In my last post, I made reference to some war movie cliches. In my opinion, no movie genre has as many cliches as war movies. One of the things I look for in my reviews is recurrences of these cliches. The general idea is that the less cliches - the better the movie. However, one of the appeals of war movies for some is they are formulaic. This can be comforting. Here is my list which is pretty much off the top of my head so I would welcome suggestions.
1. If you show a picture of your girlfriend or wife, you are dead meat.
2. A shamed soldier will redeem himself, often at the cost of his life.
3. At least 1/3 of suicide mission members will not return.
4. If you brag about going home soon, you're going home in a box.
5. In a tight situation, if you are an extra or unknown actor, you are going to die.
6. Stupid officers survive.
7. The fat guy always dies.
8. All small units are heterogeneous. The Southern guy is a rube. The shortest guy is a jerk. The Italian is a killer. The college guy is too smart for this group. The oldest guy is wise. One will be from Brooklyn. The fat guy is hopeless as a soldier. One of them is a writer. One of them was the class clown. One of them loves animals more than people.
9. Soldiers do not sweat, even in the tropics or desert.
10. Enemy uniforms always fit, in case you need a disguise.
11. A soldier who taks about getting married will not live to reach the altar.
12. New replacements are dead meat, don't befriend them.
13. Every unit has a "scrounger" who can find anything anywhere.
14. Kids and dogs can not be killed in a barrage or bombardment.
15. If two branches are represented in a bar - there will be a brawl.
16. All subs can go way below their maximum depth.
17. A bullet in the arm will not prevent you from using that arm.
18. The overly strict officer will go soft at a critical moment.
19. The tough disciplinarian will be hated at first, but will earn the respect of his men.
20. Boot camp enemies will become friends.
21. Innocent and naive soldiers will become disillusioned.
22. When a sub is undergoing depth charging, it will release a recently dead sailor through a torpedo tube to fool the enemy.
23. A bomber crew will witness the destruction of another crew that they befriended - there will be no parachutes.
24. The featured bomber will lose at least one engine and have at least one crewman wounded.
25. The featured tank will have engine trouble. If it is an American tank, someone in the crew will fix it with a wrench.
26. If the movie features a pair of BFFs - one will die and usually saving the other.
27. A reciever of a "Dear John" letter will lose his will to live.
28. Heavy machine guns can be fired constantly with no fear of damaging the barrel.
29. If the movie was made before the 1960s, wounds will not bleed.
30. Main characters never get caught by MPs.
31. The schemer in boot camp will save the day later.
32. Parents always take death notices stoically.
33. Rivets will pop during a depth charging.
34. Sailors on shore leave will always get in trouble with the MPs.
35. Radio operators always wear glasses.
36. Ground personnel will stow away on a bomber to get a taste of combat. They will get chewed out by their commander, but he'll understand.