In recent years this Vietnam drama has been re-evaluated in light of its having been overshadowed by its peers at the time ('Coming Home,' 'The Deer Hunter') as well as later, bolder efforts like 'Apocalypse Now,' 'Full Metal Jacket' and 'Platoon.' The retrospective hype may lead you to expect a better movie than you get.Go Tell the Spartans is a competent war film, to be sure, but there's no directorial commitment, no vision; veteran hack Ted Post essentially just films what's in front of him, and the dialogue, praised for realism, often rings false anyway.
The star, Burt Lancaster, as the commanding officer who sends a motley platoon to the village of Muc Wa, is sharp as usual but spends most of the movie at his desk. The actual hero is Craig Wasson, that terminally uninteresting actor, as a pacifist colonel who befriends the local Vietnamese (who turn out to be Congs). The acting, in short, is erratic — Marc Singer, whose idea of creating a character is to chew gum throughout the movie, is borderline embarrassing — but there's a gem of a performance by Jonathan Goldsmith as a burned-out soldier who's been in the shit for three years.Given that this is one of the few Vietnam War films to raise explicit doubts about our involvement there, it deserved a director with more to give; this looks and sounds like a TV movie (Dick Halligan's inept score doesn't help).