The Boys in Company C
|The Boys in Company C|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Sidney J. Furie|
|Produced by||Andre Morgan|
|Written by||Sidney J. Furie|
|Music by||Jaime Mendoza-Nava|
|Cinematography||Godfrey A. Godar|
|Edited by||Frank J. Urioste|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|February 2, 1978|
The Boys in Company C is a 1978 war film directed by Sidney J. Furie about United States Marine Corps recruits preparing for duty and their subsequent combat in the Vietnam War. It stars Stan Shaw, Andrew Stevens, Craig Wasson and Michael Lembeck. It was among the first Vietnam War films to appear after the Vietnam Era, and was also the first role for R. Lee Ermey of Full Metal Jacket fame. It is the first in Furie's Vietnam War motion-picture trilogy, followed by Under Heavy Fire (2001) and The Veteran (2006).
Wasson plays guitar and sings the theme song "Here I Am", used within the film and over the end credits.
In August 1967, a group of boys arrive at the USMC induction center. They include hippie and draft dodger Dave Brisbee, who is delivered in handcuffs by FBI agents. The other inductees include hardened drug dealer Tyrone Washington, naive and unassuming Billy Ray Pike, streetwise New Yorker Vinnie Fazio and mild-mannered aspiring writer Alvin Foster. Foster begins writing a journal detailing his experiences.
The five boys go through boot camp together. The training is dehumanizing and brutal, designed to make them think and act in unison. Sergeant Loyce and Staff Sergeant Aqullia use a combination of extreme training, brute force, and their own combat experience to teach the recruits. Washington's leadership skills flourish and he is promoted to squad leader. The five are then assigned to the same unit and shipped to Vietnam, and as their ship docks, the shelling begins. Vietnam is a bewildering chaos: bureaucratic incompetence, callous officers concerned only with monthly "body counts" and the constant threat of death.
The soldiers' first firefight occurs while they are taking "vital supplies" to an army outpost. Those supplies turn out to be crates of cigarettes, liquor and furniture being sent to a general for his birthday, and two men die in the fighting. The officers in Company C are mostly incompetents who endanger the lives of their men through blind adherence to rules or timetables; their nervous Marines open fire on anyone and anything at the slightest provocation.
In January 1968, Company C is ordered by its commanding officer to throw a soccer game against a team of South Vietnamese in order to bolster the morale of their ally. The Americans are told that if they lose, they will see no more combat; if they win, they will be sent to Khe Sanh. Despite everything, the Americans win. The game ends with a Vietcong attack, during which Foster heroically throws himself on a grenade to save some children.
The film concludes with the final entry in Foster's journal, written moments before his death: "...I've decided to give up writing this journal, because I don't know who'd believe it after today. We had a chance to go home, and we blew it off for a soccer game...I guess we'll just keep on walking into one bloody mess after another, until somebody figures out that living has got to be more important than winning."
- Stan Shaw as Tyrone Washington
- Andrew Stevens as Billy Ray Pike
- James Canning as Alvin Foster
- Michael Lembeck as Vinnie Fazio
- Craig Wasson as Dave Bisbee
- Scott Hylands as Captain Collins
- James Whitmore, Jr. as Lieutenant Archer
- Noble Willingham as Sergeant Curry
- Lee Ermey as Sergeant Loyce, junior drill instructor, later promoted to staff sergeant, succeeding Aquilla as senior drill instructor.
- Vic Diaz as Colonel Trang
Andrew Stevens was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Acting Debut – Male (1979).
This film has been issued numerous times on video since its theatrical release, first in-house via Columbia Pictures, and later through other companies as certain ancillary rights changed hands (it ended up becoming part of the library of ITC Entertainment). Today, the major rights are held by independent film company Fortune Star Media, which also now holds the film's copyright, with distribution by Hen's Tooth under license.
- The AFI Catalog of Feature Films:The Boys in Company C
- According to Andrew Stevens on the DVD commentary, Ermey was discovered by the director, Furie
- Hyams, Jay. "War Movies" (1984)