Serious Hollywood war films moderate the dialogue norms of the action/adventure genre, opting for a reserved sort of male speech that is moderate in tone and delivery. Aggressive talk is typically used as an element of contrast to suggest characters are inexperienced, undisciplined, untrustworthy, or overaggressive. The masculinity of American soldiers in these films is thereby shaped for a mixed gender and generational audience, as evidenced by comparison of films with their sources and draft scripts. The foul-mouthed and confrontational drill instructor (especially in Full Metal Jacket) stands outside this norm. War film dialogue regularly draws from authentic military speech. Poems (“The Rifleman’s Creed) and sayings (the Vietnam expressions “don’t mean nothin’” and “sorry ’bout that”) resound across the genre, connecting these films to each other and to actual military culture. Some such sayings also function as refrains within given films (the African American soldiers who dap each other in Hamburger Hill).
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