View Full Version : Harry Humphries on Black Hawk Down

February 20, 2002, 02:22 PM
I went and saw Black Hawk Down last night. I was kind of excited to see it since I had read the book, and after reading Harry Humphries' article in SWAT I figured that at least the fighting would be faithfully recreated.

All I can say is Wow. :)

I have seen other movies that had realistic gun handling. But I've never seen one that had something like two straight hours of combat, all of which was very visually impressive and really hit the audience hard.

Black Hawk Down now takes the spot of my favorite all time gun movie. I think that it did justice to the men who served there.

February 20, 2002, 03:07 PM

Have to disagree with you....

Best War Movie - Black Hawk Down.

Best Gun Movie* - Quigley Down Under

*Movie where the Gun plays as important part as the Lead Actor.

But this is just my Jarheaded Opinion. ;)

Denny Hansen
February 20, 2002, 05:04 PM
Winchester '73 starring the late Mr. James Stewart

March 26, 2002, 08:15 PM
I quickly browsed through the article at the PX. I had seen Black Hawk Down during midcycle pass (along with almost every other soldier in Echo Company!). I admit it- I cried. A lot. I felt very close in spirit to the soldiers bleeding on the screen, helped in no small part by knowing I was seeing a reenactment of something that really happened.

I was very much reminded of my own mortality, as well as the special love that grows between those willing to fight, bleed, and die together. "Greater love hath no man, than he lay down his life for his friend."

I was not the only Joe affected, by any means, though I may have been the most demonstrative. :rolleyes:

Jeff White
March 27, 2002, 01:09 AM
The movie was a very emotional experience for me. I don't know if it was because it was so real, all with equipment I've used etc. But I finished it in tears....and had to fight back a movie rage incident for a guy a few seats down who somehow found a lot of humor in the entire story.

I could almost smell the hot nylon inside the aircraft. Perhaps those who haven't served don't have the same frame of reference we do. To me I could feel the Blackhawks jump into the air on mission take off. Was wanting to spit the grit out in the firefight scenes. The actors acted just like so many young soldiers I've known over the years. Almost too real...Not ashamed to say I cried.


March 27, 2002, 02:51 AM
I like battle scene in "we were soldiers" better, you can see real snafu of friendly-fire
still black hawk down is excellent movie.

March 27, 2002, 11:34 AM
Jeff, I had the same experience re: the knucklehead a few rows back. I was furious when the three rangers got separated and had to fight their way back to the main body. Everyone in the theater thought that was funny. I was furious!!!! Ain't so funny when you're the dude that may miss the extraction bird. My better half was bawling at the end of it as she never realized that this battle occurred. I told her not to worry, she was no different from the rest of America. I'm a lot older now and when I find myself out in the field, I love to go talk to the Joe's. I now look at them as "Kids" and truly love them all. One of the things that keeps me in.

March 29, 2002, 12:28 PM
Ok, call me a knucklehead if you want, but I personally found humor in that scene where they got split up ("&#@* you, you come to me!"). I'm comissioning in about a year and a half, as are most of my friends. I could honestly see myself and two of my best friends as those poor guys in BHD (in fact, one them is half deaf from shooting, just like Nelson(?)).

I would not want to be in a situation like BHD, and knowing that it is real makes the impact all the worse. But some people see the humor inherent in even the worst situtations, I guess - I know that I found a lot of funny things at Field Training (book camp) that I laughed about, even though that was the worst part of my (comparatively sheltered) life.

Jeff White
March 29, 2002, 01:16 PM

I know that that segment was written and directed to provide a little comic relief. There was humor in it. Believe it or not some people do react with witty comments in times of stress. None the less, it was a very serious situation. There is no feeling of lonliness in the world that could compete with what those Rangers felt. Cut off, not knowing just where their friends were or how to find them and hostiles around every corner. I was directing my comment towards a guy about four seats away who reacted to the entire movie as if it were Schwartzenager's or Stallone's latest action/adventure flick.

Like I said, different people with different backgrounds undoubtedly related to it differently. For my part, I will say that Harry Humphries made this old grunt feel like he was back under a ruck. I think we all have different things that will trigger memories and the emotions that go with them.

Do me one favor? After you get your comission and complete your OBC and finally get out with troops. Remember how you could see you and your two buddies, cut off like that in BHD, and take the time to make sure that all of your soldiers know the plan and the contingency plan, so that it doesn't happen to men you are responsible for. You will be rushed at times and there will be temptations to "wing it". Don't....Take the time for your troop leading procedures. Make sure your squad leaders do it.


March 31, 2002, 11:38 AM
Think about this.
If a bunch of Black Helicopters landed in your area waving guns would you lay down your arms when they brought weapons to bear on you? I mean no disrespect to these brave men that served. I just feel that the movie served more as a tool of propaganda then a tribute to the soldiers IMO. When someone invades your space with force the normal reaction is to fight back. After seeing all of the innocent civilians in past and present wars being slaughtered and the media coverup of that fact it makes me ill to see all of these war movies glorifying slaughter coming out one after another. I have not sucumbed to this conditioning and still believe there is another way to go about it. When we have countless areas of technology to get the job done these military actions are just costly publicity stunts.

Jeff White
March 31, 2002, 12:14 PM

The movie was about men in a desperate situation. The producers did a good job of keeping politics out of it. Down at the grunt level, you don't debate grand strategy, you just execute the mission you are given.

The movie portrayed brave men in a nearly impossible situation, and how they overcame it. If they could have done things differently or if we should have been there at all weren't part of the story.


Fred Hansen
April 1, 2002, 03:55 AM

I guess it would be better to see food aid sent to starving and desperate people stolen, while the people themselves are gunned down like animals, or did you miss the point of that scene (based of course on real recurring events) too?I mean no disrespect to these brave men that served. My shiny white ***.

Hey guess what? If someone conducts themselves in the manner of a murdering thug around me (even though I am a civilian now) they can

1) Expect to have their "space invaded".

2) Expect that I will do my level best to end them.

In terms of people laughing during the movie, I was one of them. Laughing with tears in my eyes knowing that the kind of people that have guts enough to do what needs to be done will shout things like "&#@* you, you come to me!". Funnier still was when Tom Sizemore ends up taking the evac convoy back into the middle of the $h*tstorm and he gets out all casual like and asks one of his buddies to hop in so they can get the hell out. Its what brave men do, and it's funny.

Propaganda? PTUI!!!:barf: :barf: :barf: :mad:
Edited by George Hill due to language.

April 1, 2002, 07:33 PM

I fail to understand. I saw this movie about halfway through my ITB (basic training + infantry AIT). To me- and to those thinking peers of mine- the movie was sobering, a grim reminder of our mortality. I saw blood, sweat, and tears. There were no Rambo-esque lone wolf heroics, there was no Terminator-like invincibility, just real people "on the ground" who take the brunt when policy goes awry.

Pvt VanGordon: "I saw this, and I thought: I joined to die. I'm gonna get killed. It scared me."

How is portraying the grim reality of combat (and, this movie came about as close as I think you'll see any reenactment) "glorifying slaughter"? Who wants to believe they may watch helplessly as a friend bleeds to death, or that they may be the one feeling the life drain away, feeling each part go numb, with no positive option left except leaving a message of love for the soon to be bereft family? How is this an encouragement of unthinking violence by petty politicians?

April 18, 2002, 10:01 PM
This retired soldier cried.