Grit and Greatness: 1980s War Movies


By: Nathan Chandler

4 Min Quiz

Image: tmdb

About This Quiz

In the 1980s, America was still grappling with the fallout of the Vietnam War and the residual effects of a long Cold War with the Soviet Union. Some films of the era attempted to address the depressing realities of war and others strived to recapture American military glory. How much do you know about '80s war movies?

Which actor did NOT star in "Casualties of War"?

Baldwin wasn't in "Casualties of War." The movie starred Fox and Penn fighting in the Vietnam War.


How did "Casualties of War" fare with professional movie critics?

"Casualties of War" received very high marks from critics, but it couldn't capitalize on its $22 million budget. It lost money at the box office.


Who starred in "Born on the Fourth of July"?

Tom Cruise played the lead role in "Born on the Fourth of July," which was directed by Oliver Stone. The movie follows the turbulent experiences of a disabled Vietnam veteran who returns home from the war.


Actor Charlie Sheen starred in which 80s war movie?

Sheen played Pfc. Chris Taylor, who is ensnared in the violence of war and the duplicity of the men around him. For Taylor, the Vietnam War is a hellish experience.


"Born on the Fourth of July" was a box office success.

The Oliver Stone movie had a budget of only $14 million, but it struck a nerve with the American public. It earned more than $160 million at the box office.


1981's "Das Boot" is set during which war?

This German movie follows the adventures of a submarine crew fighting during World War II. It's notable because it was one of the most expensive movies in German film history.


"Good Morning, Vietnam" won how many Academy Awards?

This often hilarious Vietnam flick didn't win any Oscars. But lead actor Robin Williams was nominated for Best Actor.


"Empire of the Sun" is set in which country?

The movie is set in World War II-era China and follows the struggles of a boy who is stranded without his parents during the Japanese occupation.


In "Empire of the Sun," which actor plays the lead role of the boy named Jamie Graham?

Christian Bale was just 12 years old when he received this hugely important role. Roughly 4,000 kids reportedly auditioned for the part.


"First Blood" stars a character who goes by which first name?

1982's "First Blood" features a character named John Rambo. In this movie, Sylvester Stallone plays a Vietnam veteran struggling to adapt to civilian life in a small town where law enforcement has gone haywire.


"First Blood" was based on what work of art?

"First Blood" was based on a novel of the same name published in 1972. The movie was enormously successful and spawned four (and nearly five) sequels.


How many of the "Rambo" sequels were released during the 1980s?

Including the original "First Blood," there were three "Rambo" movies during the 80s. The others were "Rambo: First Blood Part II" and "Rambo III."


Which of the "Rambo" movies was the most successful of the series?

The second "Rambo" movie was easily the most successful. It grossed over $300 million.


Which artist did NOT appear on the "Good Morning, Vietnam" soundtrack?

There were no songs from The Who on the "Good Morning, Vietnam" soundtrack. It featured multiple songs from the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, along with Otis Redding, Smokey Robinson and other well-known artists.


What's the setting for "Rambo III"?

In "Rambo III," Sylvester Stallone and his comrades assist Afghan rebels in their fight against Soviet invaders. The film was another huge hit for Stallone.


Actor Chuck Norris starred in which 80s war movie?

Norris, of course, is known for his many action movies. In "Missing in Action," he plays a Vietnam veteran who goes back to Vietnam to find American soldiers listed as "missing in action"


Who directed "Full Metal Jacket"?

Stanley Kubrick, of "A Clockwork Orange" fame, directed "Full Metal Jacket." The film received many critical accolades but was nominated for just one Academy Award.


Which Academy Award did "Full Metal Jacket" win?

"Full Metal Jacket" won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. The screenplay was written by director Stanley Kubrick, Michael Herr and Gustav Hasford.


In "Red Dawn," a group of American youths tries to fight off an invasion force from which country?

In "Red Dawn," the Soviets attack the United States and begin to occupy the country. A small group of young Americans begins launching guerilla attacks in an attempt to beat back the invaders.


In "Uncommon Valor," actor Gene Hackman plays a character who is obsessed with what?

In "Uncommon Valor," Hackman is certain that his missing son -- an American soldier -- is still alive in Vietnam. Hackman assembles a crack team of operatives to go back to Vietnam and rescue him.


"The Killing Fields" is set during which war era?

Directed by Roland Joffe, "The Killing Fields" is set during the Vietnam War in Cambodia, a country that wound up embroiled in a civil war thanks to the turmoil in Vietnam.


Who directed 1986's "Platoon"?

"Platoon" was the first of a trilogy of war movies directed by Oliver Stone. Stone also wrote the screenplay, which was based on his experiences as a soldier during the Vietnam War.


How many Academy Award nominations did "Platoon" receive?

"Platoon's" gritty realism helped it earn eight Oscar nominations. It won four, including Best Picture and Best Director.


Which of the following Academy Awards did "Platoon" NOT win?

"Platoon" did not win Best Original Screenplay. It did win Best Film Editing and Best Sound.


Who was the star of "Red Dawn"?

Patrick Swayze was the leader of the American rebels desperately fighting the Soviet soldiers. Overpowered and overmatched, the Americans are eventually wiped out.


"Glory" is a film about which war?

In "Glory," actor Matthew Broderick leads a group of black Union soldiers as they struggle to earn respect in a (mostly) white country warring with itself.


Who directed "Empire of the Sun"?

Steven Spielberg directed "Empire of the Sun." The World War II epic was nominated for six Academy Awards but didn't win any Oscars.


In "Born on the Fourth of July," the main character has what disability due to his war injuries?

The main character (Ron Kovic) is paralyzed from the waist down. He's also suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as he attempts to readjust to life in the United States.


Actor Clint Eastwood starred in which 80s war movie?

Eastwood was the star of "Heartbreak Ridge," which followed the story of a group of American soldiers who invaded Grenada in 1983. Eastwood also directed and produced the movie.


1986's "Heartbreak Ridge" was a box office failure.

"Heartbreak Ridge" had a budget of only $15 million but grossed more than $120 million. It also received a single Academy Award nomination but didn't win.


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