The movies are there to entertain and sometimes educate us, but when thinking about the military, quite a few things get missed or represented in a very poor light or are completely taken out of context since the movies do need to tone some things down and switch some things around at times. There have been some war movies that have managed to nail down their details quite nicely since those working on the movie have done their homework and have even managed to get the help of those that have been there and know what they’re talking about. But too many war movies simply shoot from the hip and depict the military in a fashion that’s more amusing than real since it goes without saying that they’re trying to entertain people and give them something cool to look at since that’s what people are paying for. But it’s usually nice to see that some folks do manage to get it right every now and then. But apart from veterans or those that have paid attention to veterans in their family and know a thing or two, and possibly those that research the military and know a few things, a lot of moviegoers wouldn’t be able to tell you what’s wrong with a lot of it.
Here are just a few things that the movies get wrong about the military.
5. There’s no such thing as unlimited ammunition.
Ever notice how in some movies there’s plenty of ammunition to be found, liberated, or otherwise picked up as the soldiers go along? This is something that’s been changing throughout the years since the movies have become better at showing that soldiers do run out of ammunition, and when they do they’re essentially screwed when it comes to a bigger fight. But since a lot of soldiers might tell you that a lot of them don’t see as much action as the movies depict, this isn’t as big of a problem. Plus, the expenditure of ammunition is something that’s carefully monitored since bullets do cost money.
4. The uniforms often have a lot of mistakes.
As I mentioned above, veterans and those that have been around them long enough would no doubt pick up on this since they’ve been around and seen this kind of thing more often than most. But if one were to do a bit a research and figure out just how the movies are erring when it comes to the uniforms they might be surprised. There are a lot of dress code violations that occur in the movies and a lot of veterans have been kind enough to point them out. There are quite a few people that don’t care, veterans included since the movies aren’t there to get everything right, but some accuracy would be nice.
3. There’s a limit to the abuse that drill sergeants can dish out to recruits.
We’ve seen drill sergeants smacking recruits, choking them, and otherwise beating the living hell out of them, but there’s only so much that they can do in this day and age. There might have been a time when they could work them past exhaustion or do something to prove a point, and it does sound as though this can still happen, but they can’t physically punish a person to such a degree that they do massive bodily harm. The DI is the person that needs to be teaching the recruit after all, not his executioner. There are plenty of people that have their own memories of DI’s and many of them differ greatly.
2. Soldiers don’t go AWOL at the drop of a hat, and are always punished.
Absent without leave is a serious offense in the military and carries a hefty punishment depending on how long a person goes AWOL. It can affect their pay and can even get them a dishonorable discharge since it’s essentially going back on an oath that was given to the US military, and no one gets to do this without some consequence. In the movies, this has been seen being depicted accurately in some cases but has otherwise been shown to have extenuating circumstances now and again since the individual had a good reason for going AWOL. Yeah, that just doesn’t fly.
1. The weapon capabilities are often exaggerated or mixed up entirely.
In the military, soldiers are taught the capability of their weapons, what kind of range they have, the kickback they have, and what the force behind them is. This is why you wouldn’t see a soldier in real life handling an anti-tank weapon most likely because the blowback would be enough to kill whoever’s behind them and possibly the shooter. Plus, certain weapons are seen as being far more powerful and accurate than they are in real life. Sometimes the director just wants that bigger bang without having to switch out the weapon.
Do a little research and you’ll find that the movies get some things right, but not everything.