List: Screening the Military


Evan Wright is the author of Generation Kill (Putnam), an account of his time embedded with the U.S. Marines' 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, the lead American military unit in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. A seven-part miniseries based on the book, scripted by The Wire's Ed Burns and David Simon, premiered on HBO in July. Wright, a contributing editor to Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair, is currently working on a screenplay based on his Vanity Fair profile of the Hollywood agent turned conservative moviemaker Pat Dollard. In an email sent the day after Generation Kill's HBO premiere, Wright lists his three favorite war movies.

1) Sands of Iwo Jima (1949): "Not at all the gung-ho John Wayne movie it's often remembered as being, Jima presents Wayne as the heroic, conflicted, and doomed Sgt. Stryker. He is a timeless archetype: the ultimate warrior on the battlefield, a man totally out of place in the civilian world, instantly recognizable to anyone who's carried a gun in the current war."

2) 84 Charlie MoPic (1989): "One of the coolest-and most uneven, challenging, and low-budget-Vietnam War films ever made, told from the perspective of a combat camera in the hands of a grunt on patrol in the Central Highlands. Its disjointed, keyhole view of war is dead on."

3) Groundhog Day (1993): "The perfect metaphor for troops in our downsized, overtaxed military, who keep waking up every day in the same sandbox in the Middle East while America hangs out at the mall."