Thomas Bruscino wonders why anti-war literature and film have become the norm:
For generations, American students have read Hemingway, Mailer, and Heller supplemented by Remarque, Vonnegut, and the occasional viewing of The Best Years of Our Lives. Just as importantly, they have been inoculated against patriotism in all its forms, taught to sneer at the Romanticism in Washington Irving’s portrayal of George Washington’s youth, the plain backwoods heroism of Sergeant York, and the supposedly misplaced sunset in the Green Berets. … [T]he bias has become self-perpetuating: great artists depicted war as meaningless brutality; serious critics determined that such depictions were great art; and aspiring artists and critics, hoping to be taken seriously, followed suit.
Adam Elkus draws on the complexity of the genre:
The best antiwar art, while sometimes glamorizing combat (an near-intractable problem for an artist), emphasizes the folly of men. But there is more to conflict than the folly of men. If war were merely attributable to moral defects, political incompetence, or greed, it would be easier to understand (and perhaps prevent).
Dish discussion of the movie Act Of Valor, a recent example from the other end of the spectrum, here.
(Video: The Best Years Of Our Lives recut as a thriller)