Go Tell the Spartans

Director: Ted Post
Year Released: 1978
Rating: 2.5

Major Asa Barker (Burt Lancaster) is in charge of American troops in South Vietnam but getting more disgusted with how things are going in the area (he calls it "a sucker's tour") ... and this is prior to our full scale involvement (i.e. my father would show up).  Stylistically it's a little too close to the TV version of M*A*S*H and more than a little obvious - Lancaster the pessimist versus Courcey (Craig Wasson) the optimist - but the dark cloud that hovers over it is very real, and deserves special credit for getting the jargon right (although the slurs will definitely rankle today's overly sensitive PC crowd).  At 64, Lancaster was too old to play the lead, but those scars and that slow stare tells you everything you need to know about that debacle: never get involved in a land war in Asia.