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Michael J Fox thinks this ’80s movie was treated unfairly

Michael J Fox is best known for his comedy movie and TV roles, so when he starred in a serious and harrowing war movie, it wasn't widely accepted.

Michael J. Fox

The late 70s and late 80s were the peak times for the release of Vietnam war movies, many of which are now heralded amongst the best movies of all time – they include The Deer Hunter (1978), Apocalypse Now (1979), Platoon (1986), Full Metal Jacket (1987), Good Morning Vietnam (1987), and Born of the Fourth of July (1989).

One of the lesser known Vietnam war movies made in the 80s was Casualties of War, which just couldn’t make an impact when so many seminal films were being released around the same time. It was directed by Brian De Palma, and boasts an impressive cast-list including Sean Penn, John C. Reilly, John Leguizamo, Ving Rhames, and Michael J. Fox.

Fox said in a recent Empire magazine interview; “Casualties of War, I felt that movie was really misunderstood. It never got a fair shake.” The film was based on a real incident in which a squad of American soldiers kidnapped, raped, and murdered a Vietnamese woman. The same incident had previously been made into a film by Paul Verhoeven in 1970 and entered into the Berlin Film Festival. It caused so much controversy, the festival was shut down with no awards given.

Brian De Palma is no stranger to controversy in his own career – with movies like Dressed to Kill, The Bonfire of the Vanities and The Black Dahlia being criticized for various reasons. He is also the director of acclaimed movies such as Carrie, Blow Out, Scarface, The Untouchables, and Carlito’s Way. De Palma also directed the first Mission Impossible movie, all the way back in 1996.

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Part of the reason Casualties of War may have been hard for audiences to accept was seeing Michael J. Fox in a more serious dramatic role. He was of course known at the time for the Back to the Future trilogy, as well as other comedy movies including Teen Wolf, The Secret of My Success and (not long after Casualties of War) Doc Hollywood. His new movie is a documentary on Apple TV called Still.

Check out our guide to the best drama movies.