Director: Allen Hughes and Albert Hughes
Stars: Larenz Tate, Bokeem Woodbine, Keith David, Freddy Rodriguez, Chris Tucker, Rose Jackson, N'Bushe Wright, Alvaleta Guess, James Pickens, Jr., Clifton Powell
Spanning nearly 20 years, the Vietnam War had a crippling effect on the young men involved. Anyone fortunate enough to return home did so changed forever, and in many cases, for the worse. Anthony Curtis (Larenz Tate) graduates from high school in the late '60s and enlists in the U.S. Marine Corps, eventually accompanied by friend Skip (Chris Tucker); his other friend, Jose (Freddy Rodriguez), gets drafted by the Army. In Vietnam, Anthony witnesses the horrors of war, serving several tours before finally coming back to the Bronx in the early '70s. Struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and the task of supporting his family, Anthony sees no choice but to resort to crime and helps organize the robbery of an armored car, clad in face paint.
Dead Presidents analyzes how the U.S. government uses young men, only to abandon them when they return home from war broken. Veterans who fought for their country feel cheated in their struggle to readjust to the world with little assistance from Uncle Sam. Anthony, whose downward spiral into crime is also motivated by alcohol, expresses this struggle as he's being sentenced for his role in the robbery. When the judge delivers his sentence, he launches into a violent tirade because the institution he committed to failed him. Add an amazing soundtrack of '60s and '70s classics and you have a strong film that encapsulates life for soldiers after the battle.