With so many war movies out there to choose from, not many come from the direct perspective of a man who personally lived through the hell that was Vietnam.
Critically acclaimed writer-director Oliver Stone (an Army veteran) took audiences into the highly political time in American history where the war efforts of our service men and women were predominantly overlooked as they returned home.
The son of a successful stockbroker, Stone dropped out of Yale in the 60s and joined the Army, becoming one of the first American troops to arrive in Vietnam.
Here's what he taught us:
1. Respect is only earned, never issued.
Chris Taylor, played by Charlie Sheen, just landed in the "Nam" with a fresh shave and a stainless uniform. Before saying a word to anyone, he was automatically picked apart by war-harden soldiers passing by.
In war and in life, it doesn't matter how you start the game — it's how you finish it.
2. You have to keep up
Being in the infantry is one of the toughest and most dangerous jobs ever. You don't have to be the strongest or the fastest, but you need to pull your own weight...literally.
3. Staying positive
In the eyes of a "newbie," the world can seem and feel like one big sh*t show — especially if you're burning a barrel of sh*t with diesel fuel.
Finding new ways to approach a bad situation can boost morale — especially when you have a lot of time left in the bush.
4. We're all the same
Regardless of what your race, religion, or education level — when it comes down to being a soldier in a dangerous combat zone, none of those aspects means a thing.
5. Never quit
Sgt. Elias, by played Willem Dafoe, was intentionally left behind by Sgt. Barnes (Tom Berenger) with the hope the V.C. would kill him off.
Although Elias struggled to stay in the fight, after taking several AK-47's rounds, he showed the world he's truly a warrior.
6. War changes a man
The bright-eyed bushy-tailed boy that showed up in the beginning isn't the thousand yard staring man who stands in front of you now.
When you break into the circle of brotherhood, there's no better feeling.