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Film / The Boys in Company C

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Before Platoon and Full Metal Jacket, there was The Boys in Company C.

A 1978 Vietnam War movie, directed and co-written by Sidney J. Furie, that follows five newly-inducted U.S. Marines — Brisbee, Fazio, Foster, Pike, and Washington — as they go from basic training to combat in Vietnam.

Notable for featuring R. Lee Ermey in his first screen role, as (what else?) a drill instructor.


Tropes:

  • All for Nothing: A convoy is sent to get important equipment to an army general. The convoy is ambushed and two marines die. The important equipment? Luxury items for the General's birthday.
  • Asshole Victim: Captain Collins, along with the South Vietnamese officer that Brisbee kills.
  • Badass Baritone: Tyrone Washington.
  • Blood Knight: Arguably, Colonel Metcalf and by extend Captain Collins on Matcalf's orders because the Colonel wants a large body count.
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  • Body-Count Competition: Company C is tasked with getting a higher kill count than the last Company there.
  • Draft Dodging: Brisbee tried this but was arrested by the FBI.
  • Downer Ending: Brisbee and Foster are dead. Washington and Fazio are sent back to Khe Sanh. Before the ending credits there is text that states Washington was later killed in combat. Archer is still listed as M.I.A and Fazio is in a mental hospital.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Averted with Sergeant Loyce. Despite having to be mean like any drill sergeant, he takes a liking to Washington. Loyce looks him in the eye and even removes his hat to speak man to man with him. He also helps Washington when racist recruits harass him. The fact that Loyce is played by R. Lee Ermey will surprise fans of that other Vietnam War movie with Ermey as a drill sergeant.
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  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Pike is the only character who makes it out alive and sane.
  • A Father to His Men: Lieutenant Archer, who looks out for his men and tries to keep them alive.
  • Five-Man Band
    • The Leader: Washington
    • The Lancer: Fazio
    • The Smart Guy: Foster
    • The Big Guy: Pike
    • The Chick: Brisbee
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Washington. He's constantly pissed off and fighting with Pike over the latter's drug use, but as soon as Washington finds out that Pike has a kid on the way, he gets him an instant ticket home by falsely claiming that Pike is suffering from brain damage.
  • Land Mine Goes "Click!": At first averted as it's just Foster's camera. Played Straight when Washington actually steps on one.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Foster jumps on a grenade to save two children.
  • Mr Fan Service: The marines often appear shirtless or sometimes, naked.
  • Narrator: Foster narrates his journal.
  • Put on a Bus: Pike is sent away after Washington says he has brain damage. This is so Pike can go home and raise his son versus returning to combat.
  • Sadist: Washington calls Collins this due to Collins Not caring if a boy is killed for supposedly being Viet Cong with no evidence.
  • Scary Black Man: Washington.
  • Southern-Fried Private: Billy Ray Pike.
  • Token Minority: Washington is the only black character of merit.
  • Unfriendly Fire: Washington tries this on Collins but is stopped by Archer. However Brisbee kills a South Vietnamese officer before being killed by another South Vietnamese soldier.
  • Vietnam War: Obviously.
  • War Is Hell
  • Would Hurt a Child: The South Vietnamese Officer who interrogates a boy Captain Collins suggests is V.C.

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