The Green Berets Blu-ray Review
Audio: Mono Dolby TrueHD mix
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
Disc Spec: 1 BD50
Anyone who fought in Vietnam can tell you that the war bore little resemblance to this propagandistic action film starring and codirected by John Wayne. But the film itself is not nearly as bad as its reputation would suggest; critics roasted its gung-ho politics while ignoring its merits as an exciting (if rather conventional and idealistic) war movie. Some notorious mistakes were made–in the final shot, the sun sets in the east!–and it’s an awkward attempt to graft WWII heroics onto the Vietnam experience. But as the Duke’s attempt to acknowledge the men who were fighting and dying overseas, it’s a rousing film in which Wayne commands a regiment on a mission to kidnap a Viet Cong general. David Janssen plays a journalist who learns to understand Wayne’s commitment to battling Communism, and Jim Hutton (Timothy’s dad) plays an ill-fated soldier who adopts a Vietnamese orphan.
The story itself is a simple one: American soldiers are trying their best to crush the purveyors of horrific Communism and thus save the vulnerable South Vietnamese people from eternal, unfathomable atrocities which were generally associated with the North Vietnamese rulers and Vietcong soldiers during this time period. This Herculean task was to be accomplished, in this case, through superior tactics, by the employment of superior American weaponry, and, through the patriotic intestinal fortitude of John Wayne’s sterling leadership. Of course, this microcosm of the war was allegedly representative of what we were supposedly doing all over South Vietnam.
What you will NOT see in this film, which most later movies exploited, is drug use by American soldiers, prostitution for the troops offered by Vietnamese women who were trying to survive their circumstances, or any of the other common, supplementary, and graphic appurtenances to the typical lengthy war. Other than Jim Hutton’s little humorous Black Market escapades, it’s mostly shooting and body counts. Here, the viewer can expect a very straightforward presentation of battle, tenoned with the occasional swatch of personal anguish.
Movie Quality: 7/10
The print is presented in 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 with a 1.77:1 aspect ratio. Warner has been doing a great job with their classics and catalogtitles on high definition as they churn out yet another winner. Colors are visually appealing providing an eye catching image for a 40+ year old film. There are times throughout the transfer where the image does have a softness. Fleshtones look natural except for a few scenes with the makeup use in this era jump out in high definition. Black levels have a nice depth. All this comes together for some very nice details that caught me off guard. The print has been cleaned up with the use of the dreaded DNR. Albeit a few minor issues, this is a nice looking print for a film of this age.
Video Quality: 7/10
The audio is presented in Mono Dolby TrueHD mix. Warner did also restore the audio in its mono format. This is something that will for sure please purists. This is a film that will not rock the house from an audio standpoint that won’t take advantage of the soundfield. Dialogue is not as clean as I would have hoped with tons of crackling throughout.
Audio Quality: 5/10
- The Moviemakers
- Theatrical Trailer
Special Features: 5/10
Overall, the Green Berets is not one of Wayne’s better movies. I love the cast and they alone do make it watchable, but probably not enjoyable for many. The video presentation was fairly good for the age of the film, but the audio left me disappointed. The special features are lacking considerably which might put off fans of the film. I would consider this as a rental first before a purchase.
Overall Rating: 6/10