Gardens of Stone

Film, Drama
  • 3 out of 5 stars
(2user reviews)
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Coppola's oblique, muted and curiously revisionist drama of life on the home front during the Vietnam war. Sgt Hazard (Caan), a battle-seasoned veteran frustrated by his present role in the 'toy soldier' regiment guarding the Arlington military cemetery, is shaken out of his self-pitying cynicism by his love affair with an anti-war journalist (Huston) and a spiky father/son relationship with a gung-ho rookie (Sweeney). Caan is against the war - 'It's not even a war. There's nothing to win, and no way to win it' - but for the military; he won't go back to Vietnam, but desperately wants a transfer to Fort Benning, where he can train young recruits to die valiantly. Meanwhile, the bodies arrive daily, to be boxed up and buried with full military honours. While Ronald Bass' subtly understated dialogue, Coppola's meticulous direction, and some exceptional acting (especially from Caan) never fail to rivet the attention, there's a pervasive and worrying sense of the central issues being gently but undeniably fudged.

By: NF

Release details

Duration: 112 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Screenwriter: Ronald Bass
Cast: DB Sweeney
Dean Stockwell
James Earl Jones
Lonette McKee
Laurence Fishburne
Anjelica Huston
Sam Bottoms
James Caan
Dick Anthony Williams
Mary Stuart Masterson

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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1 person listening

The film is less than the sum of its parts , and , to quote one critic , is "directed with fists of ham".

Leslie Wetter

The movie was interesting in that it gave a broader understanding of why seasoned troops will go to a war that makes no sense. James Caan brings that message out when he himself wants to train young recruits if for nothing but teaching them needed techniques to protect themselves when they go into unknown territory. He sees these young men as his own family. It gives some clarity as to why our own troops go back to Iraq. Not for a war similar to Vietnam, (senseless), but to support the others who are still there. Very fine acting especially by James Cann.