In the Eighties, the war flick experienced a renaissance of sorts, if not in style and substance, than at least in terms of renewed audience interest. The erection of the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C. and a campaign spearheaded by Senator John McCain to bring POW-MIAs home brought the horrible conflict in Southeast Asia once again to the forefront of public consciousness.
After the dismal engagement in Vietnam, a number of films from the ‘70s focused on the experiences of soldiers returning Stateside--Heroes, Coming Home, and The Deer Hunter--as well as the war itself--Apocalypse Now. The best war pics of the ‘80s continued in that tradition--movies by Oliver Stone, De Palma, Kubrick, Norman Jewison.
Simultaneously, the election of charismatic actor Ronald Reagan ushered in a wave of rah-rah patriotism and a pride in the power and might of the American War Machine. This zeitgeist was represented in films like Tony Scott’s eyegasm, Top Gun.
Take our Civics 101: Reagan Era War Flicks quiz to see if you have what it takes to be a Top Gun. See if you can talk the talk and walk the walk by naming the character and the movie in which the following lines are uttered.
1. “Boy, you just bought the whole can of whup-ass!”
2. “Be advised I eat concertina wire and piss napalm, I can put a round through a flea's ass at 300 yards.”
3. “I wanted to meet stimulating and interesting people of an ancient culture, and kill them.”
4. “Back there I could fly a gunship, I could drive a tank, I was in charge of million dollar equipment, back here I can't even hold a job washin' cars.”
5. “You don't have time to think up there. If you think, you're dead.”
6. “There is a way out of everything, man. Just keep your pecker hard and your powder dry and the world will turn.”
7. “You think you're tough? You eat beans every day? There's a handful of scarecrows left in Denver that’ll give anything for a mouthful of what you got.”
8. “We had a short-timer once. Johnny I-forget-his-name. He wore a flak jacket, two helmets and armor underwear. Ashau Valley... your time's up, your time is up.”
9. “If I liked it safe, I would have joined the Coast Guard.”
10. “There ain't no point, Erikson. I'm simply trying to illuminate the terrain in which we currently find ourselves deployed. You don't mind that, do you? And if you do, f*ck you! You on my frequency?”
11. “We've got a Five Ton Welcoming Committee homing in on us, and the son of a bitch ain't smiling.”
12. “I am not a ‘peacenik,’ Captain; I just don't agree with the reasons behind this particular war, and I feel if we're gonna fight it, we oughtta goddamn fight it right.”
13. “People say that if you don't love America, then get the hell out. Well, I love America.”
1. Sailor (Randall “Tex” Cobb) in Uncommon Valor
2. Gunnery Sgt. Tom Highway (Clint Eastwood) in Heartbreak Ridge
3. Private Joker (Matthew Modine) in Full Metal Jacket
4. John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) in First Blood
5. Lt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) in Top Gun
6. King (Keith David) in Platoon
7. The Colonel, (Powers Boothe) in Red Dawn
8. Sgt. Worcester (Steven Weber) in Hamburger Hill
9. Lt. Dale Hawkins (Charlie Sheen) in Navy Seals
10. Captain Hill (Dale Dye) in Casualties Of War
11. Hickman (Jason Blicker) in Iron Eagle II
12. Clell Hazard (James Caan) in Gardens Of Stone
13. Ron Kovic (Tom Cruise) in Born On The Fourth Of July