The movie opens with the French in Vietnam getting slaughtered. This happens even before the credits. It’s violent but probably accurate without going overboard on the gore.
The first third or half of the movie is spent state-side, getting to know the Colonel (Mel Gibson) and his wife (Madeleine Stowe). This is a fully three dimensional character.
When the war begins, it’s intense. Every once in a while the story cuts back to see how the wifes are dealing with it. It shows how the Army was sending taxi drivers to deliver telegrams to the dead soldiers’ wives.
This is a very good movie and I hope it gets nominated for an Oscar. Mel Gibson probably deserves one too. The movie is a little over 2 hours 18 min long. The DVD has deleted sceens which were appropriately removed including one sceen with MacNamara. I highly recommend this DVD.