were released (both in 1978) about the returning veteran, by now a well-established American cinematic sub-genre: The Deer Hunter (Michael Cimino) and Coming Home (Hal Ashby). The first was set in a working-class community of Clairton, outside Pittsburgh, about three steelworkers, later infantrymen in Vietnam. The Deer Hunter followed what would be a familiar protocol of the returning veteran movie: a suicide (Nick—played by Christopher Walken), a horribly wounded soldier (Steven—played by John Savage), and a disenchanted warrior (Mike—played by Robert DeNiro). Typical of all such movies, the veteran returns to a working-class environment that only complicates his adjustment to the homeland.
KeywordsVietnam Veteran Homeless Veteran Military Mission Operation Iraqi Freedom Collective Remedy
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