Well done but little soccer in ‘The Boys in Company C’ (1978)

The Boys in Company C (1978)

The Boys in Company C was one of the first films to portray the senselessness of the Vietnam War. It’s a war movie and not a soccer movie by any means. But, to borrow a phrase from Susan Jeffords, this film asks if a soccer game is a “thing worth dying for”.

As a company of Marines works its deadly way across Vietnam on worthless assignments under an unstable captain, they are given a chance to become an exhibition soccer team. But they must lose every game in order to bolster the corrupt government’s winning team image over that of the Viet Cong.

This movie is gripping at times. Since I’m not a fan of war movies, nor am I a veteran, I can’t say whether or not this movie is authentic. Before watching it, I had to google the reviews to see if it would be too much for me. Frankly, that wasn’t much help because everyone compared this film to other war movies I have not seen, e.g., Full Metal Jacket. It came out the same year as The Deer Hunter.

Director Sidney Furie also did Ladybugs

But the movie is very well done. Writer-Director Sidney Furie has a long pedigree of good movies. It’s hard to believe he also did Ladybugs with Rodney Dangerfield! Stan Shaw and Andrew Stevens (son of Stella) do convincing acting jobs.

The soccer play is uh really a metaphor for soccer. The captain has the company learn soccer on the warship going over because he says the Vietnamese mind thinks in terms of soccer, not baseball. I was surprised to learn that wikipedia reiterates that soccer is Vietnam’s major sport, brought there in 1896.

Update on Mar-12-2020: In Jan-2020, before the Coronavirus outbreak, I went on a Southeast Asia tour with Stanford University. Over there, they refer to our Vietnam War as “The American War”. I encourage Americans to travel to Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, and witness the horrible effects of American military interventions in smaller countries. Americans need to realize that war is not a movie. BTW, I didn’t see any soccer in the area, although I did pick up a cute soccer toy.

The DVD has an extra with commentary by Andrew Stevens, who went on to become a prolific producer (although his company went bankrupt in 2004). But I did not listen to it.

3 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 3