A true anecdote of the Vietnam War, played to effect as such for half its length, building to a moral problem, and then suddenly reaching such a height of panic delirium as to present a really dangerous situation, before gradually concluding again as an anecdote.

It’s a long calculation by the producers, the director and the actors to achieve a relatively simple result (and compare Mark Robson’s The Bridges at Toko-Ri for this), the eye on the ball.

Danny Glover is filmed extensively in the pilot’s seat on low-level reconnaissance (the camera is his co-pilot), an effect seldom utilized so freely. Gene Hackman conveys exactly “a 53-year-old electronic countermeasures expert” in the bush for the first time.