Reel American HistoryHistory on trial Main Page

AboutFilmsFor StudentsFor TeachersBibliographyResources

Films >> Charlie Wilson's War (2007) >>

9 rota (2005)
9 Rota follows the Soviet Union's 9th Company in the war against Afghanistan. The film depicts the 9th Company's transition from boot camp to fighting on the ground. The fighting in Afghanistan proves both bloody and challenging for the 9th Company. As the Company defends a strategic hill, their hopes and ideals begin to unravel. Aid fails to come to the hill, and the Company tries desperately to hold it despite the lack of backup. This story is particularly sad, as the Company inspires sympathy and tragically loses. Soon after their loss, their country falls apart, and the Company is left wondering what the fighting was really for. The film depicts the tragedy of the 1980's Afghanistan war. Because Charlie Wilson's War explains the side of the United States and the Afghans, it is important to view the fight from the side of the Soviets.
The Beast of War (1988)
Beast of War focuses on a bitter battle between a Soviet-led unit and a band of Mujahedeen guerilla fighters in the 1980's war in Afghanistan. The Soviet crew is lead by a fierce commander, Daskal, and ends up lost without aid in the Afghanistan mountains. While lost, the unit clashes with Mujahedeen fighters. The movie goes back and forth as both sides attack each other. It seems impossible for either side to win as tensions mount and the attacks continue. Feeling as if his unit may turn on him, the tyrannical Daskal wanders into the desert to die. The film tells the stories on both sides and provides an even-handed look at the situation in Afghanistan. The film is important to watch alongside Charlie Wilson's War because it provides an inside look at the War Charlie fights so hard to win.
The Kite Runner (2007)
The Kite Runner tells the story of Amir and Hassan, two childhood friends in Afghanistan before the Soviet invasion. Amir is part of the dominant ethnic group, and Hassan is the son of Amir's father's servant. Amir's father loves both Amir and Hassan, and the three have a curious relationship with one another throughout Baba's scenes in the film. After a kite fight, Assef, a brutal village boy, attacks Hassan in front of Amir. Amir grows uncomfortable around Hassan and becomes unable to socialize with him the way he did before the attack. Amir eventually decides that he wants Hassan and his father out of his life and sets up a theft to get Hassan's father fired. Amir leaves Afghanistan and builds a life as a writer in California. While abroad, he learns that the Taliban have taken over Afghanistan and Hassan and his wife were killed. He also learns that Hassan was truly his half-brother, the other son of Baba. Amir travels back to Afghanistan to find Hassan's son. He takes him back to California and tries to give him a good life. Amir clearly does so because he cares for the child and wants to make up for the way he treated Hassan in their last moments together. The film not only tells the story of the two boys but includes the history of Afghanistan through the Soviet invasion and rise of the Taliban. The film is important to see because it gives the conflict faces, and it portrays the way that war and violence actually affected those living in Afghanistan at the time of the invasion and transfer of power.
Lions for Lambs (2007)
In Lions for Lamb, three stories intertwine to tell the story of a mission in Afghanistan in the 2003 Afghanistan war against the United States-lead coalition. In the film, two students enlist to participate in the War after being inspired by a professor, Dr. Malley. In the meantime, Malley works with a disenchanted student back in California. A Presidential hopeful, Senator Jasper Irving, works alongside a journalist to plan a secret operation in Afghanistan. The mission is loosely based on Operation Red Wing, a failed SEAL operation in Afghanistan. The two students, Arian and Ernest, are set to participate in the mission proposed by Irving. Janine Roth, the journalist, has moral doubts reporting on the mission and feels she is being used as a weapon for propaganda. As these stories intertwine, questions are raised about the Senator's intentions and the problematic nature of the War in Afghanistan. Though not a comedy, this film is similar to Charlie Wilson's War in that it examines the problems with U.S. involvement in Afghanistan. Irving, like Wilson, is heavily involved in planning, though his motives are vastly different. The films are interesting to view side by side, as they portray two very different tones about similar subjects.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
Jefferson Smith, head of the Boy rangers, is hand-picked by Governor Hubert Hopper to replace a deceased Senator. Smith accepts the job and works alongside Senator Joseph Paine, who is somewhat corrupt and expects little from Smith. The press in Washington calls Smith a stooge and a bumpkin, and Smith works to create a bill to make a good name for himself as a politician. Smith's proposed bill conflicts with the plans of Senator Paine, who heads a campaign against Smith, claiming he is looking to profit from his own bill. Smith works to exhaustion to get his bill passed, but Paine and the political machine continue to smear him as an ill-intentioned politician. Eventually, Paine becomes so overwhelmed with guilt that he attempts suicide and reveals to everyone that Smith is innocent. The film depicts the inner-workings of Congress much like Charlie Wilson's War does. While Congressman Wilson works to secure appropriations and allies, Smith's experience is very similar, though he is working toward a different end.